Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework (SPARK)
The Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework (SPARK) is a quality assurance framework introduced by the Ministry of Education to raise the quality of pre-schools in Singapore.
The framework supports pre-school leaders in their efforts to enhance their teaching, learning, administration and management processes. It provides pre-schools with a blueprint for planning and carrying out both immediate and long-range improvements.
SPARK assessment was implemented since January 2011. SPARK-certified pre-schools can use the SPARK logo and every certification is valid for 3 years. Kindergartens (registered with the Ministry of Education) and child care centres (licensed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development) may apply for SPARK assessment and certification.
Five core values underpin SPARK. They are represented by four petals with a spark at the centre to signify that the development of every child is central to pre-school education.
There are four tiers in the Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework (SPARK).
- Tier 1 — Registration and Regulation/Licensing
This tier, which is mandatory for all pre-schools, ensures that pre-schools adhere to minimum standards of operation.
- Tier 2 — Self-appraisal
All pre-schools are strongly encouraged to move to the second tier by practising annual self-evaluation.
- Tier 3 — Quality Rating
At the third tier, pre-schools may apply for their quality to be assessed by external assessors. Pre-schools that have met the foundational requirements of SPARK may apply for SPARK certification.
- Tier 4 — Accreditation
Accreditation at Tier 4 will differentiate the quality levels of pre-schools which have met the requirements of SPARK.
Quality Rating Scale
Self-evaluation and assessment of pre-schools under SPARK are carried out using an instrument called the Quality Rating Scale (QRS). The instrument evaluates education programmes in kindergartens and child care centres that cater to children of 4 to 6 years old.
The five core values that underpin SPARK are embodied in seven criteria that make up the QRS. The criteria are Leadership, Planning and Administration, Staff Management, Resources, Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Health, Hygiene and Safety.
The QRS also offers a systematic approach for pre-schools to review their structures, processes and outcomes, as presented in the SPARK quality model below.
In the quality model, good leadership drives effective planning, administration and management of staff and resources. These, in turn facilitate the delivery of an engaging curriculum in a safe and secure environment and with the use of effective pedagogies. The structures and processes, in turn enable the outcomes of pre-school education — holistic development, eagerness to learn and child’s well-being — to be achieved.
SPARK Quality Model
Benefits of Participating in SPARK Assessment and Accreditation
- The SPARK logo is an endorsement of the quality of your pre-school and programmes.
- Your SPARK certification will guide parents in their selection of pre-schools.
- The framework provides the public with information on education-related aspects of quality in pre-schools.
- The SPARK assessment provides an objective evaluation and a realistic picture of your pre-school’s strengths and weaknesses.
- The SPARK assessment increases your staff’s awareness and expectations in advancing your school’s quality.