Mulberry Learning Launches Revamped Professional Development Programme for Preschool Teachers
Mulberry Learning’s comprehensive i-Inspire Programme will help its educators map out clear career advancement pathways, boost their competencies and care for their well-being.
On 10 October 2020, Mulberry Learning launched i-Inspire, a revamped professional development programme, for our preschool teachers. In line with the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA)’s announcement to review preschool teachers’ professional development, this initiative supports our belief that together with its proprietary curriculum and provocation-rich environment, our educators play a crucial role in nurturing the future ready child.
“Like the tree that provides a strong structure and support for children of different abilities to explore and make sense of the world around them, we want to ensure that our teachers gain a solid foundation in their professional development growth at Mulberry Learning. We strongly believe in building their careers by providing clear advancement structure that defines the opportunities, rewards, career pathways and the training required for them to expand their professional capacities,” said Mdm Susan Sim, Head of Research and Development (Training & Curriculum) of Global Eduhub.
Strengthening Support for Professional Development of Mulberry Learning’s Educators
1. Mapping out Clear Advancement Pathways
At Mulberry Learning, we value our educators and invest in their professional growth. Be it an infant educarer, preschool teacher, vice-principal or principal, the i-Inspire programme will roll out role profiles to delineate the competencies, training programmes, career pathways, and career progression for teachers. Early childhood educators can choose between the curriculum track or the administration track when advancing their careers in Mulberry Learning.
Mdm Sim, who was previously from Singapore’s Ministry of Education as a Gifted Education Programme teacher, a Head of Department (Science) and her last post as a Head of Department (School Staff Developer), began helming the Research and Development Team in August, added that, “we want our teachers to grow from a sapling to a mature tree, ready to embrace the winds of change and possess the spirit of inquiry, all while sharpening their skillsets and developing themselves professionally in the art and science of teaching.”
2. Boosting Educators’ Competencies
Mulberry Learning envisions teachers to be A Facilitator of Inquiry, A Co-Constructor of Knowledge, A Scaffold to Excellence, A Collaborator of Learning, and A Builder of Community.
In the revamped programme, the appraisal framework will go beyond an evaluation of a staff’s performance to prioritise the holistic development of a teacher, guided by the 5 teacher outcomes. Teachers will be given opportunities to partake in reflective practice under the guidance of senior colleagues as well as through professional dialogue with their colleagues during weekly time-tabled professional learning.
To support this cause, we have put in place plans to build up a stronger pool of support staff. With additional manpower, preschool teachers can be offloaded from their duties for such collaborative professional learning and mentoring. This allows early childhood educators to identify their learning needs in a timely fashion, seek out resources and peer-support, as well as attend appropriate training courses to upgrade their knowledge, skills, and competencies.
Training will also be bite-sized and byte-sized, taking the form of flipped learning whenever appropriate. Apart from the mandatory courses, Mulberry Learning’s educators can also opt to attend courses that are not work-related but nurtures their interest or for their leisure. For instance, teachers who are interested in honing their culinary skills can go for culinary classes, which they can apply for through the new Learning Management System.
3. Caring for the Well-Being of Educators
Mulberry Learning acknowledges that the roles played by a preschool educator can be rather demanding. Besides caring for and nurturing children, they have many other duties to complete throughout the day; even while a child naps!
Especially with the Coronavirus outbreak, preschool educators had to come up with and adapt to new ways of teaching. Home-Based Learning videos were created in a short span of time and teachers had to think of creative ways to ensure preschoolers keep their distance in school and put on their masks or face shields at all times.
As such, alongside granting them opportunities to attend non-job-related courses, short breaks will be factored in for teachers throughout the day. Dedicated spaces within each centre will be created for teachers to be away from their duties, to rest and rejuvenate.
About Mulberry Learning
Established in 2006, Mulberry Learning is an award-winning Reggio-inspired preschool with 11 locations around Singapore. Mulberry Learning is the world’s first and only preschool network certified by the USA for the Habits of MindTM framework, and its curriculum has been voted as “Singapore’s Best Holistic Learning Programme” for 3 years running by leading parenting publications.