New awards for promising pre-school professionals

Ms Dawn Chua, executive principal of a My First Skool childcare centre in Toa Payoh, will receive the Promising Early Childhood Leader award at an award ceremony on Friday. Ms Chua spent 16 years in the corporate world before becoming an educator.
Ms Dawn Chua, executive principal of a My First Skool childcare centre in Toa Payoh, will receive the Promising Early Childhood Leader award at an award ceremony on Friday. Ms Chua spent 16 years in the corporate world before becoming an educator.PHOTO: EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

ECDA created category to recognise and motivate teachers and leaders early in career

In a first, pre-school professionals who show promise in the early stage of their careers will be recognised by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA).

A new honour roll has also been introduced to recognise pre-schools that have been "exemplary in fostering an innovation culture" and have won two or more innovation awards by ECDA.

The agency announced yesterday the new categories in the ECDA Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Development, ahead of the awards ceremony on Friday.

A total of 24 pre-school professionals and centres will receive the awards at the annual Early Childhood Conference, which will be held at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre and ends on Saturday.

Three of them will receive prizes under the new "Promising Awards" category, which has been introduced to recognise and motivate pre-school teachers and leaders who show "strong potential for professional excellence" in the early stages of the profession.

The category, which requires winners to have at least three years of experience, complements the existing Outstanding Award for more experienced professionals with at least five years under their belt.

MORE THAN JUST BOOK LEARNING

I firmly believe in instilling good morals in teachers and children, and in treating each child well. These help me stand out in my field because I care about more than just educating young children.

MS DAWN CHUA, executive principal of a My First Skool childcare centre in Toa Payoh, on the dedication that led to the accolades that she and her school have received.

Ms Dawn Chua, executive principal of a My First Skool childcare centre in Toa Payoh, will receive the Promising Early Childhood Leader award.

She spent 16 years in the corporate world, including working as a bank executive and an accountant.

She spent close to a decade managing a private school that offered enrichment programmes to children aged three to 12, before joining My First Skool as a principal in 2014.

Since then, she and her staff have come up with activities that made learning fun for children, such as "interactive boards" that featured games such as word puzzles that pre-schoolers could play.

In 2015, her team was one of five to win an award by NTUC First Campus, which manages My First Skool, for its excellent service to parents.

The following year, her childcare centre received the Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework quality certification (commendation), which recognises centres with strong teaching and learning practices.

She was promoted to executive principal that year. Said Ms Chua: "I firmly believe in instilling good morals in teachers and children, and in treating each child well. These help me stand out in my field because I care about more than just educating young children."

Meanwhile, four pre-schools will be inducted into the inaugural honour roll as "innovation mentor centres". They are Odyssey, The Global Preschool (Fourth Avenue); Ramakrishna Mission Sarada Kindergarten; St. James' Church Kindergarten (Harding); and The Ascension Kindergarten.

Other centre-based award winners will showcase their winning innovation projects at the ECDA Early Childhood Exhibition, which is open to the public and runs concurrently with the conference.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2017, with the headline 'New awards for promising pre-school professionals'. Print Edition | Subscribe