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Today - 20111123
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  Wednesday Nvemer 23, 2011www.daynine.cmwe se y hinking MICA (P) 031/10/2011 ã A PublICAtIoN of ã NEWS HotlINE 6822 2268  @  sports fans, stay up to dateat scores | anaLysIs | neWs afternoon edition Wsy nm 23, 2011www.y.cmw s y hg MiCa (P) 031/10/2011 ã a PubliCation of ã neWS Hotline 6822 2268 Teachers to get new tools to teach toddlers nG JinG YnG  SINGAPORE — In a move that will be musicto parents’ ears, the Ministry of Education(MOE) is embarking on a review of thekindergarten curriculum framework.It has also, for the first time, introducedstandard teaching materials in the form of six picture books which aim to inculcate intoddlers positive character traits.Overall, the review seeks to “refreshkey teaching and learning principles so asto better prepare our children for living andworking in the 21st century”, said Ministerof State (Education) Lawrence Wong, whohad been tasked with looking at the pre-school education sector.Mr Wong, who was speaking at theKindergarten Conference yesterday, reiter-ated the importance of pre-school educa-tion.He said: “Evidence in many studiesshow that quality early learning programmeswork — for our children and for our society.Participation in high-quality preschool pro-grammes results in both short- and long-term positive outcomes for children, includ-ing their willingness to persevere throughadversity, their motivation in learning andtheir ability to acquire future skills.”The existing framework for kindergar-ten curriculum was published in 2003. SaidMr Wong: “Many of the broad principles inthe existing framework are still relevant. Butwe want to update (the framework) with thelatest research about how children developand learn.”Last month, speaking at the 25th anni-versary dinner of the People’s Action PartyCommunity Foundation, Deputy Prime Min-ister Teo Chee Hean noted that the qual-ity of its pre-schools is “uneven”. Notingthat some centres are “not doing so well interms of curriculum content, staffing andoutcomes”, Mr Teo had said: “We still havesome way to go to bring all our centres tothe level we desire them to be.”Earlier this year, the MOE had engagedpre-school teachers and principals to pro-vide preliminary feedback to the frame-work.A draft was distributed to all kinder-garten teachers. A revised version will beavailable at the end of next year.The new framework includes moredetails on desired outcomes and explicitexamples to meet learning objectives. Forinstance, the new framework suggests get-ting a child to talk about his family or rec-ognise his feelings in order to teach himself-awareness.It also places greater emphasis on part-nerships between schools and the commu-nity, as well as the professional developmentof teachers.The six picture books are all by Singapo-rean writers. Instead of focusing on academictraits, the books carry tales of positive char-acter traits.For instance, in one of the books titled I can do it! , children learn about persever-ance through a parrot who did not give uptrying to speak well despite getting teasedby other parrots.Other books teach pupils to reflect andbe inventive in their thinking as well ashaving a sense of wonder and curiosity.The books have been piloted in PCFkindergartens as well as private ones.Evangel Kindergarten principal AliceChan said: “The books are suited to ourlocal context with elements like theMRT ... it becomes real to the children asthey are able to identify the story with theireveryday life.”Ms Chan noted that in the past, teach-ers have used story books from Westerncountries which may feature foreign ele-ments such as snow. And the children tendto be less receptive as they were unable torelate to the stories.PAP Community Foundation (Nee SoonEast) teacher Nur Khairunisah MohamadNasir recounted how a child with specialneeds finally agreed to perform in the schoolconcert after learning about perseverancethrough one of the books.Other students also learnt to encouragehim. Still, she stressed: “These books are just resources ... teachers must still havethe initiative to adapt (their teaching) tothe students’ profiles and needs.” The qualifications of pre-school educa-tors have improved over the years, with87 per cent of kindergarten teachers andprincipals receiving diplomas or under-going diploma training as of June.Five years ago, the figure stoodat 52 per cent, said Minister of State(Education) Lawrence Wong at the open-ing of the Kindergarten Conferenceyesterday.In recent years, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has given out 165awards to support pre-school educatorsin professional upgrading. And for thefirst time this year, five scholarships willbe awarded for a master’s programme inearly childhood education.Acknowledging the importanceof continuous training opportunities,Mr Wong also announced a part-timemusic and movement certificate course,offered by the MOE and RepublicPolytechnic, that will start in January.Several educators told T thatit is essential for pre-school educatorsto