Preschools To Enhance Outdoor Learning, More Eligible Families To Get Support From KidSTART: ECDA

Preschools To Enhance Outdoor Learning, More Eligible Families To Get Support From KidSTART: ECDA

The KidSTART programme which will be extended to more eligible families in 2021, aims to eventually provide help to another 5,000 children over the next three years. 

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) said on Saturday (10 Oct) that it will be introducing an outdoor learning training programme to further support pre-schools and educators in outdoor learning. 

This is in line with ECDA’s efforts to improve the quality of their preschool programmes. 

Preschools To Enhance Outdoor Learning For Children

ECDA announced initiatives last year to build more outdoor learning spaces in HDB estates and parks as well as to provide early childhood educators with resources and training to conduct outdoor learning.

With the support of Temasek Foundation, this year, ECDA will introduce an outdoor learning training programme to further support preschools and educators in outdoor learning.

Preschools To Enhance Outdoor Learning, More Eligible Families To Get Support From KidSTART: ECDA

Preschools to enhance outdoor learning. | Image source: ECDA

According to ECDA, this includes organising peer sharing sessions for early childhood educators for them to share their experiences in conducting outdoor learning, as well as advanced training courses for educators and trainers who attended training sessions in Outdoor Learning in 2019. 

The programme will also provide an Outdoor Learning Resource Fund to support selected centres in implementing outdoor learning, and carry out a study to evaluate the programme’s effectiveness at these centres.

According to ECDA, the Outdoor Learning Resource Fund which can be used to purchase additional teaching and learning resources to aid in preschools’ implementation of outdoor learning, will be launched in early 2021. 

More details on how centres can participate, including the application process, will be released to the sector later this year.

KidSTART Expands Support To More Eligible Families

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) said it will expand KidSTART to support more children from low-income families.

Intended to support needy children aged zero to six, according to ECDA, the KidSTART programme currently benefits more than 1,000 children from low-income families in a few regions in Singapore. It was expanded to Woodlands and Bedok earlier this year.

The agency said it will extend KidSTART in 2021, to more eligible families in Yishun, Sembawang and Ang Mo Kio. The programme aims to eventually provide help to another 5,000 children over the next three years. 

Currently, the KidSTART regions are at Kreta Ayer/Bukit Merah, Taman Jurong/Boon Lay, Bedok/Geylang Serai, and Woodlands.

According to ECDA, the monthly household income ceiling to be eligible for KidSTART is $2,500, a rise from $1,900 previously. 

More Support For Early Childhood Educators

As part of new initiatives to support preschool professionals children and families, according to ECDA, early childhood educators will get more support to develop their skills and enhance career progression.

The agency highlighted two ways they would achieve this: by reviewing the Skills Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), and developing a roadmap for educators’ professional development. 

In tandem with SkillsFuture Singapore, ECDA said they will be reviewing the job roles and career pathways in the ECCE Skills Framework to better guide educators on skills upgrading and career development opportunities. 

Review of ECCE Skills Framework 

The revised ECCE Skills Framework will also guide preschools in its HR management and talent development initiatives as well as enable training providers to modify their training programmes to suit the needs of the early childhood sector. 

In addition, the skills and career pathways for Learning Support Educators (LSEds) and Early Intervention Teachers in the revised ECCE Skills Framework, will also be set out by ECDA. 

Said ECDA: “This addition underscores the importance of the stronger partnership between Early Childhood and Early Intervention educators as we strive to make our preschools more inclusive.

“The revised framework will also steer greater harmonisation of training programmes to facilitate the movement of Early Childhood educators and Early Intervention educators across different career pathways.”

More details on the refreshed ECCE Skills Framework are scheduled to be announced in the second half of 2021.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Roadmap 

Alongside the review of the ECCE Skills Framework, ECDA will also develop a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Roadmap to help guide early childhood educators’ professional development.

Educators may refer to the CPD Roadmap for guidance in planning their professional development.

Further details about the CPD roadmap are targeted for the second half of 2021.

ECDA is also working with the National Institute for Early Childhood Development (NIEC) to deepen the focus on inclusive practices in both pre-service and in-service training courses.

“This will help to strengthen EC educators’ capabilities to care for children with diverse learning needs in their classrooms,” it said. 

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Written by

Jia Ling

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