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Y.W.C.A. Preschool Y.W.C.A. Preschool

In the heart of Orchard Road, the beautiful grounds of YWCA Fort Canning played host to the YWCA Charity Carnival on 12 November 2022. Three floors were transformed that Saturday into a fun carnival ground, where community groups and volunteers showcased their talents and homemade produce through food and games stalls as well as lively performances, to help raise funds for YWCA’s community programmes.

As this was the first time that the much-anticipated YWCA Charity Carnival returned after a few years of absence during the pandemic, we were extremely heartened to see a record turn-out of children, families and our YWCA volunteers and members. It was a great day of family bonding and fun whilst doing something good for our community.

The excitement and energy that filled the atmosphere were infectious! Kicking off the event was a series of performances by the 9 centres of our YWCA Preschool.

Our talented YWCA Preschool children braved the stage, singing and dancing to the likes of “Fight Song”, “听我说谢谢你”, and “Jesus Loves Me”, to name a few. For many of our children, this was their first performance on a grand stage, some of whom were only 3 or 4 years old! Yet, all of them displayed great stage presence, truly displaying the YWCA Preschool core values of Confidence. Parents beamed with pride and joy at what their young children had achieved, a testimony of the wonderful coaching and nurturing from the YWCA Preschool teachers. It was indeed a heartwarming moment for all of us at the YWCA, and we could not be prouder of our children.

YWCA Preschool children performing on stageYWCA Preschool children performing on stage

The K2 children at YWCA Preschool @ Marine Drive impressed the audience, too, with their magic show performance. They engaged the audience with mind-boggling tricks. Kudos to our YWCA Preschool children who certainly had more than a few tricks up their sleeves!

Magic show performance by YWCA Preschool @ Marine DriveMagic show performance by YWCA Preschool @ Marine Drive

Such was the vibe at the YWCA Charity Carnival, where many heartwarming moments were peppered throughout the day. Upon finishing her performance on stage, 6-year-old violinist, Kai Le, waited patiently with a smile as her 2-year-old sister toddled up the stage to present her with a bouquet of flowers. And that is why the YWCA Carnival will always be such a special event for us – a precious time for us to celebrate family love.

Our young violinist, Kai Le, performing on the grand stageOur young violinist, Kai Le, performing on the grand stage

Meanwhile, the foyer was getting busy with people patronising stalls set up by our staff and volunteers. One such contributor was Addict Bakers. In collaboration with Bakery Brera, an artisanal bakery well-known for its indulgent bakes, Addict Bakers brought a range of freshly baked croissants, cruffins and sourdough bread, which were a hit as they quickly flew off the shelves and became one of the top fund-raising stalls!  Thanks to our YWCA President Ms Janet Tan for blessing us with your beautiful bakes!

Addict Bakers-- a group of baking enthusiasts comprising of Ms Janet Tan, President of YWCA (right), Thrina Low (not pictured), owner of Bakery Brera, and a few friends.Addict Bakers– a group of baking enthusiasts comprising of Ms Janet Tan, President of YWCA (right), Thrina Low (not pictured), owner of Bakery Brera, and a few friends.

Meanwhile, the foyer was getting busy with people patronising stalls set up by our staff and volunteers. One such contributor was Addict Bakers. In collaboration with Bakery Brera, an artisanal bakery well-known for its indulgent bakes, Addict Bakers brought a range of freshly baked croissants, cruffins and sourdough bread, which were a hit as they quickly flew off the shelves and became one of the top fund-raising stalls!  Thanks to our YWCA President Ms Janet Tan for blessing us with your beautiful bakes!

Besides Addict Bakers, our carnival-goers also had the opportunity to indulge in decadent Nyonya pastries made by Mrs Maureen Nguee, a director on YWCA’s Board and Founder of Mrs Kueh. At Mrs Nguee’s stall, business was brisk, as her popular Kueh Salat was sold out by noon.

Another crowd favourite was our very own YWCA Café Lodge’s Laksa with Abalone. People who tried it for the first time relished the authentic “lemak” flavour and were pleasantly surprised to discover a mini abalone in each bowl of laksa! This dish is a mainstay on Café Lodge’s menu, so you can still enjoy our signature laksa at the café even after the carnival!

