Conferences & Workshops

Preschool & Primary Teachers Congress

Exploration of Books and Media for Early Literacy

Date: 30 – 31 May 2015
For: Primary, preschool, and kindergarten teachers, parents, principals, librarians, language specialists.
Pricing: S$ 200 (S$ 150 for early birds till 31 March 2015). Registration details
Tickets: 2-day Pass / Full Festival Pass
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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.

Delegates from Teachers Congress can also attend the sessions for Parents Forum on 31 May.

Please note that the first three sessions on 30 May 2015 will be held at the Mochtar Riady Auditorium, SMU Administration Building. All other sessions on 30 and 31 May 2015 will be held at the National Library Building.

Illustrated by Cai Gao, China

Day 1 – 30 May 2015
9.00am - 9.30am
Mochtar Riady Auditorium, SMU Administration Building
AFCC 2015 Opening Ceremony and Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award (HABA) Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony is the first key programme at the Asian Festival of Children's Content, and it kick-starts the eight-day Festival!

Morning Introduction

Dilip Mukerjea (Author, Owner & Managing Director of Braindancing International & Buzan Centre)

9.45am - 10.45am
[Keynote] The Significance of Children’s Books in Language and Literacy Education

Rosemary Johnston (Professor of Education and Culture, University of Technology, Sydney)

In this rapidly shifting landscape, children’s books, especially picture books, play a significant role not only in the critical study of literature, but also in language and literacy education. Rosemary Johnston expounds on how children’s understanding of language and reading have evolved, with a greater focus on images as opposed to writing.

11.30am - 12.30pm
[Keynote] Digital Technologies to Aid Children’s Learning

Dylan Yamada-Rice (Lecturer in Early Childhood Education, University of Sheffield)

Dylan Yamada-Rice outlines changes in children’s communication practices in relation to advances in digital technologies. She shares how digital technologies can be used as a tool to improve a child’s learning potential.

12.30pm - 1.30pm
Reading Singapore Children’s Books in Schools: What it Means to Pupils

Sandra Williams (Senior Lecturer in Education (Primary English), University of Brighton)

Using the metaphor of windows, mirrors and doors, the session will focus on why using Singapore children’s literature in the classroom is significant. Sandra Williams will also share practical ways of sharing local literature in class.

1.45pm - 2.45pm
[Lunchtime Talk] Panel of Principals: Experiences that Support Children as Literacy Learners

Denise Lai (Managing Director, Wee Care Group Singapore) Shirley Tan (Educator) Koh Boon Long (Advisor, Singapore Education Academy)

Join a panel of principals as they share about the infrastructure and programmes that nurture the students' literacy skills in various schools and educational institutions in Singapore.

3:00pm – 4:00pm
Book Extension and Bilingual Activities

Tan Chee Lay 陈志锐 (Deputy Executive Director, Singapore Centre for Chinese Language, NTU) Mark Wilkinson (Lecturer, English Language & Literature, National Institute of Education)

In this session, Mark Wilkinson tells more about how digital technologies can help young readers extend the reading experience, while Tan Chee Lay suggests ways to use bilingualism during language classes.

Visual Mapping for Young Children to Enhance their Learning Capabilities

Dilip Mukerjea (Author, Owner & Managing Director of Braindancing International & Buzan Centre)

80% of the brain is dedicated to visual processing. Dilip Mukerjea will teach you how to help maximise your child’s visual intelligence.

Maximising the Potential of Illustrations in Picture Books to Aid Literacy

Rosemary Johnston (Professor of Education and Culture, University of Technology, Sydney)

How can you knowledgeably excite your children to not only read pictures, but also understand literature? This session offers ways of seeing, interpreting, describing and analysing how pictures work and help you better comprehend visual literacy.

Contextualised Vocabulary Teaching through Story Books

Chitra Shegar (Director, Reading Edge Academy)

Find out more about ways you can stretch the potential of a storybook, and expand your student or child’s vocabulary, with Professor Chitra Shegar.

3:00pm – 5:00pm [2 hours]
Books and Beyond: An Exploration of Strategies to Encourage Reading

Janet Mann (Librarian / Reading Consultant )

An in-depth discussion of strategies to encourage children of all ages to read widely and explore the benefits of becoming life-long readers and learners. With exploration of inspirational texts and discussion on taking your readers further, with special emphasis on events to engage readers with all text types. 

4:30pm – 5:30pm/6:00pm
The Importance of Speaking and Listening in Developing Literacy

Paula Craigie (Head of Infants, Tanglin Trust School) Jo Osman (Deputy Head of Infants, Tanglin Trust School)

Speaking and listening have profound impacts on the development of children’s reading and writing. Paula and Jo share how structures and programmes in schools can hone children’s literacy skills. 

Did You Hear That?

