Ms Nurshahilah Bibi Husin Shah is an ECDA Scholarship recipient currently pursuing her Masters of Education (Early Childhood) at the National Institute of Education. Presently, she is a teacher at Chatsworth Kindergarten Bedok.
During my short stint as a mentor to youths-at-risk in my undergraduate days, I found it a challenge to involve the youths in the mentorship programme, garner their interest to participate in activities and motivate them to stay in school. My experience with these youths was a turning point for me. It made me realise that early intervention is very important. I decided then to pursue a career in early childhood even though I graduated with a Bachelor in Business.
Despite having to start from scratch, I was determined to pursue my passion. I joined the training programme by Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and completed my Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Professional Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education at SEED Institute. The course required me to attend school for three days and work for two days in a week, over a period of one year. However, this arrangement proved to be useful as I could apply what I had learnt directly at my workplace.
The children under my care grew with good foundational skills, positive values and a love for learning. Even the parents whom I used to have difficulty managing have become firm partners. For example, I had some parents who tend to focus on their children's academic performance. I had to convince them of the importance of play in the holistic development of their children through daily communication, class blogs, parent-teacher conferences and regular email updates. It gives me great satisfaction seeing the strong home-school partnership we have with the parents now.
Motivated by the positive outcomes, I went on to take up Masters in Early Childhood which allowed me to continue to pursue my love for life-long learning. The support given by the ECDA scholarship gave me the peace of mind to focus on my Masters programme. I could further my professional knowledge in areas such as human development, curriculum design and development, as well as research investigations. Most importantly, the course allowed me to hone my skills as a teacher and researcher. After graduation, I aspire to play a larger role in mentoring junior teachers and sharing my knowledge, experience and expertise with fellow early childhood educators. I also hope that my deep interest in the field of practitioner inquiry research will encourage them to value life-long learning and be reflective in their practices.
For more information on ECDA Scholarships and Training Awards, click here.