Theme – The Growing Years: Growing and Becoming Literate Today

The AFCC Preschool & Primary Teachers Congress provides teachers and educators with the skills and knowledge to impart early literacy, and a love for books, writing and reading, as a child transitions from early childhood to primary school.

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

Jump to Day 1 Day 2

19 May 2017 (Fri)

8:30am - 1:00pm
Pre-school Primary

AFCC Edutour
Ticketed separately from Teachers Congress

Want to gain insights into the education in Singapore? AFCC brings you the inaugural AFCC Edutour. This is your chance to visit two schools, St James’ Church Kindergarten and Ang Mo Kio Primary School. Take a tour around the schools, visit their libraries and learn more about literacy projects conducted in the school. Interested to meet and exchange ideas with other educators and librarians? Then hop on the bus and let’s go! Click here to find out more.

Note: Registration is at 8.15am on 19 May at the L1 Lobby, National Library Building. Limited spaces only. 

Day 1 – 20 May 2017 (Sat)

9:00am – 10:00am
L5, Imagination Room Pre-school Primary

Reading and Empathy

Maria Alessandrino (Emerging writer, reviewer and Festival Program Coordinator)

Looking at various children’s books that evoke empathy, Maria will explore how characters help nurture empathy in children, by guiding them in navigating a range of issues and expanding their understanding of the world.

L5, Possibility Room Primary

Blokes with Books: Can Social Belonging Impact on Reading Motivation and Skill for Young Boys?

Nadine Bailey (Teacher librarian, Canadian International School)

For the past 1 and a half years, something special has been happening at a school campus in Singapore. Boys aged 8-12 are arguing about whose turn it is to read a desired book and rushing to join a book club that’s so full, it’s not taking any more members. How did this happen? More importantly, how can you recreate the magic in your school? Nadine will spill the beans at this session.

L16, The Pod Pre-school Primary

[PANEL] Literacy Bites: Practices in Schools

Clara Leong (Principal, St James Church Kindergarten), Toni Phillips (Primary Teacher, Green School Bali), Pushpa (Principal, Sarada Kindergarten), Allan Menagh (General Manager, Kumon Asia & Oceania)

The speakers discuss about literacy practices adopted by their schools and efforts to help children improve their grasp of languages.

L1, Visitors Briefing Room Pre-school Primary

Developing Creative Hands-on Exhibition for Children – and Why

Anna Salaman (Executive Director, Playeum)

Using case studies and documentation from Playeum’s hands-on exhibition, ‘A World Full of Stories’, Anna will present on the multiple benefits to be gained from designing an interactive, open-ended pedagogical approach for children. 

10:00am – 10:30am

Tea Break

10:30am – 11:30am
B1, Multi-Purpose Room Pre-school Primary

Literacy at Green School Bali

Toni Phillips (Primary Teacher, Green School Bali)

At the Green School, children enter the magical world of language and literature in an open-air classrooms made of bamboo. Through projects and thematics, students learn to make a positive difference in their community and for the planet.

L1, Visitors Briefing Room Pre-school Primary

Once Upon a Time in Singapore: How Digital Books Tell Amazing Stories

Beth Fredericks (Executive Director, Wheelock College-Singapore)

Come and share the journey of Wheelock College students in early childhood as they learned to write books and then transform them into digital stories. These pre-service teachers will reveal the leap of faith they took to design and present their e-stories. Now they want to you to use them too!

L5, Imagination Room Pre-school Primary

Bring on the Drama: Teaching Playwriting

Angela Cerrito (SCBWI Assistant International Advisor and Author)

“To be or not to be, that is the question.” – William Shakespeare

Who knows? With your help, your student could be the next great playwright. Angela will walk through the basics of playwriting and functional elements you could bring to your class.

L5, Possibility Room Primary

Interactive Narration: Having Fun with Postmodern Picturebooks!

Ruth Wong (Associate Professor, English Language and Literature, NIE)

One interesting characteristic of postmodern picturebooks is its playfulness in engaging the reader, viewer and listener. Characters in these books address the readers directly, thus acknowledging the readers as active agents of the reading process. The examples shared will invite the audience to be participants rather than spectators of the reading experience. 

