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Operating a childcare centre can be a very challenging and rewarding career. Success in this field requires dedication, love and patience. There are a few types of childcare programmes catering to parents who have to leave their children at school and go to work. There is full-day programme, half-day programme and flexi-care programme. For those who do not want their children to be in a school environment for long hours, they have kindergartens and enrichment programmes.
The demand for childcare services steadily increases as more and more women enter the workforce, giving up their roles of full-time mothers and house makers.
Planning and operating a childcare programme consumes much time and energy thus, it is important that motivations, skills, experience and personality are thoroughly assessed. Early childhood care and education services are under the control of two Ministries in Singapore; Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and the Ministry of Education (MOE).
MCYS targets the childcare sector, which consists of children from two months to six years whereas MOE concentrates on children aged four to six in a kindergarten setting.
Quality has become a priority issue for all concerned with early childhood care and education services. Starting from the premise that quality is a relative and dynamic concept based on values and beliefs. Providing quality education for children ensures that the learning journey and relationships in the early years of their lives have meaningful effects to their future achievements.
(“Singapore pre-school accreditation,” 2010) Role of a Supervisor According to SPARK, “Leaders set the direction and tone for the preschool.
” Leaders are a very important aspect in any organisation. Leaders must understand and play important roles; they must use evidence from research to make decisions; and they must work collaboratively. A good leader must have a strong philosophy which will enable her to deliver well. Having a good philosophy enables the leader to plan meaningful goals and objectives for the centre.
Supervisors can play a pivotal role in “reinforcing philosophy in school settings and helping teachers integrate the theoretical frameworks with classroom realities. ” (Grossman, 1990, p. 133) Having a good bond with the teachers will ensure that the supervisor has found a good team to work with and should constantly keep renewing the bond with her teachers. This can be done by looking into the teachers’ welfare and giving them benefits from time to time to motivate and encourage the teachers to work consistently.
At the same time, the supervisor must set a good example to her team of teachers by practising what she preaches. A good supervisor should also encourage her staff to further their education and when they do, not hesitate to promote them and give them bigger responsibilities. The supervisor should evaluate the quality of the learning environment and the centre as a whole. Catering to Children’s Needs It is well documented that racial and ethnic identity, and developing concepts about racial and ethnic diversity are development tasks that begin in early childhood.
According to NAEYC(2005), diversity in children, families and colleagues should be respected. Multiracial and multiethnic children not only have identity needs but they are also having difficulties adjusting to our early childhood and school programmes because their unique needs are not being met. For successful implementation of a programme, the supervisor has to look into the diverse backgrounds of the children. According to DAP (2009), “Development and learning occur in and are influenced by multiple social and cultural contexts”.
The supervisor has to understand that children’s development requires viewing each child within the sociocultural context of the child’s family, educational setting, community and the society. The contexts are interrelated thus, they all strongly influence how the child develops. Celebrating different festivals together as a centre and talking about different cultural backgrounds during lessons are a good way to include children from various cultural backgrounds. While implementing a programme, the supervisor might come across children from dysfunctional families.
Providing the proper financial assistance to these families is very important. Centre-based Financial Assistance for Childcare (CFAC) can be arranged for children who come from dysfunctional families. This scheme helps eligible families to offset childcare fees of their children every month. The government also gives childcare subsidies to working parents who enrol their children in childcare centres. (MCYS) Parents of children from dysfunctional families might find these two schemes helpful in providing their children with proper early childhood education.
This should be taken care of so that every child has an equal opportunity to education and care regardless of their cultural and financial backgrounds. 656 words Part 2 In order for the quality of child care to improve and for childcare services to become more readily available, the administration of childcare programmes must become professional, effective and efficient. The effective preparation of childcare supervisors directly impacts the programme quality and enhances the ability to meet the various challenges facing the field of early childhood education. (Caulfield, 1997) a) Effective Supervision
A good supervisor should be prepared not only with a background in early childhood education and teaching but with a working knowledge of management, principles and procedures, marketing and evaluation techniques, public relations, staff training and development, family counselling, community services and public policy. (Catron, & Groves, 1999) The supervisor’s role is more than observing teachers conducting lessons. There are many similarities between good teaching and good leading. A good supervisor does not only develop a programme and worry about enrolments.
