Learning Never Ends for EC Educators
Learning is a lifelong process. To support EC educators in their professional development, ECDA provides many opportunities such as the 2-day "Healthy Eating for Children" course conducted by Republic Polytechnic that Ms Tai Pei Wen, an early childhood educator from PCF Sparkletots at Punggol West Blk 271A, attended.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) embraces the idea that individuals should constantly improve in their professional skills and knowledge in order to become better in what they do. Quality CPD courses for educators are necessary to deepen their pedagogical skills and grow professionally as effective teachers. Studies have shown that sustained professional development for educators is associated with positive teacher behaviour and child outcomes. When designed well, these learning opportunities can help early childhood educators master content, hone their teaching skills and address some of the challenges faced in the classroom.
ECDA strongly encourages educators to complete at least 20 hours of CPD per year. Educators can choose to attend CPD courses, participate in Professional Development Programmes (PDP) and initiatives organised by ECDA, or consider other modes of professional development such as blended learning, peer sharing and learning journeys. Early childhood educators can log into ONE@ECDA, the one-stop portal for course registrations and update their CPD portfolios.
Despite her busy daily schedule, Tai Pei Wen, an early childhood educator from PCF Sparkletots @ Punggol West Blk 271A, still found the time to attend “Healthy Eating for Children”, a CPD course she found on ONE@ECDA during a regular discussion with her principal. To Pei Wen, CPD courses are important learning opportunities, where she can acquire new knowledge and ideas. Her efforts are encouraged by her organisation as PCF Sparkletots works towards providing staff opportunities for professional development. She elaborated that such courses can also help refresh her prior knowledge and skills that have been out of practice and apply them to her work.
Similarly, Felicia Ng, Pei Wen’s Centre Principal who encouraged her to attend the course, felt that “there are a lot of benefits for letting Pei Wen attend the Healthy Eating Course”. She shared that PCF Sparkletots is always looking at ways to help teachers expand their skillset and grow in terms of professional development by attending such courses.
While the ‘Healthy Eating for Children’ CPD course was a relatively new course then, both Felicia and Pei Wen thought that it would be interesting for Pei Wen to attend and find out what it has to offer. Felicia added that she was always “concerned about children’s’ fussy choice of food and (is constantly looking for) ways to help them eat a healthy and balanced meal”. In other words, the course was a good opportunity for Pei Wen to broaden her knowledge in terms of meal planning, cultivating healthy eating habits in children and meeting the nutritional needs of children, which she will learn and share it with her colleagues.
“Using what I had learned from the CPD course, I set out to implement it in the classroom. The objectives I set for the lesson were to get children to learn about the three basic food groups - the meat group, the fruits and vegetables group and lastly, the brown rice and wholemeal bread group,” shared Pei Wen. As a lesson starter, both early childhood educator and children will sing ‘The Healthy Eating Song’ before the educator introduces the children to the three basic food groups based on ‘HPB’s ‘My Healthy Plate’ . In her class, the children were encouraged to share some examples of food that belong to the different categories through a picture sorting game. This served as a reflection of the children’s understanding of the ‘My Healthy Plate’ model. What really heartened her was that following the lesson, some of the children mentioned that they were going to sing the healthy eating song with their parents and that they would eat more fruits and vegetables.
Pei Wen felt that in order to cultivate healthy eating habits in children, it is important that both early childhood educators and parents serve as role models. “When eating with children, we should demonstrate appropriate eating behaviours and make conscious decisions to consume healthier food.” She noted that the dining environment plays a key part in encouraging healthy eating habits in children. “Ideally, the environment should be stress-free and non-distracting so that children could focus on eating during meal times.”
As she reflected on her learning from the course, Pei Wen appreciated that “the process enabled us to learn from the lecturer and fellow educators. Using what we have learned, we can apply new knowledge and share our learnings with our colleagues, who may potentially benefit from our sharing”.
EMBARK ON CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TODAY!
To find out more about the course, ‘Healthy Eating for Children’, login to One@ECDA and search for the course.
Download a copy of ECDA’s Prospectus to explore the full list of CPD courses that you can sign up for! The Prospectus is updated on a quarterly basis so do check back regularly for the updated list of CPD courses.
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