Fun With Kids: Lanterns at Gardens by the Bay and Jurong Lake Gardens (24 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE – Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival at these free events with your children.

Learn: Chinese mythology and culture

Chinese mythology, legends and culture are the main inspiration for the Mid-Autumn Festival celebration at Gardens by the Bay."


Minor Issues: Tips on parenting prickly teens (24 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE – As parents, we have seen our children through their adorable toddler years, hugged them when they were sad or scared, and held their hands through stressful times in their lives. But at some point, they seem to turn into stubborn and defiant individuals. What happened?

The reality is that a child’s personality changes as he or she starts searching for his or her own identity."


Singapore film on Normal (Technical) students back on big screen (24 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE – Singapore documentary film Unteachable, about Normal (Technical) students, premiered at the Singapore International Film Festival in 2019. It was picked up for a screening at indie cinema The Projector last Saturday, and there will also be sessions on Wednesday and the weekend.

Children who scored in the bottom 10 per cent in the Primary School Leaving Examination are placed in the Normal (Technical) stream in secondary schools for four years."


Youth who cut down on social media use on their own initiative (24 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE – Ms Eileen Oo, 20, used to feel down after scrolling through social media.

“I realised that every time I logged off apps such as Instagram and TikTok, I would feel dread and doom,” says the freelance fiction writer. “I was expecting impossible standards of myself, which gave rise to a negative inner voice.”


Former president Halimah Yacob named as new SUSS chancellor (25 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE – The Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) announced on Monday the appointment of former president Halimah Yacob as its new chancellor, from Oct 1. She takes over from Mr Stephen Lee, who has held the position since 2018.

“I am honoured to be appointed as the new chancellor of SUSS,” said Madam Halimah."


Ex-NTU student leader apologises for alcohol-related incident involving female junior (25 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE – A former student leader at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) who was embroiled in an alcohol-related incident in 2022 has apologised, saying there was a “lack of judgment” in his actions.

This follows NTU’s recent conclusion of its probe into the matter involving Mr Ethan Ong, who has since been counselled by the university."


All JCs to hold counter-radicalisation workshops by 2024: Chan Chun Sing (29 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE – By next year, student ambassadors at all junior colleges would have attended counter-radicalisation workshops to help them identify the threat of terrorism among youth.

These workshops, facilitated by the Internal Security Department (ISD), are part of efforts to protect young people from the growing risk of online radicalisation, said Education Minister Chan Chun Sing on Friday."


Minor Issues: Don’t just stop and stare when encountering someone who looks different (1 October 2023)

"SINGAPORE – Three weeks ago, I was at an MRT station with my daughter, 19. She was singing to herself and also making happy, squealy sounds. She is autistic.

How loud was she? The noise was louder than ordinary conversation, but softer than a person belting out a show tune. It was perhaps at the volume of an MRT announcement."


Fun With Kids: Indoor playground with Nickelodeon characters, free puppetry workshop, charity walk (1 October 2023)

"SINGAPORE – Make family time all the more special with these ideas and activities.

Play: The World of Nickelodeon

Paw Patrol, SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back at Marina Square, following their last visit in 2022."


Eight questions to ask when selecting a secondary school (1 October 2023)

"SINGAPORE – Students entering Secondary 1 in 2024 will no longer be placed in Express and Normal streams. Instead, they will take subjects at levels that suit their interests and abilities.

How will this change the daily school experience for students and how will they be grouped for lessons?"


Singapore’s Joyce Chua releases three young-adult novels under Penguin in a year (1 October 2023)

"SINGAPORE – Every writer dreams of having his or her work published.

Singaporean Joyce Chua gets her wish granted – not once, but thrice in 2023 – by global publisher Penguin Random House’s South-east Asian branch."


She struggled in school and financially, but is now a data analyst who mentors youth (1 October 2023)

"SINGAPORE – More than 10 years ago, then Secondary 1 student Adlynna Aziz watched in dismay as her schoolmates celebrated their good exam results.

She was the only one in her cohort to be retained in Secondary 1."


MOE, schools looking to improve primary school pupils’ digital literacy (1 October 2023)

"SINGAPORE – The Ministry of Education (MOE) and primary schools are exploring ways to better equip primary school pupils with digital literacy skills, especially as they mature and approach their transition to secondary school.

This is as device-mediated learning in secondary schools has accelerated in recent years, and as MOE announced in September a 2030 masterplan to develop digitally literate learners."


How early is too early for digital learning? (1 October 2023)

"SINGAPORE – When my son started his primary school journey last year, I was a little surprised by the online platforms he had to use in Primary 1 to supplement his learning.

During his home-based learning (HBL) days, the teachers mostly assigned work that had to be completed online. To be honest, that made me uncomfortable."


