MOE will set up new pre-schools in estates where there is a genuine demand: Indranee

Ms Indranee Rajah (centre) at the MOE Kindergarten Punggol View and Punggol View Primary School Inaugural Joint Lunar New Year celebrations. The next five Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergartens, set to open in 2015, will be located in estates
Ms Indranee Rajah (centre) at the MOE Kindergarten Punggol View and Punggol View Primary School Inaugural Joint Lunar New Year celebrations. The next five Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergartens, set to open in 2015, will be located in estates where there is a genuine demand, said Senior Minister of State for Law and Education, Ms Indranee Rajah. -- PHOTO: BH

The next five Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergartens, set to open in 2015, will be located in estates where there is a genuine demand, said Senior Minister of State for Law and Education, Ms Indranee Rajah.

"We want to make sure that they are put in the right place where there is appropriate demand, and where we think it will do the most good for residents and children in a particular area," she said, adding that the ministry already has "preliminary ideas and views" of where it intends to set up the five kindergartens.

Ms Indranee was speaking on the sidelines of her first visit to the MOE-run kindergarten sited at Punggol View Primary to celebrate the Chinese New Year with the pupils.

The kindergarten is one of five set up by the Education Ministry this year in a move to raise pre-school standards in Singapore. Four of the current five MOE kindergartens are sited in primary schools.

The one in Tampines is located under a HDB block, or what the ministry refers to as a community site. When asked if the next five centres will be set up within primary schools, Ms Indranee said: "What we want is a diversity of landscape... we are quite willing to explore community sites."

Children attending the MOE-run kindergarten at Punggol View Primary joined the older pupils for Thursday's Chinese New Year celebration at the school, with the younger ones putting up a song and dance performance. Primary 2 pupils later joined the kindergarten kids in their classroom where they decorated a card together.

A highlight of these pilot pre-schools is their emphasis on letting the children learn through play - evident in the games room at the kindergarten in Punggol View Primary. There were toys for children to pretend that they were at a restaurant or supermarket, or doing household chores such as ironing.

Ms Pameline Wong, who heads the kindergarten at Punggol View, said the pre-school is "looking forward" to more collaborations with the primary school. It may also introduce a reading programme, where the primary school pupils read to those in the kindergarten.

The collaboration, said Ms Wong, will allow the kindergarten children to interact with peers in a different context. "It will enhance the children's confidence in terms of relating with different peers," she said, adding that the older primary pupils will also learn to be responsible by taking care of the younger ones.

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