Pre-school teachers get leg-up on career ladder

$1.7m set aside to help first batch of 138 pre-school teachers develop professionally

The first batch of 138 pre-school teachers was appointed yesterday under a programme that will help them progress in their careers and take on larger roles.

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) has set aside $1.7 million for cash awards of up to $12,000 each for this batch of teachers in the Professional Development Programme, which was launched last September.

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said that similar programmes for pre-school principals, as well as staff who care for younger children up to the age of three, will be rolled out in the next two years.

"Through these, educators will be able to look forward to even more professional development opportunities at every stage of their careers," he said at the appointment ceremony held at the National Gallery Singapore.

The programme, which is in line with the SkillsFuture initiative that raises skill levels and promotes lifelong learning, will let pre-school educators spend 180 hours over three years on courses and projects that will prepare them for more responsibilities at their workplace.

It will put teachers through university and polytechnic courses, including modules on centre leadership and teaching.

As far as possible, the course schedules will not disrupt the teacher's work at the pre-school. Some projects are also carried out at the centre, so participants can support innovative teaching practices in the centre.

Teachers on the programme were nominated by their employers. The next nomination period will be in the third quarter of this year. "Without the support from their employers, the teachers would not have the opportunity to be nominated, attend training and development under the programme, and apply their skills in larger job roles subsequently," said Mr Tan.

Ms Nur Farhana Mustafa, 27, a teacher at Bright Juniors childcare centre, was among those nominated. "I hope to gain more experience and impart this knowledge to others," she said.

Ms Diamond Yap, human resource manager at G8 Education Singapore, which owns Bright Juniors, said of Ms Nur Farhana: "We think she has potential, and we can prepare her for larger roles. She is also someone who's willing to share what she learnt."

Meanwhile, it was also announced yesterday that ECDA is working with the National Gallery Singapore to develop learning programmes for young children, such as storytelling sessions and the studying of gallery artwork.

A learning resource kit can help teachers plan activities that enhance children's appreciation of Singapore's history, legacy and art. This kit will be uploaded online at the end of the year onto ECDA's resource website for parents and teachers, called Grow @ Beanstalk (

This article was first published on May 5, 2016.
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