Efforts to better support pre-school educators

We thank Miss Sharis Wong Chien En ("Childcare teachers deserve more respect too"; Oct 25), Miss Jacelyn Chia Yee Fang ("Teach parents about pre-school education"; Oct 26 Oct) and Ms Teo Leng Lee ("Set right pay scale to raise image, quality of pre-school educators"; Oct 28) for recognising the important contributions of pre-school teachers.

We agree that pre-school educators play an important role in building a strong foundation for our children in their early years.

Over the past few years, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), working with its partners, has introduced a range of initiatives to better recognise and support its educators.

This year, ECDA started a "Say Thank You to Teachers" initiative, where parents and the community were encouraged to show their appreciation towards pre-school educators.

Every year, outstanding educators are also recognised through the ECDA Awards for Excellence. From next year, ECDA will support all pre-schools to give educators a day off on Teachers' Day.

When surveyed, many parents supported this move to express appreciation to our educators.

Beyond recognising our educators, a strong fraternity of pre-school educators needs to be built up through professional development and career progression.

This will, in turn, enhance their work with children and communication with parents, and further raise their professional image.

As part of SkillsFuture, ECDA and SkillsFuture Singapore recently launched the Skills Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education. Educators can plan for their professional growth and deepen their skills through initiatives such as the Professional Development Programme and SkillsFuture Study Awards.

In line with growing demand for quality early childhood services and rising professionalism in the sector, we have also seen a commensurate increase in salaries. For instance, starting salaries have grown by more than 15 per cent over the past few years.

Finally, to improve working conditions for our educators, the Association of Early Childhood and Training Services is collaborating with ECDA and the Info-communications Media Development Authority to identify smart solutions to aid educators in administrative work, such as attendance and temperature-taking.

Let us continue to support our early childhood educators in giving our children a good start in life.

Eugene Leong
Chief Executive
Early Childhood Development Agency

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2016, with the headline 'Efforts to better support pre-school educators'. Print Edition | Subscribe