Diploma in Early Childhood Development & Education (N96)

Why ECDE?

  • Experience practice-oriented training with a 22-week enhanced internship programme and 2 practicum attachments to apply what you have learnt from the course
  • Graduate with ECDE in the Early Intervention Track or Mother Tongue Language Teaching – Chinese or Tamil Tracks when you choose the relevant electives* in your final year 
  • Enjoy full course fee sponsorship, professional development grant and monthly allowance with the ECDA Training Award

*subject to prevailing terms and conditions

About ECDE

If you love interacting with children and want to play a part in shaping their growth, then our Diploma in Early Childhood Development & Education (ECDE) is the right one for you!

This course is conducted by the National Institute of Early Childhood Development (NIEC) in collaboration with NP at the NIEC (NP) campus. The qualification is recognised by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) for graduates to be certified and practice as an early childhood educator in Singapore.

From the first year of study, you will go on weekly attachments at childcare centres, and get an opportunity to apply and hone your skills alongside experienced educators . You will build a strong foundation in understanding child development, early childhood care, and education for young children between the ages of 18 months and 6 years.

In the second year, you will continue your field practicum while learning about the holistic development of a child, as well as curriculum planning and design. You will also learn how to encourage children to be curious learners and problem solvers.

In the final year, you will deepen your knowledge in your area of interest with electives such as Children’s Literature and Drama for Preschool Education, or take up modules in the Early Intervention track or Mother Tongue Language Teaching – Chinese or Tamil Tracks. You may even choose to take up the 2D & 3D Art modules conducted at the NIEC (Temasek Polytechnic) campus (subject to terms and conditions). You will also put your skills and knowledge into practice when you go on a six-month internship at an early childhood centre.

Upon graduation, you will become a certified preschool educator. You can go on to upgrade your career through our post-diploma programmes or continuing professional development courses at NIEC, or embark on a local early childhood degree programme with exemption at the Singapore University of Social Sciences. 

Students enrolled in the early childhood courses are eligible for the ECDA Training Award. It includes full course fee sponsorship and a monthly allowance of $800! Find out more at bit.ly/ECDAaward.

Further Studies

ECDE graduates can undertake NIEC’s Post-Diploma Courses to specialise in different early childhood related areas. These courses will better equip you to take on roles as a Mentor Educator or Senior Infant Educator, or deepen your knowledge in Learning Support.

With sufficient relevant experience and additional training through the Advanced Diploma in Early Childhood Leadership, you can also take on leadership roles as a Lead Educator and Centre Leader. 

As an ECDE graduate, you may enjoy up to one year’s worth of credit exemption for the full-time Bachelor of Early Childhood Education with a Minor at the Singapore University of Social Sciences.

Careers

With an increasing emphasis on raising the quality of early childhood education in Singapore, there are good career prospects and an abundance of training opportunities.

The Diploma in Early Childhood Development and Education is awarded by the National Institute of Early Childhood Development (NIEC) in collaboration with Ngee Ann Polytechnic/Temasek Polytechnic. The diploma fulfils the professional qualifications of a Level 2 category of an early childhood educator. You may teach children 18 months to 6 years old, any level from Pre-Nursery, Nursery to K1 and K2. You may also work in other children-related fields. 

With further studies and training, you may find employment in the following areas:

  • Child Support and Family Services
  • Early Intervention, Special Needs Education
  • Curriculum Development
  • Play Therapy
  • Teacher Education
raihana

Raihana Binte Suhaimi 
Early Childhood Education* graduate, Class of 2015 

Raihana was the recipient of the Tay Eng Soon Gold Medal 2015 and the Silver Medallist of her cohort. She is currently a deputy centre leader at NTUC’s My First Skool. 

*Renamed the Diploma in Early Childhood Development & Education

Entry Requirements

AGGREGATE TYPE ELR2B2-A

To be eligible for consideration, candidates must have the following GCE ‘O’ Level examination (or equivalent) results.

Subject'O' Level Grade
English Language1-6*
Mathematics (Elementary/Additional)1-6
Any three other subjects1-6

Candidates would need to be certified medically fit for study by a certified medical doctor, and to work with children according to ECDA’s medical requirements for early childhood educators.

You must also have sat for one subject listed in the 1st group of relevant subjects and another different subject listed in the 2nd group of relevant subjects for the ELR2B2-A Aggregate Type listed here ( 33KB). Both subjects will be used for ELR2B2-A aggregate computation.

*All applicants with a C5 or C6 in EL in the GCE ‘O’ Level examination are given two years from the point of teacher registration to obtain at least a B4 in ‘O’ Level English (English as a First Language) or English Language Acceptable Alternatives. 

+ Students with a D7 in Mathematics may apply for the course provided they have GCE ‘O’ Level passes (1-6) in 5 subjects (including English). 

