Curious to know what it’s like to be a preschool teacher in Singapore? What’s involved in being an early childhood educator? Could a career in preschool teaching be the right path for you?

We spoke to teacher Regina from Shaws Preschool, Lorong Chuan campus to get the lowdown on what is involved in being a great preschool educator.

Q: Teacher Regina, can you share with us why preschool teachers are so important?

I would be glad to! Early childhood educators are so important because of the role we play in the children’s growth and development in their early years. Working alongside their parents, we help with the holistic development of the children in our care. We also help them develop and learn emotionally and academically at their own pace.

As a Pre-Nursery teacher, I help the younger children settle in their new school environment. I feel that my role isn’t just to take care of their developmental and emotional needs, but also to nurture their life skills and academic milestones. So preschool teachers really do play an important role as we work closely with the parents to build a strong foundation in each child!

Q: Well said, Regina. What do you see as the most important skills a preschool teacher needs?

To me, I believe it is most important to love, be patient and put the children at the heart of everything you do. At the end of the day, I want my students to love coming to school every day and enjoy learning.

We have to be nurturing and empathetic, with a passion to see children thrive and grow under our care.

It is also important to communicate well, so that we can form positive relationships with parents as well as colleagues.

Q: What about creativity? I’m sure you need a lot of fun and awesome ideas to make your classroom come alive?

Yes, definitely loads of creativity! Children need fun and play in order to be engaged and active learners. So it helps that we work as a team at Shaws to come up with fresh ideas on how to tap their naturally curious minds and grow their interest.

Q: What about the more challenging aspects of teaching? Can you share with us what you find most difficult?

Hmm, I think the most challenging aspect for me is helping new children to adjust to school – particularly for those who find settling into school more challenging.

In such instances, I would usually keep the child close and comfort them when they need it, giving them a little extra attention and being by their side to help them start the day.

I would also try to engage them by planning interesting activities for them – whatever it is that helps capture their attention and make them smile. So that they look forward to coming to school each day!

Q: What if you encounter a child who needs some discipline (for example, if they exhibit angry or anti-social behaviours), what would you do?

Generally, I would first speak to the child and help them understand that it is not right to bite or hit. I would explain that this behaviour would make their friends feel painful and upset. I would also use storytelling to help them understand this.

If the child’s speech ability is still developing, I would encourage him/her to repeat what I say and guide them in expressing their needs.

For instance, I would teach them to use phrases like: “I don’t want” or “no, thank you”, instead of biting their friends. I would also communicate with their parents and work with them to redirect the child’s behaviour.

Q: Good tips, Regina, thanks for sharing your experience with us! Is there anything else you’d like to share to encourage aspiring preschool teachers out there?

As teachers, we are constantly learning and growing with our children. I think we can have open hearts to observe and listen to what our children are telling us through their behaviour.

I recently had a student who was struggling to cope with the arrival of her younger brother in her family. She probably felt that her parents’ attention had been diverted, which resulted in her craving attention in school. She would be easily irritated in school, and it didn’t help that she could not verbally express her feelings well yet.

I was able to empathise with her, and tried to help her by giving her a little more affection and attention. Her parents and I kept in close contact so we could let each other know how she was doing, what behaviours she was exhibiting and how we could best help her.

Thankfully, we managed to help her get through the very normal but difficult adjustment phase.

I will always remember this incident as it tells me that our child under our care needs love and understanding in order to thrive and reach their potential. I hope that this encourages aspiring preschool teachers out there!

Thank you, Regina, for being a great preschool teacher. As one of Singapore’s longest-running and best play-based preschools, we make it a priority to ensure our wonderful teachers imbue all these wonderful qualities. In the Shaws Preschool family, the children are at the heart of everything we do.

Interested to join our Shaws team as a preschool teacher? Apply here!