A summary of 23 June 2023’s Staff Learning Day
Being Everything, Everywhere All at Once For the Children
Preschool teachers are multi-hyphenates. They are expected to take care of a child’s most basic and fundamental needs (like changing, eating and keeping children safe). But they are also a child’s friend and cheerleader. These barely scratch the tip of the iceberg of all the roles a teacher plays other than preparing for lessons and creating learning spaces within the classroom. The weight that rests upon them is immense and often times, teachers feel like they are expected octopuses pulled in multiple directions, by multiple children all at the same time.
Thus, “Everything, Everywhere, All At Once” is more than just the title of the latest Hollywood blockbuster that put several veteran Asian actors like Michele Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan on the map and won 7 out of 11 Academy Award nominations. This scientific-fantasy movie about the multiverse coming together also encapsulates the nature of the work that teachers in Presbyterian Preschool Services do. Hence, the theme of our most recent learning day on 23 June 2023.
Knowing Who We Are and What We Are Made For
The morning programme begun with our Executive Director, Lim Ee Tuo, walking us through the journey a stress ball called Elliot took to discover who he truly is, what his purpose is and how to embrace it. Through “The Stressed Ball” written by Lydia Lim, our entire staff body was once again aligned in the purpose that undergirds our work.
Everyone has a different role to play and various strengths and weaknesses. However, in spite of our differences, when we come together, collectively, our work must bring goodness to our children and colleagues. We must also be motivated to do good work. Above all, our work must please God as we put our best foot forward and pursue excellence.
The Image of the Child
In the second segment of the training for our teaching staff, Alicia Yah, our Curriculum Mentor, fleshed out practically how each teaching staff in PPS do better for our children. She did so by challenging each of us to consider how we viewed the children we taught.
This session proved to stretch our teaching staff’s professional competencies and also their belief system as we were asked to examine our motivations and even our childhood experiences. She started the session by getting everyone to share a photo and some memories from our childhood. This challenged everyone to consider how the way they were perceived as children shaped their experiences, competencies and esteem growing up. The focus then shifted to the importance of how we view each child rightly – the way God views his children.
In PPS, it is our hope that every teacher believes the following for all the children who comes through our doors, that every child is
1. An independent, inquisitive and enthusiastic learner
2. An imaginative and creative problem solver
3. Learning through play, observing and interacting with others
4. Thriving in a safe, secure and nurturing environment
The teachers were also reminded of why our educational mission of building a strong foundation in truth, beauty and goodness forms the cornerstone of everything that we believe about the children and teach them.
She further emphasized the importance of creating opportunities that nurtures the 5 positive dispositions we hope all our children grow to embrace, sharing practical examples of what our teachers can do in classrooms.
Read our teachers’ reflections from the “Image of a Child” Training Session here: https://www.presbypreschool.edu.sg/post/reflections-from-23-june-learning-day-am-session-image-of-the-child
Removing Barriers to Learning through Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
In the final segment of training, Esther Kwan and Ng Jiayi from Grace Orchard School shared practical application handles on how our classroom design can be further enhanced with UDL Principles. The goal? To develop expert learners that are purposeful and motivated, resourceful and knowledgeable and strategic and goal-directed.
Other than covering the principles behind UDL, elements of a UDL learning environment were also shared. Teachers were reminded that the goal is to remove barriers to learning so that all students may find the learning materials accessible from the beginning, which is more than just a beautifully decorated classroom.
Read our teachers’ reflections from the “Universal Design for Learning” Training Session here: https://www.presbypreschool.edu.sg/post/reflections-from-23-june-learning-day-pm-session-universal-design-for-learning
If you are a parent who’s looking to learn more about inclusive practices, you’re invited to join us at 2023’s Good Start Early Childhood Education Conference. Learn more here: https://www.goodstart.sg/goodstartconf23
Challenged but Invigorated
23 June proved to be a challenging day for our teaching staff. They were called to lay down themselves and to be all things to the children that our children might profit from the early years they spent with us. It is not easy being everything, everything all at once for our children. It is not easy being a preschool teacher in today’s time, especially under the employ of PPS who holds children with such high value.
It is our hope that the learning day, while proving to be a day of respite from their day to day duties, was an enriching day that reinvigorated their head, hands and heart for the journey ahead.