In 2018, Kinderland celebrates its 40th year. Here’s how its music-centric approach changed education in SG for good.
When Kinderland was first established in 1978, it only had one school at Marine Parade Centre with exactly 13 children enrolled. But, it wasn’t long before it started shaking up Singapore’s education scene.
Many parents were impressed by the school’s customer-oriented service, professional management team and innovative curriculum, and the number of students enrolled grew to 500.
The school was one of the first in SG to incorporate keyboard music and creative writing skills into the curriculum. Music is still a important part of Kinderland’s curriculum, and it offers a Children’s Music Programme. “The programme is a group-oriented one,” says Elvia Hussein, an in-house music specialist at Kinderland, noting that Kinderland’s approach differs from those conducted on a one-on-one basis. “We use a lot of solfege singing (pitch and sight-singing) before playing, because we want children to develop a good ear before playing,” explains Elvia.
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The school’s passion for music is backed by a study conducted by Dr. Carol Loy, Kinderland’s director of curriculum and professional development, which found that music “contributes to preschool-age children’s awakening” to reading.
It also shows that music can be used as an “efficient, complementary educational approach” to help develop a child’s word-recognition abilities, which may help reduce a child’s reading difficulties in primary school.
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Kinderland will introduce its Infant and Toddler care programme to the Marine Parade Centre in a specially designed environment that utilises colours, play tools, textures and sounds. The centre will also have a self-help kitchenette, which will allow children to self-serve and self-feed so they can learn to develop independence earlier.
Not only will children enjoy activities that help develop gross and fine motor skills, toddlers can enjoy the centre’s fun climbing structure, express themselves creatively at the art atelier or mingle and bond with their friends at the Piazza –
a meeting place.
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This educator explains why music is so important at Kinderland.
What She Loves about Teaching
“I’ve been with Kinderland for six years, and it still excites me to see a child’s music-learning journey. I believe in one rule: Teach well, have faith in children and all will fall into place.”
The Question She Gets Asked Often
“’Is this a piano lesson?’ I have to constantly remind prospective parents that Kinderland’s CMP is more than just learning how to play the keyboard. The nature of the lessons are over and above music. During ensemble play, children learn to make music together, developing team spirit, turn-taking and concentration skills that help prepare them for school.”
Her Favourite Career Moment
“It was definitely when the children performed in our very own Stage Ensemble in 2016. It was challenging, but when they put up a wonderful performance on stage, it was simply euphoria. I feel the same about our own marching band, which is the only preschool marching band in Singapore.”
From The Finder (Issue 291), March 2018
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