As part of a collaboration between PPS and United Indian Muslim Association (UIMA), PPS conducted the Continuing Professional Education Workshop for Little Dolphins Playskool, which is under the education arm of UIMA. To be on par with ECDA's tiered approach in enabling inclusion, to value differences, to maximise potential and to enhance pedagogical skills for teachers, Little Dolphins Playskool as an organization decided to take the first step by inviting professional trainers from PPS to enlighten their teachers through relevant workshops.
Ms Rabiya Gan (Curriculum Specialist, Little Dolphins Playskool) shared that their teachers are currently not special needs education trained and it is not easy for them to handle children who require special education or attention apart from educating the rest of the children in class. They also do not have appropriate tools, resources, curriculum as well as environment to cater to this group of children.
“Through the training, we hope our teachers will gain insights in learning to manage their emotions in handling children with diverse learning and developmental needs. We also hope our teachers will have a new perspective and nurture the children with patience and compassion,” expressed Ms Nur Amalina Binte Esuope, Curriculum Specialist, Little Dolphins Playskool. Ms Kannigadevi and Ms A. Susila, who head our Development and Care team led the day’s activities with fervour. They curated an experiential experience to emphasise the importance of inclusion, as well as sessions on the types and characteristics of special needs and its impact on children.
Participants had learning outcomes such as being able to describe inclusion and its values, identifying the correct usage of language and labels related to people with disabilities. Through five simple activities, the experiential experience allowed the teachers to experience how persons with various types of disabilities live daily life.
“We wanted to increase awareness of participants concerning their individual values and to develop positive attitudes and behaviours toward children with developmental concerns or special needs. Self-reflection on the part of leaders, teachers, parents, and stakeholders of education is critical to build an inclusive programme. The focus should be on creating a community in which all children feel they belong. Therefore, leaders, teachers and other stakeholders need to critically reflect on the view they hold about disabilities and differences,” shared Ms Kannigadevi, Assistant Director, Development and Care.
"The focus should be on creating a community in which all children feel they belong. Therefore, leaders, teachers and other stakeholders need to critically reflect on the view they hold about disabilities and differences,” Ms Kannigadevi, Assistant Director, Development and Care.
Most of participants felt that the experiential experience was an eye-opener about the various types of disabilities, as well as possible challenges associated with those disabilities.
During a time of reflection and sharing, it was a safe space that allowed for vulnerability amongst the participants. A few could not hold back their tears when they opened up about their personal stories, as some of them have children and family members with disabilities. They were also particularly moved by this short film titled "Ian" - a story about a boy born with cerebral palsy. All he wants is to make friends, although it seems impossible to achieve when discrimination and bullying keep him away from his beloved playground. However, this young boy is determined and won’t give up easily. Watch it by clicking the button below:
“I've faced challenges regarding inclusion with my K2 student who was diagnosed with mild autism last year and he goes for an Early Intervention Program in addition to attending our centre. After attending this workshop, I can say that the speakers have given loads of approaches and techniques on how I should handle that child. My greatest takeaway on this workshop is to understand and give fair treatment for children with disabilities or special needs. Now I understand that they were also normal children who needs extra help due to their disabilities.” Ms Aiko Leynes, Teacher, Little Dolphins Playskool.
Little Dolphins Playskool is already looking forward to working collaboratively with PPS to have more educational workshops that can facilitate professional development for knowledge and skills in the future!