About Me

My name is Koo Yi Jie, a centre leader in one of Singapore's early childhood programs, and passionate early childhood advocate. As the saying goes, “it is easier to build a child than to rebuild an adult”, our work with young children is truly phenomenal. I have a Early Childhood Education Diploma (2013), Degree (2015) , and Masters in Education from NIE (2021) . I am a certified Adult Trainer (2022) , specialized in Early Childhood Content. For collaborations and content development, please feel free to email me at kooyijie@gmail.com.


Wednesday, December 28

T - 2 Life is about exploring pasta-bilities.

Counting down to more than 2 days till my work in a preschool setting is over. 10 years in a childcare setting, my work with 300 children across four months to six years, I am still so in love with my work. Ms. Yi Jie is a persona, a larger-than-life character that I hope impacted the lives of young children and families in Singapore.

I’ve gone through several character changes, from my worse to my best. I started my career working with toddlers. In my first year, I wrote about toddlers being terrible twos, I wrote about my inexperience with toddlers, and how my training (preliminary focused on older children) handicapped me, I wrote about my journey as a surviving fresh graduate. I cried many nights and managed threats from parents, managed a huge workload, large class size, and high expectations.  

Subsequently, I fell in love with each of these toddlers. Their characters, their growth, their milestones, and their personality made me excited to be at work every day. I’ve told stories about them to my then-boyfriend, and I was told that my eyes sparkle. I introduced him to my world of toddlers, their scribbles, baby talks, toddle waddle, and their hugs and kisses.

I was very lucky to have the opportunity to grow alongside my toddlers, I followed through with them till K2 (except when they were N2).  When I returned as their K1 teacher, they have grown up so much, they were no longer the toddlers I remembered, they matured into individuals, they had bright minds, they had loud personalities, they have parents who give them the world, they were my first loves.

That bond you have had with the children and parents for five years, we cried at the children’s graduation ceremony and on their last days. These children’s birthdays were a gentle reminder of our time together, and I wished them every year.

Throughout my teaching career, my proudest achievement would be my time with them, beyond the research papers and portfolios, it was the snippets of their first steps to their first stage, their first words to the first speech, I cannot bear to delete any of this footage, I hold so dearly.

Three lessons learnt:

  Always believe in our children, our words of affirmation at the right moment lights up their life

    Raise them to be kind, to be wonderful beings

  Guide the next generation and forgive the last generation, don’t bring generational trauma along.

In my fifth year of teaching, I felt stagnant and challenged myself to pursue Masters's in Early Childhood to remain relevant. I had a wonderful baby. I was blessed to be given an opportunity to be Principal. My work as a Principal, gave me high levels of anxiety, and it also challenges my mental thresholds. I honed my crisis management skills, problem-solving skills, and communications skills, playing an active role in the strategic and operational development of the centre. It was beyond pedagogy, it was being reflective and innovative to improve the teachers’ growth and uphold the quality of childcare in Singapore. As centre leaders, we ensure that the day to day operations run smoothly and mould each centre's unique culture. We are partnership builders as well, who leverage on community resources to provide our children and families with opportunities and unique experiences. Most importantly, we are educators at heart who impact critical skills, knowledge, and values to children to prepare them for today's challenges and tomorrow's problems. I learnt to be undaunted, to be resolute, to be bold and stand by my own conviction to continue to make a positive difference to the lives of your children. While I am writing this quick passage in midst of year-end appraisals, I can hear some children crying in my background, parents’ slamming the doors behind me, loud chatters, and some wiggletunes in my background, oh how I will miss this beautiful chaos.

Three lessons learnt:

  Be humble and be strong

Under-promise and over-deliver

  Sometimes no one has noticed how we really feel, whether we are okay or not, but with one mistake, everyone notices, so just be careful with our actions and words.

To end off with my favorite life  mantra: unbothered by storms, she became lightning. 
Keeping my voltages powerful 
Till next time. 

