SINGAPORE: The centralised training institute for pre-school teachers, National Institute of Early Childhood Development (NIEC), has curated a set of core modules to equip would-be educators and will be launching a new diploma programme next year.
According to a press release on Friday (May 10), the NIEC, which will have a faculty strength of 100, will begin operations in January 2019. As part of its responsibilities, it has reviewed the existing early childhood courses to ensure coherence in curriculum coverage and standards.
To this end, it has curated a set of core modules that will form the foundation for all diploma-level training – whether through Pre-Employment Training (PET) or Continuing Education and Training (CET).
Some of these modules include child safety, health and socio-emotional wellbeing, language and literacy and social emotional learning, according to the press release.
“Beyond equipping students with the professional knowledge and skills to take on the role of a pre-school educator, the core modules will feature a strong emphasis on practice-based learning,” NIEC said, adding the modules will help the students understand the development needs of the entire age spectrum including the very early years.
The NIEC will also launch the Diploma in Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) for the 2019 PET student intake, which will be available at its Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) and Temasek Polytechnic (TP) campuses, it added.
The new diploma will comprise of the abovementioned core modules and two early childhood-related electives, the institute said, adding students will also have the option of choosing an elective from another campus at NP or TP.
As part of the core modules, ECDE students will be expected to complete two practicums and a 22-week student internship programme that will be spread throughout the curriculum so students can apply what they have learned, the institute said.
“As early childhood training has to be practice-based within authentic work environments, hands-on learning at various pre-schools will enable students to apply their knowledge, attain the soft skills required in interacting with children and develop their professional competencies,” NIEC elaborated.
Additionally, NIEC will offer the Early Intervention and Visual Arts tracks respectively at NP and TP, in recognition of the fact that ECDE students may wish to deepen their knowledge or skills in a specific area of interest.
The Early Intervention track will have modules such as assessment of young children and childhood disabilities and disorders, while the Visual Arts track will include modules like 2D and 3D art and book illustration and design for children, the press release said.
The inaugural cohort for the new diploma course is 700.
NIEC pointed out that with the introduction of the Diploma in ECDE, there will be no more admission of new students to NP’s Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Diploma in Child Psychology and Early Education as well as TP’s Diploma in Early Childhood Studies from Academic Year (AY) 2019.
The NIEC will take over the running of these existing courses and students in these diploma courses will complete their studies with no change in curriculum structure or graduation requirements. Their diplomas will be jointly awarded by NIEC and NP or TP, the press release said.
Final-year O-Level and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students who are interested to apply for AY2019 intake to NIEC Diploma PET courses can do so through the Polytechnic Early Admissions Exercise in June, while those keen on apply for Higher NITEC in Early Childhood Education at ITE can do so via the ITE Early Admissions Exercise this month, said the institute.