** The main medium of instruction for these subjects must be in English, except for a language subject. 

For students with other qualifications, please refer to the NP website for the entry requirements and admissions exercise period.

What You Will Learn

Child Development 1 (4 Credit Units)

This module introduces students to theories, principles and stages of child development, with an emphasis on birth to three years of age. There will be discussion on children’s personalities, temperaments, strengths and interests, as well as the factors contributing to children’s growth, well-being, learning and development. Students will learn to make use of various observation and documentation techniques to assess children so as to create a holistic picture of their experiences, development and learning, and to plan meaningful experiences for each child. 

The Early Years: Theory to Practice (5 Credit Units)

Students will be introduced to early childhood care and education landscape in Singapore, including developmentally appropriate practices, early childhood frameworks and code of ethics for early childhood professionals. Philosophy and practices of early childhood centres will be discussed. This module will support students’ learning in the area of children’s safety, health, hygiene, nutrition and socio-emotional well-being. The importance of play and how to incorporate it into daily care routines, transitions and interactions with children will be discussed. This module will also prepare students for the practical aspects of working as well as building trusting and respectful relationships with young children in early childhood settings with a focus on ages 18-month to three. In addition, students will engage in reflective writing on the roles of an early years educator. 

Practicum 1 (2 Credit Units)

This module provides students with opportunities to experience the practical aspects of working with young children aged 18-month to three in early years settings. It will support students’ learning in areas of child development, observation and documentation, safety, health, hygiene, nutrition. Students will observe and assist the host teacher in daily care routines and transitions as well as interact with children during play and other activities. 

Motor Skills Development (4 Credit Units) 

This module equips students with the knowledge, skills and guiding principles to help young children develop perceptual, fine motor and fundamental movement skills, consisting of locomotor, non-locomotor and object control skills, in a safe environment. Students will learn to observe, plan, implement and facilitate fun, meaningful and age appropriate indoor and outdoor play activities that combine fundamental movement skills and concepts. Students will also learn how to observe and assess children’s motor skills development. 

Academic Writing & Presentation (4 Credit Units)

The module focuses on critical thinking, academic writing as well as presentation and listening skills. The module aims to equip students with the skills for academic writing and presentation. Finding and evaluating academic sources, reading, note-taking, essay planning and writing and presentation skills will be developed in this module.

Career and Professional Preparation 1 (1 Credit Unit)

This module gives students a foundational introduction to their three-year diploma course curriculum and how it prepares them for industry. It will help them to embark on their course with the end in mind, through guided reflection of their personal characteristics and producing an overall game plan for their future education and career goals. The module aims to deepen students’ commitment to the sector that the course prepares them for.

Health & Wellness (1 Credit Unit)


Language & Literacy (6 Credit Units)

This module introduces students to the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of language and literacy development from birth to six years of age, including trends and issues within our multilingual society. Students will learn to set up and evaluate the learning environment that helps facilitate language and literacy development. Students will also be trained to identify suitable resources, plan experiences for diverse learners and facilitate learning using appropriate techniques and learning technologies. The use of children’s literature to promote holistic development will be discussed. In addition, this module teaches students how to assess children’s progress and work with families to support their learning. 

Child Development 2 (4 Credit Units)

This module introduces students to theories, principles and stages of child development, with an emphasis on birth to three years of age. There will be discussion on children’s personalities, temperaments, strengths and interests, as well as the factors contributing to children’s growth, well-being, learning and development. Students will learn to make use of various observation and documentation techniques to assess children so as to create a holistic picture of their experiences, development and learning, and to plan meaningful experiences for each child. 

Aesthetic and Creative Expressions (4 Credit Units)

This module introduces students to an array of visual and performing arts and provides exposure for the appreciation of the creative art forms. In addition, students will develop an understanding about the importance of art experiences in children’s development and discuss issues related to the value of the arts, opportunities for growth and aesthetic development. Theories of creativity and stages of artistic development will also be discussed. Students will learn multiple approaches to engage young children in creative-arts expressions that are aesthetically rich and imaginative. Through both theory and experiential sessions, students will encounter the arts at first hand and will design art experiences that are developmentally appropriate, meaningful and informed by practice. 

Professional Communication I (3 Credit Units)

This module prepares students to communicate effectively in business settings. Students will learn both oral and written communication skills that demonstrate concepts of business communication principles, interpersonal skills and intercultural skills. Topics such as proposal and report writing, elevator pitch and professional presentation will be covered.

Mentoring Programme 1.2 (0 Credit Unit)

IT Applications (4 Credit Units)

This module develops the e-competencies by equipping students with the essential computing concepts and necessary skills to use computer applications for information research, organisation, collaboration and presentation.


