Sisters, Confidantes and each other’s Cheer Leader

As we prepare to welcome the 7th batch of preschool teachers on board the Professional Development Programme for Teachers or PDP(T) in 2022, we hear from a pair of twin sisters on their PDP experience thus far.

How rare it is to see twin sisters pursuing the same career out of the same passion! Meet Siti Nurnabilah Binte Salleh from PPIS Child Development Centre @ Sembawang Vista and Siti Nurnabihah Binte Salleh from My First Skool @ 235 Bukit Panjang Ring Road, both of whom have been in the Early Childhood (EC) sector as preschool teachers for 7 years.

Despite their similar appearances, the pair of sisters have distinctly different personalities. One commonality they share is the interest and passion of working with young children, which inspired them to deepen their skills to become better teachers. They both were appointed onto the ECDA Professional Development Programme for Teachers, or PDP(T) in 2019, which is a 3-year structured programme to nurture preschool educators with potential to take on larger job roles.

Nabilah Nabihah and Mother
From left to right: Nabihah, Nabilah with their mother Mdm Rubiah

Siti Nurnabilah, affectionately known as Nabilah by most, and older of the twins, recounted her experience taking care of her nephew and how it led her to realise the joy of working with young children. With a few nudges from her close friend, she visited the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and was offered part time employment by her then-employer. From there, she did not look back and the rest was history.

Siti Nurnabihah, better known as Nur in her centre and Nabihah at home, was on the other hand inspired by her older sister’s embarkment onto her EC journey. She shyly admitted that she was often keen to be part of Nabilah’s every life experience, and seeing her sister boldly take the first step in joining this career prompted her to do the same, and to pursue her own dream of working with young children as well.

Both fondly recalling and recounting their childhood memories, Nabilah and Nabihah shared about the many nights when both of them would huddle together on the floors of their kitchen, chit-chatting and enjoying the simple meals that they would prepare together, while waiting for their mother to return from work late at night. When the sisters shared that their mother, Mdm Rubiah’s aspiration in her younger days was also to become an early childhood educator, it was evident that love for young children ran deep in their family.

Childhood Photograph
Childhood photograph of Nabilah and Nabihah (pictured left and right)

Although both sisters had initially obtained Diplomas in other fields, both eventually decided to pursue and complete their Diploma in Early Childhood in 2014 and started their new career in the EC sector.

With each other as their pillar of support and cheer leader in life, throughout their career and now on the PDP(T) journey, both sisters have completed their first year’s compulsory module and went on to complete the same Mother Tongue language modular courses under SUSS in their second year. Having a strong desire to instil and develop young children’s love for their Mother Tongue, Nabilah and Nabihah were happy to have found the opportunity to deepen and hone the specialised skills and competencies in understanding and adapting the use of their Mother Tongue in their classrooms through the PDP(T) modular courses.

With only the project milestone left to be completed, Nabilah and Nabihah have already embarked on their respective projects ahead of their final year. While Nabilah is in the midst of completing an ECDA Innovation Guidance project (IGP) on “Everyday Science”, Nabihah has embarked on an ECDA Practitioner Inquiry project (PI) on “Parent Collaboration”.

Nabilah Noridah
Nabihah Lynn

Recent photograph of Ms Noridah Omar
(pictured left) and Nabilah (pictured right)

Recent photograph of Ms Lynn Xu
(pictured right)and Nabihah (pictured left)

Having witnessed the progress of Nabilah on PDP(T), Ms Noridah Omar, Centre Principal of PPIS Child Development Centre- Sembawang Vista and nominator of Nabilah shared “Nabilah displays good leadership skills when working with others and is now able to anticipate the needs of our centre. When she first joined us, she was guided to prepare for SPARK assessment. Today, she is the one guiding others in this preparation process. She will definitely be able to lead our teachers in attaining our centre’s vision, mission and goals!”.

She was full of pride for Nabilah. “With her enthusiasm and dedication put into her work, Nabilah will be able to go far in her EC career, and will be able to further develop her leadership skills with more guidance!”. She added, “All eligible teachers should be given the opportunity to be part of PDP(T)! Their transformation towards becoming better-skilled educators will definitely benefit their centres and more importantly, our children!”

Likewise, Ms Lynn Xu, Executive Principal of My First Skool @ 235 Bukit Panjang Ring Road sings praises of Nabihah’s progress. She was amazed at how much Nabihah progressed in the last 2 years. “While on the PDP(T), Nabihah was able to select courses that were relevant and related to her own learning needs, which led to a boost in her confidence in areas she never believed in herself before. I see a more confident Nabihah today, who is able to extend and apply her learning to other levels and with her colleagues! Her resilience really shines through!”.

Nabilah IGP
Nabihah PI

Nabilah (pictured right) in discussion
with her colleague on their IGP project

Nabilah conducting virtual workshops
with parents for her PI project

Through their experience, Nabilah and Nabihah hope to inspire other educators like themselves to pursue continuous professional development. In Nabilah’s words, “Regardless of the struggles faced during our beginning years as educators, never forget our initial and inner passion!”. Nabihah also hopes to inspire her fellow educators and reminds them that “both mental and physical health are vital in helping us give our best to children”, and that “every day is a learning day for all of us!”.

Nomination for PDP(T) is held once a year and nominations are now open until 22 October 2021. Nominate your teacher or be nominated today!

*All photographs used in this article were taken pre-COVID-19 and before safety measurements were put in place

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