Talent Exchange Programme - 30 October 2017

30 Oct 2017

My name is Jenny Shaw, and I am a Childcare and Curriculum Advisor for Busy Bees National Support Centre UK. I am based in the South East of England and support 24 settings in providing the best possible outcomes for children. I am thrilled to be accompanying the TEP participants in Singapore and Malaysia supporting the group and undertaking research in the areas of literacy and mathematics and how these are taught within settings.

I can hardly believe I am writing about this trip as we have been planning it for so long! So far Singapore has far exceeded my expectations, and we are only on day four. The first couple of days have been about finding our feet and finding the food! Some of the Busy Bees head office team and participants from the TEP 2016 have been kind enough to give up some of their weekends to spend time with us showing us the best places to shop and also taking us out to eat. This included going for a traditional Indian breakfast. At first, I was unsure about the dishes that were being described, and I certainly would never have considered having them for breakfast at home, but after one mouthful I was completely converted – beautifully spiced curries with a variety of bread to dip in – delicious!

(Bhattura Chole – deep fried bread served with masala chana, a traditional Indian breakfast)

(Exploring Little India with the TEP participants from 2016)

We spent our evening taking a boat trip from Clarke Quay all the way out to Gardens by the Bay and back again. This was our first opportunity to see Singapore by night – what an experience! Singapore is truly a country that comes alive with colour when the sun goes down.

(The team at Clarke Quay)

(Singapore by night)

(Jenny Shaw on the River Cruise)

On Monday we were so excited to get to work at Busy Bees Asia Head Office and be welcomed by June, the Busy Bees Asia CEO and her team. We spent the morning with the HR and Compliance teams talking about differences within our cultures and the Singapore policies and procedures and how these differ from those we are used to within the UK. This is essential information for when we start at our placements on Wednesday. We were interested in some of the differences such as the fact that over here they shower the children (in part due to the heat; it rarely drops below 25 degrees!) and also how they monitor children’s health with a daily health check. However, there were also many elements of practice that we recognised from our settings.

(Picture, right: Meeting June and the team at Busy Bees Asia Head Office)

In the afternoon we spent time with the Busy Bees Singapore Curriculum team. In Singapore, they have five different brands that offer different curriculums and experiences for children and their families. The team talked to us about each of these in turn, and it was really interesting to see how distinctive these are from each other. I am looking forward to seeing what each of these looks like in practice. It was great to chat to the Childcare team which I am part of in the UK. I was interested in meeting Julia who is the Deputy Director of Operations within Busy Bees Asia as I felt we were so similar in our approach – it was like meeting a Singaporean version of me! The team are all buzzing with ideas and thoughts on practice already from this meeting, and we haven’t even seen any children yet! A very exciting and educational three weeks ahead!