With a journey spanning over ten years in the Early Childhood Care and Education industry, Sharfina’s path reveals an unwavering dedication, insightful perspective and a deep-seated passion that have shaped her into a seasoned Senior Educator at Star Learners. But her story goes beyond the classroom. Sharfina stands proudly as one of our distinguished nominees for this year’s esteemed Outstanding Preschool Educator Award by the Early Childhood Development Agency. This accolade underscores her commitment to delivering quality care and education, a testament to her exceptional journey in shaping the futures of our youngest learners. Read on to uncover more about Sharfina’s journey and insights, beyond the whimsy of alphabet adventures.
At first, I underestimated the challenges of working in ECCE. How difficult could it be to educate preschoolers? After all, young children are cute and adorable, aren’t they? However, my perspective has drastically evolved during my time in this field. I’ve come to grasp the profound influence of being a preschool teacher. It entails much more than simply teaching ABCs and interacting with young ones; it’s a multifaceted role. Undoubtedly, the children are incredibly endearing, but as a preschool educator, our responsibility extends beyond that charm. We hold the crucial task of nurturing a solid foundation of knowledge in these young minds, a foundation that forms the bedrock of their overall development.
During my initial years as an educator, I was fortunate to be influenced positively by a mentor. She adeptly managed both parents and children, ensuring children well understood her teachings while fostering strong connections with parents to enrich the children’s learning experience. This experience also instilled in me, a firm belief in parental involvement in a child’s educational journey.
One of my proudest moments was when I was promoted to the position of Senior Educator and received a nomination for the *PDPT (Professional Development Programme (Teachers)). These recognitions have underscored the clear avenues for career advancement and professional growth within Star Learners. It’s incredibly gratifying to see that the hard work and dedication I’ve invested are genuinely valued, reinforcing my belief that Star Learners fosters an environment where progress is encouraged.
*PDPT is a three-year programme by the Early Childhood Development Agency that supports the growth of preschool educators, providing them with opportunities to broaden their perspectives, deepen knowledge and hone competencies in areas of their professional interest.
There are two significant role models who have profoundly shaped my teaching approach: Teacher Rachel, my Senior Teacher and Ms Ira, my Centre Principal. What has truly left an impression on me are their approaches to teaching and leadership.
Teacher Rachel’s gentle and considerate manner of engaging with the children, tailored to their unique developmental needs, truly inspired me. She embodies compassion in her teaching and actively seeks to learn from her fellow educators. Her humility and readiness to provide guidance have made her a person I greatly admire and turn to for advice.
With Ms Ira, her adeptness in leadership shines through in her interactions with parents. Observing how she communicates with them, I’ve learned valuable lessons in maintaining composure and empathy, even in challenging situations. Her commitment to establishing connections with parents by investing time during drop-offs and pick-ups has shown me the importance of building rapport. Furthermore, her approach to addressing matters with teachers has also left a significant impact. She’s a prime example of a leader who not only imparts advice but listens keenly to our concerns. This quality is not always common in leaders and it’s a trait that I deeply appreciate and strive to emulate.
My advice is to approach the journey with an open mind and embrace the unique differences of each child. Recognise that every child learns at their own pace, and you can effectively foster their growth by providing scaffolded support and ample opportunities. Don’t forget the power of stories in their learning process as well! Stories, like those we use in our literature-based curriculum, have the magical ability to ignite wonder and nurture creativity within children. Integrating stories into their learning helps them cultivate a richer vocabulary and enhances their creative thinking abilities.
As we celebrate 20 inspiring years, my wish is to witness our continued expansion with the establishment of more centres. May our commitment to delivering high-quality curriculum for children remain unwavering and may the journey ahead be marked by continuous opportunities for the professional growth of all staff!