Seetha Subbiah (Clinical Psychologist, Author)

Dr Seetha discusses “Did You Hear That? Help for Children Who Hear Voices”, a useful tool for helping (i) children who struggle with auditory and visual hallucinations and (ii) concerned parents, teachers, paediatricians, psychologists and other allied health professionals understand the phenomenon and how to assist children in seeking professional help.

Structures and Patterns in Various Genres of Story Writing

Audrey Lim (Early Childhood Expert)

Dr Audrey Lim highlights practical strategies for teaching children to write narratives, and providing stepping stones for children to become better writers.

Digital Learning Experiences in Asia

Lee Han Shih (Director, Potato Productions)

Two-thirds of humanity has bad or no Internet access or even electricity. Lee Han Shih discusses the needs of an entire region, and explores the use of tablets, solar cells and memory chips to provide offline digital education for rural communities.

Day 2 – 31 May 2015
9:00am – 10:00am
[Keynote] Power Parenting for Learning

Dilip Mukerjea (Author, Owner & Managing Director of Braindancing International & Buzan Centre)

Power Parenting equips parents to empower their children to succeed, and creates harmonious synergies within families confronting a complex and volatile future.

Building Young Writers

Elly Tandiono (Director, Kidpublish ) Jessica Sutandar (Author) Indra Ang (Senior Manager, Marketing, Marshall Cavendish Education)

Many children feel that writing is painful. However, as Elly Tandiono will share, programmes like Kidpublish enable children to be authors at such a young age. Also in this session, Indra Ang tells you about the Budding Writers Project has been in the running for 13 years and serves as a platform to nurture young writers. This session reveals how such campaigns enrich the lives of young writers and spur them to become accomplished writers.

Nurturing Children’s Interest in Reading using Dual Language Storybooks

Mukhlis Abu Bakar (Associate Professor )

How are storybooks with texts in two languages useful to children’s biliteracy development? Find out more about Dr Mukhlis' experiences working with mothers who read these storybooks with their 6-year old children.

9.00am - 10.30am [1.5 hours]
A Musical Learning Journey with Children’s Literature

Lavina Chong (Educator)

Music and Language are inextricable. This introductory session aims to pair both the creative arts (mainly music and movement) with children’s literature. It is the musical qualities found in language that will appeal to the emotions, thus inviting the brain to recall its content. With this purposeful focus, then, music and movement can be used to reinforce and internalize the language content found in children’s literature. Participants will have opportunities to unwrap and explore children’s literature through creative music and movement activities. 

10:30am – 5:30pm [Full-day workshop]
[Workshop] Maximising Children’s Intellectual Performance

Dilip Mukerjea (Author, Owner & Managing Director of Braindancing International & Buzan Centre)

Tickets for this workshop is sold separately. Teachers Congress or Parents Forum delegates can attend this workshop, but should note that this is a full-day workshop.

Learning does not need to be reformed; it needs to be transformed. Children, in order to be globally competitive, need to be equipped with crucial 21st century skills, literacies, and competencies. This workshop is a spark-plug for such an initiative.

Find out about other workshops here.

10:30am – 11:30am
Making Sense out of Nonsense Literature for Young People

Michael Heyman (Professor of Nonsense, Berklee College of Music)

What is ‘Nonsense Literature’ and what possible value could it have? This lecture will introduce the global genre of literary nonsense, its history of hilarious subversion, and its pedagogical underpinnings, as it remains a popular genre for children.

Hearing from the Dads

Kelvin Ang (Parent Blogger, Mark Wilkinson (Lecturer, English Language & Literature, National Institute of Education)

This session opens our eyes to the importance of building our children’s library and encouraging reading routines at home. With the proliferation of technology in our daily lives, children are coming into contact with computers and mobile devices at a far younger age than parents can ever imagine. Parent blogger, Kelvin Ang, discusses the impact of documenting children’s lives on social media, while Mark Wilkinson, father and professor, shares about his son’s English-based literary journey in a foreign country. 

Learning through Questioning and Creative Problem Solving

C.K. Koh 许镇权 (Deputy Head, Fine Arts Division, The One Academy) Pearl Mascarenhas (Programme Leader, New Zealand Tertiary College)

Questioning is key in acquiring knowledge. It helps to unlock children’s curiosity and open opportunities for gaining knowledge. CK Koh will explore the approaches in utilizing picture book as a learning tool and Pearl D'Silva will let you in on recognising opportunities for Creative Problem Solving (CPS) in children’s books, facilitating young children's cognitive development.

12:00pm – 1:00pm
Picture Books and Activities for After Reading

George Jacobs (Lecturer, James Cook University Singapore) Ying Chang Compestine (Author )

How can you fully utilise a book? Join this session as Ying Chang Compestine talks about how to use picture books and media to bexcite young readers to read, while George Jacobs discusses a range of collaborative after-reading activities which deploy students’ thinking skills.