YWCA’s Fort Canning kitchen staff serving Laksa with AbaloneYWCA’s Fort Canning kitchen staff serving Laksa with Abalone

Over at the lobby, the Green Corner set up by Ms. Pauline Boey was a soothing sight to behold. When you walk into her booth, it feels like you have stepped into an enchanted garden surrounded by lush greenery and tiny succulents.

A first-time volunteer and contributor with the YWCA, Pauline conceived the idea of a green corner and rallied 10 friends to help in propagating beautiful plants just in time for the carnival.

However, her story does not end here. Pauline shared with us how this event also turned out to be a blessing for one of her biggest contributors, Aunty Irene.  Aunty Irene is 88 years old and used to be an active volunteer for her church. In recent years, she became isolated from social activities and was mainly homebound during the pandemic.

When invited to help with the Green Corner, Aunty Irene got on her feet and spent all day in her garden propagating plants. Her daughter described her as “coming alive again”. Aunty Irene has since returned to her active lifestyle, socialising and being busy with her newfound hobby. Thank you, Aunty Irene. You remind us of what the YWCA is about—that through our little contributions, we can be a blessing to others, and be blessed in return. You remind us also that every one of us have been blessed with gifts and talents and are empowered to contribute, whatever our age!

Pauline, at the Green CornerPauline, at the Green Corner

Another therapeutic retreat at the Carnival was the stall set up by our team from the YWCA Weaving Programme. At the Coasters Weaving Experience, participants received a crash course on weaving on a Saori loom and got to take home their very own unique piece of a handwoven coaster. The regular weaving workshop is usually 2.5 hours long, so a crash course like this was a rare and unique experience that our carnival-goers had the chance to experience! 

Participants received a crash course on weavingParticipants received a crash course on weaving

Back at Sophia Cooke Ballroom, Ronald and Friends were stirring up feelings of nostalgia as the audience grooved to familiar old tunes like “Crocodile Rock” by Elton John and “When You Say Nothing At All” by Ronan Keating. Although first-time volunteers with the YWCA, Ronald and his friends were no strangers to the stage, having performed at other charity events. We thank Ronald and Friends for hyping up the carnival with your great music.

Our live band, ‘Ronald and Friends’Our live band, ‘Ronald and Friends’

During the stage performance interval, a young chap confidently stepped on stage with a ukulele and serenaded the audience with popular hits like “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley. If he looked familiar, it was because he was a proud alumnus of our YWCA’s Workz-on-Wheels programme. We are so glad that Brayden (who joined our Workz-on-Wheels when he was just a mere boy at age 11) has now blossomed into a fine young 18-year-old man, and has returned to give back to the YWCA, volunteering not only for the carnival but for the Workz-on-Wheels programme as well. Thank you, Brayden, for truly exemplifying the YWCA motto of “By Love Serve One Another”.

Brayden, serenading the crowd with his euphonious voiceBrayden, serenading the crowd with his euphonious voice

At the back of the ballroom, the energy in the air was heightened as children squealed with delight, being treated to unlimited fun at our giant bouncy castles and art activities.

Children enjoying themselves at the bouncy castlesChildren enjoying themselves at the bouncy castles
Children participating in glue artChildren participating in glue art

On the 3rd floor, excitement filled the room as children and adults were treated to a range of carnival games. There was even a game console corner where the kids could indulge in popular multiplayer digital arcade games, whilst munching on popcorn and candy floss.

A group of children playing Mario Kart at the game console cornerA group of children playing Mario Kart at the game console corner

The biggest attraction of the Charity Carnival was the Sure-Win Raffle. For $5 per try, participants were guaranteed a prize with each spin. Thanks to our generous sponsors, prizes such as bicycles (sponsored by Menarini Asia Pacific), Kiztopia tickets (sponsored by Kiztopia), a Nespresso coffee machine, Swarovski jewellery, branded fashion items, children’s toys as well as home appliances were given out throughout the day. The grand prize was won by a mother-daughter duo who were rewarded with a 2D1N staycation at the suite room at YWCA Fort Canning worth $500 (sponsored by YWCA Fort Canning). Winning a prize, whilst donating for a good cause, what a great way to end the Charity Carnival.

A mother-daughter duo’s win: a 2D1N Staycation sponsored by YWCA Fort CanningA mother-daughter duo’s win: a 2D1N Staycation sponsored by YWCA Fort Canning

The YWCA Charity Carnival was also a magical day for our beneficiaries. Thanks to the kind donation of carnival tickets by the YWCA Board and Committees, we sponsored a group of beneficiaries to an all-expenses paid fun-filled day and many were excited they had a chance to enjoy the carnival!

