MindChamps launches its first Chinese pre-school

At a pre-school in Tampines, children are taught subjects such as mathematics, cooking and music appreciation mainly in Chinese, with only a little English.

Welcome to MindChamps' first Chinese pre-school, which started classes on Feb 1 and was officially launched yesterday.

At the new pre-school, the usage ratio of Chinese to English as a medium of instruction will be 9:1 for some programmes at playgroup level.

This slowly goes up to 6:4 in kindergarten, to equip children for primary school, where English is the main medium.

The launch also marked the start of a collaboration between MindChamps and the Chinese Media Group of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which bought a stake in the education firm in 2014.

Thumbs Up Little Junior, a Lianhe Zaobao publication for pre-schoolers, will include up to three pages of content from MindChamps Chinese PreSchool. Its other pre-schools here will get copies.

Learning a new language is not just about technicalities but also mindset, said MindChamps chairman and group chief executive David Chiem. "You can't nurture this mindset when you get to primary school, when they learn this subject for exams."

Mr Anthony Tan, SPH Chinese Media Group's executive vice-president, guest of honour at the launch, said: "MindChamps has a very clear idea of how it wants to pursue and develop this market, and bring across the correct values."

The new pre-school, which has 12 children enrolled, will have up to 107 children in its first intake.

Mr Chiem said MindChamps plans to have more Chinese pre-schools, but did not elaborate.

Counsellor Catherine Lim, 35, has put her son, four, in the new pre-school. Its Chinese curriculum "eased my worries about having to send my child to extra Chinese classes over the weekends", she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2016, with the headline 'MindChamps launches its first Chinese pre-school'. Print Edition | Subscribe