Frequently Asked Questions on Kindergarten Admission
What is SPARK?
SPARK (Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework) is a quality assurance framework that purposes to raise the quality of pre-schools in Singapore.
Kindergartens (registered with the Ministry of Education) and child care centres (licensed by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports) may apply for SPARK.
Is SPARK compulsory for all pre-schools?
Participation in SPARK is voluntary. However, MOE strongly encourages pre-schools to embark on this journey towards quality improvement.
Why is SPARK not compulsory?
SPARK is not compulsory so that pre-schools can take ownership of their own journey towards quality improvement. However, pre-schools are strongly encouraged to participate in SPARK.
Prior to SPARK, what support was provided to pre-schools to check their quality?
MOE has started preparing kindergartens for self-appraisal and continuous improvements since 2003. MOE introduced PEaK (Pursuing Excellence at Kindergartens), which was a self-appraisal tool for kindergartens to reflect on their current practices and continually think of more effective ways of achieving the educational outcomes. MOE also introduced Standards for Kindergartens in 2006 to further encourage kindergartens to conduct self-appraisals to examine their processes.
How will a pre-school’s participation in SPARK enhance its quality?
Self-evaluation and accreditation of pre-schools are carried out using an instrument called the Quality Rating Scale (QRS). The instrument guides pre-schools to improve in the following key areas: Leadership, Planning and Administration, Staff Management, Resources, Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Health, Hygiene and Safety.
How does SPARK benefit pre-schools?
With the Quality Rating Scale (QRS), pre-schools can examine their own structures and processes, and evaluate their effectiveness. This self-appraisal is a crucial step towards quality improvement. The SPARK certification is an endorsement of the pre-school’s quality by the Ministry of Education.
How does SPARK benefit parents?
Pre-schools which have been SPARK-certified carry the SPARK logo. This may provide parents with another area for consideration in their selection of pre-schools.
As a parent, how do I know if a pre-school has passed the SPARK assessment?
You can look out for the SPARK logo on the pre-school’s publicity materials. Pre-schools which have received the certificate of achievement will also be listed on the MOE and MCYS websites.
When can pre-schools apply for SPARK assessment?
There are designated application periods for SPARK Assessment throughout each year to facilitate pre-schools’ application for assessment. For details on the application periods, pre-schools may refer to the MOE Pre-school website at http://moe.gov.sg/education/preschool/SPARK/application/.
How do pre-schools apply for SPARK assessment?
Pre-schools may apply online at the Preschools Connect website, at http://preschool.edu.sg/SPARK.
What is the SPARK assessment process like?
The pre-school’s eligibility for assessment will first be ascertained. Following that, eligible pre-schools will be assessed in Criterion 7 of the QRS on Health, Hygiene and Safety. If the pre-school meets all the requirements in Criterion 7, it will be assessed in Criteria 1 to 6. When a pre-school meets the requirements for SPARK certification, it will be invited to apply for a certificate of achievement.
More details on the application and assessment process can be found in the SPARK Application Guide, which is available at the MOE Pre-school website at http://moe.gov.sg/education/preschool/SPARK/application/.
Who are the assessors for SPARK?
The assessors are experienced senior personnel who have held leadership positions in schools and MOEHQ. They are knowledgeable in the field of early childhood education and have demonstrated consistency and accuracy in the use of the QRS instrument for assessment.
Do pre-schools have to pay for the quality assessment?
Pre-schools will have to pay for their quality assessment as a cost is incurred for assessment. However, the cost of assessment is heavily subsidised by MOE and MSF.
Will pre-schools be penalised for failing the assessment?
No, pre-schools that do not meet the standards for SPARK certification will not be penalised. They will be given an assessment report so that they can make improvements and re-apply for assessment when they next ready.
When can pre-schools re-apply for SPARK assessment?
Pre-schools which do not meet the standards for SPARK certification can re-apply for SPARK assessment after a period of 12 months or more has lapsed from the date of the last assessment report.
Will SPARK certification result in higher fees?
As pre-schools are privately run, the fees are determined by the respective pre-schools.