Our beneficiaries were invited to attend the carnivalOur beneficiaries were invited to attend the carnival

“By Love, Serve One Another” – the people behind the scenes all had one thing in common—a heart to serve. The Carnival activated close to 40 volunteers and brought the YWCA staff from across our National Office, YWCA Fort Canning and YWCA Preschools together to ensure everything went as smoothly as possible, with everyone working with passion and solidarity for the single purpose of serving the YWCA communities.

The YWCA Charity Carnival could not have been such a resounding success without your support! We managed to raise more than $120,000 (thank you to the dollar-for-dollar matching by Tote Board), and we are so grateful for every one of you who came and made a difference. The monies raised from this Charity Carnival will surely go a long way in benefitting the communities we serve!

We hope all our beneficiaries and the attendees at the Carnival have been blessed, for this was also such a blessing for all of us here at the YWCA to have served.

By love, serve one another.

The camaraderie among YWCA staff in serving and bringing joy to our beneficiariesThe camaraderie among YWCA staff in serving and bringing joy to our beneficiaries

All net proceeds from the carnival will go towards supporting the following causes:

Meals-on-Wheels

Sustenance for Families

Empowering Mums

Empowering Young Women

English Club

Kids’ Weekday Care

Workz-on-Wheels

Bursary Scheme

Financial Assistance Scheme

 

A big Thank You to our sponsors:

toteboard logonunchimarine logotan chin tuan foundation logomanulifeLee Foundationywca fort canning logo

YWCA Preschool @ Bukit Gombak was the proud recipient of the ECDA Innovation Grant Project for their Happy Toilet Hygiene initiative in 2018. This prestigious grant, totalling $1.3k, provided the Centre with the necessary resources and materials to embark on this project.

Under the guidance of the Chinese Teacher Jasmine Ng, the Centre embarked on an ambitious project to educate preschool children on the importance of good toilet hygiene practices. The Happy Toilet Hygiene project achieved remarkable success, and the Centre was awarded the LOO Award under the Individual category in 2021.

Through the collaborative efforts of the dedicated staff and children at YWCA Preschool @ Bukit Gombak, the toilets were transformed into a welcoming and vibrant space, bringing to life a kaleidoscope of colourful artwork. Our experienced teachers trained the preschoolers in effective handwashing techniques, toilet etiquette, and hygiene habits, which proved instrumental in cultivating a culture of cleanliness and well-being.

Children took pride in their roles as toilet LOO Inspectors. They worked diligently to maintain the cleanliness of the toilets to create a positive learning environment for all.

The project profoundly impacted the students, who learned the importance of maintaining a clean environment and how it affects their overall health and well-being. It also fostered collaboration and creativity among the staff and children, creating a supportive and nurturing learning environment.

The Happy Toilets @ Preschool Programme recognised YWCA Preschool @Bukit Gombak’s commitment to promoting good hygiene practices and maintaining a clean environment with a Platinum award for the 3-year Certification and Collaboration in 2022. This achievement underscores the Centre’s commitment to promoting good hygiene practices and maintaining a clean environment.

YWCA Preschool @ Bukit Gombak is proud to have undertaken this important initiative, which has had a lasting impact on the lives of its students as we remain committed to promoting good hygiene practices and maintaining a pristine environment for students to learn and thrive.

The people who kept our toilets cleanFrom little hands to a dedicated cleaning team – teamwork makes the dream work! YWCA Preschool@ Bukit Gombak is grateful for our hardworking children and aunties who work behind the scenes to keep our toilets clean
The unsung heroes who work tirelessly to keep our little ones' spaces spotless and sparkling!The unsung heroes who work tirelessly to keep our little ones’ spaces spotless and sparkling!

 

“The inclusive culture creates good vibes in our preschool environment, and everyone enjoys coming to work.”
—Mdm Ho Mee Khuen, Centre Leader

 

In this month’s Staff Spotlight, we speak to Mdm Ho Mee Khuen, one of our longest-serving staff with YWCA Preschool. Mdm Ho has served YWCA for 40 years and is currently the Centre Leader at YWCA Preschool @ Pasir Ris. We ask her about her journey with YWCA and to share with us her thoughts about the workplace culture and team dynamics.


Q: Tell us about your journey with YWCA Preschool. How did it start, and what is one thing you like about working at YWCA?

