New childcare centre to be a test-bed for early childhood practices

Ng Le Qi (right) playing with wooden blocks in a block play experience being facilitated by Farhana Kamal Beck (left), English teacher at The Caterpillar's Cove, a childcare centre which NTUC First Campus runs in Ngee Ann Polytechnic. -- PHOTO: ST FI
Ng Le Qi (right) playing with wooden blocks in a block play experience being facilitated by Farhana Kamal Beck (left), English teacher at The Caterpillar's Cove, a childcare centre which NTUC First Campus runs in Ngee Ann Polytechnic. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A new "model" childcare centre in Jurong will serve as a living laboratory for trainee teachers and researchers, to help improve early childhood practices.

IT is the second branch of The Caterpillar's Cove, a childcare centre run by operator NTUC First Campus in Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

It started operations in May and now has more than 30 children and six infants, but will have 144 children and 12 infants at its full capacity.

The centre is next to NTUC's new Seed Institute campus, which trains early childhood teachers in diploma and degree courses, so as to allow academic staff and trainee teachers to do research in an authentic preschool environment. The first Seed Institute campus is at Bras Basah.

With the new campus, the institute will train about 7,200 preschool teachers every year, up from 5,600.

Both facilities within the recently opened Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability were built at a cost of $1.85 million.

The centre has several innovative features such as a garden-shed observation booth for teacher training and research, and tiered seating blocks and stools instead of conventional chairs for children. It also has a periscope so children can see outside of the office building.