SINGAPORE - To help pre-school teachers progress in their careers and take on larger roles, a programme was launched last year and the first batch of 138 teachers to take part was appointed on Wednesday (May 4).

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) has set aside $1.7 million for the cash awards of up to $12,000 each for this batch of teachers participating in the Professional Development Programme, which was launched in September 2015.

The programme, which is in line with the country's SkillsFuture movement, will let early childhood educators spend 180 hours over three years on courses and projects that will prepare them for more responsibilities at their workplace. It will put teachers through courses run by universities and polytechnics, modules in teaching and centre leadership.

Teachers on the programme were nominated by their employers. The next nomination period will be in the third quarter of this year. ECDA said that as part of ongoing improvements to the courses offered, "current and future batches of participants can expect a greater number and diversity of modular courses".

Meanwhile, it was also announced on Wednesday that ECDA is working with the National Gallery Singapore to develop learning programmes for young children, such as storytelling sessions and the studying of gallery artwork.

Teachers can also benefit from a learning resource kit which will help them plan activities that enhance children's appreciation of Singapore's history, legacy and art.

This kit will be uploaded online at the end of the year onto ECDA's resource website for parents and teachers, called Grow @ Beanstalk (