Early Childhood Development & Education (T68)

The Diploma in Early Childhood Development & Education is a new programme for aspiring early childhood educators and will be offered in collaboration with the National Institute of Early Childhood Development from AY2019/2020.

2019 Planned Intake: 200 JAE 2019 Last Aggregate Score: 15

Do you always have a bright smile on your face when you see children reciting and singing nursery rhymes? Do you love the idea of teaching children the alphabets and numbers? Do you love to observe children exploring their surrounding environment? If your answers are "yes", this could be the perfect course for you!

The National Institute of Early Childhood Development, or NIEC for short, is a new national training institute set up by the Ministry of Education to deliver quality training and professional development to Singapore's early childhood (EC) educators. NIEC harnesses the diverse and professional expertise of the EC faculty from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), Temasek Polytechnic (TP) and NTUC’s SEED Institute to deliver quality courses and unified foundational training.

The Diploma in Early Childhood Development & Education is a 3-year course conducted by NIEC in collaboration with Temasek Polytechnic at the NIEC (TP) Campus. The qualification is recognised by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) for graduates to register and practise as a preschool teacher in Singapore.

ECDE will equip post-secondary students with practical skills sets and the necessary professional knowledge to embark on a meaningful career as an early childhood educator. They will learn about a child’s development, curriculum planning, value the various early childhood perspectives, and cultivate a global mindset.

As field-based learning is an integral part of the course, they will have opportunities to be attached to preschools, apply what they have learnt and build their confidence in working with children and parents. 

Students can also apply for the ECDA Training Award and enjoy course fee sponsorship and more.  

With so many career possibilities and much more waiting for our ECDE graduates, what are you waiting for? Please click here for more on the life of an Early Childhood Educator.

 An early childhood educator is a privileged profession where you are entrusted with other people’s young children. We are looking for students who enjoy being with children, are curious to understand why they behave the way they do, and to be the bridge to help parents better support their child’s development. If you aspire to enable children to learn about themselves and the world around them, come join our fraternity of early childhood educators!
—  Mrs Loke-Yeo Teck Yong


What you will learn

  • Early Years Creative Expressions & Play

    Aesthetics & Creative Expression

    Understand how to foster young children’s creativity through a rich learning environment in art, music, drama, dance, as well as activities involving motor-skills. You will learn to develop lessons to provide experiences that will cultivate expressiveness, creativity and imagination amongst young children.
  • Child Safety, Health & Nutrition

    Child Safety, Health & Socio-Emotional Well-Being

    Understand the early childhood educator’s crucial role in providing an environment for the care and safety of the children. You will learn to manage areas of young children’s nutrition, health, hygiene and safety. In addition, you will also be equipped with basic first aid skills and learn to detect child abuse and neglect.
  • Early Years Environmental Awareness

    Discovery of the World

    Design lessons that assist young children to gain a better understanding of the physical and geographical world around them. You will learn to develop lessons that will build important process skills amongst young children through engaging activities.

Notable Features

Career Prospects

Graduates from this course can work as early childhood educators or work in children-related industries.
With further studies and training, a wide variety of options are available in the following areas:

  • Child support and family services
  • Special Needs Education
  • Curriculum Development
  • Play therapy
  • Teacher Education

Explore more career prospects via ECDA portal.

Further Education

Entry Requirements

Minimum Entry Requirements

To be eligible for consideration for admission, applicants must obtain 26 points or better for the net ELR2B2 aggregate score (i.e. English Language, 2 relevant subjects and best 2 other subjects, including CCA Bonus Points) and meet the minimum entry requirements of this course. CCA cannot be used to meet the minimum entry requirements.

1) Local Qualification

(i) Singapore-Cambridge GCE ‘O’ level certificate

English Language (EL1) Grades 1-6*
Mathematics (Elementary or Additional)** Grades 1-6#
Any 3 other subjects (excluding CCA)** Grades 1-6


*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 or a minimum of band 6.5 in the International English Language Testing System (Academic). 

#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. 

(ii)  ITE Certificate

Higher NITEC in Early Childhood Education with minimum GPA of 3 and above (inclusive of CCA bonus points).

2) Foreign Qualification

(i) Formal Education in English

  • Completed 10 years of formal education in EL, and
  • Passed state exam in 5 different subjects including a C6 grade in GCE ‘O’ level EL1 or any of the acceptable alternatives*.

(ii) Formal education Not in English

  • Obtained an undergraduate degree with English as the medium of instruction from a state-recognised university.

This also applies to applicants with state-recognised PhD/Master degree with English as the medium of instruction.

