Making the career switch to an infant educarer was the best decision ever made by Ms Ilaheenisa, infant educarer from PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Pioneer Blk 694. The opportunities for close engagement with the children under her care is an affirmation that she had made the right choice.
Ms Ilaheenisa (Teacher Nisa), Infant Educarer, PCF Sparkletots at Pioneer Blk 694
When an infant in her care began looking red in the face and became increasingly cranky during a feed, infant educarer, Ms Ilaheenisa or Teacher Nisa, immediately knew that something was amiss.
She sensed the infant was likely having an allergic reaction to something he had eaten. She quickly alerted her centre principal and the child was rushed to hospital.
“I was worried his tongue would begin to swell and stop him from breathing,” Teacher Nisa explained. She added that she recognised the symptoms as a severe medical issue due to her background in the medical field.
Before embarking on a career as an infant educarer at PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Pioneer Blk 694, Teacher Nisa, 30, was a paediatric nurse.
Her love for children and helping others led her to serve in the Red Cross and St John’s Brigade during her primary and secondary school days. She then went on to pursue a diploma in Health Science Nursing and upon graduation, joined one of the local hospitals, where she was posted to the paediatric ward.
“I wanted to work with children, but I also wanted to play a role in nurturing them, see them happy and cheerful, growing and developing healthily. While nursing is indeed a very meaningful job, I started to think about my job fit and longer term career plan, given my personality and interests,” she explained.
When the chance to apply for a position at PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Pioneer Blk 694 arose, she wondered if her passion for nurturing children and her nursing experience in caring for children would make her a suitable candidate to care for infants and toddlers.
It was a difficult decision to make as she was doing well in her career as a nurse. Her family was also concerned that her pay would not be comparable to that of her existing job. Teacher Nisa, herself, was unsure if she would be a good fit for the job without any background in teaching.
But her worries were unfounded – Ms Cheah Chai Luan, her cluster principal, was impressed by her bubbly personality and enthusiastic attitude which made Teacher Nisa shine at her interview.
Ms Cheah recalled that what stood out the most was Teacher Nisa’s love and passion for children. An enthusiasm towards working with children, Ms Cheah shared, is one of the most important characteristics she looks out for in potential infant educarers.
She explained: “Infants are always looking at you; you’re a role model to them. You need to keep communicating with them to keep the environment lively and engagement strong. So if your face is always sad, or you don’t smile, it will definitely affect the infants under your care as they will be able to sense it.”
She decided to give Teacher Nisa an opportunity. Teacher Nisa then started work at the centre. At the same time, she studied part-time to attain an Advanced Certificate in Early Years (ACEY), which qualified her to teach children between two months to three years old.
Ms Cheah’s decision proved to be a good one. Parents like Madam Nurshellyza, whose son is under Teacher Nisa’s care, are impressed by Teacher Nisa’s passion and attention to detail.
Madam Nurshellyza said: “Teacher Nisa updates me on everything. She told me when my son learned to sit up by himself, or if he is eating well in school. I like that because I don’t need to ask and she will let me know. It really increased my trust and confidence in her!”
Mr Ang Poh Chuan, whose first and second daughters have been under Teacher Nisa’s care, shared these sentiments.
Mr Ang said: “Through observing how much your child has grown, you will understand how much effort the teachers have put in to take care of them.”
When his firstborn entered the centre, Mr Ang and his wife were initially worried that she would not adapt well. But as he watched her develop into a confident and happy child, he knew he had enrolled her in the right centre.
“Children are interesting. If you bring them to a place they don’t enjoy, they will refuse to enter. You might be able to trick them once or twice, but the third round, they will cry and refuse – my daughters have never refused to go into the centre,” he exclaimed.
It is because of this trusted teacher-child bond, Mr Ang shared, that he has chosen to stick with PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Pioneer Blk 694, despite having many other centres to choose from.
Ms Cheah added that that Teacher Nisa’s experience as a nurse has been a valuable asset to the centre. She explained that although infant educarers are trained to notice signs that a child is unwell, Teacher Nisa’s nursing experience has made her extra sensitive to these cues, and has enabled her to better advise and help both her colleagues and the parents.
”For example, with her experience, Teacher Nisa has once advised a nursing mother to hold her baby in a comfortable position to prevent the baby from choking. The mother was thankful for Teacher Nisa’s advice,” said Ms Cheah.
Ms Cheah also recounted how Teacher Nisa regularly gives her colleagues tips on how to soothe children with gentle massages so they can sleep better – another skill she acquired from her time as a nurse.
Teacher Nisa, too, believes her career switch was the right decision. She can now fully devote herself to nurturing the children and seeing them grow – which is what she loves most about her career.
She also relishes experiences such as being part of the organising crew for her centre’s 2016 Children’s Day celebration, where parents of infants are invited to join the party as well.
On being a good infant educarer, she says: “It’s most important to be responsible and take the initiative to understand the needs and interests of the children. It is unprofessional to portray that you are unaware of issues pertaining to the children under your care. Always take the initiative to find out what (the children) – and their parents – need, and provide help and advice both as a professional and a friend whenever you can.”
Curious about what Teacher Nisa and her team of infant educarers at PCF Sparkletots Preschool @Pioneer Blk 694 do for the infants at her centre?
Watch the video below to find out more!