Bilingual pre-school a hit with parents

Bilingual pre-school a hit with parents
Parents filling in application forms at the open house for new preschool Hampton@Tanjong Pagar, held at their other centre in Bishan.

SINGAPORE - A new bilingual pre-school championed by former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew has received an overwhelming response.

About 300 young parents thronged the first open house for Hampton@Tanjong Pagar, which aims to give pupils a head start in learning two languages.

Mr Lee announced the launch of the new centre last month at a National Day Dinner with residents in his Tanjong Pagar ward.

Sunday's open house - which attracted parents mainly from the Tiong Bahru area - was held off-site in Bishan as the pre-school will not be ready until December.

Hampton@Tanjong Pagar will be run by private operator EtonHouse and the PAP Community Foundation. It will have an infant care centre and run nursery and kindergarten classes.

Just two weeks after registration opened on Aug 19, the 98 childcare places and 12 infant care vacancies were several times oversubscribed. More than 200 applications for childcare and 100 for infant care had been submitted as of Sunday.

Balloting will be held this month, said EtonHouse group managing director Ng Gim Choo.

Priority will be given to families who live in the Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru division of the constituency.

The centre, which will start classes for its first batch in January, offers a bilingual English-Mandarin curriculum. Two teachers, one who speaks English and the other, Mandarin, will be present in the classroom at all times.

To help the children develop cultural sensitivity and a natural love for Mandarin, they will be exposed to Chinese art, music, theatre and literature every day.

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