Lareina Ho majored in Theatrical Arts before joining the early childhood sector. Now a centre leader, she constantly looks out for opportunities to upgrade herself and shares with us why she wants to be nominated for the Professional Development Programme (Leaders).
“Connecting with children has always been a passion of mine but I guess I wasn’t aware of it earlier!” Lareina Ho, Principal of Whiz Kids Montessori @ Hougang, candidly reflected. To her Theatrical Arts peers, it might come across as a surprise when she changed her career path. However for Lareina, it was a natural progression as the two major projects she did in polytechnic all involved engaging young children. For one project, she organised an art event for children from a children’s home. In another, Lareina organised a fund raiser to support a three year old boy with a serious medical condition.
The big push came from her younger sister, Charmaine Ho, who would enthusiastically share about her daily experience as a newly minted early childhood educator. Lareina was inspired by what her sister had shared and upon graduation, decided to pursue her newfound passion at a childcare centre instead of the theatre.
Lareina (left) and her sister (right)
It has been eight years since Lareina made the life-altering career change and she has progressed quickly to Centre Principal, having distinguished herself through her strong commitment to the sector and leadership qualities. Eager to further develop herself as a leader, Lareina was pleasantly surprised when she chanced upon news on the new Professional Development Programme for Leaders or PDP(L) announced at the Early Childhood Conference 2017 by Minster for Social and Family Development, Mr Desmond Lee. “PDP(L) came at such an opportune time as I see it as a stepping stone to further my leadership skills and even to pursue a degree in the future!” Lareina chimed.
Lareina spoke to her director, Ms Carol, about her interest in the new programme and it was her dedication and growth mindset which convinced Ms Carol that she would be an excellent participant for the programme. “Whenever Lareina learns, she will share with our teachers selflessly. While on the PDP(L), I’m certain she will bring in refreshing ideas for the centre.” Ms Carol is assured that the project and courses which Lareina embarks on during PDP(L) would also meet the needs of the centre.
Lareina (left) and her directors
From Ms Carol’s viewpoint as an operator, having her staff on the 3-year programme would be manageable, as it works out to an average of 60 hours each year. For some of her staff who are concerned with juggling work and family commitment with PDP(L), Ms Carol hopes that having Lareina join the programme would encourage them to “take the leap of faith” too!
Lareina is excited about PDP(L), in particular the diverse learning options available so that she could broaden her horizons. Instead of only learning through courses and assignments, she feels that the diverse span of professional development opportunities (compulsory modules, study trip and projects) would provide a good range for leaders to learn and grow.
Lareina mentoring other teachers
Lareina is also thrilled at the opportunity to network with other leaders in the sector and learn from practices beyond her centre. The overseas study trip is an added bonus, as “To trigger new ideas and improve our practices, we sometimes refer to pedagogical practices from other countries. To be able to learn from them first-hand, that will be an incredible learning experience.” As a young centre leader, Lareina aspires to advocate change especially to keep up with current trends and guide teachers in pedagogy and curriculum.
Lareina (left) with her teachers