GOVERNMENT TO SET ASIDE OVER $5 MILLION IN THE NEXT THREE YEARS TO DEVELOP LEADERS IN THE EARLY CHILDHOOD SECTOR

181 promising leaders and 22 pinnacle leaders appointed​​ 

5 April 2018


1.   The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) appointed the first batch of 181 participants for the Professional Development Programme (PDP) for Leaders. ECDA also appointed 8 new ECDA Fellows and re-appointed all 14 ECDA Fellows from the pioneer batch in 2015. These 22 pinnacle leaders will work with ECDA to champion quality improvements and professional growth of leaders in the early childhood sector. Over $5 million will be set aside in the next three years to develop leaders in the early childhood sector through the above schemes.

2.   Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Desmond Lee, announced the new PDP for Leaders and second call for ECDA Fellows in October 2017. At the appointment ceremony today, Mr Lee emphasised the importance of further developing the professional competencies of leaders in the early childhood sector, so that they can work with fellow teachers to provide a good start for every child.

Developing the Next Generation of Promising Leaders
3.   PDP for Leaders is the latest addition to the PDP suite to support early childhood educators at key milestones of their careers. PDP for Teachers was launched in 2016 and PDP for Educarers was launched in 2017. Currently, there are more than 500 educators on the PDP for Teachers and Educarers. Through the PDP for Leaders, Centre Leaders and Lead Teachers will be equipped to lead their centres in quality practices, such as organisational and curriculum leadership. They will be exposed to a diverse range of learning opportunities, which include core training, professional sharing with other early childhood leaders, local conferences and learning journeys. Those on the programme can also go on an ECDA-funded overseas study trip to learn from international best practices. 

4.   During the three-year programme, leaders will continue to work at their existing centres. They will be awarded $15,000 in total, with the completion of the yearly programme and service milestones. Examples of these milestones include leading their centre in projects or mentoring other centres, completion of compulsory modules, and applying learning acquired overseas to the local context, as well as remaining with their nominating organisation 6 months after the end of each PDP year. 

Growing the Fraternity of Pinnacle Leaders
5.   Over the past three years, the pioneer batch of 14 ECDA Fellows has been working closely with ECDA to train and mentor other early childhood  professionals beyond their own centres, through initiatives such as Inquiry Based Action Plan (IBAP) Projects. They have also helped to develop quality curriculum and leadership resources for the sector, and conduct public seminars for parents with preschool children. More than 1,000 early childhood practitioners have attended training and sharing sessions by the ECDA Fellows.

6.   Moving forward, this larger fraternity of pinnacle leaders will continue with their sector-level roles to spearhead initiatives, share their expertise, and inspire and nurture the next generation of early childhood leaders. They will also continue to benefit from many professional development opportunities, and receive an annual allowance of $9,000 in recognition of their contributions. 

Annex A​​
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION

Professional Development Programme for Leaders
1. Who can qualify for the PDP for Leaders?
Centre Leaders or Lead Teachers1 can be nominated for the programme, as long as they meet the competencies described under the Skills Framework for Early Childhood Care & Education and the following eligibility criteria: 
   a. Preferably have at least three years of leadership experience (for Centre Leaders officially appointed as Principals) or 5 years of teaching experience
       (for Lead Teachers) in the early childhood sector;
   b. Be currently employed in a preschool registered or licensed with ECDA;
   c. Be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident; and
   d. Be nominated by their current operator
Those who assume roles such as Deputy Centre Leaders or equivalent and meet the necessary competencies can also be nominated for this programme.

2. What are the progression pathways for participants on the PDP for Leaders?
The PDP for Leaders seeks to groom educators to be competent Senior Centre Leaders and Senior Lead Teachers.

