SINGAPORE: Parents and educators will have a better idea of what children need to learn by the end of Kindergarten 2.
That’s contained in the refreshed Kindergarten Curriculum Framework that places greater emphasis on helping children develop social and emotional skills.
School isn’t all work and no play.
At Ascension Kindergarten, preschoolers learn through play.
Ms Dianne Seet—Swee, Principal of Ascension Kindergarten, said: "In their play, parents will see, what are the different learning outcomes we put in — learn about sorting, learn about more or less, cardinality, they learn how to relate to each other, they learn how to do show and tell with confidence."
The framework is also designed to give sharper focus on key learning outcomes in areas such as literacy and numeracy.
For example, children should be able to count up to 10, ask simple questions and respond appropriately by the time they go to Primary One.
The ministry expects these guidelines to raise overall standards of preschool education without being overly prescriptive.
Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Education, said: "It doesn’t tell you exactly what to do on the ground, so just take an example, confidence. Confidence is not something you can sit down and have a little lesson and say, today, I am confident. But you can put that in the framework, then you can specify to the teachers that whatever they do in the curriculum should engender confidence.
"So that’s why I’m not concerned about being over—prescriptive. A lot depends on the imagination of the teachers and the relationship with the children because you must really understand your child. If the child is very shy, you can’t just straightaway push the child to do something that’s very extrovert. You’ve got to draw the child out. So much depends on the teachers’ ability."
The announcement comes amid concerns from parents on how much they should prepare their children for Primary One.
With no national curriculum in place, preschool programmes are known to vary from operator to operator.
Ms Indranee Rajah added: "Those who have a very high standard should continue to do so because you also don’t want to have a scenario where somebody must pull back just because somebody else is not there. The name of the game is not to level down. The name of the game is to level up. What’s important though is the baseline common standard must be a good one and that’s what we’re aiming for."
Mdm Forina Ng, Principal PCF Cheng—San Seletar, said: "This is a guide, so it actually gives all operators an insight of what MOE is actually requiring us to do, and by the end of kindergarten, all children should achieve all the learning goals stated in the framework."
The ministry hopes the guide can help parents manage their expectations.
But some parents say they may still continue sending their children for extra classes.
Ms Goh Yuke Chin, a mother of three, said: "I still send them for enrichment class, especially Chinese hanyu pinyin because it’s not being taught by the preschool under the guideline of the MOE, and other than that I also send them for music class like violin or piano, which is also not being taught by the preschool."
Some also agree the guide can help them track their children’s progress.
Others say regular communication with teachers is more important.
Ms Goh added: "By having the guidebook, framework, I have a more indepth understanding on how will the teaching system be and as well as the school, at the beginning of the term, they did circulate some curriculum notice for the parents, all this actually really give us more indepth understanding of how the students are being taught and what is being developed during the class."
Ms Ann Tan, a mother of three, said: "Actually the guidebook, when parents read it, they won’t know how closely which childcare or which kindergarten follows this guidebook. You need to have a guideline, but how closely the kindergarten follows is another thing.
"A better way to actually manage what my kids will learn is if we have opportunity to get to know the teachers, the principal and basically how the lessons are being carried out, it’ll be better than just generic guidelines."
The parents’ guide to the refreshed framework is available on the ministry’s website and will be distributed at the ministry’s parent outreach seminars.
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