The PAP Community Foundation (PCF), the largest pre-school operator in Singapore, has set aside $20 million for the professional development of its teachers over the next three years.
This includes training in soft skills such as language classes for more effective communication.
The announcement is in line with recent government initiatives to ramp up training for early childhood educators. In April, the Government committed $5 million over the next three years to two schemes to help early childhood educators.
PCF also expects to grow its pool of teachers from the current 5,200 to 6,300 by 2022, to support the national effort to increase pre-school places to meet the demands of young families.
These announcements were made by Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP and chairman of the PCF executive committee Josephine Teo at the opening of a PCF Sparkletots pre-school in Bishan yesterday.
"As the largest employer of pre-school teachers in Singapore, PCF Sparkletots has charted an ambitious learning and development road map for educators which includes not just professional but soft skills as well. For every teaching role, we have a matching Learning and Development strategy," she said, referring to PCF's developmental programme for educators.
PCF, which has more than 360 pre-schools and 43,000 children enrolled, has more than 4,000 teachers with diploma or higher qualifications.
At the opening of PCF Sparkletots @ Bishan North Block 409, Mrs Teo, who is also Minister for Manpower, said: "PCF Sparkletots educators will strengthen their capabilities to spark curiosity and inspire creativity in the children."
The new pre-school will offer full-day childcare and infant care services for up to 151 children aged two months to six years. It is housed in a stand-alone, two-storey building with a garden where outdoor learning is conducted.
As with other childcare centres run by anchor operators, monthly fees at the centre are capped at $720 for full-day childcare, $1,275 for full-day infant care and $160 for kindergarten.
Mr Victor Bay, chief executive of PCF, said investing in the development of teachers is important.
"Teachers have to be kept abreast of what is happening in the teaching profession, so their professionalism and technical competencies are very important. We are not just concentrating on technical competency; essential soft skills are also vital."
Waitress Rossaida Amin, 34, who has two children aged four and one at the centre, said developing teachers is crucial. "Teachers are like a second mother to the kids. They develop the children and bring out the best in them. "