Conferences & Workshops

Preschool & Primary Teachers Congress

An Early Start for an Early Lead

Date: 25 May 2013 (Saturday), 9:15am – 5:15pm
For: Primary, preschool, and kindergarten teachers, parents, librarians, language specialists.
Illustration by Emila Yusof, illustrator, Malaysia

The AFCC Preschool & Primary Teachers Congress provides teachers and educators with the skills and knowledge to impart early literacy through bilingualism to their charges as a child transitions from early childhood to primary school.

Illustration by Emila Yusof, illustrator, Malaysia

9:15am – 10:00am
Early Bilingualism from Birth to Eight

Dr Ng Seok Moi (Consultant)

It is puzzling why children with their immature cognitive systems seem to surpass adults in acquiring one or more languages. While controversy exists, there is a view of language acquisition that accounts for children's extraordinary ability to learn simply by listening to language around them.
This presentation explores the implication of that view for teaching and learning languages.

Download handout

10:00am – 11:00am
Plenary 1:
Strategies for Supporting Dual Language Learners

John R. Gunnarson (Early Childhood Consultant)

When learning a second language, children progress through the stages of dual language development, and teachers can utilize different strategies with individual children at each stage. This interactive presentation will focus on the specific language development strategies that teachers can use with children within the context of the stages of dual language development.

Download handout

11:00am – 11:15am
11:15am – 12:15pm
Plenary 2:
The Use of Drama for Falling in Love with Reading, Writing and Books

Dr Susan Kosoff (Producer, Wheelock Family Theatre)

How can teachers help young children fall in love with reading and writing? How can teachers use drama to enhance young children's literacy? This plenary session will investigate creative drama strategies for making reading and writing the centerpiece of classroom curriculum so that children can understand themselves and their worlds through the magic of theatre.

Download handout

12:15pm – 1:30pm
1:30pm – 2:30pm
Understanding Speech Sounds for Language Acquisition (in Mandarin)

Dr Sin Joo Ee (Senior Lecturer, Bachelor of Early Childhood and Chinese Language Education Programme, UniSIM))

A child starts to pick up speech sounds during the ages of 0 – 1 which is also the best period to train a child in language acquisition. Come to explore how children pick up language through usage of tones, words, onomatopoeia, and phonetics.

Nurturing Bilingualism in School (in Malay)

Dr Mohd Mukhlis (Assistant Professor, National Institute of Education)

Contrary to the idea that two languages confuse people, research has shown that fully developed bilingualism actually enhances one's “cognitive flexibility”. A bilingual is able to see things from two or more perspectives and is able to understand better how other people think. Unfortunately, school classrooms remain largely monolingual spaces where students have little opportunity to engage in tasks bilingually. This session will explore how schools can provide learning opportunities in two languages to assist learners to become bilingual.

(session in Malay)

This session is a part of the Preschool & Primary Teachers Congress.

Oral Reading: Bridge Between Spoken and Written Tamil (in Tamil)

Dr Shanmugam K (Head of Tamil Programme, School of Arts & Social Sciences, UniSIM)

Reading aloud to a child is an important aspect in the child’s language development. It also offers a good opportunity to expose the child early on to both spoken and written Tamil within the school setting — if teachers know how to use it. The presenter will share techniques on how teachers can use reading aloud to help bridge the gap between oral and written Tamil.

(Session in Tamil)

This session is a part of the Preschool & Primary Teachers Congress.

Using Picture Books to Ignite a Child’s Visual Comprehension (in Mandarin)

Dr Connie Lum (Dean of Pre-school, Adjunct Lecturer, Singapore Centre for Chinese Language)

Picture books are a great help to preschool children as they contain visuals which act as a story guide. This allows the child to grasp stories more effectively. Dr Connie Lum will teach educators and parents the ways to use picture books to ignite a child’s imagination and visual comprehension.

2:45pm – 3:45pm
Dialogic Reading

George Jacobs (Lecturer, James Cook University Singapore)

Dialogic reading is an interactive, research tested teaching technique that provides ways to maximise the benefits of shared book reading. Participants will learn about dialogic reading and have opportunities to experience it as both teachers and students.

Inventive Spelling

Dr Jane Ching-Kwan (CEO, KLC School of Education)

Children learn to write moving through stages beginning with random marks and culminating with conventional or book spelling. Inventive spelling is a stage in this emergent writing process that remains controversial. Should children be encouraged to invent their own spelling? Will invented spelling lead to irreparable bad spelling habits? These questions along with others will be discussed in this session.

Download handout

Nurturing Literacy Through Art

Wong Seet Fun (Educator, Founder of Art Loft)

Can you tell a story with a piece of artwork? Can you create a story with recycled materials? Can you extend a story with art? This workshop introduces participants to use art as a tool to nurture literacy in young children. Participants will learn the different ways to tell a story, write a story or even draw a story with fun and creative materials.

Literacy through Physical Development

Rebecca Chan (Educator)

Teach reading and writing through fun gross motor movements with stretching alphabets, locomotor and manipulative skills, for children move to learn and learn to move.

3:45pm – 4:15pm
4:15pm – 5:15pm
Readers Theatre: Bringing Literature To Life

Dr Susan Kosoff (Producer, Wheelock Family Theatre), Lavina Chong (Educator)

This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to the techniques for and value of using creative oral reading of all types of literature with children of all ages and ability levels. Readers Theatre develops strong literacy skills and a love of reading in the process of bringing stories to life.

Download resource packet

The Transition from Preschool to Primary

Leong Pik San (Senior Specialist, Pre-school Education, Ministry of Education), Dr Nirmala Karuppiah (Lecturer, National Institute of Education), Yvonne Boey (HOD English Language, Clementi Primary School), Cynthia Tan (Vice-Principal, The Caterpillar’s Cove Child Development and Study Centre )
Moderator: Dr Khoo Kim Choo ()

The period of transition from Preschool to Primary 1 causes parents more anxiety than any other stages of a child's school life. This panel will analyse the situation and discuss what can be done to smoothen the transition processm and the role of different stakeholders - the ministries (MSF and MOE), primary schools, preschools, childcare centres and parents - to make this a reality.

Early Literacy: Nurturing Happy Little Readers

Norlizah Mohd Juffri (
, Lynn Chua (Librarian)

One concern is that Singaporean children may not be entering formal schools equipped with the fundamental pre-reading or Early Literacy skills to actively participate in the learning process. There are few free extra-curricular reading programmes for pre-schoolers outside of childcare and kindergartens. To nurture a lifelong interest in reading, the National Library Board (NLB) is embarking on a National Early Literacy Agenda. This Agenda is to inculcate pre-reading skills and the enjoyment of reading among children, up to 6 years of age. This is fitted out as a National Agenda for adoption by all pre-schools and parents because it is designed to imbue in the young the necessary skill of reading and learning. In this session, NLB will share the approach and strategies for this Agenda.

Levelling Up Struggling Readers

Chitra Shegar (Director, Reading Edge Academy)

Evidence has shown that low reading achievement in the early years, if left unaddressed, leads to prolonged reading difficulties and hampers children’s future academic development. However, these reading difficulties might be prevented if intensive instruction in phonics, word recognition, fluency, reading and comprehension is provided at the onset of Grade 1. In this session, participants will be given information on tested materials and activities for levelling up struggling readers.