At the Early Childhood Conference organised by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) held on 21 November 2013, pre-school educators and professionals shared about their best practices and successful programmes in nurturing pre-school children.
Pre-school educators and leaders can now tap on the newly launched Nurturing Early Learners (NEL) Educators' Guide and NEL Framework for Mother Tongue Languages to plan, implement and monitor students' learning. These resources complement the refreshed NEL Framework, launched earlier in 2013, and were developed in consultation with teachers, leaders and professionals in the pre-school industry.
"The aim is for these resources to provide a common understanding across the sector of the principles, practices and outcomes for pre-school education," said Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Education and Law, who launched the two new resources at the Early Childhood Conference held on 21 November 2013.
Framework for Mother Tongue Languages
To help smoothen children's transition from pre-school to primary school, the NEL Framework for Mother Tongue Languages sets out learning goals that students should achieve by the end of Kindergarten Two.
The Nurturing Early Learners (NEL) Educators' Guide and NEL Framework for Mother Tongue Languages complement the NEL Framework for pre-school education, launched earlier in 2013.
Increasingly, research shows that the golden period for children to pick up languages is in the early years. By giving our children an early start, we prepare them with a strong foundation for the globalised world that we live in.
Activities in some pre-schools have already begun to cater to the needs of Mother Tongue Learning in Singapore. At Learning Vision @ The Grassroots' Club, teachers brainstormed and created their own teaching aids using recyclable materials to help students learn their mother tongue.
For example, students improved on word recognition by matching words to pictures in a game, and practised forming sentences through an activity of arranging tiles with words on them.
Teachers noticed that students were able to use the teaching aids independently and were picking up the language faster. Parents also realised that their children were showing more interest, and would even use their mother tongue more frequently at home. A hands-on workshop for parents was also conducted to teach parents how to create similar teaching aids to extend their child's learning at home.
Pre-school teachers at the Learning Vision @ The Grassroots' Club brainstormed and created teaching aids to help students learn their mother tongue.
At St James' Church Kindergarten, students expressed an interest in knowing where books came from. Tapping on their interest, teachers developed "Once Upon A Story", a project that encouraged students to find out about the history of publishing, think of creative ideas, write their own stories and draw illustrations for their book.
Through this project that was done in both English and Mother Tongue, students practised speaking and writing in a fun and engaging way.
To support pre-school teachers, the NEL Educators' Guide provides practical and relevant teaching strategies, suggestions for activities and methods for tracking students' learning. For example, it includes information on how to plan a field trip, examples of how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can be used, as well as ideas for partnering parents and the community.
Students from My First Skool @ Blk 166 Punggol Central visited a community garden to learn more about plants, before growing their own garden in school.
At My First Skool @ Blk 166 Punggol Central, students visited a community garden to learn more about plants and vegetables. They observed differences between beans and leafy vegetables, and practised their written and oral skills by interviewing a volunteer who cares for the garden. Other pre-schools can also plan more of such learning trips with the help of the Educators' Guide.
To track students' learning, the Educators' Guide also encourages pre-school teachers to consider specific areas when observing students, such as their interests, skills, approach to learning, use of verbal language, body language and social interactions.
For more information and resources on Nurturing Early Learners (NEL), click on the following:
- NEL Framework
- NEL Framework for Mother Tongue Languages
- NEL Guide for Parents
- NEL Educators' Guide