A: I started my career as a teacher aide before going through courses, from foundation certificates to a diploma and a degree. I started working at Marine Drive and was transferred to Bedok, and then eventually to Pasir Ris to set up the centre with the Centre Leader. It was at Pasir Ris that I was promoted to Senior Teacher. In September 1999, I was promoted to Centre Leader.

I like the culture in my centre, especially the diversity, teamwork and respect we have for each other. We do not impose our religious beliefs on our colleagues. For instance, when our Muslim colleague is fasting, we empathise and help to conduct physical exercises on her behalf, and we try not to plan field trips during the fasting month. The inclusive culture creates good vibes in our preschool environment, and everyone enjoys coming to work.

 

Q: Of YWCA Preschool’s 4 core values– Compassion, Competence, Confidence, and Respect — which resonate with you the most?

A: Respect.

I believe that mutual respect creates a positive work environment and motivates staff to increase their productivity and collaboration. When the staff feel respected, it boosts their self-esteem, and they will show the same amount of respect for others.

 

Teaching a class of young childrenTeaching a class of young children

 

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges or obstacles you have faced in your role?

A: Manpower management, recruiting teachers and staff.

 

Q:  What is the most exciting thing you are working on right now?

A: Working towards SPARKS re-certification. SPARKS re-certification is essential for our centre as this will enhance our preschool’s image and motivate our staff. 

 

Q:  How do you empower teachers to be leaders and role models for the children?

A: Delegate duties according to the teacher’s capabilities and skills and send teachers for professional development courses. I’ll always remind my teachers to lead by example and show care, love, and concern to the children so they can learn these behaviours from them.

 

Working closely with familiesWorking closely with families

 

Q: How do you build a positive school culture?

A: Listen to the voices of the teachers and encourage and motivate them when needed. Giving staff a flexible schedule for work will enable them to manage their commitments effectively.

To motivate the staff, allow them to work at their own pace while meeting their deadlines and goals. Trust that your staff will do great and try not to micromanage them.

 

Q:  What would you do at YWCA Preschool to ensure team success?

A: I value my team, and I explain how we can work together to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal. It is helpful to set specific goals to ensure everyone understands their role. It is also helpful to break complicated tasks into smaller components and assign staff to complete them according to their strengths. I will schedule regular checks with my staff and discuss their progress and difficulties.

 

Q:  What vision do you have for YWCA Preschool and your students? 

A: My vision for YWCA Preschool is to grow our Inclusive Preschool Programme and empower our children to develop holistically by equipping them with life skills. On top of that, I would also like positively impact each child by making sure all children have the opportunity to learn and grow, reach their potential, and become moral people.

 

Q: In your opinion, what qualities should a good leader possess?

A: A leader should be supportive, encouraging, and able to guide and motivate a team. They should be a role model and delegate tasks to the most appropriate staff based on their strength and knowledge while sharing their expertise and knowledge with their team, giving employees autonomy and ownership over their work.

A good leader is a good communicator, so her team is clear on the goals and will know what exactly is expected from them.   She is also an active listener, open-minded and able to accept ideas and suggestions from her team. She is patient, empathetic and dependable and supports her team emotionally.

A leader is also a trusted person with whom her team can build a meaningful working relationship and share without hesitation.


 

We thank Mdm Ho for her dedication towards her work, her commitment to our organisation and her passion for nurturing young children. We hope that in the years to come, her work will continue to be a blessing towards her colleagues, as well as the children and parents at YWCA Preschool.

 

At YWCA of Singapore, we believe that people are our greatest asset. It is the driving force that keeps our organisation going. Whether you are an educator, a service staff, or a support executive, every employee contributes to fulfilling the YWCA mission of outreach and empowering the lives of others.

Join our YWCA family today! Email us at hr@ywca.org.sg to find out more or click here to apply.

 

“If they can’t learn the way we teach,
then we should teach the way they learn.”
– Lee Miao Pei, Learning Support Educator

 

Indeed, it takes a big heart to shape little minds. Here at YWCA Preschool, we are very proud of our dedicated team of transdisciplinary Learning Support Educators who provide an inclusive, supportive and conducive environment for children with learning difficulties.

Our Learning Support Educator, Ms. Lee Miao Pei shares more about her work and passion and how our Inclusive Preschool Programme helps every child reach their full potential and feel accepted in their communities, no matter how they break the mould.

