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Building the Foundation Envisioning the Future Dr. Christine Chen President, Association for Early Childhood Building the Foundation Envisioning the Future Dr. Christine Chen President, Association for Early Childhood Educators, Singapore Moscow, Oct, 2014

Singapore the Little Red Dot Singapore the Little Red Dot

The Three Pronged Approach Access • The building blocks of centre based childcare Ensure The Three Pronged Approach Access • The building blocks of centre based childcare Ensure Convenience Availability Build Centres Affordability Give Subsidies

*Island nation of 304. 8 sq. meters *Population of 5. 08 million *Assess, Availability *Island nation of 304. 8 sq. meters *Population of 5. 08 million *Assess, Availability and Affordability the drive in the early 80’

Pre-school in the 1960 s Pre-school in the 1960 s

In the 80 s… Economy was booming and women were encouraged to join the In the 80 s… Economy was booming and women were encouraged to join the workforce The first workplace childcare centre opened in a factory By late 80’s one childcare centre opened every week

Impact of the Rapid Growth • Child Care Accreditation Committee to accredit courses for Impact of the Rapid Growth • Child Care Accreditation Committee to accredit courses for teacher training (1990 – 2000) • Child care teachers with 6 and 7 years of formal education was offered the Bridging Programme • Formulating the Basic course, Intermediate course and Advanced course

Teacher Education the Corner Stone • Ramping up of in-service training • Initiating the Teacher Education the Corner Stone • Ramping up of in-service training • Initiating the pre-service training in 1999 • Forming the Pre-school Qualification Accreditation Committee (PQAC) setting standards for entry qualification, developing the framework for teacher preparation and setting standards for the Training Agencies

In the New Millennium 2001 - Pre-school Qualification Accreditation Committee (PQAC) a joint committee In the New Millennium 2001 - Pre-school Qualification Accreditation Committee (PQAC) a joint committee of the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Community Development which looks into teacher qualifications of childcare and kindergarten teachers. 2003 – Kindergarten Curriculum Framework: Nurturing Early Learners for 46 years old refreshed in 2012

The PQAC heralds the coming together of two Ministries Good things happen… The PQAC heralds the coming together of two Ministries Good things happen…

In the New Millennium Early Intervention programs • 2006 – FLAi. R (Focused Language In the New Millennium Early Intervention programs • 2006 – FLAi. R (Focused Language Assistance in Reading) an early literacy intervention programme • 2011 – Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework (SPARK for 4 -6 years old) a quality assurance system • 2011 – Early Years Development Framework (0 -3 years old)

 • Work Samples of Children from the FLAi. R Programme • Work Samples of Children from the FLAi. R Programme

The Next Building Block • We have discussed, Access, Availability, Affordability, Teacher Education, PQAC The Next Building Block • We have discussed, Access, Availability, Affordability, Teacher Education, PQAC and early intervention program. • The next building block is Quality- the Quality Assurance System

The Quality Assurance System • The Quality Assurance System is referred to as SPARK The Quality Assurance System • The Quality Assurance System is referred to as SPARK which stands for the Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework. • It was developed in 2008 and rolled out in 2011. • On 12 th September 2011, 52 pre-schools received the SPARK Certificate and the number growing to 380 in 2014.

The Quality Assurance System The Quality Assurance System

Quality through SPARK Quality through SPARK

Pre-school in the 1960 s Pre-school in the 1960 s

A SPARK Accredited Centre A SPARK Accredited Centre

At the Baker’s Shop At the Baker’s Shop

Bakers at Work Bakers at Work

Theme for the Term Theme for the Term

Role Play Role Play

At the Hair Salon At the Hair Salon

A Renewed Focus • Accessibility • 200 more centres will be opened in the A Renewed Focus • Accessibility • 200 more centres will be opened in the next five years • Affordability • New Subsidy scheme • Not only Availability but also Quality • Achieving SPARK

The building blocks today are … • Accessibility • Availability • Affordability • Quality The building blocks today are … • Accessibility • Availability • Affordability • Quality

The building blocks, are like roots of a tree that support and anchor it The building blocks, are like roots of a tree that support and anchor it firmly to the ground. From such a foundation, the future is built.

The establishment of the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) A New Era Full of The establishment of the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) A New Era Full of Promises

The Early Childhood Development Agency • This Agency was formed in April, 2013 and The Early Childhood Development Agency • This Agency was formed in April, 2013 and it regulates both childcare centers and kindergartens • Prior to this, the Ministry of Education registers kindergartens and the Ministry of Community Development licenses childcare centers. Today, there about 1, 700 early childhood settings with a workforce of 14, 000.

An Era of Promises: Envisioning the Future • Services moving beyond centre based care An Era of Promises: Envisioning the Future • Services moving beyond centre based care • Services that are integrated and well coordinated by EDCA • Services rendered must take an interdisciplinary approach where different professionals come together for the best interest of the child

Interdisciplinary Approach requires… • Professionals to re-construct their role from one of specialist to Interdisciplinary Approach requires… • Professionals to re-construct their role from one of specialist to one of a collaborative practitioner. • Professionals need a new lingo in communicating collaboratively for the best interest of the child • Preparation programs for the various professions need to include all the above mentioned skills • Such an approach is also necessary for successful inclusion of children with special education needs in the general classroom

Envisioning Inclusive Education… • Begins with building a culture of valuing differences – valuing Envisioning Inclusive Education… • Begins with building a culture of valuing differences – valuing diversity, celebrating differences, with values of respect, openness and acceptance. • MOE Curriculum Framework 2012 • “Our society is becoming increasingly cosmopolitan and more Singaporeans live and work abroad. Our young will therefore need a broader worldview, and the ability to work with people from diverse cultural backgrounds with different ideas and perspectives” • Developing a broader worldview and living in harmony in a diverse world.

Envisioning harmony among people… • Disharmony occurs when young children transit from home to Envisioning harmony among people… • Disharmony occurs when young children transit from home to school… • When children transit from pre-school to primary school… • For children with special educational needs they would have another additional transition that is from the special schools to the general education classroom. • Children with the help of caring adults will be in harmony with their new environment

Envisioning harmony among people… • Working with diverse family units • Engaging the community Envisioning harmony among people… • Working with diverse family units • Engaging the community • Having the whole village engaged in the well being of children

I envision a quilt that will act as a blanket that enwraps children and I envision a quilt that will act as a blanket that enwraps children and keep them safe and secure

Concluding Thoughts • The village today is one where diversity is the norm. • Concluding Thoughts • The village today is one where diversity is the norm. • This diversity arises from different family forms, learning differences, ethnicity, different social economic status and immigrant status. • In Singapore , 1. 85 million (36. 4 %) are non Singaporean as such social integration is a challenge that needs to be addressed. • The next lap then will be in building “social capital” (Putnam and Feldstein, 2003) • And character skills such as motivation and self control and sociality that turn knowledge into know-how and people into productive citizens

The road maybe long but ECDA has just created a Programs and Partners Division The road maybe long but ECDA has just created a Programs and Partners Division And I am hopeful that partnerships will be developed for the wellbeing of children and families in Singapore

Thank you ! My best wishes to all children and families in Russia Thank you ! My best wishes to all children and families in Russia