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Cynthia Tan
Principal, The Caterpillar’s Cove Child Development and Study Centre

“My biggest love still lies in the classroom,” confessed Cynthia Tan who runs The Caterpillar’s Cove Child Development and Study Centre in Jurong East.

Despite her hectic daily schedule as the principal of the centre, Cynthia grabs every opportunity to interact with the children, from covering for another teacher to simply greeting the children when they report to school.

To her, such face-to-face interaction with the children is important as it keeps her grounded and acts as a constant reminder why she is in this profession. To this humble lady, her career achievements does not come from titles or statures but from pleasures of a simple hug from a child, from observing how the children under her care blossom from toddlers to independent children, and simply from knowing that she had made an impact in a child’s life.

img_story_cynthia1.jpgCynthia recalls fondly her first encounter with The Caterpillar’s Cove as an early childhood education student in Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP). While working as a project officer in the centre, she had the opportunity to observe the centre’s teachers at work. After her NP diploma, Cynthia pursued a Bachelor of Science (Early Childhood Education) with Wheelock College where she graduated with flying colors and was the valedictorian to represent her cohort. Her ties with The Caterpillar’s Cove was rekindled when she began her career there as a preschool teacher.

Fast forward, as the principal of The Caterpillar’s Cove Child Development and Study Centre in Jurong East, Cynthia’s job now straddles across different portfolios in curriculum and pedagogy enhancement, staff development and mentorship, research and publications, training for pre and in-service practitioners, and the daily running of the centre. The multitasker was doing all these while pursuing her Higher Certificate for Infant Care from the SEED Institute, which she recently completed.


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It is an impressive feat, particularly for someone as young as Cynthia who is only in her late 20s. Age is not an issue to this resilient young lady who “finds more value in the quality of experience than quantity of experience”. She attributes part of her success to the education received in NP, where she gained a strong foundation in practicum skills and developed robust critical thinking and mental faculties that prepared her for my leadership role today.

Cynthia was grateful for how modules in academic writing and presentation came in handy for her research work and modules in technology and sports provided her with diversified skills and developed her holistically as an individual.

Cynthia advises current and future students in early childhood education to think critically about their future profession and to proactively seek guidance from mentors and seniors in the field. Cynthia shares her motto: “To learn, to persevere and to serve. To continuously expand one’s knowledge and expertise in the field, to persevere when faced with challenges, and to have a serving heart. To this, she posed a challenge to the aspiring teachers, “Think beyond what the job can offer, but what we can offer to the job, to the people and the community around us”.

Spoken like a true alumnus who fully embodies the spirit of “Think People.” at NP’s School of Humanities & Social Sciences.