10 October 2020
BOOSTING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF PRESCHOOL EDUCATORS, ENHANCING OUTDOOR LEARNING FOR CHILDREN AND EXPANDING KIDSTART TO MORE FAMILIES
At the Early Childhood Conference 2020 today, Minister for Social and Family Development Mr Masagos Zulkifli announced new initiatives to support our preschool professionals, children and families. These initiatives build on the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA)’s continuing efforts to strengthen the development of EC educators, improve the quality of preschool programmes, and provide greater support for children with additional needs.
Enhancing Support for Professional Development of Our Educators
2. Building on existing initiatives to uplift the profession, ECDA will further support EC educators in developing their skills and enhancing career progression in two key ways:(a) Review the Skills Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE); and
(b) Develop a Continuing Professional Development Roadmap for educators.
Review of the Skills Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education
3. ECDA, together with SkillsFuture Singapore, will embark on a review of the Skills Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). Launched in 2016, the ECCE Skills Framework spells out the career pathways and competencies required for various job roles in the EC sector. ECDA will be reviewing the job roles and career pathways in the ECCE Skills Framework to better guide EC educators on skills upgrading and career development opportunities. The revised ECCE Skills Framework will also guide preschools in the design and implementation of their HR management and talent development initiatives and enable training providers to review and innovate their training programmes to suit the needs of the EC sector.
4. In addition, ECDA will set out the skills and career pathways for Learning Support Educators (LSEds) and Early Intervention Teachers in the revised ECCE Skills Framework. This addition underscores the importance of stronger partnership between Early Childhood and Early Intervention educators as we strive to make our preschools more inclusive. The revised ECCE Skills Framework seeks to encourage porosity between Early Childhood and Early Intervention educators. The revised framework will also steer greater harmonisation of training programmes to facilitate the movement of Early Childhood educators and Early Intervention educators across the different career pathways. More details on the refreshed ECCE Skills Framework are scheduled to be announced in the second half of 2021.
Development of Continuing Professional Development Roadmap for Educators
5. In tandem with the review of the ECCE Skills Framework, ECDA will develop a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Roadmap to help guide the professional development of EC educators. The CPD Roadmap will set out key clusters of competencies that reflect short to medium term priorities for the sector. EC educators may refer to the CPD Roadmap to guide them in planning their professional development. This year’s ECC theme, social-emotional learning, reflects one of these priority areas. More details about the CPD Roadmap are targeted for the second half of 2021.
6. In addition, ECDA is working with the National Institute for Early Childhood Development (NIEC) to deepen the focus on inclusive practices in both pre-service and in-service training courses. This will help to strengthen EC educators’ capabilities to care for children with diverse learning needs in their classrooms.
Enhancing Outdoor Learning for Our Children
7. In a child’s early years, it is important to go beyond ABCs and 123s to focus on the physical and social-emotional development of our children for quality preschool experiences. At the Early Childhood Conference 2019, ECDA announced initiatives to build more outdoor learning spaces in HDB estates and parks, as well as the provision of resources and training for EC educators to conduct outdoor learning.
8. With the support of Temasek Foundation, ECDA will be introducing an Outdoor Learning Training Programme to further support preschools and educators in implementing outdoor learning for preschool children. This includes organising peer sharing sessions for EC educators to share their experiences in conducting outdoor learning, as well as advanced training courses for educators and trainers who attended the Master Training sessions in Outdoor Learning in 2019. The Programme will also provide an Outdoor Learning Resource Fund to support selected centres in the implementation of outdoor learning, and carry out a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the Outdoor Learning Training Programme at these centres. 9. ECDA will be launching the Outdoor Learning Resource Fund in early 2021. More details on how centres can participate will be released to the sector later this year.
Expanding KidSTART to More Regions to Benefit More Families
10. Under the KidSTART programme, ECDA provides upstream, holistic support to children aged 0 to 6 from low-income families. Since April 2020, we have raised the monthly household income ceiling for KidSTART eligibility to $2,500, up from $1,900 previously.
11. KidSTART currently benefits over 1,000 children from low-income families in a few regions and was expanded to Woodlands and Bedok earlier this year to benefit more families1. ECDA will continue to expand KidSTART to reach another 5,000 children over the next 3 years. In support of this effort, ECDA will extend KidSTART to Yishun, Sembawang and Ang Mo Kio in 2021.
12. As the Government steps up support for children from low-income families, there is active community interest to complement these efforts. The ‘Growing Together with KidSTART’ initiative, which was announced in September 2019, has seen interested corporates and individuals stepping forward to provide community support for KidSTART families. KidSTART has since received $1.2 million in donations and $190,000 worth of in-kind sponsorship of groceries and connectivity devices for the online engagements with families. Some corporate and individual partners have also expressed interest in volunteering regularly to support specific KidSTART communities.
1The current KidSTART regions are Kreta Ayer/Bukit Merah, Taman Jurong/Boon Lay, Bedok/Geylang Serai, and Woodlands.
ENHANCED OUTDOOR LEARNING EXPERIENCES
1. How is Temasek Foundation involved in the Outdoor Learning Training Programme?
Temasek Foundation has stepped forward as a community partner to provide funding support for the Outdoor Learning Training Programme. This is part of their efforts to support innovation and build capabilities in preschools under the Temasek Foundation GROWOutdoors Programme.
2. What will be covered under the Outdoor Learning Training Programme?
Under the Outdoor Learning Training Programme, ECDA and Temasek Foundation will introduce the following initiatives to support preschools and teachers in the implementation of outdoor learning programmes:
• More Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses on outdoor learning to deepen preschool educators’ capabilities in conducting outdoor learning for children• Advanced Training for trainers and educators who have already attended the Master Training Programme in 2019
• Peer sharing sessions to allow preschool educators to share expertise and experience in outdoor learning
• Outdoor Learning Resource Fund for selected preschools to purchase teaching and learning resources related to outdoor learning; and an evaluation study to determine the effectiveness of the Outdoor Learning Training Programme at these selected centres.
3. What does the Outdoor Learning Resource Fund entail and how can I apply for it?
Preschools will be invited to apply for the Outdoor Learning Resource Fund. The resource fund can be used to purchase additional teaching and learning resources to aid in preschools’ implementation of outdoor learning. The fund can also be used to purchase physical equipment to enhance the outdoor learning experiences of the children. Together with these preschools, we will also conduct a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the Outdoor Learning Training efforts. More details on the Outdoor Learning Resource Fund, including the application process, will be released to the sector later this year.