The supervisor must look into the safety aspects in the childcare centre. Meeting all safety requirements before starting the programme is very essential. This ensures that children’s needs are taken into consideration and taken care of. Planning a proper timetable is very important in developing a programme. It allows the whole programme to run systematically and also for smooth transitions in between lessons. Resources and materials should also be distributed evenly among the teachers to avoid lack of resources during planned lessons.
The supervisor should also keep track of the resources and materials and replenish them regularly. b) Regulations and Policies In order to set up a childcare programme, license should first be acquired from MCYS. The child care centre has to comply with the standards set out in the Regulations of MCYS. All the pre-requisites stated in setting up a childcare centre should be taken into consideration in order to provide quality care and education. (MCYS, 2011) The type of programme that I am looking into implementing is a full day childcare programme. The centre will be catering to children from two years to six years old.
It will be operating five and half days a week. The programme will be conducted from seven o’ clock in the morning to seven o’ clock in the evening. This is to cater to parents who have to leave their children and go to work very early in the morning and for parents who end work late in the evening. On Saturdays, the centre will operate from seven o’ clock in the morning to two o’ clock in the afternoon. This caters to some parents who have to go back to work on weekends. The childcare centre will be open throughout the year except on Sundays and gazetted public holidays.
Half-days will be observed on the eve of Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year. In addition, the centre will be closed for another five and a half days in a year, following the MCYS policies. These regulations and policies of the centre strictly follow the MCYS Childcare Policies as MCYS firmly believes that children should not be cared for in the childcare centre for more than 24 hours continuously. c) Operational Issues How you structure your programme for your centre is another very important aspect to consider. The programme will be the key to your professional success and pleasure.
Having a proper Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will ensure that your programme runs smoothly and effectively. SPARK (2010) will be a good guide to get started with. Spark (2010) focuses on seven criterions. Leadership, Planning and Administration, Staff Management, Resources, Curriculum, Pedagogy and Health, Hygiene and Safety. Reflections should be done on the programme regularly to ensure that children are being delivered with nothing but quality excellence. Opening/Closing Time The opening and closing hours of a childcare centre is a very important period.
The supervisor must ensure there is enough staff to open the centre and close the centre. There should be at least one first-aid trained, qualified teacher to open the centre and it is required for the teacher to arrive at least fifteen minutes earlier to do the opening duties and to receive children. The teacher, however, has to remember that parents are only allowed to send their children in at seven o’clock onwards. There should be two teachers doing closing daily. Out of the two teachers, at least one teacher should be first-aid trained.
Should the opening/closing teachers be on leave, they are required to find a replacement for their shifts before they go on leave. Should they be on medical leave, they should inform the centre either the day before or by seven-thirty in the morning so that replacements can be found. Staff-Child Ratio Staff-child ratio must be observed at all times as according to MCYS Regulations. (Refer to Appendix 1, pg 10, Table 1) Teachers’ Qualifications Teachers hired in the centre should be trained in Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education- Teaching (DECCE-T). According to MCYS policy, the programme staff should be certified by MCYS/MOE.
Teachers should also have at least two years of teaching experience in a childcare setting, hold a valid first aid certificate recognised by MCYS and certified by MCYS/MOE as a Level 2 Teacher. d) Administrative Procedures School fees are a major part of a programme. All school fees have to be paid via GIRO. Deductions will be made every 5th of each month for fees payable that month. Parents are to ensure that there are sufficient funds in the bank account for deduction on the due date otherwise there will be a $10 administrative fee payable for every unsuccessful GIRO transaction.
If they choose to opt out of the GIRO payment scheme, they are required to place a two month deposit upon enrolment. An additional fee of $5 per day will be imposed for late payment after the 5th of each month. All outstanding fees must be cleared before a child is promoted to the next level. e) Quality of Curriculum Integrated curriculum is a form of interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning that emphasizes on content learning and knowledge acquisition.
