My First Skool gears up to serve 20,000 children by 2020March 15, 2016
Face-lift over next two years to signal its commitment to continual quality enhancements in curriculum, parents’ engagement, teachers’ competencies and environmental design
NTUC’s My First Skool (MFS) announced today that it will continue to grow its childcare network to meet the needs of working families in Singapore. It aims to increase its childcare enrolment from 13,000 currently, to 20,000 by 2020. This represents a 50 per cent increase over a five year period. MFS grew from 39 centres in 2009 to 123 centres today, serving four times the number of parents it did seven years ago, when it was appointed as an anchor operator.
MFS works to constantly enhance the quality of its programmes. Currently, 90 of its pre-schools have attained the Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework (SPARK) certification. This attainment rate is significantly above the industry average, and is a clear testimony of MFS’ commitment to the holistic growth of children through excellence in pre-school management and teacher development. In the last one year, MFS has also introduced technology to strengthen centre-parent communication and partnership, as well as enhanced the physical environment to facilitate better experiences and learning outcomes.
Expanding outreach with larger pre-schools
At the official opening of the newest MFS childcare centre in Punggol Waterway Point, Guest of Honour, NTUC Secretary-General, Mr Chan Chun Sing, said, “MFS’ goal for the next five years is to make affordable and quality childcare services available in every neighbourhood. Our goal is to enable children, regardless of their family income or background, to have a good start in life. This is one of the ways that NTUC is caring for, and supporting, working families in Singapore.”
MFS has stepped up efforts to meet the needs of young, dual-income families, especially in developing estates such as Jurong West, Punggol and Sengkang. It will open four more childcare facilities that can each take in between 200 to 500 children in the next few months, starting with the centre in Waterway Point. This will be followed by a centre in Edgefield Plains in the second quarter of this year and another two in Jurong West and Sengkang West respectively in the third quarter. Together with other new centres and extensions to existing centres, MFS will be able to take in over 2,000 more children in 2016.
Building future-ready pre-schools through continual quality enhancements
Said Chief Executive Officer of NTUC First Campus, Mr Chan Tee Seng, “We will continue to invest heavily in uplifting the quality of our programmes, so that young parents can have access to a childcare facility that is of a very high quality near to their home. We will focus on four key areas – building strong parental engagement, strengthening our curriculum, enabling our teachers to deepen their skills in order to grow professionally and enhancing our learning environment.”
Tapping on technology to strengthen partnership with parents
MFS has introduced a new e-portal that feeds real-time updates to parents on their children’s learning and development progress in school. The new system, which was fully rolled out at the start of this year, complements the half-yearly Parent-Teacher Conference by allowing teachers to actively engage parents on their child’s learning and development. Parents can now be updated bi-weekly with information accessible via mobile devices. Greater awareness of children’s learning and development has also helped foster stronger parent-teacher partnership critical to children’s holistic development.
Advancing curriculum for holistic growth
In 2015, MFS rolled out two ground-breaking curriculum programmes. First, it introduced the relationships-based approach curriculum for the birth-to-three age group that develops the child’s sense of well-being and active involvement through fostering strong bonds between the caregiver and the child. Second, it introduced the “first of its kind” character-building programme for the four to six age group to inculcate good values in children through daily activities. In the coming years, more initiatives are underway to further raise the bar in programme quality.
Strengthening teachers’ competencies
Recognising the importance of equipping staff with the skills to deliver these quality programmes at its pre-schools, MFS invests in regular training and development opportunities covering a wide range of topics for its staff. Close to 90 per cent of its principals and teachers are trained at Diploma and/or Degree levels. MFS also invests heavily in in-house training and ongoing professional development.
Enhancing physical learning environments
MFS is also continually enhancing its learning environments by drawing context and inspiration from the setup of previous centres. Moving forward, all of MFS’ pre-schools will be designed with flexible spaces to allow for varied learning activities, with spaces to cater to facilitate parent-teacher communication and designated resource rooms for teachers’ planning.
Reinforcing commitment with a refreshed look
As MFS approaches its 40th year of nurturing young children and supporting Singapore families, it is making changes to its logo, physical environment and uniforms to mark this major milestone. The refreshed look signals MFS’ enhanced quality in children’s learning and development and reinforces its commitment to serve more Singapore families. MFS pre-schools will gradually adopt the changes over the next two years.