PECERA International Conference reflection written by yours truly and was published in Association for Early Childhood Educators Singapore (AECES) journal on December 2018.
Pacific Early Childhood Educator Research Association (PECERA) International Conference in Kuching, Sarawak
6 – 8 July 2018
Academicians, scholars, practitioners and advocates in the field of early childhood from all over the world came together for the 19th Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association International Conference (PECERA 2018), held at the Hilton in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. The theme for this year’s conference was “Start Right: Begin the Journey Right for Every Child”.
There were five schools to choose from: (1) Prasekolah Sk Tabuan; (2) Tadika Sri Keria; (3) Taska Permata Kemas Kampung Sri Tajo; (4) Taska Pondok Ilmu 1 & 2; and, (5) Taska Cahaya Horizons.
I visited Tadika Sri Keria, it received the Best Kindergarten in Sarawak award last year (Photo 1).
This school was established in 1987, its education syllabus and materials were adapted from New Zealand. What I liked about this school was its open, close-to-nature classroom concept. Their school philosophy was “Provide children with enriching, engaging and stimulating experiences to encourage learning in multiple disciplines within a safe, secure and pleasant environment”. For each classroom, they stationed two teachers to ensure the safety of every child.
At the Conference
I presented my research regarding the efficacy of online training for the professional development of early childhood educators. In Singapore, all early childhood educators are required to meet 20 hours of continuous professional development (CPD). However, there are teachers who are not able to meet the prescribed number of hours for CPD. One major reason for this is manpower shortage. With online training, this issue would be addressed because the teachers would be able to sharpen their skills without compromising their work.
Photo 2: Receiving my certificate as a research presenter
I attended the presentation by Dr. G. Kaveri (Photo 3), also a delegate from Singapore. Her research was entitled “Children as Catalyst for Change: Pathways to “Transforming Our World – The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”; it was very interesting. In her research, she shared the important role played by children in sustainable development, what the children learned in the classroom, they would go home and share it with their families. For example, when the child learned about recycling, she would share what she learnt in school and would encourage her family to recycle once she goes home. This research unveiled the vital role of education in transforming the world. Topics about sustainability that are age and developmentally appropriate for children should be taught in preschool for a long term benefit.
Photo 3: Dr Kaveri presenting her research topic
Attending the PECERA conference was invigorating for me because I was able to update my knowledge with the latest trends in early childhood education. I am extremely thankful to AECES because it played a huge part in developing and giving me countless opportunities me to become a better early childhood educator. Since 2012, I have been participating in their various professional development programmes. I urge my fellow early childhood educators to join this organisation not only to maximize your potential, but also, to give what is best for the children under your care.