Working with the Exceptional Child (4 Credit Units)

This module introduces students to various exceptional needs in young children including physical, cognitive, behavioural, emotional and sensory characteristics that make them different. Trends and issues in relation to inclusive practices and policies will be covered. Students will learn about the educator’s roles in an inclusive learning environment, especially in designing individualised learning plans and communicating with families. Students will also explore community resources and find out more about professionals that provide support for children with additional needs. 

Curriculum Planning & Implementation (5 Credit Units)

This module introduces students to the curriculum planning and assessment cycles. The main philosophical and pedagogical principles of various approaches and models of early childhood care and education will be discussed. Students will take reference from the NEL Framework to plan, implement and evaluate developmentally appropriate learning experiences for diverse preschool children that integrate different learning areas and learning dispositions. Students will also learn how to incorporate various types of play, learning technologies and teaching strategies in their planning. 

Early Numeracy (4 Credit Units)

This module examines the theoretical framework which underpins young children’s learning of mathematics. Students will be introduced to the principles, knowledge and skills required to plan, implement and evaluate learning experiences that lay the foundations for children to become problem solvers and abstract thinkers. Students will learn to choose developmentally appropriate materials and resources, set up mathematically-rich environment, use effective teaching techniques to nurture children’s mathematical thinking and assess their learning. The use of interactive technology to teach numeracy will also be discussed. 

Discovery of the World (4 Credit Units)

This module provides an overview of how young children make sense of the world they live in and how they acquire knowledge and concepts. Students will learn to use the constructivist approach to foster process skills and engage children in exploration through field trips, simple investigations or experiments. Effective teaching techniques, the use of learning technologies and the setting up of a discovery centre that supports children’s inquiry and independent learning will also be discussed. In addition, developmentally and culturally appropriate learning goals and experiences for children from birth to six years of age will be addressed. 

Professional Communication II (2 Credit Units)

This module prepares students to write effective cover letters and resumes. Preparation and enhancement of portfolio to meet professional standard as well as development of presentation skills, and improvement of job- seeking techniques will also be covered in the module.

Mentoring Programme 2.1 (0 Credit Unit)

World Issues: A Singapore Perspective (2 Credit Units)


The Preschool Years: Theory to Practice (6 Credit Units)

This module equips students with the knowledge and skills to take on the role of a teacher assistant for Practicum 2. Students will learn about the principles to design and modify learning environments to support and facilitate the learning and development of preschool children with diverse needs through play and positive interactions. There will be discussion on how to organize daily schedule, set up learning areas with appropriate materials and incorporate the use of technology. Strategies on classroom and behaviour management will be introduced. This module also addresses ways to nurture children to become secure, emotionally connected, and confident individuals through developing their competencies in self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. In addition, students will reflect on their roles as a preschool educator and their interactions with children. 

Infant & Toddler Learning Environment (5 Credit Units)

This module introduces students to strategies to develop respectful, responsive and reciprocal relationships with children, through meaningful and positive interactions, based on their unique characteristics. Students will acquire knowledge and skills to set up or modify the learning environment to support the development of children from birth to three years of age, taking into consideration child development theories and stages of development. Students will also learn to work with families to plan transitions, child-centric experiences and establish routines. In addition, the principles and practices of children engagement and guidance will be covered. The role of assessment through purposeful observation and documentation of children’s behaviour will be emphasised. 

Practicum 2 (5 Credit Units)

This practicum is for students to experience the practical aspects of working with young children in an early childhood setting with a focus on children aged between three and six years old. Besides taking on teacher-assistant roles, students will set up/ re-design a play space/ learning centre and facilitate in small group play and activities. Students will plan and implement learning experiences for children, taking into consideration their interests, needs and abilities as well as the learning environment and classroom management strategies. 

Mentoring Programme 2.2


The Reflective Practitioner in Practice (6 Credit Units)

This module equips students with the knowledge and skills to take on the role of a beginning early childhood educator. The roles of families, community partners and other professionals will be discussed. The students will learn how to engage and work collaboratively with these stakeholders to support children’s learning and development. They will also learn communication skills and ways to manage challenging issues in relation to working with children, colleagues and diverse families, taking reference from the code of ethics for early childhood professionals. Organisational privacy, confidentiality and data protection guidelines as well as stages of professional development, practitioner competencies and advocacy will be covered. In addition, students will acquire the concept of self-in-relation-to-others, reflect on their professional growth and interpersonal skills, as well as learn to exercise self-care, in order to enhance personal effectiveness. 

IS (Interdisciplinary) Module (4 Credit Units)

Professional Communication III (2 Credit Units)

The module equips students with the knowledge and skills in professional etiquette in a variety of workplace settings. Personal branding and the use of social media (LinkedIn) and the Internet in job-seeking will also be covered in the module. Students will also learn to curate and develop a digital portfolio that highlights their accomplishments, past works, projects and skills.