3) 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 pre-school teachers. 

Please take note that in order to be granted teacher certification status to teach up to Kindergarten levels by Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), new teachers must have a minimum of a B4 grade for EL1.  Mother Tongue (MT) teachers must have at least a B4 grade in MT. Those with a C5 or C6 in EL1/MT are given 2 years from the point of teacher registration to obtain either a B4 or any acceptable alternatives* for EL teachers, and a minimum level 6 in Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) for CL teachers. 

  • Click here for list of acceptable alternatives in place of GCE ‘O’ level English Language. 
  • Click here for list of acceptable alternatives in place of GCE ‘O’ level Chinese Language.

Some dispositions of an Early Childhood educator.

Course Structure

TP Fundamentals Subjects

Subject code Subject LevelCredit Units

This subject presents you with a panoramic view of current local and global issues, which may have long term implications for Singapore. You will learn to apply critical thinking tools to examine current issues, support your views with relevant research and up-to-date data, articulate an informed opinion and mature as civicminded individuals.


Students will learn to research, validate information sources, plan, prepare and present information appropriately in written and oral form. Students will also learn to recognise and avoid plagiarism, and follow standard citation and referencing guidelines when presenting information. 


In this subject, you will be taught how to conduct effective meetings while applying team communication strategies and the skills for documenting meeting notes. You will be required to write clear emails, using the appropriate format, language, tone and style for an audience. You will also be taught to communicate appropriately in and for an organisation when using various platforms. 


In this subject, you will be taught how to use persuasive language in written documents. You will be required to use information to your advantage to verbally communicate and convince an audience about your idea, product or service. Skills such as persuasive vocabulary, language features, graphical illustrations, tone and style would also be covered.


This subject is designed for learners from all disciplines to embrace innovation in either their specialised field or beyond.  You will first be introduced to the Design Thinking framework and learn how to develop problem statements and ideate solutions.  Next, you will discover the tools for prototyping and innovation, such as 3D printing and laser cutting at TP’s Makerspace+ facility.     


LEAP 1, 2 and 3 are three fundamental subjects that seek to cultivate in you, the attitude, skills and knowledge for the development of your leadership competencies.  This character-based leadership programme enables you to develop your life-skills through establishing personal core values, which will become the foundation for your leadership credibility and influence.


LEAP 1, 2 and 3 are three fundamental subjects that seek to cultivate in you, the attitude, skills and knowledge for the development of your leadership competencies.  This character-based leadership programme enables you to develop your life-skills through establishing personal core values, which will become the foundation for your leadership credibility and influence.


LEAP 1, 2 and 3 are three fundamental subjects that seek to cultivate in you, the attitude, skills and knowledge for the development of your leadership competencies.  This character-based leadership programme enables you to develop your life-skills through establishing personal core values, which will become the foundation for your leadership credibility and influence.


This subject will help you develop both the physical and technical skills in your chosen sports or fitness activities. Through a structured curriculum that facilitates group participation, practice sessions and mini competitions, you will learn to build lifelong skills such as resilience, leadership, communication and teamwork. Physical activity sessions will be supplemented by health-related topics to provide you with a holistic approach to healthy living.


This Career Readiness programme comprises three core subjects – Personal Management, Career Preparation and Career Management. It seeks to help you understand your career interests, values, personality and skills for career success. It also equips you with the necessary skills for seeking and securing jobs, and to develop professional work ethics.


This Career Readiness programme comprises three core subjects – Personal Management, Career Preparation and Career Management. It seeks to help you understand your career interests, values, personality and skills for career success. It also equips you with the necessary skills for seeking and securing jobs, and to develop professional work ethics.


This Career Readiness programme comprises three core subjects – Personal Management, Career Preparation and Career Management.  It seeks to help you understand your career interests, values, personality and skills for career success.  It also equips you with the necessary skills for seeking and securing jobs, and to develop professional work ethics.


This subject provides essential skills and knowledge to prepare you for an overseas experience. You will examine the elements of culture and learn the key principles of cross-cultural communication. In addition, you will gain an appreciation and awareness of the political, economic, technological and social landscape to function effectively in a global environment.


You will examine your own identity, study different forms of diversity and apply strategies to inspire positive collaboration in a diverse workplace. Through a residential stay, you will have the opportunity to experience living and working with peers from different backgrounds.


This subject highlights the inter-connectedness of the world today, bringing about what it means to be a Global Citizen. You will gain an awareness of the impacts of globalisation and the concepts of social responsibility and sustainable community development. This subject also challenges you to be actively engaged in a social or environmental project.