 


 

Q: Tell us about your journey as a Learning Support Educator. How did it start and what made you choose to be a Learning Support Educator for children with developmental needs?

I started working as a therapist for young children with developmental needs after graduating from university. In that role, I witnessed many positive changes in young children with developmental needs after they attended intensive one-to-one interventions, and these sessions helped them to enter mainstream schools.

I was also given the chance to shadow some of them in mainstream schools and that was when I realised that without someone providing more attention and assistance to the children with developmental needs, it will be very challenging for both the teachers and child to manage within a mainstream setting.

Hence, I decided to try and be the ‘bridge’ between these children and their mainstream counterparts in the hopes that they can be integrated successfully!

 

Q: What do you enjoy most about your role?

It is very fulfilling to see children with developmental needs achieve as much as their counterparts!

Q: What are the biggest challenges or obstacles you have faced in your role?

While it is great that we have Learning Support Educators who can consistently provide weekly intervention and support, having more educators around these children and providing them with more attention within the mainstream classes would be very beneficial for them.

Oftentimes, we want to accept more children into our program but are unable to do so due to limited manpower resources. Our waitlist is long, but because of manpower shortage in this area, it is difficult for us to bring in more children who can benefit from our integration programmes.

Therefore, I would say that my biggest challenge or obstacle is the lack of manpower to help carry out strategies in mainstream classes for these children, as it is not easy to hire educators nowadays.

 

Q: How do you keep yourself going in the face of all these challenges?

Firstly, seeing the children improve bit by bit motivates me.

Secondly, having understanding and capable colleagues inspires me to do better and allows me to think of ways to help ease their load in class.

Lastly, I try to ‘switch off’ after work to give myself a break so that I can achieve better results and clarity when I return to work.

 

Q: How do you try to integrate children with developmental needs in the mainstream classes and how do you ensure that all the children are kept equally engaged during the lessons?

I use a lot of concrete and visual representations to signify how much the children have to do so that they also have an idea of what to expect. For example, I implement token systems when children do their work, or timers to count down the time. Sometimes, I sit in with them during their lessons so that I can provide repetitions or break down the information teachers are bringing across in class. Behaviour charts also help these children better understand what is required of them, especially during large group lessons.

As for the teachers, it can be challenging for them to focus on a few specific children when they have so many to care for during the lesson, so they would help the child to catch up during downtime periods.

It is also important to integrate the children socially and hence, I may ask their peers to initiate play with them and facilitate to help ‘promote’ their relationships. Teachers do that too as well.

 

sand therapy for children in inclusive preschool programmeUsing sand tray therapy to help the child practice his pre-writing strokes

 

Q: What are the misconceptions or misunderstandings about children with developmental needs that you have come across that you would like to address?

I think that there is a misconception that children with developmental needs avoid work, or in layman terms, are deemed as being lazy. Very often, these children behave in such a way as the lesson is not delivered in a way that is suitable for them. Many children are visual learners so if the teachers only educate without visualization, it will be difficult for these children to absorb any information.

As for children with higher needs, I think a misunderstanding is that they do not communicate and hence just throw tantrums. However, it is not that they do not want to communicate, it is that they really do not know how to and will need to be explicitly taught.

They may have also learnt that crying gets them attention. Therefore, we should teach them effective ways of communication that works for them. For example, we would use pictures to communicate if a child is unable to speak.

If you are unable to express yourself all the time to get your needs and wants satisfied, you would get upset too, right?

 

Q: How do you think we can help to make society more inclusive for children with developmental needs?

There should be more training for people who are interested in assisting in classes with children with developmental needs. With more assistant teachers in classes, teachers would be able to carry out their teaching plans and these assistant teachers can help put in place strategies that the Learning Support Educator has for the children with developmental needs. With more manpower within a single classroom, more time and attention can be given to the children with developmental needs.

As a society, we should also be more willing to accept them and not look at them through a different set of lenses. Educating the public to be more accepting is also essential in building an inclusive society.

 

Q: Do you have any advice for parents of children with developmental needs?

I have utmost respect for the parents of children with developmental needs. (Not to say I don’t for other parents!)

Being here in YWCA Preschool Singapore has allowed me to see the struggles that these parents face, even in basic needs like getting a school placement for their child. They may face multiple rejections, but they always get back up and try again. And if they get accepted, they will then have to work much harder to bridge the gaps between their child and their peers.

