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Award Presentation by Minister Chan Chun Sing - Top Left: Knowledge Universe Singapore, Bottom Left: NTUC First Campus, Top Right: Seventh-day Adventist Kindergarten; Bottom Right: Sarada Kindergarten

Four preschools that are strong advocates of good people-focused practices - that help inspire teachers to enable children to learn and grow - have won the coveted inaugural ASSETS Best Employer Award.

They received their awards from Guest of Honour Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Defence at the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) Awards prize giving ceremony at MAX ATRIA @ Singapore Expo.

ASSETS Best Employer Award is a new initiative aims to encourage best practices and raise the standard in Singapore’s early childhood education industry. The four winners are Knowledge Universe Singapore and NTUC First Campus (runner-up) for Category A and Seventh-day Adventist Kindergarten (SDAK) and Sarada Kindergarten (runner-up) for Category B.

Founded 36 years ago, NTUC First Campus touches the lives of over 12,000 children in its 129 pre-schools across Singapore.

Chief Executive Officer of NTUC First Campus, Mr Chan Tee Seng said, “We embrace the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” and our commitment is to “Cherish each child”. We strongly believe that as employers in the early childhood sector, it is our duty to place priority in enabling and supporting our people to do what’s best for each child.

“We are strong advocates on people practices in this sector to recognise and uplift the status of early childhood professionals. We continue to invest heavily in our staff and we encourage them to learn and grow, be inspired, be valued and enjoy. We are a choice employer in the sector and this award is testament to our leading HR practices.”

Sarada Kindergarten, which was started 22 years ago by Ramakrishna Mission, a Spiritual and Welfare Organisation, offers Tamil and Hindi as mother tongues. Their students are mainly from the Indian community.

On winning the coveted award, Manager of Ramakrishna Mission Sarada Kindergarten, Swami Satyalokananda said, “Sarada Kindergarten is blessed with good and dedicated teachers who go beyond the call of duty to serve society.

“As a not-for-profit organisation, we can contribute to the preschool sector by exploring innovative practices and approaches to deliver quality early childhood education at affordable fees. We value our teachers and students. And we will keep improving our standards to educate and improve the well-being of children and contribute to a better society.”

SDAK, set up in 1987, offers a Christian and family-oriented preschool environment to children in the community.

Principal of Seventh-day Adventist Kindergarten, Mrs Fu Lee Mei said, “We are elated to win the ASSETS Best Employer Award as it gives us a tremendous sense of affirmation for what our organisation has achieved in this sector and the painstakingly thought-out plans and programmes for the children, staff, parents and the community.

“Our vision is to be a leading, innovation- and child-centered kindergarten. We therefore strive to maintain a high benchmark for our overall operations. And we will continue to upgrade ourselves to remain current and relevant.”

Knowledge Universe, with close to 50 wholly-owned preschool centres islandwide and a teacher education institute, is part of a leading global education organisation with a network of more than 2,000 locations worldwide.

Chief Operating Officer of Knowledge Universe, Ms Rabiatul Adawiah said, “We have taken upon ourselves to invest more and be creative in our efforts to attract, reward and groom our talents. Ultimately, we have an obligation to our parents to have only the best people in our Team – whom we, as parents ourselves, are willing to entrust our own children to. This is the thought process that guides our talent management efforts.

“We credit this Award today to our People - our most treasured asset. As we continue to grow, we remain cognisant that more can be done for our teachers and the industry as a whole - for their continuous professional development, well-being and welfare.”

The Association of Early Childhood and Training Services (ASSETS), with the support of the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), conceived the Award to recognise outstanding preschools that have adopted best practices in the industry and contributed to the positive development of professional standards of early childhood education.

ASSETS Chairman, Dr T Chandroo said, ”We are delighted that our homegrown preschools have done well and contributed much to the development of the early childhood education sector here. Their long track record and continued innovation are testament to their commitment to provide quality preschool education as well as teacher training and development. The four winners which come from diverse backgrounds also show that there is no single approach or formula to good early childhood education or the running of a good pre-school.

“We are optimistic that the inaugural award winners will convince other preschools – that both local and global preschools – regardless of size, can be winners too. We urge more preschools to join us as we are planning a series of exciting activities for our members and the early childhood education sector next year. We also look forward to continued support from ECDA in our activities.”

There are two categories of Best Employer Awards - Category A for preschools with 50 employees or more and Category B for preschools with less than 50 employees. A winner and runner-up were chosen from each category.

ASSETS Head of Public Relations and Chairperson of the organising committee, Ms Fiona Walker said, “We would like to congratulate the winners of our inaugural award. Their unwavering efforts and commitment to adopting and implementing high standards of early childhood education and training are exemplary.

“Through this Award, we hope to raise the level of professionalism among preschool operators and to recognise those with outstanding performance. As we raise the bar, we also hope to attract more talent to join the early childhood education industry to help us nurture our young with the right academic fundamentals and values.”

An independent Panel of Judges was appointed to ensure impartiality of the evaluation process. Participating preschools were assessed on their HR policies and practices, operational and service excellence. Cash prizes were presented to the award winners.

The prizes for the inaugural Award were sponsored by the insurance partners of ASSETS, AIG Asia Pacific and ANDA Insurance Agencies.

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