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Baby Steps to Big Strides

Fathu’s journey into the world of early childhood education began with a fortuitous introduction by a family member. Her initial foray has evolved into a purposeful and heartfelt career dedicated to nurturing young minds, for over nine years. Starting at Star Learners as an Assistant Teacher, she has grown into the role of an Infant Educator, embodying the transformative impact of commitment and continuous learning.

Fuelling both her personal and professional growth are moments that resonate deeply – from witnessing her own daughter’s smooth transition into preschool, to the heart-warming experiences shared with the children under her care and guidance. These moments have become the driving force behind Fathu’s passion, transcending the conventional perception of her role as a mere ‘babysitter’. Dive into her story as she reflects on her journey and dispels misconceptions surrounding her invaluable contribution to early childhood education.

EL Infant Educator
@ Yung Ho
5 Years with Star Learners

What led you to pursue a career in the ECCE industry, particularly in caring for and educating infants/ toddlers?

I was first introduced to the industry by my cousin, who was an assistant teacher at a preschool. That very same preschool provided me with the opportunity to study and work, marking the beginning of my ECCE journey.

Some of my own experiences as a parent have also significantly influenced my decision to pursue a career in early childhood. Witnessing my daughter’s smooth transition on her first day of preschool was a pivotal moment for me. Despite my initial nervousness, she not only adapted well but also bid me a cheerful goodbye. That experience really instilled in me the importance of creating a nurturing environment outside of home for all the young children under our care. Another memorable incident involved a little girl who shared a striking resemblance to my daughter. On my first day of work, as I navigated through a mix of emotions and concerns about my daughter being away from me, this young girl brightened my day with her smiles and affectionate hugs. Her positive interactions served as a constant reminder of the profound impact that early childhood educators can have on a child’s well-being and development, motivating me to continue working in this industry.

What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions people have of infant educators?

People sometimes see us as just babysitters, but being an infant educator is more than that. We are trained professionals shaping the foundation for a child’s lifelong learning journey. Some people also think that babies are not ready to learn, but as infant educators, we believe in stimulating their development early on, nurturing their cognitive and emotional growth from the get-go.

What has been your proudest moment or most rewarding experience while working at Star Learners, and how has it impacted you personally or professionally?

Undoubtedly, my proudest moment was the honour of receiving my five-year long service award on stage! It was my first experience receiving such an award, and it fuelled a sense of achievement in my journey in early childhood education. Personally, it has boosted my confidence, and on the professional front, it is a badge of honour, showing my dedication and how I am in it for the long haul.

How do you approach building connections with infants and toddlers? As most of them are still non-verbal, how do you get that sense of validation after putting in all that effort?

Connecting with infants/ toddlers who cannot speak yet is all about picking up on their cues, like their big smiles, cute gestures and comforting touches. It is like having a secret language with them, understanding what they need by tuning in to their unique expressions.

I feel validated when a child is comfortable with me and trusts me. When they are happy and secure in my care, it reaffirms my efforts in making our space warm and loving. Getting feedback from parents is also like an extra boost of validation. When they share how their child is doing better or hitting new milestones, it is an acknowledgement of our collective efforts in their early years.

Reflecting on your own journey at Star Learners, are there any significant mentors or role models who have influenced your approach to teaching?

StarLearners-Blog_small_Polaroid-Fathu

There are two standout individuals who have been significant role models to me: Teacher Jamie and Ms Lois, my Centre Principal.

Teacher Jamie, my initial source of inspiration at Star Learners @ Yung Ho, has made a lasting impact with her kindness towards children and her engaging teaching style. Watching her passionate and caring approach has been a source of motivation for me. Her dedication reflects not just professionalism but a genuine warmth that has inspired me greatly.

Ms Lois has left a strong impression with her distinctive style of handling staff matters. What sets her apart is her ability to do more than just give advice; she genuinely listens to our concerns, which is a quality I find often lacking in leaders. Her example has inspired me to empathise with people I often interact with, in particular our children and their families.

What is a memorable moment from your teaching career that highlights the impact of your caring for and teaching young infants/ toddlers?

One particularly memorable moment was when I got to share the joy of a child taking his first steps at school. I caught the moment on video and when I showed it to his parents, their excitement and happiness were palpable. Their teary-eyed joy and heartfelt acknowledgement of missing the milestone in person made it a special and unforgettable experience in my career. I cherish and celebrate each and every milestone of the little ones under my care.

I got to share the joy of a child taking his first steps at school. I caught the moment on video and when I showed it to his parents, their excitement and happiness were palpable.

What are your well wishes for Star Learners as we celebrate 20 Inspiring Years?

May the coming years be filled with excellence, bringing joy and enriched experiences to both educators and children alike. Cheers to celebrating past successes and to an even brighter future ahead. Happy 20th anniversary, Star Learners!