Pre-school, childcare educators to get day off on Teachers’ Day

Pre-school, childcare educators to get day off on Teachers’ Day
Teacher and students having lessons in my First Skool at Boon Lay Drive. The school is a selected pre-school under the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA)’s KidSTART Enhanced Support to Pre-school component. TODAY file photo
Parents, teachers welcome move to recognise educators’ commitment to their profession
Published: 8:25 PM, August 29, 2017
Updated: 10:07 PM, August 29, 2017

SINGAPORE — Nearly all 16,000 pre-school and childcare teachers here will get a day off on Teachers’ Day, which is a first for them, and parents would have been notified in advance to arrange for alternative childcare.

In a press release on Tuesday (Aug 29), the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) said that almost all of the 1,800 pre-schools in Singapore are observing this on the day, which falls on Aug 31 this year. It is one way to recognise the teachers’ commitment to their profession.

Last year, just 40 per cent of childcare centres closed on Teachers’ Day. Kindergartens, on the other hand, follow school holidays stipulated by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and do not operate on the day.

This move to include early childhood educators was first announced last October by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development, as part of the launch of the Early Childhood Manpower Plan.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday at Kidz Meadow Childcare & Development Centre @ Buangkok Ridge, Mr Tan said that Teachers’ Day is an “important symbolic event”.

“One feedback from a number of pre-school teachers was that, we all say that teachers are important… (and) primary school teachers celebrate Teachers’ Day, (so) what about pre-school teachers? We thought it is important, (and) there has been a slew of initiatives to help (these teachers in their) professional development ... (to) increase recognition (of their work),” he said.

Sales executive Karlyn Kwek, 31, whose three- and four-year-old daughters attend Kidz Meadow, said that the private centre informed them about the closure one or two months in advance. Her parents will be taking care of her children on Thursday.

“I appreciate all the (teachers’) care and concern (for) my kids. I support (the move for) them to have a day off,” she said.

Ms Jacqueline Lee, 29, who works in a bank, said that she was informed two months ago that MindChamps, her son’s pre-school, would be closing on Teachers’ Day. Her mother-in-law will be looking after her five-year-old son that day.

“Of course, some parents complain that they cannot find other carers, but the teachers are like the kids’ ‘second parents’… they deserve a day off,” Ms Lee said.

For pre-school teacher Nurul Farah, this is her first time getting a full day off on Teachers’ Day. The 25-year-old taught at a PAP Community Foundation kindergarten for four years before moving to MindChamps in June.

“It feels good to be acknowledged as teachers and be appreciated for the things we do in the childcare industry,” she said.