Trainee's voices : an exploration of the importance of child development, the theories of childhood and play-based learning for any adult who works with young children from birth to preschool years
In January 2001, the Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) jointly set up Pre-School Qualification Accreditation Committee (PQAS) to oversee the standards and quality of pre school teacher training for both kindergarten and Childcare sectors. The MOE and the MCYS introduced an integrated Pre-School Education (PSE) framework for teacher training and accreditation applicable to р re-school personnel. The training route for pre-school teachers came into effect in January 2001. Teacher training and the qualifications offer high leverage opportunities for enhancing standards of training and expanding career opportunities for pre-school professionals in Singapore. The various levels of training are planned to cater to the different needs of the teachers and prepare them for leadership in the sector. This will ensure that pre-school professionals are well equipped to provide our young children with an enriched learning environment, to nurture their social skills and values, and prepare them for lifelong learning (wwwl.moe.edu.sg/preschooleducation).The majority of teacher trainees involved in this research have been working as caregivers in most Child Care Centres in Singapore without relevant knowledge of the child. The study is underpinned by the contemporary argument that any adult who works with children needs to know about Child Development, Theories of Childhood and Play-based Learning Environment, which actively challenge the traditional stereotypical notions that experiences alone would be sufficient. Understanding the growing child would no doubt help to focus on appropriate tasks for the child. Central to the focus of the study is to gain an understanding of the existing knowledge of the teacher trainees (both who are working with children and otherwise) before and after the study sessions and how such an increase of knowledge could empower and enfranchise the teachers to make informed decisions in the child’s life. At the completion of the course they were able to comprehend the most important factors of the growing child that they were considerably unaware of and better manage behavioural situations with the child. The teachers' final records of Observation and Evaluation, Professional Journals of the children combined with a final powerful public presentation of the Child Study Making Learning Visible no doubt heighten the educational process as a learning discipline, a vital link that provides a powerful medium to interact with the growing child.