The reform of the kindergarten in Singapore

Aug 27, 2019

In Singapore, almost all the students have to complete 1 year of preschool before getting into primary school. Preschool education is not obligatory and is delivered primarily by the private sector.

Picture of the curriculum for kindergarten:

The evolution of a national curriculum framework with precisely defined learning goals and standards was identified as one of the 5 key levers for the invigorating quality of ECEC in OECD countries.

In the current years, OECD countries like Australia in the year 2009, Sweden in 2011, England in 2014, Korea in 2011, and Ireland in 2009 have either inaugurated their national curriculum of early years or the framework of learning with defined main learning goals and broad all-embracing pedagogical principles as the part of their reform agenda for ECEC of the government.

An indistinguishable trend is also discerned in other countries and some regions in the East and South Asian parts of the entire world such as Malaysia in 2010, Mainland China in 2012, Singapore in 2013, and Hong Kong in 2017 in which the extensive curriculum guidelines have been streamlined and re-issued.

In Singapore, the kindergartens and the childcare centers don’t possess any centralized curriculum or standardized syllabus assigning the contents that are supposed to be taught. The preschool centers can adopt and execute a curriculum and the pedagogies that can fulfill the educational philosophy of the education and meet to the various preferences of the children and parents.

Thus, the landscape of the preschool in Singapore proffers a wide range of curriculum approaches that provisions to an uneven program content level and teaching standards throughout the sector. Singapore has taken endeavors to reform the kindergarten education by designing a curriculum framework that outlines the broad learning and teaching propositions and strategies for the holistic development of the kids.

In 2003 January, Singapore has spotted the laying of the crystal clear milestone in the expedition of boosting the kindergarten curriculum and pedagogy by introducing the NEL Framework. The NEL Framework denotes the first official document or curriculum for children in preschools that are nationally endorsed.  
The NEL Framework lays a stable foundation for early learning depending on ECE’s principles and research findings that are accepted internationally. 
Briefly, the curriculum framework is propped up by six main guiding principles that advocate learning via an amalgamated approach, interactions, play, etc. with the support from the teachers in six learning spheres for the children’s holistic development. The teachers are encouraged to re-build the learning environment by founding learning centers in the classroom for diminishing passive learning and escalating opportunities for interactive learning.
In 2012, the NEL Framework was refreshed considering the current educational and research developments and the response from the previous childhood teachers, and the professional suggestion from ECE specialists. 

Nurturing Early Learners: A Curriculum Framework for Kindergartens in Singapore:

The advanced framework maintains the wide-ranging parameters and the universal guidelines for a holistic and child-centered approach to ECE. This time, it clearly describes the belief of MOE of the way children learn and the learning results of the kindergarten education to handle the PSE expectations of the educators and parents.

The NEL Framework’s refreshed version is added with seven volumes that complete the guide of an educator.

The Kindergarten Reform:

In as much as becoming an independent state in the year 1965, meritocracy has become the main principle reigning over Singapore that allows the Singaporeans to be acknowledged and rewarded as per the ability and attainment.

Hence, many parents have high academic expectations for their kids and accept hurdles to make sure that their children are amply made ready in the early years for academic readiness and future school success.

As time follows, this specific mentality has ended up in an overly system competitive and stressful education system. Some preschool centers are making children learn through drill and practice approach for the blooming of the numeracy and literacy skills and concepts.

MOE has led to a review under the Steering Committee on PSE. An announcement has been made by MOE in 2000 about its commitment to re-direct the PSE’s concentration on to the important aspects of kindergarten education because it is essential to nurture the eagerness of the children to learn and their sense of wonder and curiosity in the preschool.

This phase marked the new beginning of Singapore’s efforts in reforming the curriculum of kindergarten to emphasize that PSE must be about preparing children for lifelong learning.

Description: The evolution of a national curriculum framework with precisely defined learning goals and standards was identified as one of the 5 key levers for the invigorating quality of ECEC in OECD countries. 


 

Summary

The landscape of the preschool in Singapore proffers a wide range of curriculum approaches that provisions to an uneven program content level and teaching standards throughout the sector. Singapore has taken endeavors to reform the kindergarten education by designing a curriculum framework that outlines the broad learning and teaching propositions and strategies for the holistic development of the kids.

Sudipto Das

Sudipto writes educational content periodically for MyPrivateTutor Singapore and backs it up with extensive research and relevant examples. He's an avid reader and a tech enthusiast at the same time with a little bit of “Arsenal Football Club” thrown in as well. He's got more than 5 years of experience in digital marketing, SEO and graphic designing.

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