Ms Sonia Binte Rosli is an ECDA Training Award Recipient. The 19-year-old teacher at PCF Bedok Reservoir-Punggol Blk 713 Kindergarten completed her Higher Nitec in Early Childhood Education at the Institute of Technical Education.
I recall when I was an intern, I looked into the music room at the end of a class to make sure that every child has left for another lesson, something we do after every class. The room was dark but I saw two boys near a cupboard in the corner. One boy had difficulty putting on his own shoes and his friend spontaneously knelt down to help him, without being asked. As I watched them in silence, I teared a little at the simple and pure act of kindness by a very young child. Rather than to say that we, as educators, make a difference to the lives of the children, I have come to realise that it is actually the children who are constantly reminding us to appreciate life every day.
When I first entered the Early Childhood course at ITE, I was not equipped with any skills or knowledge. However, under the guidance of my lecturers and mentors during internship, I am now able to contribute meaningfully to the learning and development of the children who come my way.
I believe in providing children with a conducive environment to enhance their learning. I enjoy creating different play kits for different learning domains, such as motor skills development, social and emotional development, language and literacy, numeracy and aesthetics, and creative expression based on the children’s interests. I try to use as many sensorial materials for my play kits as possible so that the children would get to discover the joy of learning. As they play, I have seen my children become more motivated and independent.
At my internship centre, I introduced a recycling activity that would allow the children to develop a sense of belonging and responsibility towards the environment. I encouraged the children and their parents to collect recyclables during the weekends. The parents were very supportive and brought many recyclable materials to school. During class, I emphasised the benefits of recycling with the children as they walked to a neighbourhood recycling bin. They were happy to play a role in protecting the environment and were very proud of themselves after the activity. Some parents shared with me that their children have even started to recycle things at home. I felt such a strong sense of accomplishment for helping the children learn beyond the classroom.
Today, I am confident as an educator, being able to put to use what I learnt in school. This profession is more than just playing with or taking care of children. It is about nurturing and guiding them through their developmental years so as to give them a good start in life. I often share my experiences with family and friends, to raise awareness about the importance of the early years, especially for children with special needs. In the near future, I hope to be involved in research and development for children with learning and special needs, so that these children will be able to learn with other children, and grow up to be caring adults.
It takes more than passion and patience to be an outstanding Early Childhood Educator. While my journey has only just begun, strong support and understanding from the parents of our children and my colleagues will no doubt fuel my determination to excel in this industry.