“Papa, mama, I want to go for my dreams.” If your child says this to you, what would be your response to them?
What did Steve Jobs, Mother Teresa and Martin Luthur King Jr. all have in common?
They all had dreams. And they stuck through it despite the odds.
How often do we encourage our children to dream?
An Education Based On Dreams
It was for this very reason that Dreamkids was started – to inspire a generation of children who dare to dream.
Founded by husband and wife team Kong Yew Kiin and Dawn Choy, they wanted to create a school that focuses on imparting skills and values to prepare children for the fast-changing world. “Singapore has a supply of schools that churn out worksheets for children to do. We didn’t want another school like that. We wanted something new, something fresh.” said Yew Kiin, who is the Business Development Director for Dreamkids.
The father of four notes, “Kids are starting to lose their dreams today. It’s not that they inherently don’t have dreams. They do but they have lost sight of them. If they are constantly interacting with teachers with no dreams, or if we as parents don’t have any dreams of our own, they will lose sight of theirs too.”
When they heard about Rovio’s Entertainment Ltd (the same company behind the wildly successful game app Angry Birds) Fun Learning methods and values, they decided to marry the two and integrate their school’s philosophy with the Finish company digital learning materials. Their programme – Angry Birds Playground (which is now adopted by Dreamkids) – supports engagement, creativity and innovative thinking, while promoting critical technological and communicational skills.
An Education based on Values
Besides equipping children with the hard skills, Yew Kiin and Dawn firmly believe developing their student’s soft skills are equally important. Dawn shares with us an outing the school embarked on early in May this year.
“What happens when a child comes to you to give you a high-five?” she asked.
This is what the school did when they had an outing to Raffles Place. At the prime CBD area where everyone was in a mad rush, Dreamkids children and teachers greeted the office crowd with high fives during lunch hour.
“Through this simple act of high-fiving strangers, we wanted to empower our students that no matter how small or young they may be, they have the ability to make a positive impact in a person’s life through their actions.” Yew Kiin explains.
Values cannot be merely taught through stories and worksheets; they are taught through examples and modelling. Lessons are brought out of the classroom to anchor this point. When children arrive at the school, they exchange high fives with their parents and teachers.
At the end of each session, the school staff does the same. Indeed as TNAP was speaking to Yew Kiin and Dawn, two teachers came into the office to say goodbye Dreamkids-style, with a big smile and a high five. Mother Kuniko Kaneko, whose son is currently attending Nursery 2 at Dreamkids adds, “The teachers provide great care for individual needs of each student and my son likes to go school every morning. The facilities are very clean and stylish too.”
Star Report: Where children grade and assess themselves
Unlike other schools where teachers assess children against a checklist and report them to parents, Dreamkids students are taught to evaluate their own learning. Each child is given a star report and each term, they will assess on the tasks in the report. If they can fulfil a task, they put a star next to it.
Both founders affirm that when children evaluate themselves, they are more empowered and motivated to take learning into their own hands. It also makes them feel good about themselves Their sense of self-worth will be built upon what they can do, and not based on another person or not by comparison.
“The more stars they put down, they feel good about themselves. I think it’s important because we have to teach our kids to reflect upon their own action. We find this to be seriously lacking in Singapore.” Dawn elaborates.
A Digital Playground
With a smart board in each classroom, technology is interwoven into class curriculum time. The digital components in Angry Birds Playground are used to help children learn content.
For example, during a maths lesson, instead of just learning with manipulatives, children play a mobile game called Angry Birds Playground Sprint. Combining physical activity and mathematics, students will each have their own smart phone to search for embedded QR codes in their classroom. Once they scan the code, a question or task would pop up for them to solve.
There is also the Angry Bird Playground Channel, where new activities are added to the set on a regular basis. Children can mix and match Angry Birds characters and watch digital stories revolving around a certain theme. As each smartboard entitles a maximum of 4 children to interact at one time, children practice how to use digital devices and services individually and with others. Rovio has also teamed up with big resource brands such as NASA and National Geographic to provide learning books for students.
Blend of Finnish and Singapore Early Childhood Education
On top of Rovio’s strong entertainment background, the school has a Finnish Education and Curriculum Specialist who blends the country’s well-balanced system with Singapore’s successful education traits. Dr Lily Wong, a well-known veteran in Singapore’s Early Childhood industry also sits on the advisory board for the school.
The first Angry Birds Playground in Asia and fourth in the world, Dreamkids is designed to give children age 3 to 6 years old a head-start in the 21st Century.
Happy Teachers, Happy Children, Happy Parents!
Experience Dreamkids Preschool, the only school working with Angry Birds, NASA, National Geographic to create superb curriculum in Singapore now. Dreamkids Preschool is now offering one month trial with money back guarantee. Terms and Conditions Apply.
Call 8777 8834 or visit us at www.dreamkids.com.sg