1. The new SPARK Quality Rating Scale (QRS) for 0-6 years was officially launched today at the Early Childhood Conference 2019, organised by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA). 112 preschools also received their SPARK certificates from Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education Ms Low Yen Ling. This brings the total number of SPARK-certified centres to 951, or more than half of the sector.
2. SPARK is a quality assurance framework that serves as a benchmark for preschools to assess and continually raise the quality of their programmes. With SPARK, parents have greater assurance of the quality of the preschool their child is enrolled in. As part of the SPARK certification process, preschools will first use the QRS as a self-appraisal tool to help them evaluate the quality of their programmes. They will then undergo rigorous assessment by ECDA using the QRS to ensure that processes and systems are in place to deliver positive development outcomes for their children. Preschools who meet the required standards will be given the SPARK certification or commendation.
3. Since its inception, SPARK has used a QRS that assesses programmes for children aged 4 to 6 years old. Last year, a QRS for programmes for younger children (0-3 years old) was introduced for self-appraisal. The new QRS (0-6) launched today integrates the QRS for 4-6 and the QRS for 0-3 into a single instrument, providing a more holistic approach in assessing the quality of preschools’ early childhood programmes, for the entire spectrum of child development from infants to 6 years old. From 2020, all preschools will use the new QRS (0-6) for self-appraisal and assessment, as part of the SPARK certification process.
4. Ms Low noted that even as the Government strives to make preschools more affordable and accessible, it is important to continually raise the quality of preschool education. “A holistic approach to early childhood development is key to nurturing happy, healthy children, and building strong foundations for their future,” Ms Low said. “With SPARK covering the entire spectrum of child development from 0 to 6 years old, I am confident that we are moving in the right direction.”