attend upgrading courses, given thechanging pre-school landscape thatincludes higher parental expectationsand children who are exposed to tech-nology.Principal of Living Sanctuary kinder-garten Elsie Chua said: “When we wantthe kids to be life-long learners, teachersalso ought to always look for ways toimprove themselves so that they can berole models.” nG JinG YnG ¢ QualifiCationS of eduCatorS iMProvinG Moe wgmw, chspc s gs liGHtninG exit for Man CitY? SPortS 62 Man CitY’S CHaMPionS leaGue HoPeS HanGbY a tHread after lateSt SetbaCk  hot nEWS 2 todayWednesday november 23, 2011 MhA urgespublic not toinflame situation SINGAPORE — As another Internet user wasbeing investigated for allegedly publishingreligiously offensive comments online, theMinistry of Home Affairs (MHA) yester-day urged the public to “refrain from add-ing comments that may further inflamethe situation”.Responding to media queries, an MHAspokesperson said the public should let theinvestigation take its course.Confirming that the police are inves-tigating “several complaints of offensivepostings on religion on the Internet”, thespokesperson said: “The right to free speechdoes not extend to making remarks that in-cite racial and religious friction and conflict.The authorities take a very serious view of allinstances of racial and religious incitement.”The spokesperson added: “Any personwho re-posts or contributes offensive com-ments to the postings that are the subjectof ongoing investigations and is also foundto have committed an offence, will be dealtwith in accordance with the law.”Blogger Donaldson Tan is the latest tobe in trouble over a picture he had put upon his Facebook wall.This is the third such case in a week.The other cases involved Mr Jason Neo,a former member of the People’s ActionParty’s youth wing, and full-time NationalServiceman Christian Eliab Ratnam. SINGAPORE — The Government is studyingways, including looking at the experiencesof other countries, to deter frequent gam-blers from visiting the casinos.It will also “soon” amend the Casi-no Control (Advertising) Regulations tomake it “crystal clear to both casinos thatthey cannot target the domestic market”,Acting Minister for Community Develop-ment, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Singsaid yesterday.Mr Chan added that as of Oct 31, therewere more than 26,000 self-exclusion or-ders issued to foreigners.He was responding to questions tabledby Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah.In a written reply, Mr Chan said: “Theregulations will also be widened to covernot only advertisements but any promo-tion of the casinos, which should preventincidents like the heartland shuttle buses.We will make further announcements indue course.”Noting the difference between fre-quent gamblers and impulsive gamblers,Mr Chan reiterated his ministry’s concernon the former group.Mr Chan said that in Holland, for ex-ample, the authorities look out for frequentgamblers and interview them. Said Mr Chan:“Depending on their assessment, they maysubsequently limit the patron’s visits tothe casinos or even exclude them. Depend-ing on our assessment of the problem, wemay consider different measures to deterfrequent gamblers. What we put in placeeventually, if any, will have to suit our localcontext and meet our needs and situation.”Ms Lee also asked if the Governmentplanned to raise the casino levy for Singa-poreans in an effort to discourage gambling.Mr Chan reiterated that the S$100entry levy is to “signal that gambling is anexpense and not a means to make a liv-ing, and to discourage casual and impulsegambling”.He added: “Some believe that a higherlevy will be a more effective deterrence.Others worry that increasing the levy willonly cause Singaporean visitors to intensifytheir gambling so as to ‘max out’ the up-front cost of the entry levy. The jury is stillout as to which is the likely behaviour of Singaporeans if we raise the levy.”On Ms Lee’s suggestion to impose ancasino entry levy on foreigners as well,Mr Chan said the ministry was focusing ona “targeted approach of combining educa-tion and casino exclusions”.He added: “Such an approach also em-phasises individual responsibility. For anindividual, self-exclusion can be a muchmore effective upstream safeguard againstproblem gambling than even a downstreammonetary quantum.”The National Council on Problem Gam-bling will continue to work with the Minis-try of Manpower and employers to adviseforeign workers to apply for self-exclusion,Mr Chan said.Mr Chan stressed that the safeguards— while stringent — for foreigners andSingaporeans “should not and cannot re-place individual responsibility”.“Individuals must make the correctdecision to gamble responsibly. In our Asiancontext, we also encourage families to playtheir part in helping their family membersto do what is right,” he said. Govt to make it crystal clear casinoscannot target domestic market today file photo What we put in placeeventually, if any, willhave to suit our localcontext and meet ourneeds and situation. acg m  Cud, yu  sC Cu sg
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