NTU team uncovers how cells distribute cholesterol, with implications for dementia, heart disease (2 October 2023)

"SINGAPORE – Cholesterol has a bad reputation, but the waxy, fatty substance is needed to build cells, produce hormones and boost brain health.

In fact, the brain is the most cholesterol-rich organ in the body, containing 20 per cent of the substance."


Four things I tell my daughter to ensure she finds work in the future (2 August 2023)

"HR professional and mum-of-one Joanna Yeo is preparing her 15-year-old daughter for a future with jobs that don't even exist today, in a reality that will look very different from ours.

Armed with more than two decades of human resource experience spanning the public and private sectors, from startups to MNCs, Ms Yeo knows what makes a good performer and leader in the workplace.

"You'd be surprised, it's not always those that do conventionally well, or come from top schools, who stand out the most,” says Ms Yeo. And as the world of work changes quickly, intrinsic skills will become more valuable than job-specific skills.

Here’s what she learned of top performers at work:

1. Perfection can be limiting

While it's important to pay attention to detail, Ms Yeo suggests that sometimes, the quest for perfection can hold a person back from getting ahead.

She learned this the hard way, from her own experience at work as a young recruit: "I was asked to represent the Singapore office in a global meeting, and the very first year I went, I was cautious and didn't speak up much. The feedback about my performance was unanimous that I was too reserved and didn't perform well."

"My boss sent me to the same meeting the next year and I was determined not to make the same mistake. So I made it a point to raise my hand first whenever there was a call for opinions – and I did so even when I had not formed my thoughts perfectly or completely," she recounts with a chuckle. “It absolutely worked. This time round, the feedback on my performance was outstanding.”

This is why she encourages her new hires to not shy away from updating their managers on the progress of their work, or share more openly at discussions – and to not always have to wait till all points are considered and all goals are met. A proactive attitude and openness to feedback can also render better results."


They chose their careers at 18 – how were they so sure, so soon? (10 August 2023)

"Choosing a career may be a tough call for most teens, but not for these aspiring teachers. Chen Jueying and Kenneth Kwan, two National Institute of Education undergraduates, signed up for teaching awards straight out of junior college. Schoolbag catches hold of them during their internships to ask how they found their calling and what they did with their doubts.

Schoolbag: Hi, Jueying and Kenneth! So glad you could intern with us at MOE’s Design Office. Our team of writers, designers, and producers often say we can’t even decide what to watch next on Netflix. Yet you knew at 18 that you wanted to be teachers. How did you decide so soon?

Jueying: I see a lot of meaning in helping others realise their potential and chase their dreams. I have seen people who lack motivation to learn due to troubles at home or financial constraints.

I myself had a time when I faced some personal issues in secondary school. I was also not doing well in History. I benefitted from having attentive teachers who brought out my interest in History that I never thought I had. They got me to see the joys behind learning. In time, whenever I felt down or had something on my mind, I’d turn to reading my History textbooks or play the erhu to feel better (Chinese Orchestra was my CCA).

As a teacher, I hope to be able to step in and change things for others, to inspire and motivate students to shape their own future and not be tied down by their challenges."


‘How we eased the stress of school for our special needs child’: Three parents share tips on what works (17 August 2023)

"When stress at school extends beyond a few weeks, it can become chronic and need more attention from parents, says psychologist Samantha Tang who is also a mother to two children with special needs. Hear from her and two other parents of children with special needs on some strategies to dial up the support.

Dealing with highs and lows is a natural part of life at school, but how can you tell when your child with special needs is stressed at school? Can you tell what the cause is, and how can you address it?

It usually starts with a change in behaviour, says Ms Samantha Tang, a psychologist in private practice and lecturer at the National Institute of Early Childhood Development. She has two children with special needs, one of whom is in mainstream school.

When older son Samuel, 14, was in primary school, he might come home and have meltdowns, crying and shouting from feeling overly anxious about keeping up with the rhythms of school, along with the cycles of homework.

Samuel has learning and attention difficulties, among other medical concerns.

As he spends more time than his peers to grasp and retain the same amount of information, that means less down time and more impact on his stress and anxiety levels. Ms Tang’s younger son Joshua, 11, has a rare, degenerative medical condition, is bedbound and does not attend school.

In her 22 years of working with children with special needs, and the many years of caring for her own, she observes that when the children are stressed, telltale signs could come in the form of disruptive or aggressive behaviour, task avoidance, and psycho-somatic symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches. Those attending school may try to skip classes. Internalised behaviour is seen as anxiety, depression and a low mood in general. Some other indicators of stress include changes in eating or sleeping patterns or when the child is teary, tears up paper, rushes through their tasks, or throws tantrums more frequently."


