Play, Create, Learn
Young Parents Singapore|August 2018

Some Singapore preschools integrate arts education into their curricula. EVELINE GAN finds out how this approach helps your kid learn better.

Eveline Gan

In an educational climate that favours Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, it is easy to dismiss the arts as a superfluous frill. But some preschools in Singapore are going against the grain by incorporating a good dose of arts into their curriculum.

Here, we ask the experts what every parent should know about this learning approach, and how it helps boost development.

Your preschooler gets to experience different art forms

At an arts-integrated preschool, kids may try their hand at specialised art forms that are usually not available in mainstream preschool programmes. For instance, kindergarten children at Kinderland’s preschools are introduced to weekly keyboard lessons taught by professionally-qualified music teachers under its Children’s Music Programme.

Over at Nafa Arts Preschool, little ones learn fine arts skills and techniques such as music theory, plaster of Paris (a material commonly used in the field of arts) and ballet movements, its group principal Allison Wong shares.

Not your typical art or music enrichment

In a conventional art and craft class for example, the main objective is to have kids interact with art materials and learn certain art techniques and skills.

But arts-integrated preschools don’t just have arts education in mind, says Stacey Toh, executive principal at My First Skool (MFS) at Block 119 Edgefield Plains, a childcare centre that offers a niche arts programme in partnership with the National Arts Council called Holistic Education through the Arts.

Rather than allocate a specific time and lesson for art, many preschools with an arts focus incorporate it into the children’s daily routine, classroom activities and lessons. For example, arts experiences are integrated into about 70 to 80 per cent of lessons and activities at MFS at Blk 119 Edgefield Plains, which adheres to the curriculum framework by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and NTUC First Campus’ MFS, Stacey shares.

This means, your kid gets ample opportunity to flex his creative and artistic muscles. Immersing arts and music in a preschool programme provides a good balance of experiences in different learning areas, says Cindy Pat Thomas, curriculum specialist at Kinderland.

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