Singapore

More methods for pre-schoolers to learn Chinese

Toddlers will soon have more opportunities to learn Chinese naturally through play and storytelling activities.

Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao reported yesterday that the PAP Community Foundation (PCF) will be rolling out new Chinese language programmes in the next two years for children under the age of three, joining other operators that are looking into this too.

These classes will revolve around more creative storytelling methods such as using props and employing songs, dance and music.

PCF Sparkletots, which runs more than 360 childcare centres and pre-schools around the island, is the largest pre-school operator in Singapore. It serves more than 40,000 children.

Its new Chinese classes will start next year for children between two and three years old, and in 2019 for infants from two months to two years old.

STORY STAGE

Dr Weelai Suwanarat, director of PCF's professional and education development division, said: "Most of the time, stories are being told from the books. This year, we have been introducing Chinese teachers to the idea of using a 'story stage' to tell stories."

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at the National Day Rally last month that the Government plans to improve the quality of pre-school education, with a focus on strengthening bilingual education in early childhood. Children learn languages better when they are young, and that window of opportunity must be seized, he said.

Little SkoolHouse started a pilot in 2015 to use drama and theatre to teach preschoolers Chinese.

Some 570 children aged four to six at four centres have been part of this project, where they were encouraged to take the lead and write their own scripts in Chinese, as well as take up roles and present their stories to an audience.

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