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First Singapore-Indonesia project in early childhood education benefits more than 11,000 people in West Java

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The two-year collaboration enabled professional sharing and knowledge transfer between Early Childhood Education (ECE) practitioners in both countries - enhancing early childhood care and education to better prepare children for future learning.

Bandung, Indonesia, 5 July 2021 – The Singapore International Foundation (SIF), Indonesian Kindergarten Teachers Association (IGTKI) of West Java and the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) concluded a two-year capacity-building initiative titled Early Childhood Education Project today.

The ECE Project, launched in 2019, sought to enhance the capabilities of early childhood educators in Bandung and the wider province of West Java. It focused on improving interactions between teachers and children, designing conducive learning environments, and getting teachers and the children’s families to work together.

Dr G Kaveri, an ECE lecturer at SUSS, led a team of Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs), comprising other ECE faculty members, in the project. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, both ECE communities in Singapore and Indonesia carried out their training activities online – completing a series of training-of-trainers workshops and a symposium.

The ECE educators leading this effort from Singapore are part of a much larger pool of specialist SIVs. Through the SIF, they collaborate with partner organisations in host countries on various initiatives, largely in the areas of healthcare and education. These initiatives aim to enhance the skills and capability of their overseas counterparts, who are then enabled to cascade the learnings to their peers, enriching more lives.

At the conclusion of this collaboration, 61 Indonesian ECE practitioners have been trained as Master Trainers, surpassing the original targeted pool of 50. Newly equipped with specialised training strategies and assessment skills, these Master Trainers have gone on to train 300 other teachers from 51 kindergartens, thus creating wider sustainable impact on their local communities.

The project also achieved its goal to develop and implement a resource repository accessible to ECE practitioners from all IGTKI West Java subchapters. The repository now holds a collection of at least 150 physical storybooks, as well as e-storybooks and digital teaching materials hosted in Google Classroom.

Overall, the project benefitted more than 11,000 members of the Indonesian community, including students, parents, and caregivers – surpassing the project target of 9,250.

Ms Jean Tan, SIF Executive Director said: “We are encouraged by the results of this collaboration which was driven by the dedication of our early childhood educators from Singapore and Indonesia. The project’s successful conclusion exemplifies the good that can happen when communities come together to collaborate and effect positive change. We look forward to many more years of friendship and meaningful collaborations in Indonesia.”

Ms Renni Kusnaeni, Head, IGTKI West Java said: “We are delighted to partner the SIF and SUSS to boost quality early childhood education in West Java. This will not only positively impact the children, but also serve to nurture a pool of trained educators who can share their acquired skills and knowledge with their peers through the workshops. I hope what we have learnt can produce new breakthroughs in the world of early childhood education, especially in classroom management and adaptation to the ‘new normal’ that we will face in the coming school year.”

SIV and Associate Professor Sirene May-Yin Lim, Vice Dean and Programme Head (Early Childhood), SUSS said: “We are privileged to be able to share our experience and perspective with our counterparts in Indonesia through this project. We are grateful to our Indonesian host and participants who have been enthusiastic, warm, and engaging throughout the project and we look forward to continuing our collaboration for many more years ahead.”

Ms Novi Andriyati, project participant and a teacher from Putra III Kindergarten in Banjar City, West Java, said: “The training I received from the SIF’s Early Childhood Education Project has been very beneficial. After applying new teaching techniques during storytelling sessions, the children are now more focused and curious. They can develop their own stories, think critically, and give their opinions based on their own experiences and logic. Reading classes are now more interactive with increased dialogues between teacher and children. I also received feedback from parents that they had seen positive changes in their children at home.”

The ECE project marks another milestone in the 29-year friendship between the SIF and Indonesia. Since 1992, the SIF has brought Singaporean and Indonesian communities together to uplift lives and build enduring friendships through more than 100 initiatives in healthcare, education, and more recently, in the arts and social entrepreneurship.