From art to algorithms, this polytechnic student challenges the status quo every step of the way (24 August 2023)

"Temasek Polytechnic graduate Ahmad Irfan bin Ahmad Kamal veered off the IP-JC route upon discovering his talent for communication through design. Now, he wants to enable machines to engage in meaningful chit-chat with human beings.

By Sabrina Lee

During his fourth year of secondary school, Ahmad Irfan bin Ahmad Kamal put himself between a rock and a hard place.

As a secondary student in the Integrated Programme (IP) at Victoria School, Irfan had a direct route to Victoria Junior College (VJC), bypassing the O-Level exams.

“To many, the IP represents a sure path to university,” he shares of what he too felt when he got a spot in the programme.

Trouble began, ironically, because he was enjoying school, particularly his art lessons. He discovered a love for art, which made him consider a different path to education."


Her staff and students fuel this principal’s passion for special education (28 August 2023)

"What is it like to lead a Special Education (SPED) school? In this second of a two-part series on SPED school principals, we hear from Mdm Ng Puey Koon, the principal of Katong School.

Mdm Ng has served as a principal for 18 years, including five years leading a SPED school. Here, she shares innovative teaching methods used to engage students, and how students with special educational needs are driven to strive for success on their own terms.

When I first stepped into Katong School, I had been an educator for over 30 years and taught at mainstream schools.

I was pleased to join Katong School as its principal in 2018, and what I saw on the walls was truly captivating. The artworks were by our students, who are aged between seven to 16 with mild intellectual disabilities. As I interacted with the student artists, I came to appreciate their unique communication style. While their verbal expressions may be limited, they conveyed emotions through their mastery of brushstrokes.

In my first year, which coincided with the Istana’s 150th anniversary, President Halimah Yacob unveiled a set of commemorative cookies, whose packaging featured artworks created by five of our students who drew inspiration from the flora and fauna of the Istana.

This year, one of our students also demonstrated her artistic talent in a significant way, Secondary 2 student Azra Ufairah Binte Hafizur Rahman, likes photography. She captured the enduring beauty of the Tiong Bahru estate in her photograph titled “Window to the Past”. The artwork was displayed at the 18th Ngee Ann Photographic Exhibition. Her snapshot evoked such a sense of nostalgia in me.

Over the years, I learnt that while my students may encounter challenges in grasping concepts, problem-solving, or communication and social interactions, they possess remarkable strength and potential."


‘I never knew what I wanted to do!’ Teacher turned game designer on how he found his dream career (29 August 2023)

"Dr Daryl Chow lives out the adage that when you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life. The father of one talks about how he gave up a steady job to become an entrepreneur.

Growing up, Dr Daryl Chow, like most other children, loved to play games of all kinds. Board games, video games, card games — you name it, he's played it. He’s also designed and published more board games than most people have played, even keeping the very first board game he made when he was in Primary 4 for school.

“It was a board game for a book called From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which I made and designed in place of a traditional book report. To this day, I’m still thankful I had such a flexible teacher then, who didn’t cramp my style!” he laughs.

Unlike most other children, Dr Chow never gave up on his hobby when he grew up. Instead, he buckled down and decided to design board games full-time, after a decade of dabbling in it at the side while he worked at his day job of teaching linguistics at the National Institute of Education.

"To be completely honest, I never truly dreamed of being a board game designer, even when I was young. I never actually knew what I wanted to do!" says Dr Chow sheepishly. "So I just kept on with my studies and doctorate research while always playing games as my preferred mode of relaxation."

Today, he is the founder of the most prolific board-game maker in Singapore, Origame, and he's proud to say he does this for a living. He is also a dad to a young daughter, aged 4, and what they have in common is a serious love of playing."


A Teachers' Day Wishlist – Teachers' Day 2023 (31 August 2023)

"What do our teachers really hope for? What would they like to receive? This Teachers’ Day, we get a glimpse into their wishlists.

At the heart of it all, we realised that our ’Chers just want the best for their students.

Now that we know what make them the happiest, what can we then do for them, not just on special occasions but every day?"


She buddies up with AI to cultivate emotional and cyber wellness (31 August 2023)

"Socio-emotional skills top the agenda in Ms Chen Siyun’s digitally charged classrooms. The head of ICT at Fairfield Methodist School (Primary) and President’s Award for Teachers 2023 recipient also applies the power of AI to aid students with reading difficulties, helping them to build fluency and take charge of their own learning.

Before Science lesson starts for the day, the students at Fairfield Methodist School (Primary) get a check-up. Not your regular check-up, but an emotional one.

