SINGAPORE – More than 130 educators and managers, including religious supervisors, from 12 Catholic preschools and childcare centres met for their annual Thanksgiving Day on Dec 27.
The gathering, held at St Anne’s Church Kindergarten, is now in its fourth year and is an occasion for building communion as well as sharing best practices.
During the event, a new curriculum created by ACCS (Archdiocesan Commission for Catholic Schools) with outside expertise, was made available to the preschools and centres.
This “Integrated Curriculum” integrates the character development and religious education components with the academic – or core curriculum – component.
It incorporates the Catholic perspective while complying with the latest directives of the ECDA (Early Childhood Development Agency), the regulatory and developmental authority for the early childhood sector in Singapore.
The Thanksgiving Day also saw, for the first time, concurrent sessions being run in English and Mandarin in separate rooms.
Teachers from St Joseph’s Church Kindergarten and Holy Trinity Church Kindergarten shared with fellow language teachers from the other preschools their journey towards attaining SPARK (Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework) accreditation.
Ms Maria Goh, vice principal of Nativity Church Kindergarten and a Chinese language teacher, also shared how an attachment to Brisbane Catholic schools, and the Australian International School (AIS) in Singapore, inspired her to make changes to the way Chinese is taught in her school.
During the tour of the host school, St Anne’s Church Kindergarten, the 11 principals and supervisors heard from the principals of St Joseph’s Church Kindergarten, Ms Angeline Wong, and Holy Trinity Church Kindergarten, Ms Shirley Tan, about how they achieved SPARK accreditation.
Participants said they learnt much from the Thanksgiving Day.
“What struck me is that we’ve come a long way towards achieving Catholic identity,” said Ms Marie Rose Ng, principal of Good Shepherd Convent Kindergarten.
ABOUT THE CURRICULUM
The new “Integrated Curriculum” is the result of a double pilot programme implemented in three Catholic kindergartens in 2013.
The programme involved the Core Curriculum Programme (for the academic curriculum) and the Character Education Programme.
It was a joint effort between ACCS, Dr Margaret Carter, a senior lecturer in education at James Cook University, Townsville, Australia, and three Catholic kindergartens.
The pilot programme was in response to the recent changes in early childhood education with an increased emphasis on social and emotional aspects of children’s learning.
The results and feedback from the programme guided the formulation of the “Integrated Curriculum”, which is one tool towards the achievement of SPARK (Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework) accreditation.
Currently, St Joseph’s Church Kindergarten and Holy Trinity Church Kindergarten have SPARK accreditation.
By Stefania Hartley