Today’s preschool parents are better educated than previous generations and they desire the same for their own children. They recognise the importance of starting the learning process at the earliest age with many registering their babies for places in preschools even before they are born! As increasing numbers of children are born into dual income families, the demand for preschool places has also increased.
The role of parents in early years of education has become increasingly important, with parents now viewed as partners who complement the role of educators in their child’s development, rather than the two being mutually exclusive. This has led to better channels of communication and an increase in the availability of specific adult-child programmes.
“Convincing parents of the benefits of learning through play has been a challenge – but worth it!”, says Rino Shahril, Senior PlayClub Educator at Julia Gabriel Centre. Attitudes have changed as more research highlights the benefits of free, structured and dramatic play, facilitated by a qualified and experienced educator, within a preschool curriculum.
The Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism launched in November 2011 prompted a rise in the number of preschools offering bilingual programmes. The Fund supported the teaching and learning of English Language (EL) and Mother Tongue Language (MTL) in schools, with a particular focus at preschool level. The aim of this proposal was to ensure a wider choice for parents on the medium of instruction for their children. Consequently, there has been a rise, in the number of Mandarin immersion programmes at preschool level within the last three years.