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 SHHK-Preschool featured in Young Parents Guide 2016

  1. Why did the Hokkien Huay Kuan decide to open a preschool?

The Preschool is an initiative by Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan (SHHK) to provide a wholesome and holistic preschool education in Singapore. It believes that children should be nurtured and moulded from a tender age.  Huay Kuan’s stays committed to education.  With more than 175 years of excellent foundation in education, Huay Kuan is well positioned to nurture children as life-long learners who are future ready.

 

  1. How large is the preschool and what facilities (indoor and outdoor) does it have?

The SHHKPS is located in a standalone building which houses 12 individual classrooms, 2 special rooms including an art room and a music-and-movement room.  It also has a unique expanded home space specially designed to simulate a home environment for the Living Skill Programme.  Facilities include a kitchenette, living room and reading corners. This space is the size of 4 classrooms.  All indoor learning spaces are fully air-conditioned.   All spaces are specially designed to be children-centric. In addition, there are also sufficient outdoor spaces including the Froebel Living Garden and Indoor Sports Area for activities.

 

  1. How large are the classes, and what is the student-teacher ratio?

The student-teacher ratio for N1/N2 is 2 teachers to 15 students & K1/K2 is 2 teachers to 20 students.

 

  1. Since the majority of the classes will be carried out in Chinese, do the student also learn how to read and write the Chinese characters and han yu pin yin?

The language weightage at SHHKPS for N1 to K1 is 80% Chinese and 20% English.  For K2, the weightage is adjusted to 60% Chinese and 40% English.  SHHKPS is guided by the curriculum framework set out by the Ministry of Education.  The learning of Chinese is integral to the development of our children.  It inculcates a sense of culture identity through Chinese.  Writing of Chinese characters and Hanyu Pinyin are inclusive in our curriculum.  These meaningful learning experiences will enable our children to be:

  • Able to use understand Chinese
  • Able to use the language in daily routine
  • Able to convey meaning
  • Able to speak with confident
  • Able to recognize print
  • Able to read with assistance
  • Able to write the Chinese characters
  1. The website states that the teaching of Chinese language will be guided by National Institute of Education. Can you explain what this means?

The set up and curriculum of SHHKPS was prepared with advice from external consultants including from NIE who are experts in the field of early childhood education and the teaching of Chinese Language in Singapore.  Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Cultural Academy is working on a partnership to invite these consultants to conduct  in-house training for their preschool teachers.

 

  1. The curriculum is also described on the website as guided by the students as active learners with the teachers as facilitator. Can you describe (with as much detail as possible) how a lesson in this format would be carried out?

There are two major components in the curriculum of SHHKPS: one of them is the curriculum framework set out by Ministry of Education – this is to ensure that the K2 children are ready for their continued learning journey in the primary schools.  The second component is our unique programme – Living Skills Programme that combines living skills and holistic character development programme.  Our children will be able to choose what they wish to do using a Plan-Do-Review Model.  Teacher will invite children to decide what they would like to do after a group discussion on “Our Dream Garden”.  Children may choose to draw by using coloured pencils, crayons or water colours.  They can do it independently or with their good friends.  Children can also choose to build their garden in 3 dimension using recycle materials.  Teachers will be around to facilitate, guide and provide support to these children.  Thenafter, children will be gathered and share their experiences in completing their work.  Children are actively engaged, involved during the whole process.

 

  1. How do parents carry out their role in the parents-in-partnership model? What role are parents expected to take and how much participation is expected of them? Is this participation in the classroom? Or are they home projects/activities?

At SHHK Preschool, we strive to achieve a sustained engagement of parents throughout their children’s learning journey.  While parents are encourage to participate in our preschool’s programmes such as festive celebrations, the Parents-in-Partnership programme extends the classroom into the child’s home.  Parents reinforce their child’s learning curve in tandem with the child’s experience gained in school.  Constant engagement of parents on the learning habits and progress of their child is key to the success of the Parents-in-Partnership programme.   This means that education goes beyond the classroom – it is cultivated even at home, thus ensuring the success of raising a holistic child that is happy, caring and future ready.

For example, parents are invited to participate in our “Celebration of Learning Journey” with their children.  There are four celebrations in a year, i.e. Dumpling Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Sports Day and Year End Concert.  The aims of these celebrations are (1) to appreciate our children’s learning and development, (2) promote family bonding.

