SINGAPORE - Timothy Tang remembers the day in June when he had to wear his swimsuit in school. But it was not for a swimming class, the five year old revealed shyly.
"I washed my friend's daddy's car. I used the sponge to clean the car," explained Timothy, who attends Pat's Schoolhouse (Ridgewood) at Mount Sinai Drive. "When I wear the swimsuit, it is okay to get wet."
Together with about 120 of his schoolmates, aged between three and six, they washed more than 40 cars over a week in an effort to raise funds.
Their efforts are part of the Start Small, Dream Big (SSDB) initiative by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), which was launched in April.
Over the past six months, more than 8,000 pre-school children, with the support of their teachers and parents, contributed to the community through a variety of projects.
These ranged from creating "kindness coupons" to express their appreciation to their family members, to performing a skit with song and dance elements to the elderly.
More than $100,000 was raised for various beneficiaries under the President's Challenge, including All Saints Home, TOUCHCommunity Services, The Muslim Missionary Society and The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.
On Saturday morning, President Tony Tan Keng Yam graced the SSDB finale event at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Together with Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, he toured the exhibition booths, much to the excitement of the pre-school children and their teachers.
Said ECDA chief executive Eugene Leong: "A good early childhood education experience not only prepares our childen for school, but more importantly, to lead a happy and fulfilling life. SSDB has shown that age is no barrier in making a positive difference to the lives of others."