L16, The Pod Pre-school Primary

Empowering Change through the Missing School Subject

Leslee Udwin (Founder & CEO, THINK EQUAL)

Rape, violence and abuse- how do we make sense of and meet atrocities in the world? Recipient of Swedish Anna Lindh Human Rights Award, Leslee Udwin, argues that the lack of children’s books from an early age, together with a dearth of social and emotional learning in education, bring about lasting social problems.

11:45am – 12:45pm
L5, Imagination Room Pre-school Primary

SAMMS: A Framework for Transformational Technology

Seán McHugh (Digital Literacy Coach, United World College of South East Asia)

Content creators should use digital technologies in ways that focus on transforming what they do. Seán will introduce the ‘SAMMS’ framework which facilitates this by defining principles that propels tech use from the mundane to the magnificent.

L5, Possibility Room Primary

On Your Mark, Get Set, Write!

Claudine Fernandez (Founder and Principal Instructor, Artistic Strategies Academy)

Children can step into the playing field and get in the action of sports writing. Catch this session before half-time as Claudine coaches you to bring the game on in class and rile kids up about commentaries of matches and interviews with sports celebrities. 

L1, Visitors Briefing Room Primary

Jishobiki: The Japanese Approach to Enhancing Children’s Knowledge and Use of Dictionaries

Keisuke Fukaya (Professor, College of Contemporary Education, Chubu University)

Find out more about a popular method in Japan, using post-its and dictionaries, to help children learn words and gain knowledge. In this session, Dr Fukaya will share this innovative and colourful approach he developed which you can use in your class or at home.

B1, Multi-Purpose Room Primary

Pedagogical and Cultural: Character-Building in Students

Bambang Indriyanto (Director, SEAMEO QITEP in Language; Education Researcher)

Find out how literacy shapes primary and secondary students pedagogically and culturally in Indonesia and Southeast Asian countries. Dr Bambang explores how language lessons can facilitate interaction between teachers and students, and among students.

12:45pm – 2:00pm


2:00pm – 3:00pm
L5, Possibility Room Primary

Scribbles from a Galaxy Far Away

Hassan Hasaa’Ree Ali (Author)

Are your students daydreaming in class? Why not help them mould their daydreaming and help them find the spark to ignite their imagination? Take a look at challenges of writing Science Fiction with Hassan and ways to overcome them.

L1, Visitors Briefing Room Primary

Literacy for Special-Needs Children: Catering to their Learning Needs

Areena Loo (Founder & CEO, Bridge Learning), Ravin Kumar Singh (Acting HOD English & ICT)

To cater to the needs of special-needs children, we need to understand what these needs are. Ravin will share more on a functional workbook the Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) developed with localised content that children can relate to, while Areena will speak about meeting special-needs children’s learning needs through neuroscience-based approach to literacy and education.

L5, Imagination Room Pre-school Primary

[PANEL] Meeting the Mother Tongue Challenge

Pushpa (Principal, Sarada Kindergarten), Far’ain Jaafar (Post graduate student, Educator), Hou Jing (Senior Lecturer, KLC International Institute)

Discover strategies to motivate children to speak and write in their Mother Tongue in this panel. The speakers will discuss approaches they use, from tongue twisters to dual language books, and their views on language learning in today’s Singapore.

B1, Multi-Purpose Room Pre-school Primary

Dreaming up a Well-run School with Technology

Sun Ho (Founder, LittleLives)

LittleLives started with a little dream to connect schools to the world. Along the way, schools asked for help to run their schools well. Soon, LittleLives has helped hundreds of schools. Sun Ho will share stories of schools dreaming to become a better school, and how dreams for technology in education unfolds.

3:15pm – 4:15pm
B1, Multi-Purpose Room Primary

Kids Lit Quiz™: Rewarding Readers by Promoting Reading as a Sport

Rafidah Angullia (Associate Librarian, National Library Board ), Khairiyah Aziz (Associate Librarian, National Library Board)

Through Kids’ Lit Quiz™ competition, the National Library Board in Singapore created a plethora of activities to promote reading as a sport, making it more appealing and rewarding to all readers, not just those participating in the contest.

L5, Possibility Room Pre-school Primary

Spelling in the 21st Century

Seán McHugh (Digital Literacy Coach, United World College of South East Asia)

Spelling is crucial but many schools still rely on traditional strategies to teach spelling. Digital Literacy Coach, Seán McHugh, argues that it is time to teach spelling the way it should be taught in the 21st Century.

