Most of us would recognise the signature blue-and-khaki uniforms MOE Kindergarten children wear by now. Ever wondered what it’s like for a child attending MOE Kindergarten? While publicly-run preschools are deemed more “frills-free” compared to private ones, our first-hand experience in the MOE Kindergarten has thus far been a wonderful one.
As a parent with young children, I have navigated four different preschools: institution-related ones, a Montessori one and currently MOE Kindergarten located in the West.
On deciding a suitable preschool, distance and a play-based approach was important. Since there was one near our home, we decided to enrol our younger son in the kindergarten, opting for the four-hour morning session.
Headed by MOE, Located in Primary Schools
Currently, there are 28 MOE Kindergartens across the island with more opening by 2025. Most are located inside primary schools with their own facilities such as playground and a garden.
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MOE Kindergartens were set up in 2014 to provide quality pre-school education that was affordable and to uplift the quality of early childhood practices in Singapore.
MOE Kindergartens is headquartered at the Ministry of Education, with a team of curriculum specialists developing and overseeing the curriculum and its execution. This gives parents like myself a sense of assurance that a knowledgeable and experienced team ensures a well-planned and quality MOE Kindergarten programme.
MOE Kindergarten Curriculum & Weeks of Wonder
The MOE Kindergarten curriculum comprises of two flagship programmes.
The HI-Light Programme supports the children in six learning areas: Aesthetics and Creative Expression, Discovery of the World, Language and Literacy, Motor Skills Development, Numeracy and Social and Emotional Development.
The Starlight Literacy Programme nurtures bilingualism and offers English along with Chinese, Malay and Tamil.
My child often comes home telling me about the books read in class, crafts relevant to the festivals and celebrations. I often hear him singing songs he learnt and enjoy hearing what he has learnt. I like how he has learnt Chinese very confidently and learnt to write characters pretty quickly.
Do note that the children are not required to read English words well in K1 unlike many other private preschools which hold additional reading classes. At MOE Kindergartens, children get to decode words and read at his or her own pace. While this might be disconcerting for some parents, supplementary home lessons could help speed up your child’s pace.
Weeks of Wonder is probably one of the highlights of school. The children get to choose a topic and delve deeper, sometimes in their mother tongue.
In my son’s first year at MOE Kindergarten, he learnt about clay-sculpting, butterflies and sea turtles. The class also had a few pets – goldfish and caterpillars which eventually pupated and flew off.
He enjoyed the outings which support the rich learning in the classroom. I was glad that few worksheets were involved in facilitating the learning. Instead, many questions, discussions, activities, song and dance made the topics come alive.
As it is a relatively small preschool, with only four classes (two per level) in the morning, the teachers are familiar to all the children.
During Family Days when parents are invited to the school for celebrations, the teachers’ effort is seen in every aspect from the décor, programmes for both parents and children as well as their effort to dress up during Book Character Family Day. It creates such a jovial atmosphere for everyone. A session on story-telling was even organised for parents to learn to be better story-tellers and I could tell that every parent had an enriching time.
Parent-teacher conferences (PTCs), held twice a year, are also wonderful platforms for the teachers to speak to the parents about their child’s progress. Our thirty-minute time slots were ideal in getting feedback and also receiving tips from both the teachers-in-charge on how to reinforce the learning at home.
Social Mix and Multi-lingual Environment
We like the multi-cultural environment at MOE Kindergarten. Because of the locations of MOE Kindergartens, the backgrounds of the children are diverse and this gives more context and meaning during cultural celebrations. Our child could learn about other cultures with sharing from classmates.
I was really surprised when my son could sing a birthday song in Bahasa Melayu as they probably celebrated birthdays singing songs in different languages. Last year for Deepavali, he even performed a classical Indian dance together with his classmates. He has also been picking up simple Japanese phrases from his half-Japanese classmate.
Learning Through Play
One of my favourite aspects about MOE Kindergarten are the amenities for outdoor play. Children get about an hour of outdoor play each day, weather permitting. Otherwise, it’s indoor play with plenty of jumping, hopping and opportunities to work on their motor skills.
At my child’s kindergarten, there are sand and water play areas plus a garden with a sensory path made with different materials like sand, pebbles, rocks. The children have also tried their hand at planting vegetables such as kang kong, xiao bai cai. After school, the play usually continues at the public playground right outside the school compound.
Holistic Early Childhood Education
The experience at MOE Kindergarten has been a very positive one and I find my child growing holistically not just in terms of academic skills but in character. Most of all, he enjoys school, loves sharing stickers and crafting for his friends, and talks about his teachers cheerily.
As an added plus, because MOE Kindergartens are located in primary schools, children tend to be able to transition into the “big schools” quite well since they are familiar with the primary school environment. My son has already told me he wishes to be in the primary school where his kindergarten is located as he knows all about the facilities of the primary school!
If you would like to know more about MOE Kindergartens, visit this website or attend one of the Open Houses happening soon.