Standard procedures may not work with kids

SINGAPORE - I agree with senior writer Clarissa Oon that "there are serious, hard-working childcare professionals out there" ("What ails the pre-school sector"; July 28).

These teachers sacrifice personal and family time to constantly upgrade themselves, through attending diploma, bachelor or continual professional development courses.

Most of the time, such training is conducted after working hours or on weekends, sometimes up to three times a week, and involves a heavy assignment load.

Teachers also need supportive leaders, for example, supervisors or principals who are on hand to offer moral support, especially when dealing with children who exhibit challenging behaviour.

However, I question Ms Oon's notion of having standard operating procedures on handling "everything from biting to tantrums in the most constructive ways".

Every child is unique, so I am not sure whether standard operating procedures are the best way to help teachers manage challenging behaviour.

But I do agree that parents need to address disciplinary issues at home before their children's challenging behaviour becomes habitual. I also suggest that parents and teachers be open-minded and humble enough to work together to ensure consistency in dealing with behavioural issues.

Perhaps, the Early Childhood Development Agency could also provide funding for parents or main caregivers to attend a certain number of hours of parenting courses.

In the long run, this may enhance parent-teacher partnership with the shared knowledge and understanding of best practices.

Rebecca Chan Kam Chee (Dr)

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.