It incorporates several subject areas such as language and literacy, math, music and movement, creative arts, self awareness, social awareness and motor skills into a curriculum that provides a holistic learning for children. In this curriculum, children apply skills, concepts and processes derived from the total curriculum in the meaningful context of thematic learning. (Erikson, 2001) Teachers are supporters of children’s learning. The curriculum should be designed to enable teachers to scaffold and support children’s knowledge and understanding and thinking.
The curriculum should be designed to aid the child’s intellectual, social, emotional and physical development. (KCG, 2008) f) Documentation of Children’s Progress and Portfolios All records should be kept up-to-date and readily accessible. Periodic reports of children’s progress, documentation of children’s habits, character traits and interests and anecdotal notes of children’s behaviours that are significant are all documentation of children’s progress. The centre should have a system which evaluates records for completeness, accuracy of contents and timelines of entries at regular intervals.
Portfolios are collections of student work representing a selection of performance. A portfolio may be a folder containing a student’s best work pieces and the student’s evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the pieces. (Wortham, 2008) Portfolios are usually used as the center-piece of teacher-parent conferences. Portfolios can be used in the intention of motivating students, to promote learning through reflection and self-assessment and to be used in evaluations of students thinking and writing processes. An archival portfolio will be used to document the children’s progress from year to year.
This portfolio can be useful to the child’s future teachers. It provides useful information about the child’s developmental progress, strengths and weaknesses. (Wortham, 2008) The portfolio should be organized using the developmental area approach. Using this approach, a child’s developmental areas such as physical, cognitive, social-emotional, creative and language and literacy can be assessed. The teacher can use this type of portfolio during parents-teacher conferences to show parents the specific skills that has been prominent and those that need improvement in the child.
Using the developmental area approach a student’s growth and development can be clearly visible as the work collected usually spans throughout a year and observers and parents can clearly see the child’s progression in this. (Benson, & Smith, 1998) A combination of work samples, checklists, observation records and photo documentations have been used to compile this portfolio. Developmental checklists have been used to assess the child’s progress in terms of skills. (Hanson, & Gilkerson, 1999) The checklists used aid in assessing and reporting the child’s progress and development.
It also assists in assessing teaching processes. The developmental checklists used in this portfolio are categorized into four domains. They are namely language and literacy, math, social-emotional and physical skills. The assessments done on the child in this portfolio was collected when the child was participating in various types of activities with other children in the class. These kinds of activities allow scaffolding to take place as the child gets assistance from other children or adults. The checklists designed centers towards the objectives that the teacher has set for the child.
These objectives are developmentally appropriate according to the child’s age. g) School, Family and Community Partnership Having strong family involvement in children’s education are best achieved through family-school and community collaboration. By articulating a common mission and developing proactive ways of strengthening families and schools, parents and teachers can influence children’s school success positively. Parents should be encouraged to be involved in their children’s school activities as much as possible. Parents can be encouraged by volunteering for centre events like celebrations, excursions and field trips.
They can even conduct workshops for children in the centre like speech and drama or art workshops. References Benson, T. R. , & Smith, L. J. (1998). Portfolios in first grade: four teachers learn to use alternative assessment. Early Childhood Education Journal, 25(3), Catron, C. E. , & Groves, M. M. (1999). Teacher to director. Early Childhood Education Journal, 26(3), Caulfield, R. (1997). Professionalism in early care and education. Early Childhood Education Journal, 24(4), Erickson, H. L. (2001). Stirring the head, heart, and soul: Redefining curriculum and instruction. (2nd Ed. ). Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Pr0065c007Axzxz ss Inc.
Hanson, M. F. , & Gilkerson, D. (1999). Portfolio assessment: more than abcs and 123s. Early Childhood Education Journal, 27(2), Ministry of Education. (2008). Kindergarten curriculum guide. Singapore Ministry of Education, Pre-school Education Branch. (2010). Singapore pre-school accreditation framework:quality rating scale. Singapore: Ministry of Education. NAEYC. (2009). Developmentally appropriate practices in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8. Washington, DC Wortham, S. C. (2008). Assessment in early childhood education (5th ed. ). Upper Saddle River: New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.
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