Mentoring Programme 3 (0 Credit Unit)

Track Modules / Electives: 
Assessment of Young Children (4 Credit Units)

This module provides an overview of the skills and techniques to identifying and assessing learning, behavioural, psycho-social and communication needs in young children with special needs or those who are at risk of developing learning and behavioural challenges. Students will be introduced to an array of assessment tools to help them understand children and be able to develop appropriate IEP goals. The cycle of assessing, planning, implementing, monitoring, reflecting and reassessing will be addressed. 

Capstone Project (4 Credit Units)

This module brings the students through the experience of developing, implementing and presenting a project which is intended to improve teaching practice and/or benefit the community. The project will allow students to demonstrate interdisciplinary knowledge, investigative skills and their character traits and values. Students will learn to write project proposals, make decisions, solve problems and think critically. 

Childhood Disabilities & Disorders (4 Credit Units)

In this module, students will learn about the genetic and ecological risk factors contributing to different types of disabilities. Definitions and presenting symptoms of disabilities including physical, sensory, intellectual and learning disabilities are discussed. Typical child development and how characteristics of the children with disabilities impact on their overall development will also be examined. 

Children’s Literature (4 Credit Units)

This module introduces students to children’s literature and how it has reflected cultural, social and ideological change. Students will examine the ways in which the child has been depicted in literature, learn to appreciate and critique different genre of children's books and be able to select age-appropriate books for young children. A study of children’s television and drama is included. 

Early Intervention & Teaching Approaches (4 Credit Units)

This module introduces students to the development of the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) – a systematic plan that describes and prescribes the learning needs for the exceptional child. Students will also be introduced to a variety of activity-based strategies to help children with special needs develop language, literacy, social and functional skills as well as methods to manage their behaviours. 

Drama for Pre-school Education (4 Credit Units)

This module develops students’ critical thinking, imagination and creative expressions, as well as encourages them to be open to new ideas and novel experiences. Students will learn to plan and implement drama experiences for young children to guide them in developing confidence, empathy and communication skills. 

2D & 3D Art (4 Credit Units)

This module introduces students to the concept and practice of two and three dimensional representation and expression. In-depth studio practice and art critique sessions will give students the opportunity to acquire sound understanding of the use of art concepts and medium in effective and expressive representation. Additionally, meaningful art making plays an important role in promoting intellectual and emotional development in children and as such, pedagogical issues of facilitating artistic and aesthetic growth for the early years will be addressed. 

Book Illustration & Design for Children (4 Credit Units)

The emphasis of this module is on the practice and understanding of design and illustration techniques for children’s books. In this module, students will learn the art of children books design across time and culture. In addition, students will have the opportunities to explore and use various classical and contemporary design language, and illustration techniques to unpack the relationship between text and images. Through these experiences, students will explore their personal growth with understanding of their roles both as a visual storyteller and an early childhood educator. 


Chinese/ Malay/ Tamil Grammar for Effective Communication (2 Credit Units)

This module reinforces in students their core skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing in Chinese/ Malay/ Tamil. They will also learn the technicalities of the Chinese/ Malay/ Tamil language such as word classification, word formation and sentence building to enable them to communicate effectively with parents and other stakeholders in both verbal and written forms. 

Chinese/ Malay/ Tamil Language & Literacy (6 Credit Units)

This module equips students with the knowledge and skills to develop language and literacy skills for young children that provide foundation for communication, reading and writing. Taking reference from the NEL Framework for Mother Tongue Languages, students will learn to plan and facilitate children’s learning in a fun and interactive manner including the use of play, show-and-tell, songs and rhymes. Students will also be introduced to the different types of Chinese/ Malay/ Tamil children’s literature and learn how visual literacy can be used to support children’s learning. The module will also teach strategies for storytelling and story reading to provide enjoyable learning experiences for children. 

Teaching Chinese/ Malay/ Tamil through the Arts (4 Credit Units)

This module introduces students to Chinese/ Malay/ Tamil cultural songs, musical instruments as well as traditional and folk art which are appropriate for young children. Students will explore the use of music, art and drama to develop children’s interest in learning the language, culture and heritage, as well as to reinforce and extend their learning. Students will also learn to use dramatisation to enhance children’s meaning-making of folklore and stories. 


Student Internship Programme (22 Credit Units)

This internship programme provides a meaningful on-the-job learning experiences at the workplace, with professional practitioners acting as mentors. There will be opportunities for students to develop NIEC’s Core Values and work towards being a reflective practitioner, resilient learner and relationship builder. The internship experience will equip students with work-ready skills and ease their transition into the sector as a trained early childhood educator upon graduation.