ChildFirst’s branch in Tianjin, China (才儿坊@仁恒河滨花园)
SINGAPORE, 3 July 2014 – Singapore’s ChildFirst @ Tianjin, set up less than a year ago, has been named Tianjin’s leading pre-school (天津市亮点园) when over 100 top government officials, including the Communist Party Secretary of Tianjin, Ms. Sun Chunlan, and the Tianjin Mayor, Mr. Huang Xingguo visited the school.
ChildFirst – a subsidiary of Singapore’s Ednovation Pte Ltd, a pioneer in the field of pre-school education technology – operates 50 pre-schools in Asia including 15 ChildFirst centres in China. Its unique “future-proof your child” curriculum is designed to prepare children for success in adulthood.
ChildFirst began its operations in China in 2007 when it opened its first centre in Chongqing and now operates 12 ChildFirst pre-schools in the city. It commands 40% share of the premium pre-school market in the city of 30 million population, a remarkable leadership achievement for a Singapore brand in China’s largest city. Apart from Chongqing and Tianjin, ChildFirst also has centres in Chengdu.
Dr. Richard Yen, the Harvard-educated Singaporean founder of Ednovation, said:
“This prestigious recognition is a welcome surprise as our Tianjin centre is only in its first year of operation. We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the Tianjin Government for its vote of confidence.”
“Setting up a centre in northern China, far away from our base in Chongqing, was a calculated risk that has paid off. Our brand has proven its leadership in a major Chinese city, emboldening our ambitions to branch out successfully to other parts of China, a market with huge opportunities as the official one-child policy is being relaxed.”
“As Chinese parents value pre-school education as much as Singapore parents, their recognition of the unique value proposition of the “future-proof your child” curriculum is testimony that we are doing something right.”
To better meet the demand of Singapore parents, Ednovation is opening ChildFirst @ Tampines Central in September this year, which will bring to three the number of ChildFirst centres in Singapore. The other two Singapore centres are in Dunearn and Mountbatten.
The first thing that strikes you as you step into the new premises of ChildFirst Pre-school at Mountbatten, is the sheer size and decor of their Speech and Drama room.
Fully equipped with props and costumes, the room is delineated into different places found in a community. For example, a clinic, café, a construction site, a theatre and a supermarket. “An important use of this room is for “purposeful-play”, where children apply conversational mandarin that they learned to real life situation, such as ordering food in a restaurant.” Cynthia, the Principal, explains.
As we move along the corridor to the classroom, Cynthia explains to us the three unique characteristics of ChildFirst Pre-school. “Besides our spacious environment, what really makes us special is our curriculum.”
• Strong Bilingual Program
Everyday, lessons during the first half of the day are conducted in English, while the second half of the day will all be conducted in Mandarin (or vice versa). This is to provide sufficient exposure time for children to be effectively bilingual.
• Multiple Intelligences
The school curriculum is developed based on Harvard University Professor Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences recognising that each child is smart in their own way. And that they also learn differently and have different interests.
• Technology Immersion
In today’s world, technology literacy is a must. At ChildFirst, the computer room, which is called the “Cyber Zoo”, comes equipped with the latest touchscreen computers. Each classroom also has a computer learning corner in the form of a cute robot-looking “Ed-D” with touchscreens on its tummy. Cynthia explains that “This generation of digital native children will use technology to be independent and self-confident learners. They also will use age-appropriate software to express themselves by creating their own multimedia blogs, which parents can view by logging into their accounts and can even view them on their smart phones.”
Teachers also use interactive whiteboards in the classrooms to make lessons come alive. Cynthia adds, “For example, in the occupation theme, children will see a real ultrasound scan of a baby in the womb to understand some of the things doctors do.”
• Tapping On External Resources
In collaboration with the National Library Board, ChildFirst will receive 500 books from the library every month. These books are all on loan and will be placed in each of the classroom’s library corner. When the month is up, a new set of 500 books will be sent over while the previous batch will be returned to the library.
• Inclusive Education
If you have a keen eye, you would have noticed that the 8 ChildFirst mascots (representing the 8 intelligences) have different skin colours, with one of them in a wheelchair. Ms Cynthia adds, “We accept children from all races, religions and abilities. Here, we place a strong emphasis on a people-first. We at ChildFirst respect all children.”
The school is already all geared up, ready to start operations by January 2011. “All we lack now are the children’s laughter!” Cynthia exclaims, followed by a hearty laugh.
For more information, preview of the school or to register for our Saturdays’ Open House, you may reach Cynthia or Lillian, at 6440 4466. You may email them at [email protected]
For additional information, log on to www.childfirst.com.sg
229 Mountbatten Road
#01-32 Mountbatten Square