I recently had the privilege of working alongside the team at The Asher-Solomon Centre for Development. I am a Year 10 student at the Australian International School Singapore. As part of finishing my IGCSE’s, I was required to choose an area of expertise to spend a week learning what it is like to be in a working environment.

To be honest, when I initially received my letter saying I was going to be spending a week at a child development centre I wasn’t exactly thrilled. All I thought I knew about this job was spending the day looking after children. I didn’t know about the relationships you build, the progress made and the excitement that goes on.. and the hard work involved!

Originally I wanted to do something physical or related to sport, since sport is always my main focus during school and leisure activities. I hadn’t heard much about Occupational Therapy or Speech and Language Therapy.

After doing my research, I learnt that Asher-Solomon Centre for Development isn’t what I thought it was. I love working and playing with children and this job sounded exactly like that. I knew that the next week was going to be something I would definitely remember.

During my week at the Asher-Solomon Centre, I experienced working with an array of therapists and witnessed their dedicated approach to supporting children with disabilities. I also had the privilege of working with some classes at The Winstedt School.

Some of the key things I experienced throughout my time at Asher-Solomon were:

  • One on one sessions working with children on specific occupational or speech and language difficulties compared to working with classes in their much bigger school environment.
  • Experiencing the happy and fun moments between the children and their therapist or teacher during a lesson.
  • Walking into the big gym with all those swings and the slide was something unique. The space and facilities provided seem to give the children something to look forward to throughout the day.
  • I now know how to handle and care for children and have more patience. This will also help me throughout my last two years of schooling! I admire the fact that all the therapists have such patience when it comes to unexpected behaviour and mischief.
  • I have learnt to have fun and embrace the laughter of the children around the centre.

The excitement on the children’s faces when they see their teacher or therapist is heart-warming. It shows the bond made between them. In the couple of the classes I attended the students were very welcoming and always made sure I was involved with their activities.

In the hallway I would sometimes walk past a student or child that I had attended a class or session with and they would say “Hi Ms Shaina”. That is something that really impacted me. It made me smile to know that I did something for them to remember my name.

It was interesting watching certain students become more confident over the week as I saw them in and out of class. I admire how all the therapists and teachers handle the children.

Working here for a week has been a fun and uplifting experience. I have loved every moment of it. It is inspirational what these people are doing for some families lives. Now that I have worked here and I know what it’s like in this environment my opinion has completely changed. I now know and believe that there is a lot of hard work that goes into this job but it’s all worth it seeing all the smiling faces throughout the day.

I am very grateful to have had this opportunity and delighted with my first experience in a working environment. It was lovely to work with all the therapists and teachers to understand first hand what it is like to do their job.

Shaina Kinneally
Year 10
Australian International School Singapore
2016