For My First Skool at Toa Payoh Lorong 4, cultivating a culture of professional development has helped the preschool develop and progress together.
Inside My First Skool at Toa Payoh Lorong 4, Executive Principal Ms Jesie Lee enthusiastically gathered all four of her educators from the various bays - Ms Sharifah Ruhiyah, participant of PDP(Teachers) 2016, Mr Choo Kian Meng and Ms Cindy Tan, participants of PDP (Teachers) 2017 and Ms Anthony Puspamary, participant of PDP(Educarers) 2017. Amidst the friendly chatter among them, it was evident that a strong relationship existed between these educators and Jesie.
From left: Ms Cindy Tan, Ms Sharifah Ruhiyah, Ms Jesie Lee, Ms Anthony Puspamary, Mr Choo Kian Meng
When asked about her motivation for nominating a staff for every batch since the implementation of the Professional Development Programme in 2016, Ms Jesie shared without hesitation, that PDP was truly a win-win situation for both organisation and educator. With each of her four staff having at least three years of EC experience, Ms Jesie felt that PDP was timely in preparing them for larger job roles and deepening their individual capabilities. She added that all four were extremely capable and had high potential. All they needed was a more structured programme to hone their skills, and this was where PDP came in. She cited an example of her Educarer, Ms Puspamary, who has now taken on the role of guiding younger assistant educarers in their daily roles, after joining PDP(E).
A tangible change brought about by PDP(T) can also be seen as three teachers have now assumed larger job roles. Ms Sharifah is now a deputy centre leader, while Mr Choo and Ms Tan are English and Chinese Lead Teachers respectively. In fact, Mr Choo is also taking courses to prepare him to take on a deputy centre leader role next year.
“Unlike typical stereotypes of male preschool educators, I don’t feel out of place in a preschool centre. With my engineering background, I’m able to apply my knowledge in IT to lighten administrative load in the centre, and more importantly, support my colleagues to do better things for the children.”
Mr Choo Kian Meng, Participant of PDP(T) 2017
A strong sense of the “PDP community” could also be felt amongst these educators with their easy camaraderie and enthusiastic sharing of what they had discussed at their monthly meetings. They are even exploring a joint centre-initiated project as part of their PDP programme milestone. The secret ingredient for their spirit de corps? The high level of support and encouragement from their centre leader who took great effort in providing detailed explanation of the programme, and repeatedly encouraged and reassured them that they were suitable and capable of managing PDP. Without her, they would not have been part of the programme. Ms Jesie firmly believes in the PDP and has debunked the myth that sending educators on professional development will adversely affect her manpower plans. She has four educators on the PDP and with the flexibility of PDP, she is confident that the manpower needs can be managed with careful planning.
“The centre will eventually reap the benefits of raised capabilities, confidence and knowledge of these educators on the PDP.”
Ms Sharifah cheerfully added that PDP was not just a programme, but an invaluable opportunity to expand their social circle and network with educators from other centres.
“We even have our own personal WhatsApp chat group now!” she laughs.
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