Calling all stay-at-home mums and grannies in Singapore- the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) wants you to enter the infant care sector. A new scheme is being launched, which focusses more on hands-on, on-the-job training.
The move comes close on the heels of the announcement in Singapore Budget 2017, that the Government plans to increase the number of infant care places to 8,000 by 2020. To support this, it plans to recruit 1,000 more infant educarers.
New Allied Infant Educarer program
According to MSF, from end of March 2017, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) will launch a new program, called the Allied Infant Educarer (AIE) Program and guess what, you don’t have to be certified in infant care to join this program. It’s even open to mums and grand mums, provided you have the right attitude and skills. If the project is a success, ECDA aims to train about 200 AIEs within the next 2-3 years.
Here is what you should know about the AIE program:
- 30 infant care centres : About 30 Anchor Operator (AOP) child care centres will initiate this program for now. First batch begins training in March 2017.
- Like an apprenticeship: It involves a shorter training time, with more hours spent on on-the-job training.
- Difference between AIE training and current certified infant care training: In current infant educarer training (i.e. Higher Certificate in Infant Care (HCIC)), majority of the training is classroom based. It aims to give participants a strong base in child development and guidance, and in planning developmentally appropriate activities.
However, in AIE training, majority of the time is spent on on-the-job training. Focus is on equipping participants with the skills required for quality infant care.
- Mentor based: Participants will get trained by experienced and trained mentors.
- Open to mums and grannies: Applicants will be judged more on aptitude and general competence, than plain focus on academic qualifications. New entrants will work as Allied Infant Educarers, and work closely with existing certified Infant Educarers to conduct planned activities. Allied Infant Educarers can also receive further training to be certified as Infant Educarers.
- Who can apply: Applicants should be at least 21 years old and must be hired by participating AOP infant care centres. They should have the right aptitude and competency needed for infant care. They will be assessed through interviews and written tests.
The Straits Times quotes Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Faishal Ibrahim as saying, “We understand that some people with interest, aptitude and competence to care for infants may be unable to join the sector, either because they do not want to attend classroom-based training, or they lack the appropriate academic records. (With the AIE program)Our emphasis will be on aptitude and competency, rather than academic qualifications.”
Benefit of employing grannies as infant carers
This new move to give our very experienced grand mothers a chance at professional infant care should be encouraged. For one, it gives many a chance to find employment.
Here is what it means for babies (the cared) and grannies (the carers):
- For babies: The benefits of having elderly folk around as carers are surprisingly, many. This study reveals that for one, such children developed better vocabulary than those who went to formal child care! They were also found to be ahead in terms of socio-emotional development, what with the love and care that they received from these experienced, wise hands.
- For grannies: According to this study, older women who spent time caring for their grandchildren had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders. Not surprising, considering that regular social interaction can have a positive effect on the mental health of elderly folk and lower their risk for Alzheimer’s. Caring for grandchildren can help prevent depression too, according to a study from the Institute on Aging at Boston College.
In modern day Singapore, with a rising ageing population, this seems like quite the right move. Do you agree?
Also READ: Would you hire your parents to take care of your kids?
(Source: MSF, The Straits Times, Today, Channel NewsAsia)
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