Two new career development initiatives for pre-school teachers

September 26, 201510:20 am370 views
Two new career development initiatives for pre-school teachers
Two new career development initiatives for pre-school teachers

Pre-school teachers can now sign up for a new career development programme, as well as track their professional development through a new online platform, said Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin at the Early Childhood Conference and Carnival today (Sept 25).

The two new initiatives — launched by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) — are in line with the Government’s commitment to strengthen the early childhood professional sector.

Said Mr Tan: “Early childhood professionals play a key role in nurturing the next generation of Singaporeans …  We are committed to creating many more opportunities for early childhood professionals to upgrade their skills and progress in their careers, so that they can, in turn, do their best for our children.”

Under the Professional Development Programme, employers can nominate teachers with more than three years experience, to groom them to take on bigger roles in their organisations, as mentor teacher, head of department or even as a vice-principal, for example. These teachers must clock 180 hours of professional development over three years — in addition to their usual duties — through centre-based projects, new courses that will be launched next year and other professional development courses at the polytechnics and  universities. They can receive cash awards of up to S$12,000 after completing key programme milestones.

The new online platform, called One@ECDA, will be rolled out by the end of this year, making it more convenient for educators, centre operators and training providers to register as teachers, sign up for courses and track training hours and development.

Early childhood educators have welcomed this move. Among them is Ms Chels Chung, head of operations at MY World Preschool. “It’s a good form of recognition and affirmation for the pre-school teachers and the value that we’re tagging to the pre-school industry,” said Ms Chung, who plans to nominate about 30 teachers for the programme out of the 410 teachers across the 25 branches.

Kindergarten Two teacher Joanne Tan of St James’ Church Kindergarten said the new programme better caters to individual needs and interests, compared with the mandatory Continuing Professional Development courses and hoped to develop her interest in art and music and take on leadership roles in future.

Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) senior childcare manager Sandy Koh agreed the programme opens up more opportunities to groom future leaders, but acknowledged that leadership positions may be limited with only 10 to 20 senior positions available across YWCA’s 10 centres.

She added that the YWCA’s mentoring and grooming process has been very informal and the organisation was strapped for resources, so the new programme offers more structure and assurance for staff.
Nominations for the first batch of participants will open from next month and the ECDA hopes to have a few hundred teachers enrol each year.


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