Sunday, September 4

A Different Kind of Teachers' Day

This is a great honor and humility for us to be featured on Strait Times Life C14-C15 Teachers' Day Editorial. Best Kind of Teachers' Day Gift for an Early Childhood Advocate. I hope that the write up continue to improve the lives of children and families in Singapore.

Saturday, July 2

Exciting Growth

In February, I have the opportunity to speak with leaders and soon-to-be leaders at the Project Showcase for EC Leaders 2022 (ECDA), I conducted a Peer Sharing about the conflict management styles at workplace and how can we manage interpersonal relationships at work. Asides from sharing knowledge, what inspires me was the ECDA Fellows who were there! It was such a fangirl moment to present alongside with these leaders who supports and inspires my professional growth all these years. It was nice to exchange tips and stories! I went on to collaborate with ECDA on a quote to share via Social Media Platform.  

In July, I am honored to conduct a Parent Workshop as an Associate Trainer with SEED Institute on Building a Child’s Langauge and Communication Skills. It was a platform for me to apply and practice my adult facilitator skills in terms of curating and delivering content. As of July, I am a official trained Adult Trainer so feel free to speak to me on potential ad-hoc collaborations! 

Wednesday, October 6

Just a refresher of who I am.


Thursday, March 4

Sharing of Infographics with Families/Parents/Professionals

 Here are some infographics that I/my team have co-created to support the parenting journey of our families. These includes post COVID19 transition strategies, stay healthy with handwashing techniques, love languages for young children. Hope these are useful for you as well! 

Tuesday, November 10

New life, new hype!

 In October 2020, I took a leadership role and I must say it has been a meaningful journey. At the start, there was a culture shock on how things were being done. After knowing the frameworks and centres’ needs, I begin to “enculturate” myself to fit into this new culture. Pedagogical leadership was tougher than it looks because every educator has their temperament and style. I am determined to improve and influence practices to increase the quality of care and education for the children.

A lot of “firefighting” and every day is filled with solving all kinds of problems, dealing with difficult situations, and making decisions. Thankfully, I have a wonderful work partner, she is supportive and passionate to bring forth wonderful practices. I am very tired but excited! Most importantly, I am so glad that the workplace is nearer to my house, I get to get home on time and spend more time with my sweetheart.

Thursday, September 17

Something professional, something personal


Something professional,

The decision to leave my teaching position was announced at an awfully bad timing for the school, during a re-branding and reshuffling of manpower. However, I had already decided since March 11, to leave the current teaching position for further options. I felt obligated to stay because I just served my maternity leave and because another one of my dear colleagues left. Upon my return, I could sense the changes I had as a teacher; I was tired of what I do every day (while I am good at what I do, dealing with their behaviors and planning activities, I was underwhelmed and under-stimulated). Also, my postpartum body is screaming in pain. My physical body was giving up. I spoke up and gave suggestions to the management, then again, change takes time, and some decisions supersede others.

5 years on, I had accomplished 250 Weekly Activity Plan, 250 Weekly Reports, 330 portfolios, 15 cycles of parent-teacher meeting, countless complaints, and appreciation, 5 teachers’ days, one baby, and one Masters of Education, I left this place that I hold dear to my heart. I have no regrets; I met wonderful teachers and mentors, I made friends for life, I honed my pedagogical knowledge, and I became a better version of who I was.  

Now, I can add “5 years 5 months / English Teacher” on my Resume. Further, I add “Deputy Principal” to my name. It still feels surreal, being called a principal. My spouse said my title is wonderful and deserving. I thought the road ahead will be tougher than ever.

No worries, a part of me (literally my offspring) is still at the place I loved. Baby Hansel loves school, he is beginning to develop friendships with others, he loves to explore in the space, and he feels secure. As a parent, I am happy for him.  