My advice for them is to always celebrate the little things that their child achieves and never give up! Also, where possible, sending them to extra therapy services may provide additional help in their progress!

 

Q: What are your biggest takeaways from your journey as a Learning Support Educator?

Learning Support Educators can definitely help close the gap between children with developmental needs and typically developing children. With the extra time and effort put into the children with developmental needs, we can help ease the teachers’ workload on specific children. The children also help themselves become better day by day.

 


 

Miao Pei has provided us wonderful insights into her day and career as a Learning Support Educator. It is certainly challenging, yet extremely rewarding to see her work directly impacting and positively influencing the children.

 

About YWCA Preschool’s Inclusive Preschool Programme

YWCA Preschool’s Inclusive Preschool Programme, formally known as Educational Support Unit (ESU), was launched in 2004 to help integrate children with mild learning difficulties into the mainstream education system in a supportive, conducive, and nurturing environment.

Our qualified transdisciplinary Learning Support Educators work closely with parents and medical professionals to develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for each child and provide 1-to-1 intervention sessions using natural and multisensory techniques to ensure learning needs are being addressed.

 

Speak to us to find out how we can help your child reach their full potential today! Email preschoolenquiry@ywca.org.sg or call 6223 1227.

 

Join Us

Do you share Miao Pei’s passion in empowering children? Join us at YWCA Preschool today! Click here to apply or email us at hr@ywca.org.sg to learn more.

Driving home the importance of sustainability is key to a better future. Over the years, YWCA Preschool has collaborated with multiple stakeholders such as NParks to educate the little ones on caring for the environment.

During this year’s June Holiday Activity, YWCA Preschool @ McNair focused on educating its students about caring for the environment, land and sea in a project called Creation C.A.R.E (Children’s Action to Rescue Earth). The activity included a collaboration with Sembcorp Energy.
The children gained awareness about Earth’s finite resources through videos, songs and a story about sea pollution – Somebody Swallowed Stanley. They learnt the steps we could each take to care for the plants, animals and places that we live, play and work in.

The children took part in a series of hands-on activities to cement their learning. They attended a zoom session on recycling organized by Sembcorp Energy. The talk was very informational as it educated the children on how to care for the environment through reducing waste and how to identify between recyclable and non-recyclable materials. The session was also very interactive as it allowed children to ask questions and apply what they learnt by completing the SembWaste Kids Activity Booklet provided by Sembcorp.

completing SembWaste activity booklet

In addition, they were given an opportunity to meet with the Sembcorp recyclable collectors and thank these unsung heroes directly for the work that they are doing for our community.

meeting with recyclable collectors
thanking recycling collectors

Following the talk, the children helped their teachers to build and paint three recycling bins in the form of Sesame Street characters; Cookie Monster, Elmo and Big Bird, to hold different recyclable materials for metals, plastic and paper objects. In a bid to strengthen the engagement of parents as a key partner in nurturing good environmental practices and values in young children, the teachers worked directly with them on ensuring that the recyclable materials that were brought from home were clean and dry. The parents and teachers also guided their children to deposit the items in the correct bins.

recycling bins
recycling item in the bin

The children subsequently used their creativity to transform some of the collected materials into adorable sea creatures, and this activity showed them that discarded materials can be given a new lease of life.

recycled sea creature artwork

Through the various discussions and hands-on activities, our students became more aware of how their actions could impact the environment and the importance of adopting a 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) lifestyle. This learning journey reinforced their responsibility toward caring for other living things.

 

Almost three decades ago, a zealous youth, fresh from completing her diploma stepped into YWCA Preschool @ McNair (then known as YWCA Child Development Centre) after being persuaded by a friend to help. What she didn’t know then, was how that glimpse of the Early Childhood industry would lead her to find her lifelong calling and passion in teaching children.  

“Children’s responses are so unpredictable and it’s what makes teaching fun and exciting.”
-Mrs Salleh

Today, Mrs Salleh, 46, is one of YWCA Preschool’s longest-serving teachers. She is a familiar face at the organisation and at our preschool at McNair and is well-known for her bubbly character and her unwavering dedication to teaching.  

 Indeed, Mrs Salleh’s passion for teaching stands out above all else. When asked what about the early childhood field attracts her, she said, “Children’s responses are so unpredictable and it’s what makes teaching fun and exciting. Every day I get different responses from my children and sometimes I learn from them. We are teachers, but it doesn’t mean we know everything. Children nowadays are so exposed, and we learn from one another.”  

