Teachers’ Day and Children’s Day will be designated as preschool holidays from 2024; Launch of Early Years Development Framework (EYDF) 2023 and development of Quality Teaching Tool (QTT) to guide educators in improving their practice for the holistic development of children.
1. Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli announced changes to the annual closure days for preschools to support Early Childhood (EC) educators’ well-being and professional development. He also launched the Early Years Development Framework (EYDF) 2023 and announced the development of a Quality Teaching Tool (QTT) at the Early Childhood Celebrations & Conference (ECCC) today.
Teachers’ Day and Children’s Day Designated as Preschool Holidays
2. As part of ongoing efforts to improve the working conditions of EC educators, Teachers’ Day and Children’s Day will be designated as preschool holidays with effect from 2024. This move is to recognise EC educators’ contributions and the important role they play in shaping the lives of young children. The preschool holidays will provide EC educators with the opportunity to rest and recharge.
3. In addition to Teachers’ Day and Children’s Day, preschools will continue to be allowed to close for six days each year. These six days will be renamed as Development Days and are intended to allow preschools protected time to focus on educators’ individual and team development. Preschools may use the Development Days for non-teaching tasks such as training, curriculum planning and staff retreats.
4. To align with wider workplace norms, ECDA will remove from the Early Childhood Development Centres Code of Practice the current provision for preschools to be closed on three half-days on the eve of five public holidays. Instead of hard-coding these provisions, preschool operators have the flexibility to engage their staff and parents to make adjustments to the preschool’s operating hours on the eve of public holidays, based on their operational needs and the caregiving needs of their parents.
5. The changes to the annual preschool closure days will provide greater certainty of protected time to support educators’ well-being and professional development. To better support parents on these changes, employers are strongly encouraged to allow flexible arrangements for employees with caregiving needs during the preschools’ closure days.
Early Years Development Framework (EYDF) 2023
6. The first EYDF was launched in 2011 to build a strong foundation for the holistic development of children who are in centre-based care, from birth to three years old. It complements the Nurturing Early Learners (NEL) Framework developed by the Ministry of Education (MOE), which provides guidelines for quality teaching and learning of children from four to six years old. Together, the two learning and development frameworks provide continuity in standards and quality in the care, learning, and development for young children.
7. Based on research and formulated in consultation with the sector, EYDF 2023 gives greater prominence to four areas of development – namely cognitive, communication and language, physical, and social and emotional. Developmental goals for infants and toddlers within these areas are provided as a reference for EC educators to design the learning environment, select the resources and plan appropriate learning experiences. It also outlines five principles to guide educators in the planning and implementation of meaningful experiences and the way they interact with children.
8. The links between the EYDF and NEL Framework have also been strengthened as both frameworks now share the same set of beliefs about children, and emphasise the importance of warm and responsive interactions, as well as the benefits of active engagement with families and the community when supporting children’s well-being and holistic development.
Development of a Quality Teaching Tool (QTT)
9. While the frameworks guide educators on curriculum content and pedagogical approach, the delivery of teaching is key to children’s successful learning. Quality learning experiences lay the foundation for supporting children’s development. As part of the continuing efforts to improve teaching quality, ECDA is developing a QTT to guide educators in adopting quality teaching practices in the classroom. Educators can leverage the tool to design meaningful learning experiences and facilitate quality interactions with children.
10. When the QTT is fully developed in end-2024, educators can use it to complement the implementation of the updated EYDF and NEL Framework. QTT will help to define and establish a common language for quality teaching practices in the Singapore context to support our educators towards achieving the desired outcomes for our children.
Enhancing EC Educators’ Well-being and Supporting Their Professional Development to Give Every Child a Good Start
11. These moves signal ECDA’s firm commitment to improving EC educators’ well-being and better support them in their professional development. The Government has invested significantly in the training of EC educators over the years.
12. ECDA will continue its efforts to attract more EC educators to join and remain in the sector, and to equip them well to discharge their roles professionally. We encourage more interested candidates to join the sector so that we can provide every child with access to affordable and quality preschool education. We also strongly encourage all EC educators to leverage the revised EYDF and NEL Framework and their accompanying resources to review programmes and practices so every child can be given a good start in life.
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.