40% of pre-schools have Spark quality mark, up from 30% in 2016

PCF Sparkletots Preschool is one of the schools that has received the Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (Spark) quality mark.
PCF Sparkletots Preschool is one of the schools that has received the Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (Spark) quality mark.PHOTO: PCF

SINGAPORE - More pre-schools have received a quality certification from the Government, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education Low Yen Ling on Friday (Oct 6).

As of October, 40 per cent of pre-schools - or 770 of them - have received the Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (Spark) quality mark, up from 30 per cent last year.

Said Ms Low: "Although Spark is a voluntary quality assurance framework, more pre-schools are recognising the value of going through Spark, and more have sought to be certified."

She was speaking at the Early Childhood Conference, organised by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA). More than 1,200 pre-school educators attended the annual event held at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

To get the Spark certification, pre-schools go through a rigorous assessment by ECDA on whether they have the processes and systems in place to deliver positive development outcomes for their children. The list of Spark-certified pre-schools can be found at https://www.ecda.gov.sg/sparkinfo/Documents/SPARK-certified%20Centres.pdf

Last year, ECDA extended the validity of the Spark certificate from three to six years, and introduced a mid-term "developmental visit" at the third year of a pre-school's Spark certification, in place of a re-certification assessment.

Ms Low said the visits have been well-received. "(The visit) removes the 'heat' from an assessment, and provides an opportunity for the pre-school and the developmental visit officer to review the strengths and areas for improvement in the pre-school," she said.

ECDA said 162 pre-schools have benefited from these visits, and 171 more will be due for such visits next year.

Ms Low also announced the introduction of an updated Quality Rating Scale for Spark, which is a self-appraisal tool to help pre-schools evaluate the quality of their programmes. The updated version has clearer explanatory notes to guide pre-schools, and a greater focus on teaching and learning.