L5, Imagination Room Country of Focus Pre-school Primary

Uncovering the Secrets of Sound and Rhythm in the Context of the Ethnic Moluccan Music of Indonesia

Christian Tamaela (Ethnomusicologist, Lecturer and Musician)

Learn how Ethnic Moluccan music is used in Indonesia to cultivate in children critical and constructive thinking, teach them a love and appreciation of music, and encourage them to be creative. You might have a chance to try your hands at some Indonesian musical instruments, like drums or even leaves from the ground!

L1, Visitors Briefing Room Pre-school

Technology and Mother Tongue in Preschool Classrooms

Weelai Suwanarat (Educator and Director of the Professional and Education Development, PAP Community Foundation)

In a rapidly changing and technology-driven landscape, how does the role of technology come into play in the teaching of Mother Tongue Language in preschool settings? Children are active learners and teachers need to understand how technology can enhance language learning.

4:45pm – 6:00pm
L1, Visitors Briefing Room Primary

Motivating Kids to Read in a Techy Age

Marcus Leong (Associate Librarian, National Library Board ), Charmaine Tan (Associate Librarian, National Library Board )

What motivates Singaporean children to read? Local librarians share their experiences working with Primary School children, and talk about how to engage increasingly-tech savvy young readers. 

L5, Possibility Room Primary

Fostering Unity and Diversity through Children’s Literature

Martin Yakabuski (Training Consultant, British Council)

Through the reading of Henry and the Kite Dragon, Martin Yakabuski expounds on how children’s literature can help children take on multiple perspectives and develop skills in communication and problem-solving, which are necessary components in developing a community.

B1, Multi-Purpose Room Pre-school Primary

Understanding Dyslexia

Marcus Goh (Educational Therapist, Dyslexia Association Singapore), Rosalyn Wee (Senior Educational Therapist, Dyslexia Association of Singapore)

Learn about what dyslexics experience in their lives, and get to know who can help in the intervention process. Pick up teaching tips on how to help your child improve in their reading and comprehension from various hands-on activities.

Note: This is a 90-min session.

L5, Imagination Room Primary

[PANEL] Books We Like: The Children Speak

Rishav Gupta (Author and Illustrator), Lekha Bhattacharjee (Student, United World College of South East Asia (East Campus)), Ayden Farish Bin Mohamad Faisal (Student), Aidan MacKay (Student, Canadian International School ), Kaleb Jonathon Teng Seng Khoo (Student, Ang Mo Kio Primary School)

What do children read these days? Get into the minds of a child as students from different schools in early primary talk about genres, characters and creators that captivate them and why.

Day 2 – 21 May 2016 (Sun)

10:00am – 11:00am
L5, Possibility Room Pre-school Primary

Visual, Verbal and Cultural Literacy in the Art Museum

Wang Tingting (Museum Educator, Singaport Art Museum), Stephanie Wong (Graphic Designer, Singaport Art Museum), John Tung (Assistant Curator, Singapore Art Museum)

When art meets the written word, the storytelling experience becomes more interactive, even whimsical. Glimpse into how visual, verbal and cultural literacy is encouraged through tactile interactive artworks at the Children Season’s exhibition, Imaginarium, at the Singapore Art Museum.

B1, Multi-Purpose Room Pre-school

Look, Listen and Repeat: How to Un-read Books with Your Child

Angela Cerrito (SCBWI Assistant International Advisor and Author)

Move beyond memorisation to using books as windows into the imagination. Imaginative play is an important step in cognitive development. Learn how to un-read books in order to develop your child’s imagination.

L5, Imagination Room Primary

The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Child Develop Emotional Literacy

Leslie Davis (Training Consultant, British Council ), Angie Chew (Executive Director, Brahm Centre)

Mindfulness is an essential life skill that builds mental resilience. Listen to Angie share about how it can improve concentration and emotional well-being, while Leslie will show you how to use children’s literature to teach children to better manage their emotions, relationships and success in life. 

L1, Visitors Briefing Room Pre-school

The Great Gift of Reading Aloud

Suzanne Jung (Passionate Educator & Student of Life)

One of the single most important activity a parent can do to help their child cultivate a lifelong desire to be readers and learners. Listen to Suzanne Jung’s experience making the most of read aloud time at home, and how that has helped her children.