Something personal,

Ever since my return to work, my colleagues and my friends have been asking me how I am doing. I am doing okay, passable. My priorities changed quite a bit. Knowing that I am enrolling in a two year Master’s Program, our plans for our firstborn was postponed. After all, I was only 26, childbearing can wait. However, my period did not come for almost a year (it did not occur to me too, because it was so convenient to be period-free), hence I was given a hormonal pill to induce the period. I thought of tracking ovulation but man, the hormones drive my ovulation sticks nut. So, we did not bother. Plus, to track ovulation, you need your last menstrual cycle which I did not have any!

So, we did what couples do. We were married for … one and a half years (I think). On 1st June, I felt horrible and we tested for pregnancy, and we cannot believe our eyes and ears and mouth and nose! We went to the polyclinic to verify as it was confirmed. We begin the journey of monthly check-up, morning sickness, vitamins, gained 15 kg, went to A&E, cervixes check-up, and got induced. Poof, Hansel was born a healthy and strong boy in January 2020 after ten-hour labor. He came to us as a gift, hence his name (“Gift from God”). At my postpartum check-up, the doctor asked, “how did it happen?” I threw the question back at him, “you tell me, you are the one who went medical school”.

Hansel was, indeed, daddy’s fastest swimmer.

Saturday, August 29

Mid-Point Check with Masters Education

In the past two years, I have been pursuing my Masters in Education (Early Childhood) with the National Institute of Education and I enjoyed myself so much. It got me reflecting and thinking of theories, changes, recommendations, and many more. Here are some infographics created from my reflections and readings! Yes, literature reviews and research are unavoidable; I am working on Developing Effective Mentoring Program and Transition from Preschool to Primary School. Final ten weeks, let’s go!


Wednesday, January 1

Ushering the New Year

To usher in the new year, we have been redesigning our classroom environment! Here are some photos of the Nursery Class, it is still a work in progress. We can't wait for the New Year! 

Year End Event (2019)

This year has been pretty special to me. While I did participate in Year-End Event before, I found this year’s event the more meaningful of them all. Of course, this bunch of children has been the dearest to me, being with them since they were toddlers! We held a two-day event – A K2 Graduation Party for the families only, and a Carnival for the entire school. To know more about the event, here is the documentation that I’ve written for this year’s event😊

We all have different gifts, so we all have different ways of saying to the world who we are - Fred Rogers

At the Cove, we take on the lens of the socio-constructivist approach where children are active participants in their learning and learning is co-constructed with the children and families through experience, routines, and interactions. Through the process of Year-End Event, children are facilitated to think of their own ideas and beliefs before listening and communicating with others. As we kick-start the planning process of Year-End Event, we posed questions to our children for them to be aware of their needs and interests – What are you good at? What is the class comfortable in doing? It was an experience that invited our children to identify and reflect on their own ideas and opinions. As a class, we shortlisted possibilities that we would like to pursue such as games, art, and food. Their responses were that a Year-End Event is “about growing up”, “about being happy”, “a celebration for us”, “showing others what we can do”.  Their responses tell us that the event is a joyous occasion to celebrate as well as to showcase. They also talked about how the event is to for us to “say bye-bye”, and “to say thank you to all our friends and teachers”. Finally, they also talked about it being an event to make daddy and mummy proud.

Why are we having a Carnival? What are the values of our Carnival?

We teach who we are - John Gardner

The teachers went on to think about what some learning dispositions are we want to infuse in the process. We would like to provide opportunities for children to invent, innovate and imagine, to collaborate and be compassionate, to celebrate and enjoy. We want to help children see the possibilities of a Carnival to embed their interest in Game, Food, and Art alongside with these learning dispositions. Further, the possibilities of having a Carnival allow children to apply their structured skills to strength the emergent project. The planning process allows for play and interaction experiences, which act as vehicles for learning and opportunities for authentic assessment. For example, poster-making, writing, reading, and measuring.

What are our plans? How did we do it?

