A Leader, A Part of the Early Childhood Fraternity

Ms Siti Annisha Bte Aripin, Year 2 participant on the Professional Development Programme for Leaders or PDP(L) has gained rich learning from fellow like-minded leaders on the programme.

As a centre leader of Iyad Perdaus Child Development, Ms Siti Annisha Bte Aripin has always felt drawn to fellow Early Childhood (EC) leaders in the sector. Annisha identifies herself as part of the larger EC fraternity that is brimming with rich experience, knowledge and endless possibilities. Two years ago, she joined ECDA’s PDP(L) and has since been benefitting from peer learning opportunities to hone her competencies further. She especially enjoyed the overseas study trip in her 2nd year on the programme, as it helped her gain professional exposure and expanded her network.

Ms Siti Annisha Bte Aripin, Iyad Perdaus Child Development

Annisha embarked on a 7-day study trip to Taiwan in July 2019, together with 19 other EC leaders from the inaugural batch of PDP(L), as part of their leadership development. It was an enriching trip well packed with diverse learning opportunities. The leaders visited various centres and an academic institute, attended the 3-day Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association (PECERA) conference, which included talks and workshops.

Being on her first leadership study trip, Annisha was encouraged by fellow leaders’ zest in learning and their generous sharing throughout the trip. Coupled with guidance from an experienced EC facilitator, Dr Chong Har Tsin from the Association for Early Childhood Educators (Singapore) or AECES, group discussions during the trip always turned out fruitful and thought provoking. She recounted, “I gained the most valuable insights when exchanging thoughts and generating ideas with others. It was highly inspiring how much learning, sharing and reflecting was going on!”

Annisha with fellow leaders on their PDP(L) study trip to Taiwan in July 2019

During the trip, leaders from different organisations came together to discuss and work on their trip report. This helped them build rapport with each other, while the dynamic perspectives of each leader provided alternative lenses to common issues faced at their centres. Annisha was grateful for the shared spirit of openness within the group, as they were able to spontaneously share about their own issues and observations. This supported her self-discovery and development during the trip.

Annisha had many learning takeaways from the trip, of which her leadership philosophy stood out the most. She is now more aware of her influence as a leader in building a learning culture that encourages educators to take risks. She hopes to see her educators pro-actively explore and experiment with ideas to cater to the needs of the children. In order to achieve this, she feels strongly that, “as leaders, change should start from within, before we can effect change in others”.

Another programme milestone of the PDP(L) is the four compulsory modules in Year 1. Other than expanding her leadership network, Annisha gained practical strategies from the classes, such as effective parent engagement strategies that she brought back to share with her educators. In turn, her educators were able to conduct engagement activities intentionally to get parents more involved in their children’s learning.

Annisha in the midst of a lesson observation to support her teacher’s development

Annisha has nominated five teachers and educarers for the PDP(Teachers) and PDP(Educarers) over the past years. This is because she is a supporter of continuing professional development, believing that her educators could benefit from interacting with peers beyond the centre. Although six of them were on the PDP concurrently, there were no concerns over manpower deployment. It was manageable balancing work duties and PDP commitments with some advance planning and flexibility from the programme.

Annisha with 3 of the educators whom she had nominated for PDP(T) and PDP(E)

The strong support from the nominating organisation is critical to every participant’s PDP journey. Annisha’s nominator, Ms Zaiton Bte Mohd Ali, Head of IYAD, shared about their organisation’s belief in developing the professional capability of their educators. “Each educator on the PDP is given careful guidance to support them in developing to their best potential,” she said. During the 3-tier leadership sit-down sessions, organisation heads and supervisors discussed with educators on their areas of professional development (PD) needs, preference of learning and suitable PD choices to consider.

Annisha with her PDP(L) nominator, Ms Zaiton Bte Mohd Ali (left)

Annisha has been with IYAD since her internship days. “I witnessed her growth in capability and confidence. Her commitment and initiative to apply her learning was why she was identified for our talent management scheme, and nominated for the PDP(L),” Zaiton shared. Annisha is currently expanding her capacity in the area of early intervention, and she recently started coaching educators to provide learning support to children with developmental needs. Being on PDP(L) has built her confidence and network, and she urges “leaders seeking personal and professional growth, to embark on this rewarding PDP(L) journey to learn from and with the early childhood fraternity”.

Nomination for PDP(L) is held once a year and nomination is now open until 15 Nov 2019. For more information, visit our PDP(L) website.

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