Teachers’ Day, Children’s Day to be pre-school holidays from 2024
From 2024, pre-schools will have two additional days of holiday – Teachers’ Day and Children’s Day.
This is on top of the six days that centres are currently allowed to close each year for organisational activities, such as curriculum planning and staff training.
Announcing this move on Friday, Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli said the Government is committed to support the well-being and development of early childhood educators.
The existing six days of closure per year will be known as Development Days, he said, for educators to have time to focus on their individual and team development. Pre-schools can use these days for training, curriculum planning and staff retreats, for instance.
Speaking at the Early Childhood Celebrations and Conference, Mr Masagos said that the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) will no longer require pre-schools to be closed on three half-days on the eve of five public holidays – New Year’s Day, Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali and Christmas Day. This is to allow more flexibility with their operating hours.
Pre-school operators will have the flexibility to engage their staff and parents to adjust their centres’ operating hours on the eve of these five public holidays, based on the caregiving needs of parents and other considerations.
For instance, Muslim staff can be granted half a day off on the eve of Hari Raya. Pre-schools can also close earlier on the eve of Chinese New Year if all parents and guardians confirm that they do not require childcare services beyond a certain time.
Speaking at the conference at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, Mr Masagos urged operators and centre leaders to ensure that educators are free from teaching and caregiving duties when they are on their breaks so that they can have meals, rest and recharge before resuming work.
“Such provision is already in line with the Employment Act,” he said. “Our pre-school teachers are empowered to do their best to support our children when they have regular breaks for personal and professional development throughout the year, and daily.”
To further support educators catering to children aged three years and below, ECDA launched on Friday the Early Years Development Framework 2023, which was updated from the version first launched in 2011.
The latest set of guidelines emphasises four areas of development – cognitive, communication and language, physical, and social and emotional. It provides developmental goals for infants and toddlers within these areas, as a reference for educators to design the learning environment, select the resources and plan learning experiences.
This complements the Nurturing Early Learners Framework developed by the Ministry of Education, which provides teaching and learning guidelines for children from four to six years old.
ECDA said it is also developing a Quality Teaching Tool by the end of 2024 as part of efforts to improve teaching quality.
Mr Masagos said the agency has been working with the Centre for Research in Child Development at National Institute of Education on the development of the teaching tool.