Whether telling stories, building monuments or celebrating rites of passage, expressions of culture are at the core of cultural diversity. In this subject, everyday objects, artistic creations and popular culture are explored as ways of understanding the values and beliefs of a society. By taking this subject, you will benefit by acquiring a greater understanding and appreciation of the complexities surrounding our cultural assets.


This is a subject where you will be free to pursue an area of interest through a self-directed approach, guided by staff. You will be expected to demonstrate a sense of curiosity for learning, initiate an opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills, and reflect on your learning journey throughout the subject.


* Students must choose to take either one of these three subjects OR Guided Learning (TFS1006).

Diploma Subjects - Core Subjects

Subject code Subject LevelCredit Units

This practicum is for students to experience the practical aspects of working with young children in early childhood settings with focus on ages three plus and younger. It will support students’ learning in the area of child development, observation of children in various contexts, safety, health, hygiene and nutrition matters and the learning environment for play. Students will be involved in daily routine care and taking on teacher-assistant roles. With observations and documentations students will plan and implement learning experiences for an individual child. Students will also engage in reflective writing on their roles and interactions with children.


This module introduces students to research on brain developments and its implications on children’s growth and learning. Early Years developmental milestones will be discussed with significant emphasis on birth to three years of age. Students will develop an understanding of the philosophy of infant and toddler care and development, and the Early Years Development Framework (EYDF). Theories of child development, with emphasis on Attachment theory, characteristic behaviours, and their implications on play and care-giving practices for families and in the infant care context will be covered. Students will also learn appropriate behaviour guidance and interaction strategies for this age group of children that are informed by observations and documentations.


This module introduces policies and practices for establishing and maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment for educators and children in the early childhood settings as they relate to the socio-emotional wellbeing of children. Students will understand the importance of nutritional adequacy and balanced meals for children’s optimal growth. They will learn to identify early childhood illnesses and symptoms, and engage in hygienic practices and being able to observe for signs of child abuse and addressing them professionally. Clinical practice will be included for students to learn how to manage the day-to-day care routines and transitions for children from infancy to the preschool years.


This module introduces students to an array of visual and performing arts and exposures for the appreciation of the creative art forms. In addition, students will be introduced to progressive theories on Arts education to build firm foundations on the key roles the Arts play within early years settings. Theories related to aesthetic and creativity will also be introduced. 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 first hand and will design Arts experiences that are developmentally appropriate, meaningful and informed by practice.


This module introduces the major theories in child development and their implications on practices in child-rearing and early care and education. The joint contributions of biology and environment to the various aspects of child development will be explored. Students will deepen their understanding of the holistic development of children through observation, recording and analysis of children’s physical, cognitive, social and emotional growth and development. This understanding will help the student link theory to practice and guide the planning of learning experiences and techniques for behaviour guidance. The six learning domains of the Nurturing Early Learners Framework will also be discussed.


This module introduces students to the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of literacy development from birth to six years of age including trends and issues within a multicultural and multilingual society. Students will learn to design, organise and evaluate literacy-rich environment that helps facilitate language development; identify suitable prints and other media for reading activities to develop in young children an appreciation for a variety of children’s literature. Students will also plan experiences for diverse learners, facilitate learning using appropriate techniques, assess children’s progress and work with families to enhance children’s language and literacy development towards school readiness.


This module explores the various roles of an early childhood educator in working with children, families, other professionals and agencies in the community. A range of professional issues will be examined, including stages of professional development, practitioner competencies, continuing education, advocacy and personal growth plans which are aligned with the current early childhood landscape in Singapore. Students will learn communication and reflective skills and how to manage ethical issues in relation to working with children, colleagues and families taking reference from the Code of Ethics for Early Childhood Professionals by AECES, Students will also be equipped to understand self and reflect on personal preferences and style; interpersonal skills and to enhance personal effectiveness through self-mentoring.


This module develops e-competencies by equipping students with the essentials of InfoComm Technology (ICT) concepts and skills needed to use ICT applications for information research, organisation, collaboration and presentation.


This module provides students with an overview of the historical development of early childhood care and education (ECCE), pedagogical principles and contemporary perspectives. Students will also gain an understanding of the different models of practices internationally including the Rights of the Child (UN-CRC) and how they relate to Singapore. ECCE development in the Singapore landscape, policies (of MSF, MOE and ECDA), curriculum frameworks like the Early Years Development Framework and the Nurturing Early Learners: A Curriculum Framework for Kindergartens in Singapore (NEL Framework), as well as SPARK certification that guide provisions of quality care and education and key stage outcomes will also be included. Play that is central to trends and research in ECCE will be explored in the context of how developmentally, culturally and individually appropriate it is as a mode for learning in young children from infancy to the preschool years.


