Staying Relevant: The Pursuit of Continuous Professional Development

Joanne with young child 

Even with two decades of experience in the Early Childhood (EC) Sector, Ms Joanne Lee remains humble in honing her craft of teaching to benefit the toddlers under her care.

Joanne’s journey as an educarer began after her stint as a relief teacher at a private organization in 2001. She discovered her love and passion for nurturing the young ones and became fully devoted to being an EC professional. “This is my first and only job till date, and I have never regretted the decision of joining this sector 20 years ago.”

Joanne with yound child 
Ms Joanne Lee (right), with Centre Principal, Ms Tan Chu Jun

Joanne had worked with the Little Skool-House at Sixth Avenue for eight years before she was nominated for the Professional Development Programme for Educarers aka PDP(E) in 2018. In her third year on PDP(E), she was re-deployed to the branch at Republic Polytechnic. With support from her current Centre Principal, Ms Tan Chu Jun, Joanne continues to ensure quality teaching practices and meaningful engagement with the young ones under her care.

Having graduated from PDP(E) recently in Jan 2022, Joanne was grateful to be part of this programme which provided the platform to sharpen her teaching practices. “It was a fulfilling three years where I had many opportunities to attend a wide variety of workshops and courses to harness new skills and competencies, as well as to deepen and hone existing ones.” She was also deeply inspired by educarers from other organizations who shared their innovative pedagogical ideas through peer sharing sessions during PDP.

Joanne Lee teaching small group of children and balloon toss
Joanne engaging her children in outdoor play

More specifically, she picked up new classroom management techniques such as using music to transit seamlessly between activities, and new strategies to engage children outdoors more purposefully. As a strong advocate of constructive play, Joanne also proactively curates interactive learning spaces to help develop children’s cognitive and conceptual learning.

Joanne was challenged to go out of her comfort zone when she took on the Innovation Guidance Project (IGP). In collaboration with Gardens by the Bay, the IGP aimed to enhance children’s knowledge and appreciation of flora using their five senses. Joanne shared that her centre’s project was selected for a showcase at the 2019 Early Childhood Conference. “Through this experience, I was able to improve my public speaking and presentation skills.”

Joanne teaching and sharing new practices with fellow educator
Joanne sharing new teaching practices with a fellow educarer

Ms Tan shared that the benefits of supporting Joanne on PDP(E) extended far beyond her personal growth. “The programme encouraged Joanne to constantly reflect on current practices and share her best ones with her peers, which raised the quality of our centre as a whole.” Her impactful contribution as an exceptional educarer was recognised when she was shortlisted as a finalist for the Outstanding Early Childhood Educarer Award in 2021 by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA).

With new insights gained, Joanne is now leading the curriculum discussions for the Early Years team, while mentoring new educarers coming onboard. “Seeing the new educarers implement the skills which Joanne shared, is definitely a source of motivation for her as well.”, Ms Tan added.

Notwithstanding her 20 years in service, Joanne encourages others to always have an open mindset - to be willing to change and refine their teaching methods. “Staying relevant and incorporating new teaching methods are so important as an EC educator, and PDP(E) spurred me on to continuously deepen and expand my skillset as an educarer”.

Joanne teaching in small group of children
Joanne sharing new teaching practices with a fellow educarer


Joanne believes that every child is unique, and educarers must be present and attuned to their needs to form positive relationships before the learning can happen. “Toddlers are highly dependent on our professional knowledge, experience and observational skills to determine what they need, as compared to the older children.”


Moving forward, Joanne strives to continue leading her team in embarking on new initiatives to create a nurturing, safe and conducive learning environment for the little ones. “Don’t stop learning and constantly seek out new knowledge and creative ways for the benefit of our children’s holistic development!”

Inspired by Joanne’s professional development journey? Discuss with your nominators on how you can be part of the PDP(E) today!  Nomination for PDP(E) 2022 is open now till 16 March 2022.

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