1. The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) held the biennial Early Childhood Celebrations & Conference (ECCC) 2023 on 27 and 28 October 2023. Themed “Learning How Children Learn, Transforming Practices Together”, this year’s ECCC also marks ECDA’s 10th anniversary and celebrates a decade of progress and accomplishments by the early childhood (EC) sector in Singapore.
2. On the second day of the ECCC, Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling and Minister of State for Education and Manpower Gan Siow Huang celebrated the EC sector’s progress over the past decade, including the ECDA Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Development (ECDA Awards), the Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (SPARK) Certificate Presentation Ceremony, and the Start Small Dream Big (SSDB) Finale.
3. Noting the progress in the past decade, ECDA Chief Executive Tan Chee Wee highlighted the vision for the path ahead, "As we celebrate the remarkable journey and achievements of the EC sector and ECDA's first decade, we must continue to build on the good work done. We will further upskill our educators to support diverse learning abilities of our children, while building stronger foundations in literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional competencies. We will leverage our preschools to promote social mobility of children from lower-income families as well as greater inclusion of children with developmental needs.” He added that ECDA will continue to work closely with parents, educators, and operators to give every child a good start in life.
More than 50% of Preschools are SPARK-Certified
4. Over the past ten years, ECDA has played a pivotal role in raising the standards and professionalism of the EC sector by implementing the SPARK certification as a mark of quality for preschools in Singapore. This year, the total number of SPARK-certified preschools has reached 1,052, representing more than 50% of existing preschools and a two-fold increase since 2015. Notably, 20% of this year’s 127 SPARK-certified preschools have achieved the Commendation status, which recognises centres with strong structures and processes that support good teaching and learning, a sound curriculum, and effective pedagogies to bring about children’s well-being and holistic development. With this foundation, ECDA has embarked on a review of the SPARK framework to set the directions for the next bound of quality. The sector will be engaged in this review with more details shared next year.
24 EC educators and preschools honoured at the ECDA Awards
5. 24 EC educators, Early Intervention (EI) professionals and preschools were honoured at this year’s ECDA Awards ceremony. Since 2013, this annual event has celebrated the accomplishments of EC educators and centres who have excelled in teaching and learning, as well as innovative practices. EI professionals have been included in the ECDA Awards since 2021 to reflect the important role they play in supporting children with developmental needs. The full list of winners can be found in Annex A.
Nurturing children and encouraging parent-centre partnership through Start Small Dream Big
6. Now in its ninth year, the annual SSDB movement brings preschools, families, and community partners together to empower our young children to show care and support to people around them. The theme this year, “Many Helping Hands, Caring for Everyone”, is in line with the MSF Year of Celebrating Social Service Partners as well as this year’s President’s Challenge’s focus on caring for caregivers.
7. Since its inception in 2015, the number of participating preschools annually has increased more than nine-fold. This year, 77,000 children from 1,130 preschools took part in the movement through community service projects, which includes initiatives that support and show appreciation for caregivers. 28 community partners, including new partners MINDS and KidSTART Singapore, were involved in supporting the SSDB projects. Collectively, the children spent 2.7 million hours of community service over a period of six months. With the support of their families, these children also raised over $316,000 for charity, on top of other in-kind donations. The children truly embodied the spirit of “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something!”.
8. Information on the ECDA Awards, SPARK Certificate Presentation Ceremony and the SSDB Finale can be found within Annex B.
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
About the Early Childhood Development Agency
The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) was set up in 2013. The autonomous agency oversees the regulation and development of infant, childcare and kindergarten programmes for children below the age of seven. To achieve their vision of giving every child a good start, the agency works in partnership with stakeholders to ensure that every child has access to affordable and quality early childhood development services and programmes.