11:00am – 11:15am

Tea Break

11:15am – 12:15pm
L5, Imagination Room Primary

Reading without Words: Techniques for Developing Visual Literacy

Leslie Davis (Training Consultant, British Council )

Using Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, a moving tale of the immigrant experience told entirely without words, Leslie Davis illustrates techniques to promote the ability to interpret, negotiate and make meaning from information presented in the form of images. 

B1, Multi-Purpose Room Pre-school Primary

Books from Around the World that Build Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Bridges
(And Why Teachers Ought to Know Them)

Myra Garces-Bacsal (Educator, Reviewer, Blogger), Sarinajit Kaur (Teaching Fellow, Early Childhood and Special Education Academic Group, National Institute of Education)

This session is meant to introduce a full range of international picturebooks to teachers (and other book lovers) that they can use to further social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies to their students. Text-sets on self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management, and responsible decision-making will be shared to scaffold SEL pedagogy through the use of outstanding picturebooks from around the world. 

L5, Possibility Room Pre-school Primary

If You Can’t Imagine It, You Can’t Be It

Kari Love (Creative Technologist & Soft Roboticist), Kim-Chua Loo Huang (Assistant Professor, Embre-Riddle Aeronautical University )

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Two speakers discuss this question with new lenses. Kari Love talks about how real job paths can be stranger than fiction, and that it is necessary to broaden futures children can imagine for themselves, while Professor Kim-Chua debunks female stereotypes in literature to inspire more girls to join Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

L1, Visitors Briefing Room Pre-school Primary

A Mammoth Task: Encouraging Reading in the Digital Age

Elaine Fong (Teacher Librarian, Chatsworth International School Orchard Campus)

Elaine will go over the key points she uses as a teacher librarian to encourage reading among students. She will also highlight the pitfalls and challenges that parents should be aware of. This session will provide anecdotal and research based strategies on how to encourage reading.

12:15pm – 1:15pm


1:15pm – 2:15pm
L5, Imagination Room Primary

Saving the World: Character-Building with Comics

Rizqi Rinaldy Mosmarth (Author, Illustrator, Editor, Publisher, Teacher)

Rizqi dispel myths that comics are only for entertainment. Examine the potential of comics with Rizqi, who works with non-profit organisations to create comics for character building.

B1, Multi-Purpose Room Pre-school

Dramatisation as a Medium for Growing the Storytelling Ability

Astri Budi Yusniati (Teacher, GagasCeria Preschool), Dewi Caturwulandari (Teacher, GagasCeria Preschool)

How do you teach language to children with short focus? Astri and Dewi lets you in on how drama can help students grasp language and express themselves more effectively.

L5, Possibility Room Pre-school Primary

Rhymes and Rhythms, Literacy and Poetry

Blair Reeve (Author)

Alliteration and assonance, rhyme and rhythm. Find out how you can impress on your students from a younger age a love for poetry and language. Blair will also provide a suggested list of English poetry in Asia that teachers can use in the classroom.

L1, Visitors Briefing Room Pre-school Primary

The Kumon Recommended Reading List (RRL) – To Develop a Lifelong Reader (For 4-6 years, 7-9 years)

Allan Menagh (General Manager, Kumon Asia & Oceania)

The Kumon RRL is a comprehensive list of 380 global titles spanning varied genres and styles for Kumon families to find books they will enjoy – for both young and mature readers alike.  Allan will be sharing ideas on how to inspire in children a lifelong love of reading, with the use of the RRL. 

2:30pm – 3:30pm
L1, Visitors Briefing Room Pre-school

Cognitive Growth and Development in Young Bilingual Learners

Vanithamani Saravanan (Associate Professor & Consultant), Seetha Lakshmi (Associate Professor & Consultant, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University)

Discover how cognitive and linguistic interaction strengthens cognitive growth in young children. Seetha and Vanitha will present their findings from a research about children’s engagement and exploration with language.

