Nurhamizah Binte Salehudin – Promising Early Childhood Leader Award 2023
Establishing the connections and environment for each child to flourish
Nurhamizah Binte Salehudin, Principal, My First Skool at Blk 135 Simei and winner of ECDA’s Promising Early Childhood Leader Award.
When a six-year-old child displayed tendencies to physically hurt his classmates, Nurhamizah supported her teachers with strategies to regulate his behaviour. As a result of these strategies, his parents and teachers saw positive changes in his behaviour.
An experienced educator, Nurhamizah understands that the approach to every child should be different.
“Children come from diverse family backgrounds and have varied capabilities. Hence, it is critical to provide a nurturing support system with room for differentiated learning to allow every child to develop and bloom in their own time,” she said.
As a principal, she ensures children undergo a literacy assessment at the start of the term and children who are identified to have gaps are given more support including individual coaching and differentiated instructions.
Engaging teachers to uplift teaching standards
Besides guiding teachers to support children’s social emotional needs, Nurhamizah prioritises professional development for her team and herself so that they can continue to uplift the quality of the centre’s programme.
She regularly holds dialogues with her teachers to understand their learning needs and aspirations so that she can continue to equip them well. Nurhamizah also continues to actively lead cross-centre sharing of best practices and nurtures teachers to progressively take on leadership roles.
“As a leader, I guide, equip, and support my team of teachers with skills and strategies so that both children and staff can thrive in an encouraging and stimulating learning environment,” she said.
Recognising the learning environment as the ‘third teacher’, Nurhamizah engages teachers to discuss their termly curriculum plans on the learning environment and the variety of materials made accessible in class to promote and support children’s holistic development.
She also initiates termly ‘Peer Critiques’, creating a safe space for teachers to reflect and strengthen their practices. In addition, she conducts formal classroom observations and follows up with guidance by conducting small group lessons for teachers to observe and learn.
Promoting a culture of collaboration with parents and the community
Nurhamizah is a strong advocate for parent and community partnership. She believes that both the preschool centre and parents bear a collective responsibility for the care and education of a child.
On top of various parental workshops and take-home activities that the centre plans for parents, Nurhamizah also invites parents into the classroom to co-teach and share. These termly initiatives enable parents to extend their child’s learning at home.
Always ready to lend a helping hand, Nurhamizah dedicates time to understanding every family. When a family at her centre was struggling financially, Nurhamizah reached out to the Ministry of Social and Family Development and NTUC First Campus’s charity arm Bright Horizons Fund for resources to support this family through their situation. Now, both the family’s children are well settled into school.
Beyond connecting with parents, Nurhamizah also links up with other community partners to facilitate children’s development.
“When partnering with families and the community, including therapists of dual-schoolers, I strive to foster a trusting and collaborative relationship so that we can align our strategies to help children achieve their fullest potential,” she said.
She also actively engages in community partnerships, fostering intergenerational understanding through meaningful monthly collaboration between the children and seniors from NTUC Health Senior Day Care in Geylang East.
For her steadfast dedication in collaborating with teachers, parents and the community to facilitate children’s holistic development, she was awarded ECDA’s Promising Early Childhood Leader Award in 2023.