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Will the approach work in Singapore? I doubt so. I will let my kid go for it, if it is available in Singapore.

Shanghai pre-schools’ all-play approach making parents sweat

Public kindergartens in Shanghai are not allowed to teach children how to read or write. No teaching of mathematics, English or hanyu pinyin either.

These are the cardinal rules imposed by the government of China’s largest and wealthiest city — one which is at the forefront of the country’s economic ambitions and where parents are paying greater attention to their children’s academic development.

But for now, most five- and six-year-olds negotiate obstacle courses, sing, draw and tell stories to their classmates for the most part of a typical seven-hour day at the public kindergartens.

When TODAY visited Heng Li Jin Cang Kindergarten last month, children recited lyrics from a Wong Fei Hung movie soundtrack, and then sang along as they mimicked simple kungfu moves. Such activities not only serve to improve the children’s oral, observational and memory skills as well as their dexterity, but also introduce them to Chinese culture, said the centre’s principal Yu Haiping.

At other kindergartens, children role-played as customers or shopkeepers using cardboard props. This helps a child develop social interaction skills, which is important given how there are limited opportunities to interact with other children at home under China’s one-child policy.

Shanghai offers the best pre-school education compared to the other cities, experts say.

The curriculum across all public kindergartens — which is designed by each school’s teachers but based on municipal guidelines — emphasises learning through guided play and is centred on daily life situations, exercise and games. English and hanyu pinyin are omitted from the curriculum.

Mr Qu Jia Jie, an officer from the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission (SHMEC) Basic Education Department, said: “Learning another language when a child is still learning his or her mother tongue may affect the child’s full grasp of one language.”

Ms Chen Si, Research Assistant at East China Normal University’s Department of Early Childhood Education, added that letting a child in pre-school learn or acquire skills beyond what are expected of his age could cause the child to not pay attention in class when he enters Primary 1.

Others, however, have a different view.
(24-10-2013, 10:43 AM)CityFarmer Wrote: [ -> ]Will the approach work in Singapore? I doubt so. I will let my kid go for it, if it is available in Singapore.

It is already available in Singapore. There are some pre-schools here that advocate the Montessori approach which is largely similar, but these are usually targeted at expats and high income families and tend to be really pricey - easily more than twice that charged by normal private pre-schools.

Most of the normal neighbourhood / suburb shopping mall pre-schools are just abusing the word Montessori as a marketing tool with little deligence done in designing the curriculum and developing their staff to adhere to the correct methodology.