PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Tampines West Blk 140 (kn)

Block 140 Tampines St 12
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School environment and atmosphere

The center is designed based on an extremely open concept where classrooms link to each other and the internal doors are constantly kept open. Transparent windows make the place brighter with natural light and allow the students a glimpse into the outside world where passer-bys and parents can also look through into the pre-school, which is a good thing as students are so used to the passer-bys that they are no longer distracted by them.

Each classroom comes with a loft where there is a learning center, and classrooms come with very little tables and chairs, making sure that students do not remain seated for too long and are constantly on their feet or sitting on the floor. Each classroom is also equipped with a computer for computer literacy and exposure, and the back even comes with a water play area! There are toilets outside every bay so that they are easily accessible, and the toilets are even decorated. Overall the center is colorful, bright and cheery, and gives off a cosy, happy feel.

Design and build

The center offers a very unique activity as part of its curriculum: woodwork. These classes happen together with gym classes, where a class is split into half. Half will go for gym class and the other half will do woodwork, and will swap at the halfway mark of lesson time. In the workshop, students are required to wear personal protective equipment such as goggles, aprons and boots, thereby ensuring the students’ safety. Students work with wood or foam blocks, and learn to use actual tools like the junior saw, the hammer, nails and drills. This allows students to work with tools they otherwise would not touch in a home environment; and also trains discipline, social skills and confidence. It encompasses the 6 domains of learning, especially motor skills development and aesthetic and creative expression, as students are also encouraged to paint their products.

For the gym class, there are a specific set of skills each student needs to learn, and different levels all learn the same skill but at different levels of complexity; for example nursery students simply throw a ball but K2 students have to throw and catch the ball. Skills include throwing and catching, running, hopping and jumping, among other things. “A child needs to be healthy to learn,” said Mrs Tricia Kwan, Principal of the center, “and if they’re confident children, they’ll learn better.” Indeed, gym classes help to build confidence in students, as they are encouraged not to give up even if they are unable to perform the particular skill. Students also hone their concentration, listening, social skills such as teamwork and turn taking, and motor skills.

Enrichment classes

The optional enrichment classes offered at the center include abacus, art, piano, the John Langrehr thinking program, Speech and Drama and a reading program. For abacus, the class hinges on mental training, teaching students to use the abacus to solve math problems, and to do basic mental sums. For piano, students are taught to read notes and basic scores and to actually play the piano. This sparks their appreciation for the arts at a tender age, and also trains concentration as “children need to listen.” In art class, students are given a theme and they do drawing according to the theme and the teacher’s instructions. They explore different colors, mediums and textures, and can bring their finished artwork home. This hones concentration, encourages creativity, encourage students to develop a sense of appreciation of the arts at a young age.

The John Langrehr thinking program is a structured thinking program set to help students think out-of-the-box and encourages logical thinking. A scenario is set for the students and they have to come up with creative solutions for the problem. There is no right or wrong answer and students are encouraged to speak up and think out loud. Speech and Drama relies heavily on articulation and speech with dramatization, centering on poems, rhymes and songs. It teaches students to be vocal and confident, articulate and have a good command of English.

Guided curriculum

The center follows a guided curriculum, placing equal emphasis on developing the six domains as stipulated by the MOE. Students have their homeroom, and only change classrooms when they have second language lessons. This helps students have a sense of belonging to the classroom and their surroundings. K classes have 20 students and nursery classes have 15.

Besides the large group activities and the learning corners, PCF Tampines West Blk 140 also offers other courses to all students. These include cookery classes and Musical Toolbox. Cookery classes are conducted twice a term for all levels with progressively increasing complexity for the higher levels. It reinforces the different skills and gives students an opportunity to play with real food and to enjoy their own creations. It also enhances the students’ development in the different domains of learning. So far, the students have made goodies like cinnamon rolls, cheese sticks, oatmeal cookies and cornflake cookies, and were allowed to decorate and enjoy their own creations.

Musical Toolbox is a program integrated into the curriculum where students learn about the basic elements of music (beat, tempo, rhythm, tone and dynamics). Teachers have their own music program and improvisation is also taught (same songs but students create their own lyrics). It is a fun program that also encompasses the development of all six domains, and students are also exposed to music from other cultures. The child’s interest is captured and it also hones appreciation for music.

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