Learning through stories, songs and dances with a distinct Singapore flavour

Chinese language teacher Mdm Zheng Ying Jiang tells a story from a book developed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to children. Children enrolled in five new kindergartens run by the MOE will learn through stories, songs and dances with a dist
Chinese language teacher Mdm Zheng Ying Jiang tells a story from a book developed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to children. Children enrolled in five new kindergartens run by the MOE will learn through stories, songs and dances with a distinct Singapore flavour. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

Children enrolled in five new kindergartens run by the Education Ministry will learn through stories, songs and dances with a distinct Singapore flavour.

They will also spend about an hour a day on their mother tongue languages. There will be no spelling tests, and those learning Chinese will not learn hanyu pinyin.

These details of the curriculum, which advocates learning through play, was revealed on Saturday to about 150 parents at an information session held at Punggol View Primary, where one of the kindergartens will be. Children at the new centres, five of which will open in January, will be taught languages from big picture books in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil, with stories referring to Singapore culture and local neighbourhood settings.

Dr Elizabeth Pang, programme director for literacy development at the ministry, said the distinct Singapore flavour of the curriculum - which will be unique to the ministry-run kindergartens - will allow children to learn through things and places familiar to them. "When they see the familiar context in the books that they read, they can identify with it and be emotionally engaged," she said. "Emotional engagement is very important when learning in the early years. When they see a book that is set in a neighbourhood playground, and they've been there before, they can talk about it. The connection is there."