Oh Singapore!

05 Nov 2017

Oh, Singapore, the city that never sleeps and comes alive at night (which, for someone who is usually in bed and asleep by 8:30 pm, you would think I would be struggling, but no, absolutely not, if anything, the complete opposite!). As I write this, it’s Sunday morning, and as I sit in front of my laptop screen, with a beautiful view from our apartment, I am contemplating how I can be expected to condense my experience so far into this blog post. 

Over the week, for us all, it has been a learning opportunity. Learning, how we can enhance our practice in the UK to better a child’s progression in their Early Years. Learning, how within their culture they have expectations of children that is far more structured than ours; Learning, that we are all reflective teachers, we have decided prior to teaching what sort of teacher we are and admire to be (mine is Miss Honey off of Matilda). Work is something that is important to us all, but it also will not be the only element of this trip I take away with me. 

For the 10 of us who were selected for this Teacher Exchange Programme, most of us not knowing each other, only that we worked for the same company, we all became very close, very quickly. With this becoming conversation, a conversation about the wealth of experience and knowledge we have gained over our careers and how we have contributed to the quality of the childcare we provide. That, alongside what we are learning every day in Singapore and with our Host Teachers is already enhancing our professional development, and even after a week in, we are all excited to share our experiences with our colleagues in the UK to ensure outstanding practice. 

A very common phrase that was mentioned before we landed in Singapore was, ‘make sure you work hard, but that you also play harder.’ Challenge accepted. Every spare minute that we all have is exploring the city, adding to our notes on how Singapore and its environment is breathtaking, especially when lit up. This weekend, our ‘play harder’ motto was fully embedded with no work and all play- with a trip to Singapore Zoo. WOW! I especially enjoyed watching the Kangaroos and Panda as this was a first for me to have ever seen them. Although Singapore is extremely hot and humid, and my hair resembles something like Hagrid’s from Harry Potter, we didn’t let that come between us and our ability to ensure we looked at every single animal in that zoo. For anyone that is reading this blog that is thinking about going… GO, GO, GO! 

Today, we are having our only quiet morning of our whole trip, which has left me on reflecting so far and thus writing this blog. I plan to write, gym and drink coffee before we head over to Gardens by the Bay this afternoon and early evening to watch them light up the city. We are also hoping to go all the way to the top of Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which is in the shape of a boat and overlooks the city in all its glory. This will obviously also be accompanied with a Singapore Sling (local cocktail), and plenty of pictures so keep an eye out for another video of this.

Oh, I am Emma Jones, by the way, I am an Assistant Manager in the Derby Heatherton Nursery. I have worked in Busy Bees for six years and progressively worked my way through different positions before finding my feet where I am now- which has been my favourite so far. I am lucky enough to work alongside other teachers that will be so excited to enhance their practices from what I can encourage on my returns from the knowledge I have gained. I still have 12 days in this beautiful city, with beautiful people and beautiful experiences. I am extremely humbled by this experience so far and as my mom would say, ‘it’s character building!’ 

(Right: Emma J)