Nurturing young minds through early childhood education
Feb 22, 2018
Aspiring teacher Charmaine Seah’s interest in early childhood education was piqued by a talk she attended on the subject, and she decided to explore it further.
The 20-year-old was attracted to the varied responsibilities involved in working with young children.
When considering tertiary education options, Ms Seah preferred an overseas curriculum while remaining in Singapore.
After doing some research on James Cook University (JCU), Singapore, she discovered that it offered a course in early childhood education and she enrolled in its Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) programme in July last year.
Ms Seah feels that she is preparing well for her future teaching career.
For instance, she took a module on sustainability in her first semester that focused on teaching children environmental concepts and what they can do to help save the planet.
She also learnt about child psychology, which delves into the behaviour of children and how to use technology such as interactive toys in the classroom.
One challenge she initially faced was speaking in front of her classmates during presentations.
“There were not many opportunities to hone my presentation skills in junior college, unlike at JCU. Now, I’m more exposed to public speaking, which will help me in presenting to an audience in future,” she says.
Last September, Ms Seah’s hard work paid off when she made it to the Dean’s list, which is published thrice a year.
“At first, I was shocked to know I was on the list. Then I was happy because I did my parents proud. Their investment in my education has not been in vain,” she says.
Ms Seah is on the executive committee (exco) of JCU’s Mateship programme, an initiative in which senior students befriend and mentor newcomers during their first few weeks of university life.
She helps to manage the programme’s public relations, and is in charge of raising awareness of the programme and promoting its events via social media.
Mateship rolled out activities such as a secret Santa gift exchange session during the festive season last year and a food event where members experienced and bonded over making chocolate balls together.
“Through my club activities, I have learnt to be more open and interact with people more easily as I worked with many people,” she says.
She has also become better at time management, coping with weekly exco meetings and club activities, and still completing her assignments on time.
Ms Seah is set to graduate in 2020 and hopes to realise her dream of teaching in an international school in Singapore, or overseas.
This article was first published on February 24 in The Straits Times.