In the early childhood teaching profession, every day is full of surprises and uncertainties because of the unpredictable nature of children’s behaviours. No one day is the same and Mrs Salleh often starts the day wondering how her day will unfold and whether her lessons will go well.  

 “I used to question the outcome of my lesson and set certain expectations for the children. However, I came to realise that children need time to find their own footing. Instead [of questioning the outcome], I would reflect on the way I responded to my children and ensure that the tone of voice I used with them was appropriate. If I want to go home happily, definitely the children want to go home happily. Having the right tone of voice helps in getting the attention of the children and getting better outcomes,” she shares.   

 There is never a dull moment in Mrs Salleh’s classroom. The vivacious educator actively engages her students through lively story-telling sessions, songs and drama. We watched her teach a lesson on numeracy using a popular storybook, ‘The Very Quiet Cricket’ by Eric Carle, and were surprised at how engaging a math lesson could be. There was hardly any sign of disorder as one would expect in a room full of energetic children as her K1 class listened attentively and took part in counting storybook insects and answering math questions. It was surely satisfying to see that the children were enjoying their lesson.  

Y.W.C.A. Preschool
Y.W.C.A. Preschool
Y.W.C.A. Preschool

Mrs Salleh believes in creating a positive learning environment for children. She defines success as the ability of children to complete tasks with confidence on their own. “It is rewarding to see a child gain confidence in completing tasks independently and showing improvement in different areas of learning. Every child is special in their own way, and as educators, we should not limit their learning capabilities, but instead, we should allow children to grow at their own pace, encourage them and let them learn to express themselves in their own way”, she added. 

“Even though I might sometimes come across as firm, I believe it is good to instill good moral values in the children. Good cooperation is key to ensuring a healthy classroom environment too.”

-Mrs Salleh

What happens then when a conflict between children arises in class? Mrs Salleh shares that she does not believe in becoming the mediator. “I believe that children can resolve disputes by themselves, and I will step in when I think it is necessary. They quarrel and I’ll get angry but later on, they turn around and become the best of friends again, playing happily together. Sometimes, it is better to let them decide what is the best solution to resolve a conflict,” said Mrs Salleh, jokingly.  

 Perhaps her reputation as a disciplinarian helps put things in order. She shares in amusement how her playful children will sometimes get up to some mischief or chit chat during nap time when she steps out of the classroom, but all will be peace and quiet as though nothing happened the moment they hear her coming back.  

 “Even though I might sometimes come across as firm, I believe it is good to instill good moral values in the children. Good cooperation is key to ensuring a healthy classroom environment too,” she explained.   

 Early childhood educators play a big role in helping parents support their children’s learning and well-being. Like all teachers at YWCA Preschool, Mrs Salleh provides frequent updates of children’s progress to parents and shares with them her observations of their child’s day in school whenever the opportunity arises.  

 It is not always easy, however. Mrs Salleh recalled a time when a K2 child poured his heart out to her and the entire class about his parents’ quarrels at home. The child was visibly troubled and shaken. She was deeply concerned for him and felt she could not standby and not do anything about it. Despite her best intentions, the parents did not take well to her feedback that they refrain from arguing in front of their child. “Sometimes, you tend to lose yourself in the process of helping a child. It is important to learn how to manage your emotions and to remain neutral when resolving the issue,” she added. 

 Mrs Salleh’s care for her children and dedication to teaching is truly an inspiration to us all. YWCA Preschool is indeed blessed to have her with us all these years.  

 So, what does she like about working with YWCA Preschool? “My colleagues at YWCA Preschool are open to ideas, and we constantly learn from one another. We work well together and mutually respect one another since we only have each other to depend on,” she laughed. “I am a fan of YWCA’s moral values because they helped shape me into who I am today.”   

To all budding educators out there, Mrs Salleh has some final tips to share:   

  • Tip 1: Manage your expectations about the role 

Ask yourself what your expectation and goal as an Early Childhood Educator is. Put yourself in the shoes of a child and do not force your ideas on the children. Instead, work and learn alongside them. Teaching becomes fun and enjoyable when you start rediscovering things through their eyes. It is helpful to re-evaluate your expectations for the children and design effective strategies to bring out the best in every child. 

