There are many important aspects to look out for when finding a suitable preschool in Singapore for your child, and choosing the right curriculum is one of them.
In this article, we will explore a combined Singapore and British preschool programme and what this ‘hybrid’ curriculum offers.
What is a Singapore-UK Education?
The Singapore-UK (SG-UK) curriculum is a combination of Singapore’s NEL framework and the United Kingdom’s EYFS framework.
NEL stands for “Nurturing Early Learners”, a kindergarten framework developed by the Ministry of Education for children aged four to six. The framework is created with the core belief that children are curious and self-directed learners who learn through ‘engaging, purposeful play’. NEL abides by six learning principles to ensure that children can successfully acquire the knowledge, skills and proper dispositions in order to advance to higher education successfully.
The six learning areas, collectively called “iTeach”, stand for:
Integrated approach to learning
Teachers as facilitators of learning
Engaging children in learning through purposeful play
Authentic learning through quality interactions
Children as constructors of knowledge
Overall, the NEL framework believes that all children are curious, active, and competent learners who need guidance in order to attain desired learning outcomes.
(Wanna know more about the NEL framework? Visit the publicly available resource at https://www.nel.moe.edu.sg/.)
United Kingdom, on one hand, follows the EYFS or “Early Years Foundation Stage” statutory framework. Unlike NEL, which focuses on children aged four to six years old, EYFS is designed for children aged from birth to 5 years old. It ensures that children can get the best possible start in their lives, develop well and are safe and healthy during their early developmental years.
With EYFS, the focus is on four core beliefs. Every child is unique, learns to be strong and independent from positive relationships they build, develops in nurturing environments where their interests and needs are guided and supported by adults, and finally, respecting that all children learn at different rates.
EYFS follows seven areas of learning and development:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
(If you’re interested to see more of the EYFS framework, visit UK’s Department for Education website at https://www.gov.uk/.)
When combined, a SG-UK Preschool Education is heavily influenced by “children-led” or “self-initiated” learning. Emphasis is given to and revolves around what children already know. The teachers are expected to respect children’s pace and the latter’s ability to lead their learning through play with teacher-led instruction and direction.
Benefits of an SG-UK Education for Preschoolers
A rich SG-UK education is beneficial for preschoolers who need a strong, holistic foundation that readies them as they move to higher education. But what core elements does this type of curriculum exactly offer to early learners?
Here are some of the most important ones to know:
Rich Language Classes
Language Arts in English and Chinese are high up on the list of notable learning cores in SG-UK preschools. While English is the primary language of instruction in Singapore preschools, a strong emphasis is also given to Chinese language literacy. Thus, a SG-UK based preschool often provides a solid Chinese programme and daily Chinese lessons to build on a child’s foundation, especially in their formative early years. Along with the rich English programme from UK traditions, children are nurtured to be fluent bilingual speakers and ready for their higher education and beyond.
Take Primus Schoolhouse, for instance. As an international preschool in Singapore, we are dedicated to developing excellent communicators, children who are confident in their ability to converse and follow instructions in both English and Mandarin. The children learn English from reading, writing and listening through the Jolly Phonics programme; a fun, multi-sensory and a child-centred approach to teaching literacy. Focus is given to subjects or activities that help develop children’s capacity to grasp written and oral languages, as well as instil a lifelong love of language and literature.
Both NEL and EYFS frameworks place emphasis on play-based learning, and this is essential for children’s development. Children learn by leading their play and participating in play-based activities guided by adults. With play-based learning, children become more active, curious and engaged. Learning through play helps children make sense of their world, as well as create and re-visit situations that ultimately lead to the development and discovery of necessary skills.
Children in play-based schools are seen not only as passive learners but active and confident leaders with exceptional abilities to lead the trajectory of their learning.
Combined, the SG-UK Preschool Education is rooted in several spheres of learning that provide a rich programme for developing well-rounded young learners and cultivating their love and appreciation for a plethora of interests.
These interests include expressive mediums like music, art, drama and sports. Subjects like Mathematics and Science are explored with the use of concrete materials to help children gain a better understanding of otherwise intangible concepts. Physical activities are regarded as important for developing gross and motor skills, and empowering personal, social and emotional skills.
Digital technologies, like knowledge in coding and robotics, also help develop digital literacy and foster the growth of young innovators providing a strong foundation in computational thinking.
Cultural diversity at international preschools shape a child’s global readiness and open-mindedness. When children are taught to be a global citizen and learn in an environment that boasts cultures other than their own, they can see and understand others’ experiences while building positive relationships with children from diverse nationalities and cultures. They are more accepting and have a better understanding of the world and society around them.
As a result, students learn to become successful, confident learners and effective contributors, which will help them personally, educationally, and eventually professionally.
The search does not end with understanding the ins and outs of a good preschool curriculum, however, it is just the beginning.
Choosing a good preschool curriculum means laying the foundation that sets the tone for your child’s early educational years.
Learning with a combination of two of the best curricula in the world, children from preschools with the SG-UK framework will definitely enjoy a premium preschoolexperiencein Singapore.
There are so many types of preschools in Singapore, but your final decision must boil down to how well the school delivers on your child’s specific needs.
Primus Schoolhouse is an international preschool that offers a combination of British and Singapore preschool education systems and traditions. Aside from rich academic experience, Primus also places a premium on character development and fostering social-emotional skills that form the guiding values that assist children through life beyond their early educational years.
To learn more about how an SG-UK education gives kids an edge, schedule a visit to our campuses at Alexandra and Bukit Timah or contact us today!