L5, Possibility Room Pre-school Primary

[PANEL] Creative Parents Parenting Creatively

Rilla Melati (Director, Creative Content Development, Mini Monsters Limited), Don Bosco (Founder, Super Cool Books), Vijayanand Thamotharan (Director, Crimson Earth)

Get ideas and tips from speakers, Don, Vijayanand and Rilla, as they discuss how they encourage their children’s creativity to blossom. 

L5, Imagination Room Pre-school Primary

Themed Stories from Asia and Beyond: Discovering Hidden Treasures

Evelyn Sue Wong (Author), Myra Garces-Bacsal (Educator, Reviewer, Blogger)

A new interactive website is offering an exciting resource for teachers and parents, with a themed collection of over 300 children’s picture books about water, rice, trees and birds from Asia, and around the world.  Explore how the collection has been used in student projects and performances, and its potential to engage young readers in discovering the unique and the universal in Asian literature, culture, heritage, and our natural environment. Dr Myra and Evelyn have been involved in this ongoing project and journey of discovery since it was launched at AFCC 2012.

B1, Multi-Purpose Room Primary

Just-A-Minute Skits and Nonsense Verse: A Whacky Combo

Mary George (Editor and Child Development Consultant, News For Kids)

Do your children dread creative writing? The rhythm and rhyme of nonsense verse might work wonders and make writing irresistible. Using the whimsical poems of Dr Seuss, Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll as a starting point, Dr Mary George expands on how nonsense verse packaged into Just-a-Minute (JAM) skits can help students have fun with language.

4:00pm – 5:00pm
L5, Imagination Room Pre-school

An Author, a Teacher, and an Amazing Sarong

Quek Hong Shin (Freelance Graphic Designer/Illustrator), Beth Fredericks (Executive Director, Wheelock College-Singapore)

Children’s literature is a window to the multi-cultural and diverse world. In today’s turbulent world, it is especially important to select stories for the young that promote empathy and an appreciation for diverse cultures. The speakers will use the book The Amazing Sarong for a show-and-tell session to introduce a unique way of telling the story and make learning fun.

Note: This is a 90-min session.

L5, Possibility Room Pre-school Primary

Throne-Time Storytelling

Nora Crothers (Director, inwardBOUND)

This workshop is all about creating stories with your little one. From throne time to story-time, Nora will explore different methods to effortlessly incorporate creativity into your routine, lifestyle and relationship with your child. Through play-making and visual prompts, you can help your child to create an imaginative tale.

Note: This is a 90-min session.

L1, Visitors Briefing Room Primary

Have Fun Learning with Dictionaries: A Hands-On Workshop by Dr Fukaya

Keisuke Fukaya (Professor, College of Contemporary Education, Chubu University)

Parents, explore a new and popular method in Japan to help your children learn new words. Using post-its, Dr Fukaya will lead you through this visual method, which will help your child enjoy learning new words and become more active in reading!

B1, Multi-Purpose Room Pre-school Primary

Reading for Meaning

Marianne Dark (Headteacher, Lorna Whiston Sdn Bhd )

Is there more to reading than simply knowing the phonic sounds and decoding the words on a page? In this interactive workshop, Marianne Dark examines the notion of reading for meaning, exploring practical activities and techniques for developing children’s understanding of the written word before, during and after reading.

What Past Speakers Say

Julia Lawrinson

AFCC 2016 was an amazing experience. The opportunity to have dialogue about children’s literature with passionate advocates from around the world was remarkable, and has not been replicated in any other festival or conference I’ve been to. To have luminaries such as Leonard Marcus there, whose brilliant exhibition on the history of children’s literature was at the New York Library in 2015 (and which I visited), testifies to the significance of the festival. Seeing how the festival has expanded since my first visit in 2012 was fascinating, and hearing the different approaches of different countries and cultures to the best way of sharing children’s literature was again a highlight of the festival. Of particular interest to me was the large number of Muslim teachers in attendance, and the openness with which everybody discussed topics that arose during sessions. As diversity is the latest ‘trend’ of discussion in Western YA and children’s literature, it was great to see diversity in action. The festival as a whole ran incredibly smoothly, with a vast array of topics and speakers – the only problem was not being able to attend three sessions at once!

Julia Lawrinson from AFCC 2016
Author (Australia)
AJ Betts

AFCC was a great experience: terrific venue, wonderful staff, and a diverse range of creators. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

AJ Betts from AFCC 2015
Author (Australia)