Be The Voice

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a preschool educator who is not formally (or professionally) trained in special education? I have had encounters with children who had learning difficulties, learning disabilities, developmental delays, autism…you name it. I am not trained and I still handle them.

Because they need the social integration with other (so-called) normal kids and learn appropriate behaviours, hence a number of them are being placed in mainstream schools. Sometimes, it is easy to blame the parents for being ignorant of their own kid. “Why send your special needs kid in a normal kindergarten? This is not a place for them! They need to go the special school!”

It is very easy to say all that. I, honestly, was one of them who said this. But after having my own kid, who has Global Developmental Delay and Speech Delay, I began to understand special needs parents better because I had to put on their shoes. I began to understand why they placed their child in schools where you would normally see normal children studied in. Trust me when I say that there are parents, who have tried and giving support, who still find that being mainstream kindergarten can help their children integrate and develop social skills. While these are also genuine parents who have already engaged neurologist, doctors, therapists and KNOW their children’s development issues, there are also parents who can’t be bothered, ignorant and in denial. The latter, being the most common problem.

And when this happens, it puts the preschool teachers in a spot. They are being sandwiched; half of them wanting to help and inform the parents of the issues they have observed in class, and the other half having to battle with parents who simply do not want to understand and cooperate. I have met some parents who are like this and I tried to contain myself from bursting out. Sometimes, I would also say (in my heart) that it was their loss if they chose to do nothing about it.

But there is really nothing much we preschool teachers can do if the parents do not want to accept anything we tell them. If they keep saying that there is nothing wrong with their children and ignoring the signs, we cannot force them.

However, as professionals, I cannot stress it out enough that we are the voice for these children; special needs or not. If the child (diagnosed and undiagnosed) needs our help, we ought to be there. We have to give our full support for these children who are in need. I know teachers would say that they were not trained in this special field but then you are definitely trained to be a preschool educator, where you are taught that every child has the right to learn.

I can never take that as a valid answer. It is simply an excuse! There are a lot of books, articles online, websites, pages, blogs and lots more containing facts, techniques and support that we can provide for the children with special needs. And especially if the child is already diagnosed and parents are doing everything they can do to support the child, I think it is only right that we should be helping out with what we can within the four walls of the school. But I also know of some teachers who go the extra mile through sharing of articles with parents to read and to learn to cope, finding out community services that parents can go to or just simply listening to the parents and help them to look out for their kid.

As a special needs parent myself, seeing any of these kids being ignored in classrooms just breaks my heart. I feel as though it was my child who gets ignored by the teacher. With the number of children with special needs keeps increasing, the more we need to educate ourselves, before we can even think of speaking to the parents and tell them to go somewhere better. We should be the better place for the parents and their children.

We are the Voice for these children and their parents. They need to be heard and supported.


Cut cut cut



A craft work for the kids last week went really well. They were excited to start cutting the coloured papers after my demonstration. And how did they do?


Although I shall not deny that this craft was pretty challenging for some kids who were struggling with the scissors (child-friendly ones aka round tip), they still managed to get beautiful designs.

Good job, kids!!

Posted from WordPress for Android

Let them roll

It has been 3 weeks since I am back at work. Once again I get to practice my classroom management, reverse psychology tactics and facilitating my charges. Something that I have left for about four months or so.

So we had an art activity this week. The children loved it and so did I.


Marble rolling was so much fun and they only used the primary colours. Why? To see how they turned into secondary colours when the marbles rolled on the paper!

Oh, we used the lid of an A4 paper box as a tray for this activity.
YS: teacher… How come we use the box? It will get dirty.
AZ: it’s ok, no problem.

Sometimes I just let them answer each other’s question.

Posted from WordPress for Android

Little Reviewers

Last year, I brought up this idea of children writing a book review, during our termly meetings to discuss and plan the activities in the learning centres. We did it this with the K2 classes and I’m not sure about the other teachers’, but I absolutely love both the process and outcome of the book review.


So they picked the storybook they liked and of course, they had read it at least once. However (and this is the special part), the children only reviewed the book verbally to each other and to me. I sat with them and they explained the whole story. Next step was to write a part of the story that they liked most and completing it with their illustrations. Displaying their reviews on the wall left the children beaming and proud.

This activity was done in the Literacy Centre. So anytime the children get bored of just reading the books, get them to do a review!

Not In Class

Part of me wants to go back to work ASAP but the other part of me still wants to lounge at the comforts of my home and look after my 2 month old. I have 5 weeks more of my maternity leave and I am not sure if I have rested well. To be honest, any amount of off-days is never enough.

I almost teared when I received a message from my Principal, confirming my comeback. I may have been a very experienced teacher but with a 16 week hiatus, the first day of back at work can be nerve wrecking. It can send shivers down my nervous system.

Giving birth in December, for a teacher like me, has pros and cons. What’s good about it is that I can have a super long year end holiday. From mid November, all the way to April. The downside of it? I don’t know the children that I will be teaching. I don’t even know how they look like. Do they know me? For the past 3 years, I have been getting the older age group aka Kindergarten 2 (K2). They are 6 year olds and most of them are better in taking instructions and their understanding of the environment. I have lost my touch with the younger groups, seriously.

I called a colleague earlier in January, to ask of the situation in school and also the level that was mine. When she said Kindergarten 1 (K1), I got worried. It never leave my mind ever since. No, I have never dislike the younger group. I just have lost my touch in nurturing them. Anxiety is creeping into my bloodstream. Will they like me? Will they be judgmental? Will they regard the substitute teacher as their form teacher and not me?


No! I gotta pull up my socks and just do it. I am gonna welcome them with my warm heart and open arms. And I hope they will, too.