The term preschool is also known as nursery school, pre-primary or play school. Preschools provide early childhood education (ECE) to children before they begin compulsory education at primary school.
This period is widely considered the most vulnerable and crucial stage of an individual’s life. It exposes children to the most formative and impressionable experiences which will have a lasting impact on their lives.
Because it is the first time that children are separated from the comfort and security of their parents and home while attending the preschool, it is like a second home where the children would feel comfortable and secure.
It is the beginning of the educational process outside their own home and away from their parents and siblings. Children build their identity and self-esteem. They learn the importance of their own name, objects and friends. They learn to communicate with teachers and fellow students. It lays the right foundation for the children’s lifelong progress. According to UNESCO, ECCE has the potential to nurture caring, capable and responsible future citizens.
The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme at HELP University is more than preparation for primary school. It nurtures Educator-Carers who contribute to the holistic development of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing.
The ECE programme features the element of Care where the Educator-Carer is equipped with the knowledge and understanding, skills and strategies, and attitudes and values in distinctively ECCE domains: by emphasising aspects of safety and security, and hygiene and health in the nurturing of the children.
The programme also trains the Educator-Carer to partner and work closely with parents to monitor and grade the children’s progress through reports and the maintenance of proper records.
HELP University offers the Diploma in Early Childhood Education (DECE) and the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (BECE). Apart from being a stand-alone qualification enabling them to work in preschools, the DECE qualifies holders to enter directly into Year 2 of the BECE programme.
The HELP DECE gives a distinct personal and professional identity to graduates and equips them with the capability to play a role as a crucial link between children, families and the community.
The DECE programme is also equips Educator-Carers with a firm grounding in specific areas: an exceptionally strong basis in the social and psychological understanding of the child; promotes the creativity and talents of Educator-Carers across multiple ECCE settings and scenarios, such as the arts, music, drama and constructions; balanced preparation for work in any preschool setting as a result of the 8-week workplace practicum and empirical based course and fieldwork; and an opportunity to learn and upgrade their English proficiency as the faculty members include English language specialists.
The distinctive strength of the DECE programme lies in its Teaching-Learning Modes:
- Besides lectures and tutorials, classes are conducted in the Teaching Centre where fieldwork and empirical studies that highlight the importance of experiential engagement are carried out with children. This is premised on the fact that the most effective learning takes place through direct experience.
- Techniques for the documentation of children’s learning progress along the developmental continuum. This enables a systematic charting of gains, gaps or shortfalls in knowledge and skills acquisiton to be noted for further action.
An advantage for HELP DECE students is that they are able to access the facilities and expertise of HELP International School (HIS) located next to the HELP University campus in Subang Bestari where the HELP ECCE programme is offered.
HIS is one of the best in the country with a truly talented, experienced and international team of teachers with an enlightened programme of nurturing Educator-Carers during their 8-week teaching practice and practicum that is a compulsory part of their professional preparation. The HIS offers the best kind of teacher training and education hub where best practices are taught and even offered up as benchmarks.
Encapsulating the pedagogical philosophy of the HELP DECE programme, Dr Gerard Louis, Dean of the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, Education and Languages of HELP University, remarked:
“Teachers are no more seen as receptacles of knowledge, transmitting content to their students. They are facilitators who moderate the manner in which learning happens. They create an environment where students use content to develop the human competencies and technological skills needed to succeed in whatever future careers they may venture into. They act as coach and mentor, confidante and counsellors, learning mediators and resource persons and on occasion, substitute parents, all in the course of a school-day”.
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