More than 300 pre-school children to take up arts course

SINGAPORE - More than 300 children from around 10 pre-schools will take part in lessons specially conducted by arts practitioners as part of the two-year pilot Artist-in-School Scheme for Pre-Schools.

The National Arts Council (NAC) announced the $70,000, two-year scheme on Tuesday. It was started in March in partnership with the the Early Childhood Development Agency to give pre-schoolers access to quality arts programmes.

Each school can receive a subsidy of up to 70 per cent of programme costs, including teaching fees of the arts practitioners involved.

About 120 children from five pre-schools have taken part in the pilot phase so far. Art forms covered include dance, music, theatre and ceramics.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong visited one of the participating centres, PCF Sparkletots Pasir Ris West, on Tuesday. He said: "Authentic learning opportunities will further ignite their sense of wonder and discovery and help them to develop confidence in expressing themselves."

Under the scheme, arts practitioners also train pre-school teachers with skills in integrating the arts into their lessons.

NAC director of arts and youth Kenneth Kwok said such a partnership will benefit the children. He said: "With teachers and professional artists working together, the classroom becomes an even more positive and fun learning environment that children will love to be in.

"We all have fond memories of our first experiences with a piece of crayon or a favourite piece of music and we believe that these are some of the best ways to nurture creativity."