Have the patience of a saint? (Kidding, but you’ll need an extraordinary amount of it). Love interacting with children? Consider the early childhood education sector! Currently, Singapore needs at least 3,000 more early childhood educators by 2020, and increasing support and better career progression has led to the sector seeing a healthy amount of interest. Initiatives and schemes in place include Professional Conversion Programmes, Place-and-Train Programmes, Study Awards, Career Trials, and so on! If you feel called to this sector, here’s a list of courses to get you started*.
Do take note: To become an Early Childhood Educator, you should take an Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) recognized/accredited course. See their list here for more details. As the highest qualification necessary for certification is a Diploma, Degrees and Masters programmes are not included in the list.
* This list is not an endorsement of the courses within so do conduct your own research, too, to make sure you pick a course and school that’s a right fit for you! Course fees are accurate as of April 2019.
Nanyang Institute of Management – Fundamentals Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education
The Nanyang Institute of Management was established in 2001 and is located at the Central (Clarke Quay, Eu Tong Sen Street). Their Fundamentals Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education is geared toward childcare assistants, and is taught through case studies, role play, projects, as well as written assignments and presentations. The school is EduTrust and ISO certified.
Course Fees: SGD 1,979.50 for local students
Curriculum: There are a total of 6 modules in the course. They are 1) Child Development and Guidance, 2) Creative Approaches to Caring and Learning, 3) Safety, Health and Nutrition, 4) Professional Development, 5) Working with Families and lastly 6) Supervised Teaching Practice.
Duration: 3 months full-time, 5 months part-time. The maximum course duration is 12 months.
- KLC International Institute – WSQ Higher Certificate in Infant Care
KLC International Institute was established in 1988 with a focus on early childhood education, and is a SkillsFuture Singapore approved partner for the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) sector. The WSQ Higher Certificate in Infant Care programme is open only to Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, and is the first step for those looking to become Infant and Toddler educarers.
Course Fees: SGD 5,000. For those eligible for WTS/SSG training grants, course fees range from SGD 265.05- 4,500. The course is SkillsFuture credit claimable.
Curriculum: 9 modules will be taught in this course. Topics covered include Learning Environments, Curriculum and Pedagogy, as well as Health, Safety, and Nutrition.
Duration: 5 months full-time, 8 months part-time
- British Council – English in Early Childhood: Language Learning and Development (Online course)
Hailing from the UK, the British Council is an international organization with a presence in over 100 countries. Well-known for their advocacy of and teaching expertise in the English language, the British Council developed a free online course targeted toward early childhood educators and parents. Taught by a early childhood educator with over 20 years of experience, why not take this course to get an idea if this is the right field for you?
Course Fees: Free
Curriculum: Topics include How Children Learn, How to talk to Young Children, as well as Learning through Play.
Duration: 6 weeks
- National Institute of Early Childhood Development – Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education – Teaching
The National Institute of Early Childhood Development, as its name suggests, is a national training institute set up by the Ministry of Manpower. NECD offers courses of varying mastery levels ranging from certificate to post-diploma level, and the Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education qualifies for L2 certification by ECDA, which allows graduates to teach Playgroup, Nursery, K1 and K2 children from 18 months to 6 years old. This particular diploma is for existing and aspiring early childhood educators; students have the option of looking at the diploma below.
Course Fees: SGD 3,197.16 for Singaporeans <40, SGD 2,131.44 for Singaporeans ≥ 40, SGD 6,394.32 for PRs, SGD 21,314.40 for international students. The course is eligible for further funding support from SkillsFuture Singapore.
Curriculum: Modules taught include Social Emotional Learning, The Professional & Reflective Practitioner, Aesthetics & Creative Expression, as well as Language and Literacy.
Duration: Full-time and part-time available. Durations include 18 months (Mon-Fri, 2pm-6pm) or 30 months (range of options)
- National Institute of Early Childhood Development – Diploma in Early Childhood Development and Education
Conducted by NIEC in collaboration with Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic at the NIEC (NP) and NIEC (TP) campuses, students studying the Diploma in Early Childhood Development and Education Students can choose to take the Visual Arts track or the Early Intervention track. Recognized by ECDA, the diploma includes a 22-week student internship programme and 2 practicum attachments. Course graduates can go on to read postgraduate diplomas, certificates, advanced diplomas, or degrees (with opportunities for credit exemption), or join the workforce.
Course Fees: (Per Academic Year) SGD 2,900 for Singaporeans, SGD 5,800 for Permanent Residents, SGD 10,400 for international students.
Curriculum: Core modules include Aesthetics & Creative Expression, Principles & Practices in Early Education, and Working with the Exceptional Child.
Duration: 3 years, full-time
- Singapore University of Social Sciences –Bachelor of Early Childhood Education with Minor
The first and only local University part-time degree in Singapore for early childhood education, SUSS’s Bachelor of Early Childhood Education aims to give its students a broadened perspective through the help of a related minor (the disciplines include Management, Psychology, Sociology, Chinese Language, Malay Language, Tamil Language, Art Education and Music Education). Career opportunities for its graduates include roles like early childhood educators and enrichment programme specialists.
Course Fees: To be confirmed.
Curriculum: Modules include Social Emotional Learning, Multimodal Literacies in a Play-Based Curriculum, Advocacy and Collaborations with Families in a Multicultural Context, as well as
Duration: 130 credit units
- Kaplan Singapore – Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood (Top Up)
Offered by Monash University, which ranks 16th globally for education training[i] and 59th as a whole, the Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood consists of 16 modules and 4 practicum fieldwork placements. It is fully taught by Monash University’s faculty and offers 100% assignment-based assessments. It also has a flexible study schedule that caters to working adults.
Course Fees: SGD 44,422.12 for Year 2 entry, SGD 22,559.88 for Year 3 entry.
Curriculum: Modules include Diversity in Child Development (Y2), Learning with Children, Their Families and Communities (Y2), Children’s Literature, Storytelling and The Arts (Y3), as well as Leadership and Management in Education Contexts (Y3).
Duration: 12-24 months, depending on prior qualifications
- James Cook University Singapore – Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education)
James Cook University’s Singapore campus is currently located at Sims Drive, and has had a presence here since 2003. The school is amongst the top 2% of universities globally (The Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018) and was established to conduct teaching and research on areas of importance to the tropics[ii]. The university frequently appears in the media for interesting happenings and initiatives, like Singapore’s only video game museum, probably the only of its kind in Southeast Asia.
Their Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) includes 100 days of workplace learning, taught over 3 trimesters per year and 4 subjects at a time.
Course Fees: SGD 60,776 for locals, SGD 62,916 for international students.
Curriculum: Modules to be studied include
- Technologies for Early Childhood Education
- Students with Reading Difficulties
- Reflective Teaching Cycles and Positive Learning Environments (ECE)
- Teachers as Ethical and Collaborative Change Agents
Duration: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
Accreditation: The Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) is fully accredited with ACECQA, the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority, as well as the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) in association with the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT). Graduates of this course will be eligible to apply for Teacher registration in Australia. James Cook University (Singapore) is EduTrust certified.
Becoming an Early Childhood Educator promises fulfillment and joy, but be ready for an intensive and demanding job. Make sure that you’re willing to commit and have a passion for children (check out this post by an early childhood educator’s spouse that went viral) before you commit yourself to this field, lest you get a shock later on. We wish you all the best in your journey!