Hi Noretta Jacob, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. Tell us about yourself.
Safar’s mission is to create a sharing and learning platform to equip and train educators in particular, early childhood professionals and practitioners in the areas of pedagogy. Besides workshops and training for practicing educators, we offer development and leadership upgrading to prepare early childhood education leaders with the skills to grow future leaders in the industry.
The educational leader has an influential role in inspiring, motivating, affirming, challenging or extending the practice and pedagogy of educators. Through these traits, educational leaders create a significant impact to the educators and raise the credibility and importance of the work that educators do in nurturing our children and providing a support and value for their families.
Safar’s curriculum are curated taking into consideration the latest trends, studies, tools and resources. It aims to guide, instill and develop early childhood educators and leaders with the skills necessary to excel in their profession.
Safar also sees the value of partnering, engaging and fostering greater collaboration between parents, youth and the community at large. Our well-thought and outcome-driven workshops and events aim to empower our children to achieve their potential and dreams and make them confident youth in society.
Why is Early Childhood Education important?
It is a misconception among many that early childhood education is meant to provide only basic growing and developmental skills such as feeding, bathing and routine daily care. In actual fact, it is more than that. Early childhood education play a big role in providing the basic foundation for the child to prepare them for mainstream education. This include looking into a more holistic development in all aspects i.e. social, emotional, physical and cognitive learning.
I cannot emphasise enough the importance of early childhood education as an essential building block of a child’s future success. Studies and researches have shown how children gain academic and social benefits through a quality early education system.
What makes a good preschool?
I receive a lot of questions like these from parents who are finding the right preschool for their children.
The top of my list would be the quality of teachers who are hired in their school. A school can have the most expensive materials and resources. However, without qualified, dedicated teachers who are passionate in bringing out the best in our children and constantly thinking of creative ways to make the children’s learning a meaningful one, it will not be beneficial for the child. The positive interaction between teachers, parents and children are also vital in building a good relationship and trust among the 3 stakeholders.
The second in my list is the strength and quality in its programme and curriculum. A well-designed programme will provide various opportunities for the children to explore daily in every aspect of learning in both theory and experiential learning. The quality of the programme is also defined by the approach of teaching skills concepts. Early childhood providers need to constantly have the notion to encourage active learning in our children. Some of the questions we need to ask include ; are the teachers empowered to be creative in facilitating the children’s learning experiences? Are social skills encouraged during the authentic learning experiences? These questions are important factors that play a major role in a quality preschool practice.
What are the most critical factors that positively impact a child’s attitude, behaviour and social development?
Positive parenting is a major influence in a child’s development. How parents role model behaviours and implement value system does have a big impact on how children develop into adults, and has important implications in their future success. The child’s environment which consist of the community they live in is also vital for the development of their attitude, behaviour and social development. The opportunity to be involved in quality interactions with adults and peers will help children develop language and social experiences that will shape them into positive and confident individuals in their growing years.
What would your advice be to all parents with young children out there
- Be present – give full attention to them and engage with good eye contact and conversations.
- You don’t need to fix everything – allow your children to make mistakes within safe boundaries as a good way for them to learn about the world.
- Allow them and even yourself to make mistakes – we are become better through experiences.
- Slow down (it is ok for children to be bored at times) – give them a break in between learning and inject some fun and play. You need a break too!
- Your words matter – manage our emotions, how we converse with them and the choice of word and phrases. Kids learn from adults so, we need to be the best role models.
- Read, read, and read with your kids – reading opens a world of fantasy, discovery and ignites their imagination and curiosity. It also increases their general knowledge and appreciation of the society they live in.
- Teach your child values – teach our kids about empathy, understanding, sharing and compassion. They will grow up with these values embedded in their hearts and minds.
- Never underestimate them – The age between 0 – 3 years old is the best time of learning. Children at this age are like a sponge so read and converse with them daily to expand their vocabulary.
Five important parenting books every parent should read and why. Feel free to suggest more than five.
- The Importance of Being Little by Erika Christakis – Christakis’s message is energizing and reassuring: young children are inherently powerful, and they (and their parents) will flourish when we learn new ways of restoring the vital early learning environment to one that is best suited to the littlest learners. This bold and pragmatic challenge to the conventional wisdom peels back the mystery of childhood, revealing a place that’s rich with possibility.
- The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind – How we can raise calmer, happier children using twelve key strategies
- Mindful Parenting: Simple and Powerful Solutions for Raising Creative, Engaged, Happy Kids in Today’s Hectic World by Kristen Race – An Easy read and it is great for both parents and educators who are teaching children how to cope with the stress in this fast pace lives!
- The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kidsby Iben Sandahl and Jessica Joelle Alexander – The Danish, like the Dutch, consistently rank high on the happiness charts, and this book offers some key clues why.
- Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide (The Positive Parent Series) by Rebecca Eanes – It provides information on positive and respectful parenting techniques!