Hokkien clan body to open pre-school

Hokkien clan body to open pre-school

One of Singapore's largest clan associations is setting up a pre-school with an emphasis on Chinese education, to tap rising interest in bilingualism in early childhood education.

The Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan, known for its links to the popular Ai Tong and Tao Nan primary schools, will open the pre-school in Upper East Coast Road, at the site of the former Chai Chee Secondary School, next January.

It is the first clan association here to set up a pre-school in recent years. Previously, the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations ran a kindergarten in Toa Payoh but it closed in 2010 because of dwindling enrolment.

The new pre-school will target English-speaking parents who want to give their children "a head start in building a strong foundation in character building and instilling a keen interest in Chinese language and culture", said the clan association's president, Mr Chua Thian Poh.

The clan association is optimistic that it can meet the new interest in bilingual pre-school education.

Although the premises have room for more than 400 pupils, the pre-school will start with four to six classes for 100 pupils and expand gradually.

The clan association said that its affiliation to five primary schools and a secondary school gives it an edge in the pre-school field, but there will not be any Hokkien classes and the pre-school pupils will not get priority to enrol in the affiliated primary schools, said vice-president Perng Peck Seng.

Besides Ai Tong and Tao Nan, the clan association is also affiliated to Chongfu, Kong Hwa and Nan Chiau primary schools, and Nan Chiau High.

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