Launch of Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (SPARK) Quality Rating Scale for 0-6 Years Old
13 Sep 2019
112 more preschools awarded SPARK certification in 2019
The new SPARK Quality Rating Scale (QRS) for 0-6 years was officially launched today at the Early Childhood Conference 2019, organised by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA). 112 preschools also received their SPARK certificates from Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education Ms Low Yen Ling. This brings the total number of SPARK-certified centres to 951, or more than half of the sector.
2 SPARK is a quality assurance framework that serves as a benchmark for preschools to assess and continually raise the quality of their programmes. With SPARK, parents have greater assurance of the quality of the preschool their child is enrolled in. As part of the SPARK certification process, preschools will first use the QRS as a self-appraisal tool to help them evaluate the quality of their programmes. They will then undergo rigorous assessment by ECDA using the QRS to ensure that processes and systems are in place to deliver positive development outcomes for their children. Preschools who meet the required standards will be given the SPARK certification or commendation.
3 Since its inception, SPARK has used a QRS that assesses programmes for children aged 4 to 6 years old. Last year, a QRS for programmes for younger children (0-3 years old) was introduced for self-appraisal. The new QRS (0-6) launched today integrates the QRS for 4-6 and the QRS for 0-3 into a single instrument, providing a more holistic approach in assessing the quality of preschools’ early childhood programmes, for the entire spectrum of child development from infants to 6 years old. From 2020, all preschools will use the new QRS (0-6) for self-appraisal and assessment, as part of the SPARK certification process.
4 Ms Low noted that even as the Government strives to make preschools more affordable and accessible, it is important to continually raise the quality of preschool education. “A holistic approach to early childhood development is key to nurturing happy, healthy children, and building strong foundations for their future,” Ms Low said. “With SPARK covering the entire spectrum of child development from 0 to 6 years old, I am confident that we are moving in the right direction.”
1. What is the Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (SPARK)?
SPARK is a voluntary quality assurance framework to raise the quality of preschools in Singapore. Preschools are strongly encouraged to participate as attaining a good quality rating is an endorsement of the holistic quality of the preschool.
2. What does SPARK assess?
The SPARK certification assesses preschools in the following areas: leadership, planning and administration, staff management, resources, curriculum, pedagogy, and health, hygiene and safety.
3. What is SPARK Commendation and how many centres are certified with Commendation?
Preschools which meet quality standards in areas evaluated under the SPARK framework will be given the SPARK certification. In 2015, the SPARK (Commendation) category was introduced to recognise SPARK-certified centres which achieve even higher quality standards in teaching and learning practices. 3 preschools received SPARK (Commendation) in 2019. To date, 73 centres are certified with Commendation.
4. What is the Quality Rating Scale (QRS)?
The QRS is a self-appraisal tool that helps preschools evaluate the quality of their education programmes for children and work towards achieving positive outcomes for the children. It is also a tool for external assessment of centres for quality assurance and quality improvement.
5. How is the Quality Rating Scale (0-6) different from the previous versions of the QRS? Why is there a need for a new tool?
The new QRS (0-6) integrates the Updated Edition of the QRS for children aged 4-6 (“QRS-Update”), which was introduced in 2017, and the 0-3 section for children aged three years and under, which was developed for centres’ self-appraisal in 2018, into a single instrument. With items and indicators integrated and streamlined, supported with additional notes and examples, the QRS (0-6) provides a more complete tool for assessment of early childhood programmes for all ages from 0-6 years old. The new QRS (0-6) is part of ECDA’s continual effort to better support centres’ and parents’ needs, and to raise the quality of the preschool sector.
6. When will the QRS (0-6) be used for assessment?
The QRS (0-6) will be used for SPARK assessment from January 2020 onwards. This will apply to new applications and centres whose certification is due for renewal.