Enhancing the potential of children

Dr Mercy Jesuvadian is driven to research how families can be empowered to achieve greater growth for their young

Dr Mercy Jesuvadian says that the PhD journey can be lonely, but she had the support and care of faculty members.
Dr Mercy Jesuvadian says that the PhD journey can be lonely, but she had the support and care of faculty members. PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

As a trained teacher with the Ministry of Education, Dr Mercy Jesuvadian taught history and social studies for gifted students at the secondary level.

However, she decided to switch to the field of early childhood education in 2005, fuelled by her deep interest to understand how the socio-emotional development of young children can be enhanced through play in their early years.

So she pursued a Master of Education (Early Childhood) that year, followed by a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Early Childhood Education to focus on studying the role of parenting in child development in 2008.

Says Dr Jesuvadian: “I wanted to learn more and build the knowledge base on how significant adults and social organs can enhance the potential of a child regardless of the social capital that the child experiences, particularly in Singapore.”

The 43-year-old is now a lecturer with the Early Childhood and Special Needs (ECSE) Academic Group at the National Institute of Education at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

Crucial support

Dr Jesuvadian is concerned with how families can be equipped to build the capacity of children by recognising and developing the innate strengths that every family possesses, through the collective effort of both community and state.

She believes schoolteachers and leaders need to be proactive in reaching out to the parenting and caregiving communities.

It is evident to her that a clear partnership between the family and school system is vital to develop a child’s potential.

Dr Jesuvadian relates this notion of having strong support to her own PhD journey when she received guidance by the faculty of ECSE at NIE.

She explains: “A PhD journey can be lonely as students grapple with the theoretical aspects of their study along with issues related to research design, data collection, ethics and data analysis.

“A supportive supervisory team that is professional, knowledgeable and able to empower learners is an important factor for successful PhD completion.

“My journey as a PhD student also coincided with personal life challenges.

“The support and care I received throughout my supervision process was the key reason I could meet the demands of a PhD with NTU.”