A pre-school with capacity for 2,100 children officially opened in Singapore on Wednesday (Aug 30).
The Early Learning Village, located next to the Australian International School (AIS) campus in Lorong Chuan, is a collaboration between AIS and the Stamford American International School.
At 50,000 sq ft, with five buildings and more than 100 classrooms, it is the world’s largest pre-school for children aged 18 months to six years, both schools said. It is a first-of-its-kind Reggio Emilia-inspired pre-school in a space equivalent to the size of seven football fields.
Among the shared facilities are a 20-metre swimming pool which adapts to the competencies of the little swimmers and an indoor, air-conditioned gymnasium for specialist physical education classes and after-school enrichment.
While both schools are in one location, they operate independently and offer different curriculums. Stamford American offers the International Baccalaureate and US curriculum from August to June, while AIS offers the Australian curriculum from January to December.
"With two schools, two heads are better than one," said Michael Drake, CEO of Cognita Asia, the education group which operates both Stamford American and AIS.
He added, "I think collaboration really adds a lot of value into education because we can be saying what works for you ... what works for me, and they would learn faster together."
And special effort has been made to ensure that the campus remains a cosy and intimate place for the children, despite its size. Children in the same year group are housed on separate floors, and classrooms are clustered in groups of four in order to create small communities within each level.
“The building does look large when you come in from the outside,” said Mr Adam Patterson, head of early years at AIS. “But for the children and the parents, the experience is that the hub of four classrooms is like a secure little village school.Kevan Collins, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, United Kingdom said, "Alongside the Ministry of Education's ambitious pre-school programme, it offers further evidence of how education in Singapore is leading the world."
Source : CNA | Business Times