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​ Innovative Project wins ECDA Merit Award (Learning Centre)

You might not have guessed what hair salons have to do with early childhood teaching, but then again, you would, if you were Mishalani Jayaraj. Mishalani (or Misha for short), a graduate in the Diploma in Early Childhood (ECH), worked with a team to create a simulated play hair salon in the kindergarten where she worked, as part of the dramatic play approach she used to teach young children. The innovative project was submitted to ECDA (Early Childhood Development Agency), and won for her a kindergarten the Merit Award (Learning Centre) at the ECDA Conference in 2014.

Above left: Misha Jayaraj with her young charges
Photo by: The New Paper,

For Misha, the award was not just an affirmation of what she has done right, but also of her decision to choose the early childhood industry as her career choice. Nine years after graduating with the ECH Diploma from the School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HMS) at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Misha is a firm advocate of the joys and satisfaction that a career in the early childhood sector can bring. She is grateful for the opportunities for personal and career development given to her at the Ramakrishna Mission Sarada Kindergarten, where she was also interning at during her studies at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Besides being involved in innovation projects such as the one on dramatic play, Misha is also a mentor for a number of students from ITEs, Polytehnic and the SEED Institute. She has also given presentations in workshops conducted by her centre principal, which helps to give parents an insight of how to work with and better support their children’s development. She was nominated for, and won, NIE’s Leading Foundation Teacher Award, in appreciation of her efforts to work towards inclusiveness in the mainstream classroom.

Second from left: Misha at the ECDA Award Ceremony, Sep 2014, with other winners, and Minister Chan Chun Sing
Photo taken from: NIE News website, Sep 2014

Misha is well aware she could not have reached these heights of her career, if she had not started off well. Indeed, she is grateful for the skills and knowledge she learnt during the ECH Diploma studies. She is of the view that the ECH course prepares students well in terms of theory and practical, and has laid the foundation for her to further develop her passion and her career. She has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education with Management in UniSIM and plans to study for a Master’s degree at NIE (National Institute of Education). We wish Misha well and are proud of her as an outstanding alumni of HMS.