This practicum is for students to relate to practical aspects of working with children from three plus to six years of age in early childhood settings. Besides taking on teacher-assistant roles, the focus will be on setting up or reviewing the learning corners, engagement and facilitation in small group play and activities, as well as large/whole group teaching. Students will learn to plan a series of structured and unstructured sequential learning experiences for children according to the topic/theme of the practicum centre. The interests, needs and abilities of the group of children, the use of the environment and classroom management are considerations for planning. An integrated approach to the design and implementation of learning experiences that supports the six learning domains of the NEL Framework with the aim of enhancing and challenging children’s desire to explore, experiment and discover in a safe environment will be emphasised. Students will also engage in reflective writing on their roles as a professional early educator and their interactions with children.


This module equips students with the principles to design conducive learning environments to support play and learning for children from birth to six-years of age, noting that the conditions in the environment also affect their behaviour. Students will also learn to set up appropriate learning areas to enhance the physical, cognitive and social and emotional development of children. The selection of print and non-print materials, use of technology and the role of the educator will also be covered.


This module provides an overview of how young children make sense of the world they live in and how they acquire knowledge and concepts. The scope of Science, environment awareness, technology in everyday life and learning, the Social Sciences, and culture and heritage, for children’s inquiry will also be covered. Students will learn to use the Constructivist approach to teaching, engage in field exploration and setting up discovery corners. Teaching techniques that support inquiry and independent learning in children will be covered. In addition, developmentally and culturally appropriate learning goals and experiences for children from birth to six years of age will be addressed.


This module equips students with the knowledge and skills 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 and fundamental movement experiences using an integrated approach to learning.


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 teaching techniques to nurture children’s mathematical thinking and assess their learning. The use of technology and integration of numeracy in the other learning domains will also be emphasised.


This module provides students with the knowledge and skills for planning, implementing and evaluating developmentally appropriate curriculum for children from birth to three and from three plus to six years of age. Students will take reference from the Early Years Development Framework and the NEL Framework to explore the scope and process of integrating learning areas and learning dispositions. Philosophies and beliefs and theoretical underpinnings of how children learn and develop that are fundamental to the meaning of curriculum will be discussed. The supporting environment, the types of learning activities, the role of the educator and different facilitation techniques will also be thoughtfully considered.


This module equips students with the theoretical knowledge and pedagogical skills to nurture social-emotional competencies and positive values necessary for character formation in young children. It also addresses the role of teachers, in modelling good character traits, in helping children develop self-awareness and self-management skills for their emotional well-being as well as social competence to build strong interpersonal relationships. Students will also take reference from the six learning dispositions (PRAISE) and use children’s picture books to promote positive values, pro-social behaviour, understanding of self and others and integrate social emotional learning across the curriculum.


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 their roles in an inclusive learning environment, design of individualised learning plans and communication with families. Students will also explore community resources and professionals that provide support for children with additional needs.


This module equips students with the knowledge of family structure and dynamics in Singapore and skills for working and communicating with families, with the understanding of interdependence between schools and families. Various models of family involvement will be explored with a focus on schools working respectfully with diverse family groups and tapping on community resources for the education of young children.


The Internship Programme, with professional practitioners acting as mentors, enable students to acquire the work experience needed for their chosen areas of interest. The organisations involved are selected for their capacity to allow students to learn different aspects of work in the early childhood industry. The students’ learning outcomes are assessed by their respective internship mentors and NIEC supervisors. Students could also work closely with staff in the early childhood centres on projects that will benefit children, families and the community.


Diploma Subjects - Elective/Track Options*

Subject code Subject LevelCredit Units

This subject introduces students to the concept and practice of two and three dimensional representation and expression. In depth studio practice and art critique sessions will allow student the opportunity to acquire sound understanding of the use of art concepts and medium in effective and expressive representation. Additionally, meaningful art making plays and 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.


This subject will expose students to the foundation of digital and new media practices. Through a combination of studio practice and theory, learners will use new media technologies to develop insights and competencies in expression and representation. Linkages to early year’s classroom practice will be made.


The emphasis of this subject is on the practice and understanding of design and illustration techniques for children’s books. In this subject, 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. Students will be required to develop a series of illustrated works that culminates in a group ‘showcase’ at the conclusion of the course.


This subject presents an overview of the teaching and intervention approaches in working with children with different types of special needs. Students will also explore various teaching strategies to support, specific types of special needs children in the preschool setting. Beyond the theoretical aspects, students will also have targeted opportunities to participate in field observations and/or case studies analysis.


