Lorna Whiston bilingual pre-schools – helping your children become true World citizens
Find out how you can help set a solid foundation in quality bilingual education for your kids. The bilingual preschool in Singapore might just be your school of choice.
"If you are bilingual, you have binocular vision, then you see the world in 3-D" – Lee Kuan Yew
Singapore’s founding father the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew was certainly speaking with his legendary far-sightedness when he spoke of the benefits of bilingualism in a speech in Parliament in 1977.
In Singapore, bilingualism has been acknowledged for its ability to “bridge the gap between East and West and enable our people to be highly mobile in the globalised world.”
Parents today understand the need for their children to learn more than one language to be true World citizens some day. According to language experts, teaching a child a second language at a young age is advantageous because it imparts:
- A positive effect on intellectual growth
- More flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language and a better ear for listening
- Greater communication options with a wide range of people
- Cultural sensitivity
- A career head-start because knowing another language is a real advantage in many jobs
These benefits of bilingualism have been understood and embraced by Lorna Whiston Schools for many years.
You may know Lorna Whiston as one of Singapore’s top providers of quality English language enrichment programmes. However, they also run two bilingual preschools in Singapore -- the Raintree Cove and Winchester facilities -- that offer superlative bilingual education.
Lorna Whiston bilingual pre-schools in Singapore: Setting the foundation for bilingual education
Both Lynn and Joy see bilingualism as an essential life skill that all children should possess and one that will help them both in school and once they grow up. In short, it helps children become effective communicators in real world situations.
The Principals also emphasise the importance of starting at preschool level where the foundation will be set for bilingualism.
What makes the Lorna Whiston bilingual programmes special?
Both Lorna Whiston bilingual pre-schools offer a full immersion bilingual programme and a hands-on, engaging and holistic curriculum that provide children with a solid foundation in bilingualism.
Lynn explains that both pre-schools have two fully qualified teachers at all times, with one speaking Mandarin and one speaking English. Together, they conduct all lessons, which means that kids are immersed in a bilingual environment at all times at Lorna Whiston bilingual pre-schools.
This is in contrast to many other schools which often have one main teacher who speaks one particular language (usually English) and another teacher (Mandarin) who teaches just one class.
The benefits of having two teachers
If you have grown up in a bilingual environment, then you’ll know that the constant exposure to a natural flow of two languages is what helped you become competent in both.
This is exactly how the two teachers who work at Lorna Whiston bilingual pre-schools operate. They maintain a natural flow of both English and Mandarin right through the day.
The best part about it is that it happens in a very natural setting. For example, for show-and-tell, a child may present a certain topic in Mandarin one week, and in English another week on a different topic. Even outside of lessons, such as lunch time, toileting and free play, both the English and Chinese teachers are present to converse and engage with the children in both languages.
What’s more, during all classes (apart from core language lessons), both teachers conduct the lessons in equal capacity as “main teachers”. Both Lynn and Joy agree that this is indeed the most effective way to get children to speak and understand both languages effectively.
Lynn explains that all their teachers make it a point to form a great relationship with each child by establishing a sense of trust and not putting unnecessary pressure on any of the children.
When this relationship is established, a child will naturally feel drawn to that teacher and strive to find the words in either language to be able to communicate effectively.
What's a typical day like at a Lorna Whiston bilingual pre-school?
A typical classroom scenario at Lorna Whiston bilingual pre-schools
Taking a maths lesson as an example, the English teacher might on that day introduce the topic of patterning. The Chinese teacher will also be there and she will tune in to what the English teacher says, reinforce the concept in Mandarin and provide continuation of the topic also in Mandarin.
So, while the English teacher may have initially introduced the topic, the Chinese teacher may give the kids some instructions on how they can explore patterns, in Mandarin.
If a child has a question, he can direct it to either of the teachers and that teacher will answer in the language that she uses. Teachers also translate for non-local students who may need it.
Parents, you know that the best reviews of pre-schools are from other parents, right? Here's mummy Fiona Chin's glowing testimonial about Lorna Whiston pre-school:
I believe the early years are important for setting a strong foundation in language learning. Lorna Whiston provides a holistic and fun learning environment for both English and Chinese language which allows my child to have a strong foundation from a young age.
My eldest daughter started with Lorna Whiston Playgroup at 18 months and graduated last year. Lorna Whiston prepared her very well for primary one, in my opinion, in both the academics as well as personal and social developments. Hence, when my younger daughter turned 18 months, Lorna Whiston was our first and preferred choice!
How do Lorna Whiston bilingual pre-schools prepare your child for primary school?
A perfect fit with the MOE curriculum
Children who go through Lorna Whiston’s bilingual pre-schools will usually have no issues adapting to a local Primary school environment. Because the preschools ensure all children have a strong foundation in bilingualism, children are also easily able to transit into the Chinese programme at primary school level with confidence.
What’s more, through active liaison with local primary schools, the staff of Lorna Whiston bilingual pre-schools are always conscious of the shifts in the MOE curriculum, and make slight changes to their own programme to accommodate these, if needed.
Well-qualified teachers for quality bilingual education
Lynn explains that all of the Chinese teachers at both Lorna Whiston bilingual pre-schools are well-qualified native Mandarin speakers. Teachers are also offered on-going training based on very identified and specific needs.
Parents get involved too!
Parents of kids at Lorna Whiston bilingual pre-schools are kept updated about their children's progress and activities on a very regular basis.
The pre-schools also conduct fairs where parents can really get involved. Furthermore, workshops are conducted for parents at a minimum charge and parent-teacher meetings are held twice a year.
Lynn explains that besides all these forms of communication and involvement for parents, their open-door policy encourages parents to have a chat with the teachers at any time and about any concerns they may have.
Mums and dads, if Lorna Whiston's bilingual pre-schools seem like to ideal place for your child and you'd like your child to learn how to "see the world in 3-D", why not contact them today on the details provided below? They would love to hear from you!
Pre-school @ Winchester
Address: 9 Winchester Road, Singapore 117783
Telephone: 6272 8826
Email: [email protected]
Pre-school @ Raintree Cove
Address: 1018 East Coast Parkway, #02-03 Raintree Cove Singapore 449877
Telephone: 6448 8846
Email: [email protected]
You may also send them a registration enquiry by clicking this link.
Parents, if your child goes to either of these bilingual preschools in Singapore or if you know someone whose child does, we'd love to hear what you think about them. Please tell us by leaving a comment below.