Kids in Singapore are learning a new language!

Kids in Singapore are learning a new language!

As the nation progresses, so is the younger generation. Find out how schools and companies are accommodating to the nation's Smart Nation vision

As Singapore progresses towards a digitalised future, many kids here are picking up new skills such as coding and computational thinking - all of which parents are in favour of.

The increased awareness and importance linked to coding and computational thinking are being reinforced by education providers here as well.

Observed in context of Singapore's Smart Nation vision, which aims to:

  • Harness technology to the fullest with the aim of improving the lives of citizens.
  • Creating more opportunities
  • Building stronger communities

Learning coding skills would seem to be more of a necessity than just purely out of interest.

Foreign Minister and Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation Programme Office (SNPO) Vivian Balakrishnan, added this on top of describing the vision's ideal. One where citizens are active co-creators and problem-solvers, rather than passively waiting on the Government to solve every real-life problem.

During a recent trip to the United States, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong re-emphasised the importance of changing perceptions relating to engineering and engineers.

He observed that in Silicon Valley, engineering is at the core of many businesses. In Singapore, the profession is seen more as a support function.

An enrichment programme by Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the Ministry of Education, Code for Fun, currently has 107 schools, up from 24 when it was first introduced in 2014.

The start-up allows schools to plan and run a 20-hour programming training over 2 years using a visual, drag and drop software with robotic and micro-controller kits for primary and secondary schools, respectively.

Click on the next page to find out more about School of Fish, an app geared towards pre-schoolers to help with logical thinking.

Logical thinking through technology for pre-schoolers

Another company looking to aid with the nation’s Smart Nation push is Jules Ventures. The start-up had launched its first product this month that is targeted towards pre-schoolers in kindergarten, called School of Fish. Trial tests are being conducted from February 2016, and the 26-week curriculum is expected to be completed by June 2016.

One of the participating schools in the trial with Jules Ventures is Carpe Diem, which runs two pre-schools in Singapore. Director Tan Sok Khim shared that the school had found Jules's School of Fish game to be "interesting". It is in line with one of its core teaching values - to inculcate logical thinking.

She added that technology is starting to become “part and parcel” of our everyday lives, and while it used to be just those in the workforce and tertiary institutions who had to deal with it, the age “has gone down even earlier”. “My son, who just entered Primary 1, already has to do his homework online,” she said.

The need to prepare its young students to technology is why the school decided to give School of Fish a try. “Its curriculum is in a packaged form, and formalised the idea and thinking behind computational thinking,” Ms Tan said.

However, the school is taking steps to ensure that there is a balance between the exposure to technology and other channels of learning too. Ms Tan stated that School of Fish will be offered twice a week in lessons no longer than 30 minutes to 45 minutes, and this will only be for children between 5 and 6 years old.

Parents will also have the option of extending the curriculum at home.

When asked if there should be an age limit to the exposure to computational thinking and technology in general, Ms Tan believes there is. “We feel that the program is not suitable for those 3 or 4 years old, as they might not fully understand. On the other hand, the older children can understand instructions and dos and don’ts”.

News Source: Channel News Asia
Image credits: IDA Facebook

What are some of your thoughts on your children picking up coding and computational thinking as a skill? Share with us in the comments below. 

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Written by

Claudia Chia

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