In their early formative years, children absorb information like a sponges and master several developmental skills all at once. These wonder years don’t last for long so parents want to make the most of this absorbent, effortless stage of learning.
While your child may have learned to count and know his alphabet from his exposure to learning at home, a preschool education will properly equip your child with the additional social and intellectual skills that he will need to be successful in formal schooling.
Preschool education in Singapore
The preschool curriculum in Singapore is divided into several basic areas, these are letters and their sounds, numbers and basic counting, drawing, cutting and shapes, colors and objects, socializing and sharing.
Letters and their sounds
Preschoolers are taught how to recognize all the letters in the alphabet in both their uppercase and lowercase variation. They will also be taught how to recognize each letter’s sound (phonics). Your child should be able identify his/her own name and will be taught how to write it in addition to other simple words. Your preschooler should progress to writing and reading words with blends and digraphs such as ‘ch’ and ‘sh’.
For parents; At home, read to your preschooler and follow the words with your fingers as you read. Choose books with large clear print such as the Spot series (Where’s spot? by Eric Hill). Don’t use baby language when you explain everyday situations, for instance at the zoo don’t say the lion eats meat, say the lion is a carnivore, that means a meat-eating animal. Encourage your child to write words often by giving him/her fat crayons or chalk to write with as they are easier for their little fingers to manage. You can buy these at most stationery or book stores such as evergreen or popular.
Numbers and basic counting
In line with national guidelines, preschoolers in Singapore are also taught how to identify numbers from one to 10 and to count up to 10 objects. Apart from recognizing numbers, children will also be taught how to write numbers properly.
For parents : At home, make counting part of your everyday routine by asking how many eggs can be found in the fridge, how many steps the child has climbed or how many fruit slices are on the table, etc. Make counting fun by asking your child to give you 3 pencils or 7 blocks, and then asking for one more or one less. Numbers are everywhere and your child should be exposed to numbers and their patterns (one more, one less) as often as possible in everyday situations.
More about what your child learns in preschool on the next page. Read on.
Drawing and cutting
To develop preschoolers’ fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, they will also be taught how to cut lines and curves using scissors. Your child should also be able to draw lines and curves using a variety of writing tools.
For parents: Give your child lots of writing materials to practice on at home. If grip is a challenge, opt for thick or jumbo crayons and chalk. Let your child play with clay and playdough (non-toxic ones) to help exercise finger muscles. You can also buy child-safe scissors to practice at home with newspapers or old magazines.
Shapes, colours, and objects
Your child should be able to name colours and shapes at preschool. They will also get an Introduction to different objects and body parts as well. Your child will have lots of fun drawing and colouring shapes.
For parents: At home, ask your child questions about shape and colour. Ask what colour the shirt you’re wearing is, what shape a ball is or what body part is used to smell food. Ask questions as you play with your child and make it as much fun as you can. Shape cutters and food dye can be fun (if a little messy) in the kitchen. Homemade playdough is particularly good for this.
Socialising and sharing
One of the important areas of preschool education in Singapore is the development of social skills in children. At school, they will be taught to cooperate and share, follow rules and directions, ask for help when needed, and communicate needs and wants effectively. Of course, they’ll also be taught good manners especially by saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and respecting their elders.
For parents: At home, teach your child basic rules and good manners. Teach them that there are only two options : “Yes, please” and “No, thank you”. Make sure you model good manners too! Children will imitate their parents so make sure you walk the talk. Say “Yes, please” and “No, thank you” when talking to your spouse, children, parents and your helper. Encourage responsibility by making your child put away toys after playing or starting a new activity. Make clean up fun and easy.
Is your child at preschool in Singapore? Have you seen a positive change in your child? Share your experience with us by leaving a comment.