Programme aims to build leadership pipeline for early childhood sector
Under the Early Childhood Development Agency’s Professional Development Programme (PDP), pre-school teachers with the potential to take on larger job roles can receive milestone1 cash awards of up to $12,000. First announced by Minister Tan Chuan-Jin in September 2015, the PDP supports the career aspirations of pre-school educators with professional development opportunities and a structured career progression pathway. ECDA has set aside $1.7 million for the cash awards for this batch of PDP participants over the next 3 years.
The PDP is a 180-hour structured programme over three years. Over the course of programme, teachers will acquire and deepen their skills and knowledge through centre-based projects and modular courses in teaching and leadership at Institutes of Higher Learning2. Modular courses are flexible, bite-sized and targeted learning options that allow teachers to customise their learning according to their needs and interests. Credits earned from some modular courses may subsequently be counted towards the attainment of an early childhood-related tertiary qualification.
Partnership with National Gallery Singapore
ECDA is also exploring partnerships beyond the early childhood sector to support the education of pre-schoolers. In line with this, ECDA is working with National Gallery Singapore (NGS) to develop a series of learning programmes for young children. This includes storytelling sessions, studying of gallery artwork, and other hands-on activities. Educators can also tap on NGS resources such as the Keppel Centre for Art Education.
In addition, educators can look forward to a learning resource kit that will help them plan fun and enriching learning experiences and activities to enhance children’s appreciation of Singapore’s history, legacy and art. This kit will be uploaded onto ECDA’s Grow@Beanstalk portal at end of this year. As part of the annual Early Childhood Conference later this year, NGS will conduct learning journeys for early childhood educators to network and exchange curricular and pedagogical insights.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the progression pathways for participants in the PDP?
Teachers on the PDP are nominated by their employers for their potential to take on larger job roles, such as Senior Teachers or Centre Leaders. After the PDP, they will also be able to embark on further modular courses to further deepen their competencies for such leadership positions.
2. Will ECDA provide any support to childcare operators as part of the PDP?
As part of the national SkillsFuture movement, the Government is committed to supporting EC professionals to continually upgrade their skills and progress in their careers. Key to the PDP is a strong partnership between operators, early childhood professionals, and ECDA to recognise deserving teachers and develop them for larger job roles.
Operators who nominate their teachers onto the PDP will receive support in the form of course subsidies. Operators can also apply for absentee payroll, where applicable. These are supported by agencies such as WDA, MOE and ECDA.
PDP participants will undergo professional training with cash awards of up to $12,000 over the 3-year period, given at programme milestones. To receive the cash awards, PDP participants must remain employed in their nominating centres for at least six months after the end of each PDP year and complete the stipulated programme milestones as required by the programme.
3. Will the PDP require the participating teacher to be taken out of the centre for a large proportion of their working hours?
The PDP is designed to give teachers the flexibility to develop professionally on-the-job in their centres. For example, some projects are centre-based to allow participants to support innovative teaching and learning practices in their centre.
ECDA is also working with Institutes of Higher Learning to ensure that as far as possible, course schedules do not disrupt the educator’s work within the centre. Courses may be provided together with e-learning components to reduce the number of hours participants have to spend outside of their centres.
4. Will ECDA stipulate that the teacher must be promoted upon completing PDP?
ECDA does not stipulate such a requirement as it is a decision for the employer to make. Nevertheless, employers would be cognisant that the teacher would have attained the competencies of a Senior Preschool Teacher or Centre Leader upon completing the PDP.
5. When is the next nomination period for the next batch of PDP, and what can they expect?
The next nomination window for the PDP will be in the third quarter of 2016. As part of the ongoing improvements to the modular courses offerings for the EC sector, current and future batches of PDP participants can expect a greater number and diversity of modular courses.