Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim asked the Minister for Social and Family Development whether there is any requirement for MOE-registered preschools and kindergartens to conduct meet-the-parent sessions in English unless the parent specifically requests that meetings be conducted in a vernacular language.
1. Strong parent-centre partnerships are important to support the development and well-being of children in preschools. The quality of these partnerships is enhanced when there is regular communication between parents and the preschool.
2. The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), which oversees the licensing of private childcare centres and kindergartens in Singapore, as well as the Ministry of Education (MOE), which oversees MOE Kindergartens, requires preschools to record their observations and assessment of children’s key areas of learning and development, and to share this information with parents or guardians at least once every 6 months. For infants, this must be done every 3 months.
3. Preschools typically share the child’s progress in learning and development with parents during parent-teacher meetings. MOE and ECDA do not stipulate the language to be used for parent-teacher meetings, and preschools have the flexibility to conduct these meetings in the language that is most comfortable for both the parents and teacher. The meetings are usually conducted by the preschool teacher according to the teacher’s medium of instruction (i.e. in the English Language (EL) for the EL teacher, and in the respective Mother Tongue Language (MTL) for the MTL teacher). However, where the parent is unable to communicate in a particular language, the teacher may choose to communicate in a language that the parent can understand, if the teacher is able to. The EL teacher may also support the MTL teacher in communication with parents, where required.