It was a hectic morning on the 9th of September as our staff bustled around to do final preparations for the Early Childhood Intervention Conference at Lifelong Learning Institute. Everyone was nervous but excited to help to host such a large-scale physical conference – you could hear staff saying words of encouragement such as “加油” or “we can do this!” Some even offered to buy a cup of coffee for their colleagues to perk them up for the day’s activities. It was also a day where centres were closed and all teachers came to attend the Conference as part of their Learning Day!
The Conference was organised by Centre for Applied Practice in Education (CAPE), Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), PCS iSPACE and PPS. It is an initiative of Good Start SG, an advocacy group which endeavours to advance evidence-based inclusive best practices in Singapore’s early childhood industry. Overall, the Conference saw over 400 early childhood practitioners such as teachers and principals coming together to learn, share and exchange ideas and practices. There was also an award ceremony held for the Little Heroes of Inclusion Award, which recognises preschool children who have shown exemplary care for fellow classmates with learning or physical needs/disabilities.
A special mention to our very own student, Ryzaellie Tham Le Xi from P51, who was a finalist for the Little Heroes of Inclusion Award!
In school, Ryzaellie would talk to her special friend “normally and a lot”. She would also mediate between her special friend and peers by “calming the angry children down and telling them to just let their special friend have the toy”. She even saved her friend from potentially choking on toys on two occasions!
Being part of this Conference was important for PPS as its purpose was aligned with the initiatives of inclusion in our organisation, which embody the values of Truth, Beauty and Goodness. PPS endeavours to provide every child with a chance to build a sense of belonging based on who they are (Truth), to promote respect and appreciation for every individual (Beauty), and encourage all to be kind and caring to others regardless of their learning needs or disabilities (Goodness). We were thankful for the excellent teamwork of our staff which helped make the event a success! One day before the Conference, almost 40 PPS and PCS staff from both HQ and Centres came down to help with preparations, from setting up the stage backdrop, testing out the system for live-streaming, to packing Conference Kits.
Our staff hard at work in their different teams!
Many staff expressed how they were encouraged while working with colleagues from different departments for the Conference. “It always feels good when you are a part of a team that works well together. Even though there were some mishaps or small issues, the team managed to pull each other’s spirits up,” Sanchez Camille Masangkay, Preschool Teacher (English).
On D-day, staff also held a variety of roles depending on their strengths. Some were hosts to guests, others were in charge of registration, and two of our staff were even emcees for the morning plenary session!
There were many working behind-the-scenes to make sure everything went smoothly too. Kudos to the AV and tech team who had to oversee the programme on-site as well as cater to online participants!
“I enjoyed my role as an emcee but the most challenging part was being able to pronounce words in the emcee script accurately and also keeping my nerves under control. However, it was awesome being a part of a team that was enthusiastic and encouraging,” shared Bethanie Wong, Deputy Centre Leader (Ghim Moh).
Iris Lim, who helped out at PPS’ exhibition booth, enjoyed coming out of her comfort
zone, interacting with different people, and sharing about her work with them. “It was encouraging to see the huge turn out and people genuinely interested in the resources we displayed,” expressed Iris Lim, Learning Support Educator. Three of our staff, Eileen Boey, Jenny Lim and Ramona Chan helmed one of the breakout sessions in the afternoon, where they shared about thinking tools they employed to make environment inspiring and spark transformation in our centres.
“Being able to present physically allows me to see the reactions of the participants and better engage them. I am thankful that I was able to share the good work done by my staff,” shared Jenny Lim (Tampines Centre Leader, who presented at one of the breakout sessions.
Our staff who oversee the Education Support Programme, Ms. Kannigadevi and Ms. A.Susila, also led a session on using embedded instruction and its associated teaching practices to support young children’s learning, including those with developmental concerns.
Despite the tired faces at the end of the day, staff were grateful to have the opportunity to be part of something meaningful alongside their colleagues. “在整个筹备过程中，大家踊跃的参与和轻松交谈的方式让我很喜欢，没有压力. 看到整个活动圆满成功，真的非常的感恩，这也是对整个团队的肯定。" - Li Wenyan, Assistant Curriculum Specialist (Chinese). Leon Huang (Senior Executive, HR) also shared that we did a great job working as a team and making this event a success as we held true to our strong Christian values.
He was reminded of the following verse in 1 Cor 12:12- 26: “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ...”
We thank God for the various talents and strengths He has given each of us to steward, as well as the heart and willingness to love and serve!