MOE-run pre-schools want kids to go Wow

MOE-run pre-schools want kids to go Wow
Miss Celia Aw, 24, who works at the drink stall in the Dazhong Primary School canteen, helping a group of K1 children from the MOE-run kindergarten at the school with their "Week of Wonder" project on food last week.

SINGAPORE - Can people eat roti prata and chocolate every day? Why do people grow fat if they eat a lot of sweets? Are burgers good for the health?

For the last week, a class of five-year-olds from the Ministry of Education (MOE)-run kindergarten at Dazhong Primary School have been on a mission to figure out the answers.

When The Straits Times visited the kindergarten in Bukit Batok last Tuesday, 13 Kindergarten 1 children, armed with clipboards, asked foodstall owners whether the food they sold was healthy.

They then shared their findings in class before producing a booklet on their discoveries - all part of their "Week of Wonder" (Wow) project.

Designed to help children think, probe and communicate, similar projects - ranging from the human body to recycling - were done by more than 200 children currently enrolled across all five MOE-run kindergartens which opened this year.

One of the key aims of these kindergartens - 15 will be set up by 2016 - is to pilot innovative teaching methods and share them with the pre-school sector.

Form teacher Tan Zi Wen, whose class at the kindergarten in Dazhong Primary School chose to explore food, said the Wow project gave children the chance to figure out their own answers.

"When they asked if something was healthy or unhealthy, instead of feeding them with the answers, I showed them the food pyramid and let them figure it out," she explained.

"In the process, I also encouraged them to speak up and share with their friends what they thought."

What the centres are doing comes amid a growing emphasis on the need for students to speak and write well, said Madam Marina Ho, centre head of the kindergarten at Dazhong Primary School.

"Learning language is not just about reading storybooks. It's also about formulating thoughts and putting them down on paper," she said. "In the past, teachers just feed children with information and they absorb and listen. But here we want children to ask questions, to communicate.

"It helps them develop confidence in language, verbalise what they learnt with people through conversations."

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