ECDA Training Award Recipient - Iffah Irdina Binte Sahari


Ms Iffah Irdina Binte Sahari is a double Training Awards Recipient who graduated from the Higher NITEC in Early Childhood Education Programme at ITE College Central and is currently pursuing her Diploma in Early Childhood at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure." - Former United States Secretary of State, Colin Powell.


Indeed, the secrets to success as an Early Childhood educator are no different. Children have always been my passion and it has always been my dream to engage them as an Early Childhood educator. As Friedrich Froebel, father of modern kindergarten aptly puts it, children are just like the different flowers in a garden, and each one is a unique individual. An Early Childhood educator is like a patient gardener, carefully tending to the flowers in his garden, hoping that one day, his hard work and efforts would pay off and his garden flowers would flourish beautifully.

My journey towards becoming an Early Childhood educator was fraught with obstacles. In 2011, I graduated from the Express stream in Marsiling Secondary School with 6 'O' level credits. My results could not secure me a place in the programmes of my choice, which were Early Childhood Education at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Early Childhood studies at Temasek Polytechnic. However, I was accepted into the computer engineering course at Nanyang Polytechnic in 2012. I was disheartened but decided to carry on with the engineering course at Nanyang Polytechnic.

After the second semester, I lost interest in computer engineering as I was still determined to fulfill my dream as an Early Childhood educator. Therefore, I applied for the Early Childhood programmes again at the local Polytechnics. Again, my application was rejected as the competition was stiff. Refusing to give up, I decided to apply for the Higher NITEC in the Early Childhood at ITE College Central.

Against the advice of my family members, I persisted in my belief that taking up the Early Childhood programme at ITE was the right choice. It would become a stepping stone for me to further my studies in early childhood programmes. At ITE College Central, I studied hard and was on the Director's List every semester and graduated with a GPA of 4.0. I also received the Service Star Award, Outstanding Student Award, Certificate of Merit and the Gold Medal Award.

At the same time, I was actively involved in CCAs, joining the Bridge Leaders as well as ITE's 'That A cappella Group' where my team emerged as the champion for the National A cappella Championships under the College Category in July 2013. Juggling my studies and CCAs was tough, but I managed them well. My family was facing some financial issues at that time and I had to commute from Johor Bahru to Singapore every day for school. To avoid the traffic jams at the border checkpoint, I woke up at 4am daily but I was always punctual for school and have never exceeded the deadlines for my assignments.

Upon graduation, I was excited by the opportunity to apply again for the Early Childhood Programme at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. But my application was turned down as I was considered a polytechnic student who failed to complete the 3-year engineering course. My parents wrote in to Ngee Ann Polytechnic to appeal for my admission. The happiest day of my life came when I finally received a call from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, offering me a place in the full-time diploma programme in Early Childhood.


The ECDA ITE Training Award really meant a lot to me as it has allowed me to focus my efforts on acing my studies. I believe it will definitely benefit other ITE students as well. I have also taken up the ECDA Polytechnic Training Award for my 3-year course at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. As a beneficiary of two training awards, I am very thankful and motivated to serve in the early childhood sector, striving towards my ultimate goal of becoming a Centre leader.

I have benefited from ECDA's support and I believe in paying it forward. Using my knowledge gained from the Arts and Drama courses, I weave these elements into my lesson plans to enhance my students' learning experiences. I also apply my creativity to design interesting learning corners for them. It is my lifelong mission to provide children with memorable learning experiences and an unforgettable early childhood. I am glad that my determination has paid off and I am on the way to be an early childhood educator!