Updated: 08/13/2014 18:36

Dedicated training centre for preschool teachers set up

Dedicated training centre for preschool teachers set up

The Lien Foundation and St James Church Kindergarten have set up a dedicated training centre for preschool teachers undergoing practicum attachments. 

The Lien Foundation's pumping in 660 thousand dollars into the project over the next 3 years. 

938LIVE's Lianne Chia finds out how trainee teachers will benefit. 

When 29-year-old Cara Lee first started out as a preschool trainee teacher 12 years ago, she did not have the best experience at her first practicum attachment. 

"There was not much guidance given to me throughout the process of my observations with children, reflection, reports and everything. I felt very alone, didn't really have friends."

That's where the St James Church Kindergarten's Preschool Practicum Centre hopes to help. 

Located at the kindergarten's Harding Road campus, the Preschool Practicum Centre has dedicated mentor-supervisors to guide trainee teachers, and give their experience a personal touch. 

Cara, who's now the Head of the Preschool Practicum Centre, says her personal experience will stand her in good stead for this. 

" Right now, welcoming other students here, I understand the psyche of what goes through their minds when they come, some genuine difficulties, and also to pre-empt some challenges they may face, to give them some handles to help them feel more secure on this learning journey."

The Lien Foundation's CEO, Lee Poh Wah, pointed out another issue the centre hopes to address - a lack of adequate field training for teachers. 

"Like Joseph Schooling, the swimmer. He did not become a champion butterfly stroke swimmer because of attending lectures. He has good coaches, specialist staff, fellow colleagues to train continuously and to sharpen his capabilities. It's no different for preschool teachers. It's like kungfu, you have to practice."

Trainee teacher Sharmini Nair says she's lucky to be posted to the centre for her practicum attachment. 

She gets much more attention from her mentor-supervisors than her peers who're posted to other centres get. 

And she especially values the hands-on experience she's getting. 

" When you learn it in theories, just in school, you can't really apply it to every single child, because every child is unique, and they behave differently. And it's only when you come down to centres like these that you get to know more about each individual child, and you can give them personalised attention."

The centre can accommodate about 3 hundred trainee teachers a year. 

15 trainees have completed the centre's programme since it opened in April.

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