Press Releases

New initiatives to Groom Leaders and Uplift Quality in the Early Childhood Sector

06 Oct 2017

1. A new Professional Development Programme (PDP) for Leaders, a fresh call for pinnacle leaders for the early childhood sector, and the launch of a guide for Educarers were among the key announcements made by Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Desmond Lee, at the Early Childhood Conference 2017. An annual event organised by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), the conference was attended by over 1,200 preschool educators this year. The theme for this year’s Conference was “Inspiring Leadership: Nurturing the Future”.​

2. The initiatives build on efforts to transform the early childhood profession as outlined at the National Day Rally in August this year, and will enhance the career prospects for early childhood practitioners.

New Professional Development Programme For Leaders

3. The new Professional Development Programme (PDP) for Leaders will equip Centre Leaders and Lead Teachers with professional learning support to lead their centres in quality practices, be it in organisational or curriculum leadership. 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.​

Leaders on the PDP 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 about international best practices.

During the three-year programme, leaders will continue to work at their existing centres and earn a salary. In addition to the ECDA-funded overseas trip, they will also receive cash incentives of up to $15,000 in total, with the completion of the yearly programme and service milestones.

6. To join the PDP for Leaders, candidates need to be nominated by their employers and assessed by ECDA. Nominations for the first batch are now open till 8 December 2017, with the programme scheduled to begin in the first half of 2018. Please refer to Annex A for details.​

Fresh Call for Nominations for ECDA Fellows Programme 

7. To provide more career progression opportunities for our leaders and drive quality improvements in the sector, ECDA is opening the ECDA Fellows Programme to new applicants. First introduced in 2015, the ECDA Fellows Programme recognises experienced early childhood leaders (i.e. Senior Centre Leaders or Senior Lead Teachers) who display exemplary leadership and expertise, and provides opportunities for them to drive quality improvements in the sector and support the development of the fraternity of Early Childhood leaders.

8. ECDA Fellows take on sector-level roles such as leading master classes and workshops, mentoring centre leaders and senior teachers beyond their centres, and guiding centres to deliver quality curricula. They also benefit from many professional development opportunities, and receive an annual allowance of $9,000 in recognition of their contributions. There are currently 14 ECDA Fellows. The next round of application is now open till 31 October 2017. Please refer to Annex B for details. 

New Resources for Early Years    

9. In consultation with early childhood educators, ECDA has developed an Early Years Development Framework (EYDF) Educarers’ Guide which comprises best practices, tips and activities on child development for the Early Years. The guide will benefit both educarers (i.e. early childhood professionals who work with infants, toddlers, and nursery-aged children) and centre leaders. It contains resources to help educarers strengthen their interactions with younger children, and also support centre leaders as they lead their teams in reflection and application of best practices (see Annex C).  

Annex A​

Supplementary Information​

Professional Development Programme for Leaders

1.Who can qualify for the PDP for Leaders?  

Centre Leaders or Lead Teachers 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:

Nominees should (a) preferably have at least 3 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 (iv) be nominated by their current operator. Those who assume roles such as Deputy Centre Leaders or equivalent and met the necessary competencies could 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) is a 3-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 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. CPD activities:

        i.  Electives: Choose from courses that are aligned to the 4 skills categories within the Skills
           Framework for ECCE. This includes in-house 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.

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 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.How many leaders can we expect for the PDP for Leaders?

The number of participants will depend on the quality of nominations received and response from the operators and leaders. We expect around 400 candidates to benefit from PDP(L) over the next four years. 

6.How can I nominate my staff for the programme?

Nomination form may be accessed at    


Annex B​

Fresh Call for Nominations for ECDA Fellows Programme  

1.What is the objective of the ECDA Fellows Programme? 

The ECDA Fellows Programme aims to recognise 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.What are the roles of ECDA Fellows?

ECDA Fellows serve as role models for the early childhood sector, driving quality improvements and supporting the development of the early childhood leaders fraternity. In addition to their roles within their own organisation, they will take on sector-level roles including leading master classes/workshops, mentor centre leaders and senior teachers from other centres, guide centres in designing and implementing curricula, etc. 

3.Can ECDA Fellows be re-appointed after their first appointment term ends? 

The appointed ECDA Fellows will be on a three-year term, subject to confirmation upon the first year of service. There is an option to be re-appointed after their first term. 

4.How can one be nominated?  

The nomination form may be accessed at  

Annex C


New resources for Early Years

1.Who is the Early Years Development Framework (EYDF) Educarers’ Guide written for?

The EYDF Educarers’ Guide is developed for educarers and preschool centre leaders.

2.What is the EYDF Guide? 

The EYDF Guide provides practical tips and suggested activities, based on the EYDF for educarers to deliver quality care and learning practices for infants, toddlers and nursery children.  

3.How does ECDA ensure standards and quality in infant and toddler programmes, and how does the EYDF and Educarers’ Guide support this?

All preschools need to meet ECDA’s regulatory requirements under the new Early Childhood Development Centres Act. This ensures higher and more consistent quality standards across the sector. 

The EYDF and Educarers’ Guide seek to raise the quality of centre-based care and development for children in the early years. The Educarers’ Guide complements the EYDF curriculum framework and supports educarers in implementing best practices effectively in their centres to achieve the desired outcomes of child development.

4.Will there be a CPD course to help educarers understand how to use the Guide? When will the course start?

ECDA will roll out a series of CPD sessions in 2018 to support preschools’ effective use of the EYDF Guide. CPD activities such as peer sharing sessions will also be organised to encourage discussions on good pedagogical practices and to evaluate the effectiveness of the Guide. 

5.Apart from the EYDF and its Educarers’ Guide, what are other related learning resources available for educarers?

The EYDF Guide is part of ECDA’s continuing efforts to raise awareness of the importance of early years and the pedagogy unique to infants and toddlers through early years resources. The content of both the EYDF Guide and the recently announced “3Rs” (i.e. Respectful, Responsive and Reciprocal) professional learning resource are developed based on the EYDF’s principles, desired outcomes and suggested practices. The following are some resources for educarers: