Mindfulness for kids? A marching band? Budding social entrepreneurs?

Looking for a preschool like no other? We list down unique programmes offered at these preschools in Singapore.

Mindfulness Matters

Chiltern House Mindfulness ProgramPhoto: Chiltern House Preschool

Mindfulness is a mind-body-based training where your attention is directed to an experience. It can also be drawing your attention to your thoughts, feelings and body sensations, to be aware of them and to better handle them.

In Singapore, more than 10 primary and secondary schools have introduced mindfulness practices.

At Chiltern House Preschool (now renamed as Julia Gabriel Preschool), five-minute daily mindfulness sessions are conducted from Nursery One and above. A variety of activities are adopted to make practicing mindfulness fun and engaging for the young. It could be children lying on the floor watching their breathing buddy (a small puppet or bean bag) moving up and down on their tummy as they take big, deep breaths.

Mindfulness at Chiltern House PreschoolPhoto: Chiltern House Preschool

Ms. Julia Gabriel, Group Managing Director and Founder of Julia Gabriel Education, who began practising mindfulness nine years ago when she was diagnosed with cancer, believes many children in classes struggle not because of their lack of academic ability, but because they cannot focus. The school has not only seen improvement in the classroom, but even parents have commented their children applying it at home.

Singapore’s First and Only Preschool Marching Band

Kinderland Preshcool Marching BandPhoto: Kinderland

Inspired from Osaka, Japan, a prefecture well-known for its preschool marching band history, Kinderland Yio Chu Kang first introduced the Kinderland Marching Band into the curriculum for its K1 and K2 children in 2010. Since then, the band has been invited to perform at multiple major events.

Taught by experienced music specialists, children are exposed to a variety of instruments such as the snare drum, tenor drum, bass drum, twin tom tom, electronic keyboard, glockenspiel and pianica. The Marching Band programme takes place twice a week and is only offered at Kinderland Yio Chu Kang.

Kinderland Marching Band PreschoolersPhoto: Kinderland

Teaching Children Social Entrepreneurship

During the school holidays, kindergarteners at Dreamkids will be busy developing, planning, and implementing community projects as part of their Social Entrepreneurship programme.

Under the guidance of teachers and their parent’s support, children decide who they want to help and what they want to do. Through the programme, the school hopes to support and develop self-sufficiency, creativity, empathy, rational thinking, and entrepreneurship skills.

Kids Social Entrepreneurship Programs DreamkidsPhoto: The New Age Parents

Inspired by the story of 4-year-old cancer patient Alex Scott from the United States, who sold Lemonade and raised $1 million for childhood cancer research, the K1 and K2 students embarked on their own lemonade stand project in June 2017. Other past projects include selling hand-made mugs to raise funds for Dads for Life and hand-made dream catchers to raise funds for Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Strong Emphasis on Chinese

Chinese Preschool Singapore Elfa Chinese PreschoolPhoto: ELFA Chinese Preschool

The Singapore ELFA Chinese Preschool adopts an integrated thematic approach with strong emphasis on Chinese language acquisition, in line with guidelines provided by the Ministry of Education, Singapore.

The uniquely designed story-based curriculum is jointly and localised by a panel of advisors from China and Singapore, headed by Prof Zhu Shi Yuan, former Head of Early Childhood Department in Beijing Normal University.

It encompasses six learning areas for the early learners – Language and Literacy, Numeracy, Aesthetic and Creativity, Physical, Social Emotional and Environmental Awareness.

For example, their specially-designed Creative Art Programme offers a wide variety of materials for your children to explore and discover their latent creative potential.

Singapore ELFA Chinese PreschoolPhoto: ELFA Chinese Preschool

Every year, children from ELFA K2 level take part in the annual HSK International Chinese Proficiency Assessment covering listening, reading and writing to benchmark their skills and foster the quest for improvement.

ELFA Children also have the opportunity to take part in the HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi 汉语水平考试) Speech & Talent Competition. In 2013, children from ELFA Serangoon clinched the 2nd prize for their outstanding performance in the event.

Today, it is the largest Singapore preschool brand in China, with more than 30 centres in 18 cities, including Shanghai and Beijing.

Promoting Culture and Character Development

repton schoolhouse fun classPhoto: Repton Schoolhouse

Repton Schoolhouse Singapore offers the very best of Singapore and British education systems. It has a unique blend of curriculum based on the Nurturing Early Learners framework (Singapore) and supported by the Early Years Foundation Stage framework (UK).

Repton aligns its curriculum with MOE’s Desired Outcomes of Early Childhood Education for every child to grow into a confident person, self-directed learner, active contributor and concerned citizen.

What caught our eye is how this Singapore-based British preschool adopts The Virtues Project that is based on the beliefs and virtues valued by diverse cultures and world religions. The Virtues Project provides the building blocks of character development in children and promotes a respectful, friendly, inclusive and cooperative environment.

Note: Repton Schoolhouse has rebranded to Primus Schoolhouse by Invictus w.e.f. 1 April 2021.

By Michelle Ang.

A version of this article was first published in Enrichment and Preschool Resource Guide. For more enrichment programmes and preschool tips, download our e-guide here.

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