From NTUC This Week 12 February 2017. Story and Photo by Shukry Rashid.
With the Early Childhood Education (ECE) sector poised for growth in the future economy, we take a look at how SEED Institute is preparing today’s preschool educators like Juhanis Juwasa for the job.
When 26-year-old Juhanis Juwasa graduated with a Diploma in Food Science and Nutrition in 2011, she never thought she would end up being an English Teacher for My First Skool. After all, these two sectors are worlds apart.
After her graduation in 2011, she had an opportunity to be a relief childcare teacher in a preschool. She took on that job knowing that she loved children, but that stint also made her realise her passion for early childhood education and that she had more to explore in the industry.
Juhanis pursed her passion further by becoming an assistant teacher with the same preschool two months later. Seven months down the road, in November 2012, she applied to be a preschool teacher with NTUC First Campus through the Trainee Teacher Scheme.
For 15 months, she had two days of on-the-job training and three days of studying at SEED Institute, an NTUC training institute, every week. She eventually graduated with a Professional Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education (Childcare) in May 2014 and was appointed an English Teacher in My First Skool at Tampines Avenue 4.
Juhanis said the things she learnt at SEED Institute prepared her to be a better teacher.
She explained: “Other preschool teachers would come in and share their real-life experience with us, like how to work and communicate with parents and planning field trips for children. These things cannot be taught in the classroom, but SEED Institute made sure that I am being prepared for all the challenges ahead.”
In 2016, she was nominated by her principal to make up a four-month Advanced Certification in Early Years — also at SEED Institute. The course provided her with more in-depth knowledge on taking care for toddlers up to 3 years old.
IMPORTANCE OF UPGRADING
For Juhanis, learning and upgrading are important and a part of her life.
She said: “Learning never stops as there is always something new to learn. Things change, so we need to upgrade ourselves to keep up with the knowledge and current trends.”
“Now we have special needs children. So we have to know what is needed in order to handle these children.”
She plans to pursue the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education in Psychology at UniSIM, which is in collaboration with SEED Institute. She is currently in the midst of her application for the July 2017 intake.
Her principal approved of this upgrading step and encouraged her for being proactive in her own upskilling.
She hopes that this degree will enable her to understand children better, especially their behaviours, emotions and the way they think.
“I’m still learning to understand their needs. With this degree, hopefully I can support their learning and development better,” she added.