A leadership programme for preschool principals

Principal Matters is a unique leadership programme, designed especially for Singapore’s preschool principals.

Designed for
the Real World

Successful leadership requires both hard and soft skills. Hard skills are the theories and techniques you learnt in school. Soft skills comprise the ability to navigate complexity, learning agility, and a strong sense of self, required for success in the real world. In Principal Matters, that’ll be your focus.

Grow Along
with Fellow Principals

The higher you go, the lonelier it gets. We know the overwhelming responsibilities and lack of support preschool principals face. That’s why in Principal Matters, you’ll meet others like you – principals who know exactly what it’s like on this journey. You’ll learn together, and grow together.

the World

To be a leader, you must broaden your mind. In Principal Matters, you’ll visit Boston, the educational centre of the US, to undergo attachments at exemplary organisations and learn from experts at world-renowned institutions such as Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child and the Boston Children’s Museum. In your capstone project, you’ll turn all those insights into practice at the very place you began the journey – your own preschool.

Programme Partners

Philanthropic house that advocates for the early childhood sector. It convened the partners and led the development of the programme.

The Continuing Education and Training (CET) centre for the early childhood education sector. It leads the Singapore leg of the programme.

Founded in 1888, Wheelock provides a transformational education to students passionate about making the world a better place, especially for children and families. It leads the Boston leg of the programme.

Singapore’s only private university that focuses on lifelong education. It will conduct a qualitative study of the leadership practices of programme participants.

Global people and organisational advisory firm specialising in talent management and organisational development. It developed a behavioural competency model for ECE centre leadership that guides the design and evaluation of programme.

Organisation development firm that trains corporate leaders and senior civil servants. It conducts the 5-day workshop and administers the principals’ personal assessment tools.

Programme Details

Participants take time from work with the support of their organisations to attend bite-sized sessions spread over 6 months. The sessions are a mix of group and individual sessions, and local and overseas learning journeys. There is no programme fee involved.


Behavioural Competency Model

The Principal Matters programme is built atop a behavioural competency model specially developed for Singapore’s preschool principals by Korn Ferry Hay Group.

Through interviews with almost 50 leaders comprising ECDA Fellows, business owners, HR experts, and veteran principals from across private, non-profit and anchor operators, it identified the most important leadership traits of preschool principals. These traits were coded, analysed and benchmarked against its global database of leadership competencies, then conceptualised into a model and reiterated. The result is a portrait of a future-ready preschool principal – the people we aim to develop in Principal Matters.



Learning from the real-life experience of others is just as important as learning in the classroom. In Principal Matters, participants will be paired with veterans who will serve as a mentor and friend through the 6-month journey and beyond.

Dr Rebecca Chan

SEED and National Institute of Education/Nanyang Technological University

Associate Lecturer

Dr Jacqueline Chung

ECDA Fellow

St. James’ Church Kindergarten

Senior Principal and Academic Director

Iris Lim

Chiltern House Preschool


Dr Geraldine Teo-Zuzarte

NTUC First Campus Co-Operative

Head, Professional Practices;

The Caterpillar's Cove

Centre Director

Press Release

Principals Matter – New Leadership Programme to Gear up 150 Preschool Principals for the Future


Principals Matter – Lessons in Early Childhod Leadership

Media Coverage

Better Pay Draws Better Pre-school Teachers
The Sunday Times – 6 November, 2016

Pre-school Heads get Fresh Ideas from Learning Trip to US
The Sunday Times – 30 October, 2016

Go Ahead and Mess with the Museum Exhibits
The Sunday Times – 30 October, 2016

New Initiative to Train Pre-school Principals
The Straits Times – 28 April 2016

Leadership Programme to Send Pre-school Principals on Overseas Stints
TODAY – 28 April 2016

Younger Pre-school Heads Get Help
MyPaper – 28 April 2016