When we talk about preschools in Singapore it refers to child care centres and kindergartens throughout the island country. Hence, preschoolers are those cute kids ranging between the age of 18 months to 6 years old, who stays under the care of preschool teachers either for half-day programme or full-day programme. Government-operated and -regulated preschool service provided through Ministry of Education and Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) is very popular among parents. Other options they have is to send their preschool-aged children to private institutions, but they will need to scrape extra money for tuition fees.
By 2020, it is estimated that Singapore needs 3,000 more teachers to handle its government-operated and -regulated preschool sessions. In 2018, the number is already high at 17,000. However, it is still insufficient to cater to higher demands of parents who prefer government-operated centres over other options. The lack of teachers is partly due to low retention rate caused by many reasons. One of the child care service providers shared that currently only 25% of their teachers and staff stay with them more than five years.
Preschool teachers are well-trained to look after the children
So, who are these 17,000 teachers now attending and looking after these preschoolers in child care centres and kindergartens?
Despite less than encouraging perception about this career among parents and job seekers, children who stay at preschools are under the care of trained and certified professionals. They have great passion about their careers and enjoy being with children.
Among their skills are dealing with children and planning lessons based on children’s different needs and learning styles. Not all children are learning the same way. Some of them are auditory learners, while others are kinesthetic and visual. Preschools try to cater to all of them.
The duties of the teachers are far from exhaustive. Their long-term goal is not only to prepare the children for primary school but also to build the children’s interests in learning early on, hoping that the children will be independent life-long learners, a skill they must possess, being born in information-laden 21st century. More information about renowned preschool education in Singapore can be found here: https://mylittlecampus.com.sg/
The bright future of preschools depends on high quality teachers
Fortunately, the government, its agencies and other stakeholders are taking all necessary steps to prepare for the higher demands of early childhood education in the near future. Career opportunites are created for students from different backgrounds including technical education. Those who are already in mid-career, but interested to join, can also do so from scratch within a conversion scheme that allows for working while undergoing training. To celebrate the positive side of the industry, it is good to know that a preschool service provider set aside $20 million for programmes that can help develop skills and knowledge of preschool teachers. This shows the commitment to provide high quality teachers in preschool.
All these efforts are in place to ensure the children will get the best early education experience that allows them to gain balanced growth in all aspects, either physical, psychological, cognitive, and emotional. A country that invests heavily on their younger generation cannot be wrong. They are investing for their great future.