In Singapore, preschool is not compulsory. For years, the emphasis was placed in primary school as the foundation of education for children. However, since the year 2000, the landscape for preschool education has evolved rapidly. Today, at least 99% of children attend preschool, even though it is still not compulsory. This is probably because of the policy developments, which have led to the implementation of new initiatives.
Historically, Singapore’s education system has been pegged on economic functionality, where children receive a quality education so that they can increase their chance of economic independence. However, several policy changes have been made over time. For example, in the 1960s, the focus was to increase accessibility to all Singaporeans. In the late 1990s, policy changes were made from an ability driven system to one that caters for the diverse talents and needs of preschoolers.
Today, Singapore has more than 480 kindergartens and at least 730 child care centres. All preschools in Singapore are run and managed by the private sector. This has allowed for competition and innovation to make preschool more fun and enjoyable for preschool kids. The quality of preschool education has also gotten better as more parents demand higher standards and better care of the children during the hours they are in preschool.
Early education helps children to form lifelong learning habits
Parents and teachers use preschool education as a chance to impart knowledge and a process of teaching children the importance of communication. Preschool is the first level of formal education where children start learning and memorizing their lessons.
Parents and teachers ought to take advantage of the innocence and curiosity in preschoolers to impart good values, relevant knowledge, and a learning culture that will benefit the children as they progress to other levels of education. This is why the quality of education offered in preschool matters, and the impact it has on little children should not be underestimated.
Read more about preschools for children in Singapore here.
A good start in kindergarten leads to success in the first years of school
A few studies have been carried out to find out the impact of kindergarten on preschoolers, and if the education they receive has any long-term implications. High-quality preschool helps children to build on the knowledge they have acquired and increases their curiosity about the world, as they encounter more complex situations as they progress with their learning.
Once they learn to focus, preschoolers retain the same zeal in their other encounters in life, both at school and home. This allows them to perform better in preschool and other levels of education. Although there is mixed evidence on long-term implications on the impact of the quality of education and exposure on preschoolers, there is no doubt that quality education reduces the early achievement gap amongst children who attend kindergarten.
It is easier to identify strengths in preschoolers and build on it
Even though preschoolers are just getting exposed to formal education, teachers and other facilitators can quickly identify strengths in the children based on their response. Provision of quality education gives every preschooler a chance to reveal their strengths and weaknesses. This gives all children the same opportunity to be great in school and social settings.
Since children have different abilities and temperaments, it will be easier for parents and teachers to see how well the kids are adjusting to the school environment, and how best to help those lagging.
Singaporeans have realized the importance of a great educational foundation. This is why a majority of parents send their kids to preschool, even though it is not a compulsory level of education. Increased competition and curriculum flexibility has played a critical role in the quality of preschool education in Singapore.