The new year saw the opening of five MOE-run kindergartens, which are located at Blangah Rise, Dazhong, Farrer Park, Punggol View and Tampines. Together, they have an enrolment of 250 children. Spirits were high at the first day of school.
It was the first week of school for about 250 children at five MOE-run kindergartens that opened this year. Photo taken at MK@Punggol View.
'My child is very excited to go to school, which surprised me as she was not as enthusiastic in her previous pre-school. I am very impressed by the facilities, curriculum and educational materials that the school has. It is also very helpful that all the teachers are very warm and approachable,' said Mdm Karen Heng, who was glad that she transferred her youngest daughter, Chloe Tan, to MOE Kindergarten@Tampines.
Curriculum with Distinct Singapore Flavour
One of the key features of the MOE Kindergarten curriculum is the distinct Singapore flavour which allows children to learn about things and places around them, such as local food, hawker centres and celebrations of festivals. In line with this, picture books were developed to guide children to relate the stories to their own experiences in daily life.
The teaching of Mother Tongue Languages in the MOE Kindergartens also incorporates the use of songs and stories set in the local context.
Picture books are developed by MOE curriculum specialists to engage children, who are guided to relate the stories to their everyday experiences.
Education Minister Heng Swee Keat shared that 'children will find the curriculum more authentic and engaging, which will in turn help to build up a child's interest in learning'. Minister Heng visited MOE Kindergarten@Tampines, on the first day of school.
Another key emphasis in the MOE Kindergartens is the importance of purposeful play. 'Play is a very important way to learn. Studies have shown that when children engage in purposeful play, it could help them develop more holistically,' said Minister Heng.
The children are exposed to songs, dances and movement to strengthen their aesthetic, physical and social-emotional development. They are also able to develop their music and movement skills through activities such as outdoor play and music appreciation twice a week.
The 4-hour programme incorporates the use of local songs, dances and movement in the classes. Photo taken at MK@Dazhong.
The MOE Kindergartens also aim to develop a strong partnership with parents, primary and secondary schools, as well as the community.
For MOE Kindergarten@Tampines, it has already started collaborating with Dunman Secondary School, which is located beside their centre. A group of Secondary Two and Three students helped in the conceptualisation and designing of the kindergarten's snack room and art gallery during the December holidays.
'We used to consider only partnering with nearby primary schools as it is the next phase that our children move on to. However, we discovered that it would be beneficial to work closely with other schools and even the community,' said Mrs Doris Ong, the centre head of the school.
Plans in the pipeline include roping in Secondary Three and Four students for the reading and cooking programmes, and also to help the children out during the Week of Wonder project, where children get to investigate topics of their interest.
MOE Kindergartens will also provide resources for parents to enjoy quality interactions with their children.
Education MInister Heng Swee Keat joining the children in an art and craft activity at the MOE Kindergarten@Tampines, one of the five centres that opened this year. Photo taken at MK@Tampines.
At the Tampines centre, a Family Resource Corner has been set up for parents to freely access educational resources . Some of the parents have also indicated interest to volunteer in the parent support group, which is expected to be established in March this year.
'More interaction opportunities with the teachers will help us better understand the learning progress and needs of our child,' said Mdm Tan.
Another five MOE Kindergartens will open next year. As MOE works on finalising the locations of the kindergartens, meeting the different needs of students and expectations of parents would be critical. 'It is not about chasing after numbers, but about providing high quality and affordable pre-school education for our children,' said Minister Heng.
For more information on MOE kindergartens, click here.