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S$1.85m SEED campus, childcare centre to enhance pre-school teacher training

SINGAPORE — Built at a cost of S$1.85 million, NTUC’s new SEED Institute and new childcare centre, The Caterpillar’s Cove, are expected to provide better training for more pre-school teachers in the early-childhood education sector. Both facilities are located side by side at the newly opened Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability in Jurong East.

S$1.85m SEED campus, childcare centre to enhance pre-school teacher training

The SEED Institute (West Campus), located beside The Caterpillar’s Cove@Jurong East, will allow trainee teachers
to observe good classroom practices.
Photo: Geneieve Teo

SINGAPORE — Built at a cost of S$1.85 million, NTUC’s new SEED Institute and new childcare centre, The Caterpillar’s Cove, are expected to provide better training for more pre-school teachers in the early-childhood education sector. Both facilities are located side by side at the newly opened Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability in Jurong East.

This will allow trainee teachers at SEED Institute (West Campus) to better bridge theory and practice by observing good classroom practices at The Caterpilliar’s Cove@Jurong East and collaborating on innovative projects with its employees.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Dr Geraldine Teo-Zuzarte, deputy director of Professional Practices at SEED Institute, also noted the lack of local research in the field of early childhood.

“A lot of the research cited is always from somewhere else, so I think this closer collaboration —now that we’re just next door, we are neighbours — will strengthen the kind of research we can do and also the research we have already done,” said Dr Teo-Zuzarte.

Examples of collaboration between the new facilities include research publications that can be used as reference texts in diploma courses, while experienced teachers can share skills and experiences through professional development workshops at the SEED Institute.

With the opening of the second SEED Institute, about 7,200 pre-school teachers will be trained each year, up from the current 5,600. The first SEED campus is located on Bras Basah Road. The SEED institutes have also been commissioned by the Lien Foundation to conduct three research studies costing S$1 million over three years in the area of early-childhood education.

The Caterpillar’s Cove in Jurong East started operations in May and is NTUC’s second child development and study centre. The centre can take in 144 children and 12 infants at full capacity, with monthly full-day fees for children and infants costing S$1,350 and S$1,600, respectively. It features tiered seating to promote teacher-child interaction, as well as a periscope to give children a view of the outdoors.

Through a partnership with the Lien Foundation, 10 to 15 per cent of the vacancies at the new centre will be set aside for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their fees will be subsidised by the charity.

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