What a roller-coaster it has been

08 Nov 2017

Hi, my name is Emma Rollo and I am the Manager at Busy Bees Dundee.

So what a roller-coaster it has been! We literally haven’t stopped since we arrived; we are now half way through our stay and I have experienced so much and seen a different side to Early Learning and Childcare. I began my placement last week in Learning Vision Nanyang Polytechnic; we were greeted with a fabulous welcome from teachers and children and attended their assembly. After this, work began.

The differences between home and here are huge, ranging from having more structured classroom routines, smaller classes, checking in and out, showering the children and children attending enrichment classes. The physical environment is tidy and neat which reflects the Singapore culture of cleanliness. With all the differences, there are also similarities.

I love the children’s passion for learning and desire to succeed with intense concentration on the tasks set. I have seen beautiful interactions between teachers and children and children supporting their peers to complete a piece of work. Having been in placement for 6 days now, I have begun to consider how this amazing experience can change my practice back in Scotland.

My first thoughts are about the composition of our nursery days, would the children benefit from a little bit more structure in their routines and would this have a positive impact on the children’s concentration and cooperation skills? As it stands, our children have free choice over every experience in the nursery day. The children in Learning Vision are very independent from a young age and as they move through the school years they begin to lead their own learning. I have witnessed small group activities with focused learning taking place with a child leading the activity. I would love to encourage this to happen with our older children allowing them to reinforce their learning while supporting friends. My mind is full of new thoughts and ideas and trying to put them all down on paper is proving to be harder than I thought it would be, but I can wait to get back to Dundee and share everything with my staff team. I am sure they will have ideas from my new found wealth of information and I can’t wait to see what might happen.

But taking a step back from the professional and work side of this trip we have all had amazing experiences in Singapore - this truly is like no other city I have visited and I have loved every minute of it. Before I arrived, I had 3 things on my to do list: go to Sentosa Island by cable car, visit Chinatown and go to Gardens by the Bay at night. So far I have achieved 2 out of 3 and they have not disappointed. This Sunday, we will be going to Sentosa and after that it’s another whirlwind week of work visiting other schools and watching their end-of-year performance, and from the rehearsals I have witnessed it is going to be spectacular! I am writing this as I prepare to pack for visiting Malaysia for 2 days to experience more Asian culture and Childcare. I have met an amazing group of professionals that have all shown a passion for the children in their settings and relish the benefits this trip can bring.