Reading Singapore Children’s Books at Home: What it Means to your Kids

Sandra Williams (Senior Lecturer in Education (Primary English), University of Brighton)

English and Drama teacher and expert in children's literature, Sandra Williams, discusses why it is important for your children to see themselves in books through local children's and YA literature. 

Code-switching and Language Development: Exploring Bi-literacy in Books

Yow Wei Quin (Assistant Professor, Singapore University of Technology & Design)

Code-switching is the alternation of two or more languages within a single conversation. This session will include some of the latest findings with regards to code-switching in bilingual children on spoken language, as well as the use of two languages in children’s literature.

Reading Magic: How to Nurture a Love of Reading in Our Children

Maya Thiagarajan (Teacher, Author)

In this session, Maya Thiagarajan will present research on the benefits of reading for pleasure and examine the reasons why so many children do not read for their own enjoyment. She will then offer parents and educators concrete and usable strategies to create a culture of reading and to foster a deep love of reading amongst children. These strategies are applicable to children of all ages.

1:45pm – 2:45pm
[Lunchtime Talk] Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Literature

Myra Garces-Bacsal (Educator, Reviewer, Blogger) Nithya Rajamohan (Teachers Congress Programme Committee Member)

Join Dr Myra Garces-Bacsal and Nithya Rajamohan at this special lunchtime talk, as they discuss socially inclusive books which tackle difficult topics, bringing to focus the presence of ‘the others’ in society and the hope that exposure to such picture books will assist in developing pro-social behaviour among children.

3.00pm – 4:00pm
The Importance of Supporting Young Children’s Digital Literacies

Dylan Yamada-Rice (Lecturer in Early Childhood Education, University of Sheffield)

This session will look at how adults (educators and parents) can support young children’s digital literacies. Drawing on research on young children engaged with story apps on ipads, Dylan Yamada-Rice will give tips for choosing good apps and ways to encourage reading with this platform, and have a brief look at the future of good story app design.

Art Therapy for Children

Joanna Tan (Senior Art Psychotherapist, Heartspace)

Art and play therapy can be used to assist children who are going through a difficult time. Joanna Tan lets you in on her discoveries of the value of mark making with children with emotional, developmental and behavioural problems.

Creating a Space for Learning at Home

Lee Seow Ser (Writer, Editor and Parent )

Learning can take place within the family space and at a comfortable and consistent pace, whilst tapping on the child’s potential to ace in studies. Lee Seow Ser shares “feel-good”, “old-school”, inexpensive and accessible ways of nurturing the learning spirit whilst boosting family bonds at home.

Making Math and Reading Fun for Children

Stanley Han (CEO and Co-Founder, KooBits) Lim Sieu Pin (Librarian, National Library Board)

Making math fun takes the bore out of the subject for children. Join Stanley Han as he gives you tips of how you can help your children even enjoy learning math! Also in this session, librarian Lim Sieu Pin talks about the lifelong benefits that reading brings. Find out about the many library resources and reading activities you can enjoy with your children to make reading a fun-filled time of family bonding.

4:30pm – 5:30pm/6:00pm
An Invitation to Adventure: Selecting Enticing Reading Materials for Children

Janet Mann (Librarian / Reading Consultant )

This session is an examination of resources available to encourage children of all ages to read and enjoy their reading, including suggestions of a variety of events to support the involvement of readers in the wider community.

Fostering a Love for Learning through Games

Edmund Lim (Director (Special Projects), Educare) Stanley Han (CEO and Co-Founder, KooBits) Eugene Tay (Director, MonstroCity)

Children are naturally attracted to games, especially so with today’s digital platforms- computers, mobile devices like iPhone and tablets. Join our panellists as they discuss the powerful behavioural incentives games have in motivating children to learn.

Don’t Leave the Boys Behind: Motivating Boys to Read

George Jacobs (Lecturer, James Cook University Singapore) Raymond Ang (Social Work Coordinator) Heng Huey Bin (Senior Librarian, National Library Board)

Reading is an important skill in school and elsewhere in life. Evidence suggests that boys read less than girls. This session explores reasons for this reading gap between boys and girls and ideas for motivating boys to read more.

Dream Bearers: Inspiring Children to Achieve

Titus Yong (Director, Ingenio) Aeron Young (Co-Founder,

Father-and-son team, Titus and Aeron, tell their story which conveys the real-life dreams of hundreds of children and their gruelling adventures across Asia, Oceania and Africa. These are interwoven with gripping narratives of historical heroes, inspiring fictional characters and living exemplars. They tell of a novel concept of fostering creativity and grit in children through co-creation.


The festival organisers reserve the right to change speakers, events, session times, dates, and/or other details when necessary.