As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
A strong believer in having everyone in a child’s life help to impact his or her growth and learning experiences, Sabirah Binte Mohamed Idris, Centre Principal, My First Skool (MFS) at 80 Marine Parade Road maintains open communication with all stakeholders to create a safe and engaging learning experience for the children.
She also creates joyful and inspiring learning spaces for the children at her centre, by tapping on all the resources available in the community.
Located in a shopping mall, her preschool centre is well-endowed with resources in the community. Sabirah and her team of teachers plan learning trips within the mall to provide opportunities for the children to explore and learn about topics such as money concepts and healthy eating habits. Sabirah also guides the teachers to plan for children to interact with other adults in the community, such as hairdressers and shop assistants.
To overcome the constraints of limited outdoor space, Sabirah worked closely with the National Parks Board to set up an indoor garden within the centre for children to develop care and respect for the environment. At her centre, toddlers get to observe how various types of plants grow, and develop an appreciation for nature.
Sabirah has forged strong bonds with community partners over the years, allowing her centre to provide holistic learning opportunities for the children at the centre.
In partnering with Marine Parade Public Library for seven years, Sabirah was able to secure a space to exhibit the artworks of the Kindergarten 2 children ahead of their graduation concert. Despite the pandemic, Sabirah was also able to successfully plan a virtual Art Gallery Tour for the Kindergarten 2 students in collaboration with the National Gallery Singapore.
Believing that building good relationships with children’s parents in order to provide holistic learning experiences for the children, Sabirah regularly engages with parents in activities. Under her leadership, the centre received a satisfaction score of more than 92 per cent in the Annual Parents’ Satisfaction Survey for the past three years.
Beyond her duties as a principal, Sabirah is also in the NTUC First Campus’ Parent Engagement Think-Tank Committee. To encourage more interaction with parents, she is currently working to launch the “Parent Step-Up” programme, which encourages centres to invite parents to share their expertise or interests, such as baking or storytelling, with the children.
“As a new principal, I am thankful for the opportunities given to me to help me grow as an early childhood care and education professional (ECCE),” she said. “I hope to inspire young leaders like me to take on the challenge and to walk the leadership journey with their team.
Sabirah is also a firm believer of keeping up with change.
“Change is constant, and growth is a result of change. This statement has always been guiding me, especially during the pandemic. With this in mind, I believe that it is important for an early childhood professional to constantly innovate and develop new knowledge and teaching practices in engaging young minds,” she said.
Leading by example, she regularly attends courses and engages in reflective practices to develop her personal growth. Last year, she took up ECDA Professional Development Programme (Leadership) to further strengthen her professional skills and leadership skills.Taking what she learnt from these courses, she shares them with the teachers, encouraging them to improve their curriculum and engagement with parents.
“The journey in ECCE is always evolving. As an ECCE professional, I strive to be a life-long learner, keeping abreast of current issues and continuously acquiring knowledge to prepare myself to support the teachers and families,” she said.
For her strong leadership and innovative teaching practices, Sabirah was conferred the Promising Early Childhood Leader award by the Early Childhood Development Agency in 2021.