This subject aims to provide students with fundamental knowledge on how to create and organise the early year’s environment to promote physical, intellectual, emotional and social development of children with special needs. Students will have the opportunity to design, implement and evaluate various approaches and strategies of teaching special needs children alongside mainstream learners in an inclusive classroom setting. Both theoretical and practical experiences will form the basis of learning for this subject.


This subject examines early childhood care and education (ECCE) approaches, practices and issues in various parts of the world. It includes global trends and educational issues; early years pedagogical models and approaches, policies, philosophies and practices. This subject aims to help students to differentiate between local and global early childhood education, approaches, practices and issues and to appreciate the characteristics of quality early childhood care and education programmes for young children locally and globally. Chief of all, to allow students the opportunity to contextualise global priorities in ECCE within the Singapore context.


*Students can choose to take any two electives from the above, or be part of the Visual Arts (VA) track by taking the three VA electives with #*.

Graduation Requirements

TP Core Subjects 24 credit units
Diploma Subjects
- Core Subjects
- Elective Subjects

104 credit units
min 8 credit units
Total Credit Units Completed min 136 credit units


Blog Post

  • ECS study trip to Melbourne 23 Sept to 30 Sept 2017

    ECS study trip to Melbourne 23 Sept to 30 Sept 2017

    08 Jan 2018

    22 students visited Victoria Polytechnic, attended workshops conducted by the faculty of the Victoria Polytechnic and visited three day care centres of which two centres were awarded Centres of Excellence.

  • ECS Entrepreneurs

    ECS Entrepreneurs

    23 Mar 2015

    We are a group of students from Temasek Polytechnic, currently pursuing a Diploma in Early Childhood Studies (ECS). On the 6th to 10th February 2015, we participated in the Local Champions Global Leaders competition organised by SPRING Singapore to commemorate Singapore’s 50th anniversary and won second place in Category C of the Polytechnic level.



Contact Us

For Admission enquiries, please email:

For general enquiries, please contact:

School of Humanities & Social Sciences
General Office:  EW1A-03-111
Temasek Polytechnic
21 Tampines Avenue 1
Singapore 529757

  (65) 6780 6565
  (65) 6789 4080


Feedback from Students

“I love Early Childhood Studies because… I get to interact with children, I get to understand children and most importantly because I love children”
- Valerie Tan, 1C01

“ECS… because I can interact with children whom I love and even learn interesting psychology theories which can help in teaching…”
- Felicia Tan Ci Ru, IC02

“Early Childhood Studies where you use your PRESENT time to remember your PAST and learn to mould the FUTURE.”
- Nur Syafiqah Binte Basiran, 1C02

“TP’s ECS prepares you for the working world. It’s fun, with a conducive learning environment. We have good food, too!”
- Jency John Gregory, 1C03

“I feel that Early Childhood Studies is growing in popularity, especially among the guys. I join this course because I love kids, and so far it has been a great and memorable experience for me. The environment and the community I quite small, but that makes us united as one ECS in HSS. We are small but MIGHTY! All the lecturers are friendly and approachable. You won’t be bored in class and you will have FUN! ECS, ECS all the way!!”
- Muhammad Hadi Bin Kamal, 1C03

Training Award

ECDA Training Award

The ECDA Training Award is offered annually to students enrolled in the full-time Diploma in Early Childhood Development & Education. Tuition fees, a learning resource allowance, and a monthly training allowance are covered for the full duration of the course. Upon graduation, recipients will need to fulfil a bond to the early childhood sector corresponding to the years of support that they received.

Awards & Conditions      
  • Full course sponsorship of fees, capped at fees payable by Singapore Citizens
  • Learning Resource Grant of $1,500 for study-related expenses
  • Monthly study allowance of $800
  • Professional Development Grant, capped at $1,000 per academic year
  • Other professional development and networking opportunities provided by ECDA


  • Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident
  • First, second or third year student in the full-time Diploma in Early Childhood Development & Education
  • Not concurrently holding or serving out a bond for any scholarship, bursary or funding
  • Keen to start their career in the early childhood sector immediately after graduation​ 

Students' Corner


Congratulations to our 18 students from the Diploma in Early Childhood Studies and 20 students from the Diploma in Psychology Studies (with specialisation in Early Childhood Teaching), for being awarded scholarships from the PAP Community Foundation (PCF), NTUC First Campus, and the Ministry of Community Development Youth and Sports (MCYS).  The scholarships cover our students’ tuition fees, monthly training allowance, as well as allowance to purchase a notebook computer.

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