Mon, Oct 19, 2009
The Straits Times
Private pre-school cultivated happy staff and kids

I AM concerned about the recommendation by an expert study group to nationalise pre-schools ('Should pre- schools be 'nationalised'?', Oct 10).

As parents of two pre-schoolers, we were fortunate to find a pre-school that practises certain principles that we agree to.

One of these principles is that the school takes good care of its staff, providing them with sufficient rest and even organising a trip to a neighbouring country for them to attend an international seminar on early childhood education.

Related links:
» Why preschools should be nationalised
» Preschool education should be MOE's baby
» Children at 5 'too young' to start school

The autonomy that the pre-school has in exploring and setting its own curriculum has worked out well. While not all ideas were successful, the process of involving the children and their parents in the experiments meant that we benefited a lot through our active participation. My children are happy learners. They also receive disciplinary instructions and measures when necessary.

As the husband of a teacher in a primary school, I have observed that numerous Ministry of Education policies and directives contribute significantly to very high stress levels in schools. There are many goals and programmes set without sufficient consideration as to whether they are realistic. After prolonged exposure to unrealistic expectations, it is common for many staff to become jaded and to seek to complete the assigned tasks perfunctorily, without really achieving meaningful results.

If nationalisation of pre-schools means making their environment similar to that in primary schools, then please do not do it.

Chen Junyi


This article was first published in The Straits Times.

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