A quick glance at school buildings in Singapore might leave the impression that not much has changed in the last decade or so - but zoom in close on some primary schools and you might see a landscape that’s surprisingly different from what most of us think a school looks like. Different types of classrooms and spaces are popping up, and learning doesn’t have to take place only in a typical classroom set-up.
Looking at the design of primary school facilities was one of the priorities raised by the Primary Education Review and Implementation (PERI) Committee, which made its preliminary recommendations to MOE in January 2009. The idea is that primary schools ought to have spaces that facilitate engaged learning, both academic and non-academic. For example, they could have:
- Redesigned classrooms that encourage greater interaction and self-discovery;
- Outdoor experiential learning facilities for hands-on learning;
- Special rooms and facilities to support the new Programme for Active Learning, which would provide all pupils with the opportunity to participate in sports and outdoor education, and performing art and music.
Take a closer look at some primary schools that are already leading the way in creating these new learning spaces. Based on these schools’ experiences, MOE is studying the possibility of providing some of these facilities to all our primary schools. Someday soon, all primary schools might look like this!
At Unity Primary School, classrooms have been redesigned so that furniture can be rearranged for learning in small groups or central sharing, such as presentations. The school also has an ICT centre for multimedia learning, a reading corner and a performance space to develop pupil’s communication skills.
Experiential learning can evoke in pupils a spirit of inquiry and curiosity about the world around them. For the pupils of East Spring Primary School, science lessons come alive at the eco-pond.
Outdoor facilities such as East Spring Primary’s Learning Trail and the Physics Playground provide pupils with rich opportunities for hands-on learning. Most of all, the pupils have fun while learning through discovery.
MOE is looking into equipping all primary schools with an indoor sports hall, such as this one in Beacon Primary School. This could be done in tandem with plans for providing all primary schools with sufficient facilities to go single-session.
Beacon Primary School’s media hub helps pupils to build confidence in their communication skills. They can record their role-playing as reporters or deejays.
The outdoor amphitheatre at Fairfield Methodist Primary School is a great outdoor learning space that supports the visual and performing arts. Through this, pupils can develop useful life skills and nurture leadership qualities.