Our first day in placement

01 Nov 2017

My name is Kirsty Gates, I'm an Assistant Manager, amongst other roles, in the Lewisham setting based in greater London. I manage an Under 2’s room and have worked closely with Preschool (3-5years) in my previous setting, Greenwich.

When I heard about the opportunity to take part in the Talent Exchange Programme, I immediately set about celebrating my 10-year service with Busy Bees and showcasing my experiences, knowledge and qualifications achieved with Busy Bees to be considered - and quite literally jumped with joy when I was selected! Although, this seems like a lifetime ago, I can't believe I'm here writing this blog on Day 5 from our amazing apartments in this beautiful garden city!

I'm completely in awe of the greenery around the city and I'm eager to visit some rooftop gardens!

I was filled with excitement and also anxiety as the trip commenced from Heathrow as I'd never been on such a long flight, or so far away from home! I'm now even more excited and eager to experience every part of the culture, sights and childcare opportunities our Asian settings offer the families and children of Singapore, as every part so far has exceeded expectations although I never quite decided what I should expect!

The time difference, changing weather and local customs are easier to adjust to on such a well-organised trip surrounded by colleagues from different nurseries and departments of Busy Bees in the UK and from HQ at Busy Bees Asia. Colleagues who are passionate, dedicated and kind enough to accompany us on our first outings to dinner, local MRT stations and some of the city's places of interest like Little India.

After enjoying views of Marina Bay to finish our first weekend, our working week started at HQ and opened up our eyes and minds to new experiences of the working practices of the brands and centres and how different they are in comparison to those in England.

(Right: With the Busy Bees Singapore Childcare team)

Today was our first day in placement and I have been placed in Pat’s Schoolhouse Grassroots' Club within Playgroup to explore environments, a subject I am passionate about through my role as Childcare Representative. Playgroup teachers, and children all aged 3 years, warmly welcomed me to their room and activities.

Watching children engaging in English and Mandarin lessons was amazing: they are well behaved, independent and kind little people who reflect the knowledge of their teachers. It was interesting to see how themes are used per term, and how weeks are planned to incorporate different elements of the theme, and activities are carried out indoors and outdoors to cover different areas of the curriculum such as Discovery of the World and Language and Literacy. Elements of the routines are similar and some are very different such as showering the children! I'm excited to see what the days ahead bring and showcase some of my own learning practices to my colleagues.