A New Milestone for Pre-schools in the Heartlands
Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Finance and Minister for Manpower, opened a new My First Skool (MFS) centre at 505 Yung An Road today. Children at the centre treated DPM Tharman to a poetry recital session and further presented him with a book co-authored by themselves.
Mr Chan Tee Seng, Chief Executive Officer of NTUC First Campus (NFC) Co-operative Limited said: “The unique setting of this centre, in a standalone building in a spacious physical environment, coupled with an innovative program that emphasises the development of language and arts, sets a new milestone for MFS. This is possible because of the vision of the Taman Jurong Community leaders, in bringing a high quality program to a local community. MFS is grateful to have the opportunity to be their partners”.
From a “Central Library”, a “Eureka Studio” to a “Gallery” space, opportunities are abundant at MFS at 505 Yung An Road (also MFS’ third “Project Eureka” centre – see Annex A) to cultivate the spirit of discovery and to encourage children to develop a love for language and literature. Children of the centre will get to learn through relating to real-world topics and be exposed to literary activities such as drama, music, poetry.
Added Ms Lynn Heng, NFC’s Group Professional Leadership Officer, “Language development is central to children’s intellectual, social, and emotional growth, and is a key element of our MFS centre in Yung An. We hope our children will come to appreciate language both as an important medium for communicating ideas and information and as a source of enjoyment.”
Tapping on the natural curiosity of children, the learning environment extends well beyond the centre’s walls. Through learning journeys taken around the Taman Jurong neighbourhood, children will get familiarised with some of the community activities taking place. Regular walks will be taken to enable the children to explore, discover and broaden their awareness of the vicinity and translate their experiences into various pieces of literary art forms. In fact, one of the very first outcomes of this centre is a collaborative effort by the children and teachers to build a 3D model of Taman Jurong neighbourhood for the official opening. The model carried hopes of the children expressed in writing.
MFS at 505 Yung An Road currently has a total enrolment of 123 children and 11 infants. To date, MFS which is one of the pre-school brands managed by NFC, has a total of 93 centres, out of which three are Project Eureka centres. It aims to open another five centres by the end of this year.
Annex A: Project Eureka
About Project Eureka Project Eureka is conceived by NTUC First Campus (NFC) Co-operative Limited’s in-house education specialists to inspire a culture of innovation within the network. Selected My First Skool centres will have a Practice Leader, a pre-school teacher who will lead, mentor and guide his/her peers in extending the core curriculum with creative teaching and learning practices, based on different themes. In addition, these centres will have a dedicated space, a “Eureka Studio”, that is equipped with customised furniture and equipment to serve as a focal point for children’s projects. Upon evaluation of the effectiveness of the teaching strategies discovered, promising practices will be shared with teachers and principals in NFC’s network of over 100 childcare centres across the island.
Why Project Eureka?
- The programme is part of NFC’s on-going efforts to refresh and evolve our curriculum. As a progressive industry leader, we want to ensure that we are constantly embarking on new ways to raise the standards of early childhood education.
- With the mission to provide quality early childhood care and education, we are continuously exploring ways to create an environment that promotes inquiry and innovation in children’s learning as well as in our teaching practices. This environment will foster continuous improvement in our programme for children.
What does NFC hope to achieve from this programme?
- We want to equip our teachers with the tools and promising practices that will enable them to better prepare our pre-schoolers with 21st century competency skills. (note: 21st century skills are in line with MOE’s framework, with outcomes being a confident person, a self-directed learner, an active contributor and a concerned citizen).
- Project Eureka will also instil a culture of innovation in NFC’s network, with Eureka Studio-equipped My First Skool centres being the seeding centre to explore and discover promising early childhood practices that can be multiplied to the rest of our network of centres.
- First Eureka Studios will also act as a structural support that enables NFC to be a pacesetter in encouraging and promoting a culture of innovation within the network, and eventually to the industry.