Beyond just games, art and food, the class teachers deepen the concepts with two key learning points in the English Curriculum. The concept of the Ugly Food, a K1 Emergent Project, and our ABC Book, a K2 Literacy Project, was included in the repertoire of ideas.

Our plans with Ugly Food Booth – Presenting our children’s voices

At the initial stage of our Ugly Food Booth, We looked at the planning process we need to make this idea to fruition. Our children recalled Aunty Wendy, a Singapore Food Rescue Volunteer, who shared about Ugly Food and though the food looks ugly, it tastes the same as the others. Thus, we wrote to the Singapore Food Rescue to ask for carrots, potatoes, and fruits that no one wants, so we can make carrot cake, mashed potato and fruit juice to sell. Though the Singapore Food Rescue was not able to contribute and commit with us, we managed to work with the Singapore Ugly Food Rescue on our mini-project. The Singapore Ugly Food visited our classroom and took this opportunity to review the recipes our children had created while sharing about edible and non-edible ugly food! With our edited recipes, we experimented with the flavors in school with our friends and teachers. We, then, invited all our families to help to design the recipes that will be put up on display at the Carnival.

In the last few weeks leading up to the Carnival, we shortlisted the materials (e.g. signboard, tables, bins) and equipment (e.g. juicer, blender) we need for our Ugly Food Booth. As a class, we considered where would be an ideal location to host our booth. After thoughtful discussion, consideration of needs of younger children, scouting of venue around the school, our friends decided to host our booth at the outdoor area, behind the blue house. The location was chosen as it has hand-washing basins, electrical power points, and sufficient space to place our fruits and signage. Based on their layout plan, they worked together to draw and describe the positioning of the materials and equipment (e.g. in front of, next, behind, besides) within the space. We went on to use play dough to make our plans into three-dimensional artwork to check if the layout was possible as well. 

Our plans with our ABC Book – Presenting our children’s thinking

Lively intellectual curiosities turn the world into an exciting laboratory and keep one ever a learner – Lucy Mitchell

Considering our children’s strong interest in books, we have been embarking on a few authors’ studies to help us identify the different writing styles and illustrations. We went on to read and explore more writing styles by Shel Silverstein. Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl. As we continue to explore the different types of writing styles, we were inspired by Oliver Jeffers’ writing style in “Once Upon an Alphabet” – when the beginning letter helps starts the story. In the process, our children shared, “A is for Aunty Susan, she cooks for us every day”, “A is also for Aunty Wendy, who teaches us about Ugly food”, “B is for Butterfly, for taking care of it and setting it free”. It was a meaningful process as we contribute to our most significant moments in our preschool years in an alphabetical manner. In the process, we faced a huge challenge in finding words that comes up with X, Y, Z – it took us four weeks to come up with the ideal words but we did not give up. We went on to write, illustrate, edit and finally publish it.

Our plans with our Graduating Performance – Presenting our children’s repertoire of movements ideas

As we inched closer to our Graduation Party, we observed how our children are exhibiting different movement repertoire through the different children’s songs. We saw them engaged in different levels (high, low, and middle), speed (fast and slow) and direction (forward, backward, sideways). Hence, we introduced an empowering lyrical song to our children – “Roar” by Katy Perry and invited them to use their movement to represent ideas they have. Our children shared that the song is a hopeful reminder on being ourselves, to stand up whenever we fall down and be fearless in overcoming obstacles.

Teachers’ Reflection: Who are they? What have we achieved thus far?

As their teachers, we understand their individual temperament and traits and it got us thinking about how we should facilitate them in the process of planning and carrying it out. We noticed that our children have many great ideas, but they do not follow through their plan. We quickly identified that our children need to know how to make good decisions and follow a plan, albeit a poor plan. Hence, we were excited to use the idea of a Carnival to help facilitate them to plan, decide and improve on their work. They learn that work takes time and hard work pays off. Most importantly, they show their sense of inventiveness and perseverance in their work. Beyond just contented faces, it was gratifying to support our children in making their ideas into realities.