  • Tip 2: Shower children with encouragement 

Children gain confidence in learning when teachers constantly shower them with encouragement. A teacher who understands the child’s needs and makes a conscious effort to encourage them will make their learning experience more wholesome.   

  • Tip 3: Model ideal behaviours and maintain good eye contact with the children 

Children learn best from example, and it is essential that a teacher behaves in a way she expects children to behave. Maintaining good eye contact makes communication more effective.  

YWCA Preschool is always on the lookout for passionate educators like Mrs Salleh, who are willing to make a difference in the lives of our future generations. Start a career with us today! Drop your resume off at hr@ywca.org.sg or check out ywca.org.sg/careers/ for more details.
 

If you are a parent and would like to find out more about our enrolment process, contact us at preschoolenquiry@ywca.org.sg! Also, follow us on Facebook & Instagram for some insightful tips and behind-the-scenes work at our preschools. 

 

YWCA Preschool @ Pasir Ris has been working with All Saints Home for seven years, bringing cheer and love to the residents during the Christmas season.

Traditionally, we will bring our children to the home around Christmas time to visit the elderly and interact with them. However, in 2022, we were unable to do so due to COVID-19  pandemic restrictions.

The pandemic has exacerbated the issue of social isolation, especially among the elderly living in homes. Not wanting the elderly to feel left out in this festive season, we decided to spearhead a dry ration donation drive.

We wrote to parents seeking for dry rations to contribute to All Saint Home (Tampines).  Many parents generously chipped in, offering their time and resources. When all the donations were collected, the K2 children helped to sort and pack the items into YWCA plastic bags.  

On 14 December 2021, Mdm Ho and Teacher Adelinn delivered the donated items to All Saints Home with the help of two parents from the Parent Support Group. We brought their two children from K1 and K2 with us.  

This donation drive not only blessed the elderly but also served as a good bonding time between parents, children and teachers. Additionally, it was a great opportunity for us to teach the children to love, respect, and be kind towards the elderly.

children packing rations
children posing in front of delivery cars

We are proud to share that our Chinese Teacher, Ms Jasmine Ng Siew Kuan from YWCA Preschool @ Bukit Gombak has been awarded with the LOO Awards 2021 (Individual Category)!

The (Let’s Observe Ourselves) LOO Awards recognises the efforts of individuals who have contributed to help Singapore achieve a world recognised standard of restroom cleanliness.

YWCA Preschool Singapore has been participating in the Happy Toilets @ Preschool Projects, collaboratively organised by the Restroom Association (Singapore) and APP Sinarmas since 2018.

As part of this project led by Ms Ng, children were taught on toilet hygiene and given the opportunity to personalise the restrooms with Frozen and Superhero themed decorations to remind them to keep the toilets and themselves clean.

The children also enjoyed participating in a toilet spring cleaning activity and had a Cleaner Aunty’s Appreciation Day to appreciate the hardship of the aunties washing the toilets. This activity also imparted a sense of personal responsibility to our children to maintain the toilet’s cleanliness and cultivate good personal hygiene practices.

Congratulations once again to Ms Ng and her team for this remarkable achievement!

The teachers at YWCA Preschool @ Bedok were very excited about the birth of a baby panda in River Safari! The children had visited Jia Jia and Kia Kia three years back. That week, the Chinese teachers planned and conducted a News Talk activity on this topic. Children recapped their experiences and recalled the diet and habitat of the pandas.

The teachers then engaged the children in making a “baby shower gift” for the pandas. N2 children helped to make “ang ku kueh” out of playdough while K2 children drew and wrote well-wishes cards in Chinese. The younger children painted the corrugated cardboard and made them into “bamboos”.

A representative from River Safari came to pick up the baby shower gift from the centre which will be displayed at the Giant Panda Forest. Do visit the panda family if you are planning a family trip! We would like to wish Jia Jia, Kia Kia and baby abundances of happiness and good health!

Under the guidance of teachers at YWCA Preschool @ Ang Mo Kio, our children participated in the Abbott GROW Show You Can competition,  organised by KidsSTOP™Science Centre. The competition is an annual event for young children to showcase their talents through creative performances.

Selected K1 children acted in a drama about two adventurers who ventured into the forest to explore and came to discover the benefits of nature. The creativity of the plot and excellent execution of the skit led the team into the grand finals, achieving a commendable third prize. The competition provided the platform for our young children to build their confidence and work in a team.