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From learning to teaching at Wheelock College-Singapore

Drizzle Hshieh brought her Wheelock education to Singapore’s working world of early childhood education. And now she is bringing it back to Wheelock to help current students to prepare for their own similar journey teaching Singapore’s youngest learners.

Drizzle graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Educational Studies and Leadership, and completed a summer immersion program in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2009. She completed her Master of Science and Early Childhood Education degree from Wheelock College in 2015.

Her expertise focuses around curriculum design, assessment, and development – which she puts to use as curriculum mentor at Odyssey, a preschool chain with locations across Singapore as well as in Penang and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

Drizzle Hshieh, left, with Wheelock Singapore executive director Beth Fredericks

Drizzle Hshieh, left, with Wheelock Singapore executive director Beth Fredericks

In that role, “Miss Drizzle” as she is popularly called, works with young children and their families, and is a strong advocate of parental involvement in the child’s learning process. As curriculum mentor, Drizzle fosters a close partnership with her teachers to better influence and guide them in facilitating and enhancing the children’s progress and development.

Now she adds to her current work an additional role, teaching this year’s Wheelock seniors to help preschoolers learn how to use technology to navigate the world they are just discovering.

Starting in August, Drizzle will be teaching the EDU352 module known as Information Technology in Early Childhood Education.

“Learning so much from Wheelock, experiencing so much with Wheelock, it changed the way I learned things,” Drizzle says. “Now having the chance to go back as faculty, it’s a huge honor and part of a huge exciting journey.”

To Drizzle, experience-based learning is key – early learners will best learn from the things that they connect with and put their hands on.

She sees technology as an interactive tool that teachers and parents can tap on to enhance not on their children’s but also their own teaching and learning.

“Technology is not just about ICT. There are so many topics and opportunities we can look into. But mostly importantly, we want to focus on how students can relate to it and learn. A teacher has to be a facilitator to help make it connect, to help make it apply to them.”

Exposing children to IT an early age gives them familiarity with skills that will be required when they go to primary school. The child’s world has IT incorporated into so many elements of daily life.

“I want students to experience it, not just hear from me what the benefits are, but when you experience it from exploring the apps and the websites you use, you make your own learning that is unique to you, and understand how this is applicable.”

For example, tapping on the topic of the currently popular game Pokemon Go which can be a tool for children to learn geography, how to navigate neighborhoods, to explore, and even get exercise.

Drizzle credits her Wheelock training with encouraging her intellectual curiosity and critical thinking.

“It’s about asking the right questions. Sometimes by asking the right questions I help myself to understand, and I provoke others to reflect.”

Says Wheelock Singapore Executive Director Beth Fredericks: “Drizzle was a member of the very first full-time Bachelor’s cohort at Wheelock-Singapore. She is one of many talented, devoted early childhood leaders still very active in the field almost ten years later. We are thrilled to have Drizzle as an instructor this year, teaching a module that is critical to children developing skills for the 21st century.”

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