Singapore

PCF to help children develop interest in arts and sports

PAP Community Foundation to support Government's pre-school push

As families filed into the National Gallery Singapore for a day of fun and festivities, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong pledged that his political party's charitable arm - the largest pre-school operator in Singapore - will play a part in helping children develop their passion in areas like the arts and sports.

The PAP Community Foundation (PCF), which runs 360 centres, will offer additional opportunities to develop these interests through enrichment programmes such as painting, gymnastics, aikido and drama, Mr Lee said yesterday.

Over 10,000 PCF staff, children and their families roamed the halls, exploring works by the likes of Cultural Medallion recipient Chng Seok Tin and eccentric Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

Also displayed were 50 colourful artworks by PCF pupils.

"Today's event here will give you a taste of the kind of things which we are encouraging kids to do, which are beyond the normal strict curriculum, and which you'll find fun and enriching and will expand your minds and your horizons," said Mr Lee.

"So parents can be assured that at PCF, their kids will be well looked after and can learn from a wide variety of programmes."

This year's PCF Family Day was held at the National Gallery Singapore to coincide with the Children's Biennale.

NATIONAL DAY RALLY

In his National Day Rally last week, Mr Lee announced new steps to improve capacity and quality in the pre-school sector. Good, affordable pre-school will let all children, regardless of family background, have equal opportunities to succeed in life.

Yesterday, Mr Lee said that as an anchor operator, PCF - which today takes care of over 40,000 children - will support the Government's plans and build and operate "early years centres" in new HDB estates.

These centres will cater to children aged below four, for whom there is still a shortage of places.

"Then, we will be able to concentrate more on the early years education and fulfil our part to make a fair and just society in Singapore," Mr Lee said.

He also said the Government will be supporting pre-school teachers and staff in training and upgrading their careers.

Noting the number of pre-school places in Singapore will almost double to 200,000 in the next five years, Mr Lee added: "That means anybody who wants to put his child in pre-school, even at the age of two months old - which is when people start pre-school nowadays - can do so."

He also said that while there may now be a bit of a queue for parents in young neighbourhoods such as Punggol and Sengkang, "we're working hard to cut the queue down".

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