 

The school also has a parent-volunteer group to engage parents to assist us in preparing purposeful activities for our children.  To date we have 6 volunteers.  In addition to two parent-teacher meetings in a year, our teachers constantly engage and update parents on the learning habits and progress of their child.

 

  1. What about English language lessons? Will the student have spelling/writing/reading lessons for example?

English lessons are conducted on a daily basis.  Each lesson encompasses listening, speaking, reading and writing that is appropriately planned for different age groups.  Spelling is introduced to K2 children in their second term as an awareness programme to prep the children for primary school education.

 

  1. Are there other subject-based lessons (maths, science, etc) to prepare for primary school?

Mathematics and Discovery Science are conducted in Chinese from N1 to K1.  These two subjects are taught in English in K2.  This is to ensure a smooth transition to meet the requirements in primary school.  Mathematics lesson are conducted using concrete objects, authentic learning corners and relevant teaching materials.  Children learn about concepts of number bonds, patterning, grouping, sorting and matching etc.  Real-life examples in the Froebel Living Garden, outdoors and indoors are used for Discovery Science. Hands- on experiments are arranged for children to learn through their five senses, problem solving skills and locomotor skills.  For example lesson on ‘shadow’ is conducted in the classroom, in the garden or outdoor space.  Children were able to observe and understand

 

  1. I saw on the website that the Movement Programme includes wushu and dance lessons from the SHHK Dance Theatre? Is this part of the regular curriculum? Or is it an extra enrichment that students need to sign up for? If yes, are there extra fees and how long are the lessons?

Music and Movement Programme is incorporated in our curriculum.  No extra charges are charged to parents.  Lessons are designed by qualified instructors from SHHK Dance Theatre, a professional Chinese Dance group.  The programme caters to N1 to K2 students on a weekly basis.

 

Currently our children undergo a basic course in music and movement.  They are also introduced or exposed to different types of dances, music and even wushu-dance as they progress.

 

  1. Can you describe (with as much detail as possible) how the arts and music classes work?

Art class

Art lesson in the living skills programme focuses on observations and emotion sensing skills.  Lessons are designed to boost the use of art as a form of expression.  Example:  2014, Mother’s Day was approaching and teacher informed the children to design a card for their mothers.  One boy drew a big heart shape on the paper then he coloured it with blue.  The teacher was puzzled.   His classmate, a little girl sat next to him knew that the boy did not get what he wanted from home.  She was able to appreciate his feeling and informed the teacher that he was unhappy.  The role of the teacher is to facilitate the process which allows children to interpret and express themselves through art.

Orff music lesson has the similar function.  Orff music is conducted by our teachers during the living skills programme where lessons are injected with a “natural sense of play” element for children to understand and learn rhythms through discovery to create their own music.

 

  1. Can you describe the daily schedule of a typical day?

Our children attend Structured Classroom Lessons and Living Skills Programme which encompasses the learning of living skills and holistic character development daily.   Classroom lessons are conducted in both Chinese and English languages – language and literacy, mathematics, discovery science, fun with music and art and craft.  K1 and K2 children will have their show and tell (in both languages), current affairs and character building on a weekly basis.  During the Living Skills Programme our children are immersed in a Chinese environment – where they learn to listen, speak and read Chinese through activities – Chinese reading programme, games, gardening and DIY items.  Music and Movement Programme is scheduled once a week.  Indoor motor-skill development activities and physical exercises are scheduled once a week each for N2 to K2.  Extra times on physical exercises and outdoor plays have been catered for N1 children for better motor-skill development and coordination.  Lessons on aesthetic expression are essential for all levels on a weekly basis.

 

  1. What else is unique about the Hokkien Huay Kuan Pre-school?
  • SHHK Preschool simulates a formal school set up that is friendly to our children. This is to orientate them as they transit to primary school.  This is different from void deck or bungalow houses – a home bound environment to a formal primary school.
  • Chinese, as one of the three official mother tongue languages, is used as a living language in real life. Our children use Chinese in their daily routines confidently and are able to express themselves appropriately.
  • Children learn and practise our 8 core values through ‘Actions and Applications’. ie instil the core value of responsibilities and perseverance through gardening — consistent care for the plant, water it daily,  sprout and mow when needed.  The sense of responsibility is instilled through the process.
  • Children are trained to take challenges with a positive attitude using the plan-do-review model in the Living Skills Programme.

Young Parents Guide 2016

http://www.youngparents.com.sg/psg2016