3. What can leaders look forward to under the PDP for Leaders [PDP(L)]?
PDP(L) is a three-year, 180-hour structured professional development (PD) programme for leaders. It supports early childhood (EC) leaders in their career
progression and provides opportunities for them to broaden their perspectives, deepen knowledge and hone competencies in areas of professional interest.
Professional development under the PDP(L) include:
   a. Compulsory Modules: Deepen knowledge and skills through modules specially curated to help participants better understand key trends,
       recent 
early childhood research, leadership styles and reflective practices.
   b. Projects: Lead teams on projects such as Innovation Grant, Practitioner Inquiry and other centre-initiated projects, or lead other centres under the Mentor     
       Centre Initiative. 
Participants will also have the opportunity to learn from ECDA Fellows by participating in projects that the Fellows lead.
   c. ECDA-Funded Overseas Study Trip: Embark on an overseas experience in the second or third year to learn best practices as a group, reflect on own
       practices and apply learning to local context.
   d. Continuing Professional Development activities:
       i.  Electives: Choose from courses that are aligned to the 4 skills categories within the Skills Framework for ECCE. This includes inhouse CPD courses
           conducted by centres/HQ.
       ii.  Local Learning Journey/ Work Attachment/ Conferences:
            Participants may initiate and embark on learning journeys and work attachments based on their learning interests, and attend conferences to broaden
            perspectives.
       iii.  Learning Communities/ Leadership Symposium/ Community of EC Leaders events: Network, problem-solve and exchange good practices with fellow   
            leaders in the EC fraternity through leadership platforms.
Participants can expect to receive an annual award amounting to $15,000 over three years. Participants must fulfil programme milestones and remain with their nominating organisation 6 months after the end of each PDP year in order to qualify.

4. How does ECDA support leaders in terms of funding for programme components?
The compulsory modules and CPD courses, including recommended electives will be subsidised by either ECDA or SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). For Innovation Grant and Practitioner Inquiry projects, participating preschools will receive funding from ECDA to support the project implementation. Mentor centres under the Innovation Mentor Initiative will also receive funding to carry out their roles. For the ECDA-funded overseas study trip, each participant will be eligible for a one-time funding. 

5. When is the next nomination period for the next batch of PDP(L)?
The next nomination window for the PDP will be in the second half of 2018. 

1 Centre Leaders are senior early childhood professionals overseeing the overall management of a preschool. Lead Teachers are senior teachers who typically drive the preschool’s teaching and learning approaches, and take on active roles in the mentoring of beginning teachers, or teachers with new roles​.

Annex B​

ECDA Fellows Programme
1. What is the objective of the ECDA Fellows Programme?
First introduced in 2015, the ECDA Fellows Programme aims to recognise senior early childhood leaders (i.e. Senior Centre Leader/Senior Lead Teacher) who
display exemplary leadership and expertise, and creates opportunities for them to drive quality improvements in the sector. It also contributes to greater career development opportunities for seasoned leaders in the sector.

2. How are ECDA Fellows selected?
ECDA Fellows are appointed based on the following selection criteria: 
   a. Deep expertise in the field of early childhood care and education
   b. Strong leadership in developing quality practices for the sector and building a culture of professionalism, collaboration, trust and teamwork among the early
       childhood fraternity
   c. Exemplary professionalism that would make them good role models for other early childhood educators

3. How does ECDA provide support to the ECDA Fellows?
ECDA will work with each ECDA Fellow on the sector-level roles he or she will play during the appointment term. As far as possible, ECDA will match these roles to the ECDA Fellow’s areas of interest and expertise. ECDA also supports ECDA Fellows with various professional development opportunities, which include a milestone course for newly appointed ECDA Fellows, an overseas study trip and professional development grant during their three-year term. In recognition of their contributions, ECDA Fellows each receive a Service Recognition Allowance of $9,000 if they complete an average of 100 sector-level
service hours per year. 

4. Can the new ECDA Fellows be re-appointed after their first appointment term ends?
The newly appointed ECDA Fellows will be on a three-year term, subject to confirmation upon the first year of service. Similar to the first batch of ECDA Fellows, there is an option to be re-appointed after their first term.​ 

Annex C

List of Appointed ECDA Fellows
Newly Appointed Fellows:​ 

Reappointed Fellows:​ ​

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