Ms Thomasina Ann-Marie Kwok Pui Fan is an ECDA Scholarship Recipient and a Vice Principal at Summer Montessori. Ms Thomasina, aged 27, completed her Bachelor of Early Childhood Education with Psychology at the Singapore University of Social Sciences.
Growing up as the eldest of five children in the family, I was comfortable interacting with and caring for young children. When I was 16, I faced the common dilemma of what to pursue after my ‘O’ Level exams. I recalled my parents initiating the big ‘life’ talk with me then. Their advice? “Pursue something that would bring meaning and fulfilment above material pursuits”. I thought it made a lot of sense, so after thinking about my strengths and interests, I decided to follow my passion in Early Childhood Education by taking up the Diploma in Early Childhood Education at Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP). I knew that good role models were so important in one’s formative years and it excited me to be one for the little ones. It has been 8 years since I graduated from NP and joined the sector, and even in my current role as Vice-Principal in Summer Montessori, I face different challenges and learn new things daily.
When I was a junior teacher, I sometimes found it difficult to apply what I had learnt into the classroom. My mentors constantly inspired and encouraged me, giving me advice and suggestions on how to improve at my job, and supporting me when I faced challenges at work. I soon learnt that adaptation was essential to bridge theory and practice. My supervisors also helped me overcome my personal inadequacies and develop a repertoire of skills as an Early Childhood educator. Throughout my career, I picked up different teaching strategies by observing my mentors and other educators. Having experienced first-hand the support and guidance I received from my mentors, I firmly believe that good mentorship inspires and boosts one’s professional and personal growth. I constantly remind myself to reflect, so that I can become a better teacher for my children and mentor to the junior teachers. As I did my reflection, I realised that I needed to know more. I decided to pursue my Bachelor’s degree and was fortunate to be given the ECDA Scholarship. The scholarship not only supported me financially, but also motivated me to be a better role model and educator. While juggling work, family and studies at the same time is no easy feat, I find myself enjoying being a student once again, with more time to read, think and delve deeper into various issues with my classmates and lecturers.
As I continue my career in early childhood, I hope to put my learning into practice and contribute to my centre’s growth in the areas of mentoring, curriculum, pedagogy and staff development. I also hope that I can inspire more passionate individuals to join this meaningful career of nurturing little children and shaping young minds.