The early childhood education in Singapore is a fast-changing sector — and more developments are already in the pipeline.
Following Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s promise to double the Government’s expenditure for preschool education during this year’s National Day Rally, an additional 40,000 new preschool places will be created in the next five years.
This will bring the total number of preschool places to about 200,000.
One up-and-coming player in early childhood education is Bright Path Preschool. When it opens in April 2018, it will offer an inclusive care programme that complements a comprehensive early childhood curriculum with early intervention techniques for children aged three to six years old.
This curriculum is designed by Busy Bees — one of the largest global early education organisations since 1983.
Bright Path Preschool will be operated by the Busy Bees group, which offers more than 30 years of experience in early childhood education with preschool brands such as Brighton Montessori, Learning Vision, Odyssey The Global Preschool, Pat’s Schoolhouse and Small Wonder.
It is committed to provide an environment that is designed to encourage interaction among children. Located at 55 Fairways Drive, the school surrounded by greenery and has well-equipped facilities that are adapted to meet the individual needs of Bright Path children, such as classrooms, innovative learning corners, a music and drama studio, and a fitness gym.
Multi-sensory stimulation facilities will encourage the children to open up and express their feelings and choices better.
With a mission to provide children “the best opportunity to live life to its fullest,” the preschool supports and adds to the Busy Bees’ stable of educational offerings.
Tailored curriculum for every child
Catering to children with different learning needs, Bright Path Preschool offers a combination of therapies and customised programmes that will be carried out at each child’s learning pace.
Ms Julia Teo, deputy director of operations, says: “Some parents of children with additional needs may send them to normal schools during the weekdays, and only turn to specialised help during the weekends.
Bright Path Preschool aims to help every child participate in class in their own way and allow them to get specialised help at the same time.”
An in-house psychologist will also oversee the needs of the children by working with a team of early intervention teachers to plan lessons.
One teacher will assist three students at a time. During each lesson, early intervention and childcare teachers will work together to deliver lessons that are therapy-assisted.
For example, therapies such as speech and occupational therapy will also be available and administered at suitable and conducive timings for the children.
Ms Teo, 52, is particularly motivated to create such a programme because of personal experience.
Her brother had special needs and refused to take part in class when he was a student. He was frequently sent out of class and eventually, he had to leave school.
She says: “If children like the way the lesson is delivered, they learn more quickly.
“Teachers need to be perceptive in picking up a child’s likes, dislikes, interests and understand what makes him or her look forward to learning. In an everyday setting, children tend to reveal their preferences easily. Time with these children is critical to achieving the best outcome.”
She shares that Busy Bees educators are trained to use creative ways to engage children.
For instance, after reading a story about a donkey that chanced upon a sparkling red stone with magical powers to children, educators asked them to collect ten normal stones in exchange for a red one.
This fun approach enables the children to pick up mathematical concepts by integrating a storytelling element.
Unique programmes in a friendly environment
At Bright Path Preschool, children can enjoy the opportunity to get up close and personal with horses as part of equine-assisted therapy.
When children brush, feed and ride the horses, they form bonds with the animals and gain confidence when they complete the tasks successfully. Riding also improves a child’s physical and cognitive abilities.
Ms Teo says: “Our neighbour, Bukit Timah Saddle Club, kindly agreed to let us use their facilities. We are planning to allow the children to interact with the horses once a week.
“We are blessed to have a scenic and beautiful environment at Bright Path. Our classrooms are surrounded by greenery and children can see the horses from their classrooms. I believe a conducive environment makes learning possible.”
The preschool will also have access to 60 other Busy Bees preschools around the island where these children can join inter-group activities or even transfer when they are ready or suited to carry on the next phase in their education journey.
To learn more about Bright Path Preschool’s tailored curriculum and therapies, visit the grand preview launch at 55 Fairways Drive on March 24 from 10am to 2pm. For more information, call 6873 1777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.