Eitan Leong is looking forward to storytelling, singing, dancing and lots of play when he starts school today - and there will be no dreaded spelling tests.
The five-year-old is among some 250 children enrolled in five new kindergartens set up by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in a move to raise pre-school standards in Singapore.
The five centres, which are the first of 15 to be set up by 2016, will develop best practices in childhood education and share them with other pre-schools.
These include focusing on letting children learn through play.
A classroom, for instance, might be turned into a restaurant, so pupils can practise language and mathematics skills through designing the menu and role-playing.
Another highlight is that children will learn through stories, songs and dances with a distinct local flavour, reading big picture books that include references to Singapore culture and local neighbourhood settings.
A third of the places at the centres will be set aside for children from lower-income families to help them level up.
Response to the MOE's initiative had initially been lukewarm, with only about half of the 560 places offered taken up.
Some parents cited the lack of childcare or school bus arrangements as reasons.
But that was not an issue for Eitan's mother, Madam Wong Li Wah, 36, who was drawn to the curriculum and teaching approaches of the new centres.
"I like that they will teach the children through stories with a local flavour," said the housewife, who has another three-year-old daughter."At this point, I don't want to give him too much stress. I think he will have fun learning in the new kindergarten."
Eitan is attending the centre located at a void deck in Tampines Street 45, which is just a two-minute walk from his home.
The other four kindergartens are sited in primary schools to expose children to the formal schooling environment.
They are located in Dazhong Primary in Bukit Batok, Farrer Park Primary, Blangah Rise Primary in Telok Blangah, and Punggol View Primary.