Calling up the Reflect app on Microsoft Teams, Ms Chen Siyun runs a quick poll. On the students’ personal learning devices, a cute monster icon pops up and asks them how they felt about their recent test on Cells. Within seconds, Ms Chen could see the results on her screen.

A few students had clicked on the icon with the downturned mouth – some are the same ones who have reported negative emotions for the past few weeks. She makes a note that she should speak to them later. Based on the responses, she then leads the class through some activities, such as breathing exercises, helped by another fuzzy monster that pops up on their screens, to calm the room and get them into the right frame of mind to learn.

Only then does Ms Chen start the lesson proper, to clear up the gaps in their understanding that came up in the test."


She turns ‘beautiful’ tech into power tools for learning (31 August 2023)

"Accidental EdTech champion Yang Yan Qi has transformed the way students learn Mathematics and eased colleagues into creating engaging learning experiences. The Head of Department of ICT at CHIJ (Katong) Primary School, and a President's Award for Teachers 2023 recipient, even exploits tech to build rapport.

There’s a quiet ritual that happens every morning with Ms Yang Yan Qi’s Primary 5 class.

Filing into the room, each student deftly picks up a tablet from a cart parked at the front. They proceed to complete the Daily Challenge on an online maths learning platform, while waiting for their teacher to arrive.

Talking about the students’ increasing proficiency in the subject makes Ms Yang, a former Mathematics Level Head, smile with pride; the game format she introduced to make complex maths concepts easier to grasp has also imbued a competitive and can-do team spirit in them.

“They find that, hey, if we work together, we can get the points for the class and we’re going to try our best for it,” she adds.

Lesson time begins. The girls switch to an interactive tool that Ms Yang uses to teach, put up quizzes, and review everyone’s responses on the spot.

“This way, we can surface errors really quickly instead of waiting for me to finish marking worksheets to clear misconceptions,” says Ms Yang, who’s the school’s Infocomm and Technology (ICT) Head of Department (HOD)."


This discipline master makes connections before corrections (31 August 2023)

"Mathematics teacher Poh Wei Beng is known affectionately as Pythagoras Poh to his students. As St Gabriel's Secondary School's Head of Student Management, he steers with a calm and firm hand, and is the mastermind behind the school’s mission to raise up gentlemen. Mr Poh is a President’s Award for Teachers 2023 recipient.

Every morning, Mr Poh Wei Beng waits at the school’s side gate, ready to welcome students with a smile.

Many fist bumps and high-fives between them later, an atmosphere of warmth and enthusiasm sets a positive tone for the day ahead.

Seeing a familiar face at the gate every morning also makes the students feel safe, says Mr Poh. He is the Head of Student Management at St Gabriel's Secondary School, who routinely reaches school at 6.15am when the skies are still dark: “It’s like a little boost of comfort and security for them.”


To students facing challenges, she says: Don’t just dream, reach for the moon (31 August 2023)

"Like a whisperer to students struggling academically, Science teacher Ashikin Bte Abdul Ra’uuf has no end to the techniques and programmes she designs to inspire them to greater heights. Ngee Ann Secondary School’s Lead Teacher of Educational Support is also a recipient of the President’s Award for Teachers 2023.

At Ngee Ann Secondary School, when students struggle with their lessons and their teachers have tried different ways to help, Mdm Ashikin Bte Abdul Ra’uuf is often called in for informal consultations.

She also takes on classes that are less motivated in learning and attending school. She sees encouraging and empowering reluctant learners as her mission.

One could say, that’s the job of a Lead Teacher of Educational Support, isn’t it? But there’s a whisperer quality to the way Mdm Ashikin diagnoses issues that has earned her the respect of her colleagues.

It could be how she draws from a well of 27 years of teaching experience to share pedagogical tips and insights with colleagues, and how she journeys alongside them to address their students’ needs.

Or it could be how she goes the extra mile for students, especially those from troubled backgrounds."


'The ideas never stop coming until the bell rings’: How one teacher makes History this riveting (31 August 2023)

"Mr Melvin Chan Joo Seng, Senior History Teacher at Chua Chu Kang Secondary School, is an ardent practitioner of the Knowledge Building technique, which taps on the power of collectives to co-create knowledge. The result? No silent corners in his classroom. Mr Chan is a President's Award for Teachers 2023 recipient.

For most adults who took History in school, the mention of history lessons might bring back dusty memories of rote learning on events long past. Students of Mr Melvin Chan, however, will have a different tale to tell.

The Senior Teacher (History) at Chua Chu Kang Secondary School, who has been teaching for 13 years, eschews textbook flipping.

He facilitates a student-led inquiry process during each lesson, where History is less a regurgitation of facts than a set of statements begging to be investigated.

In his classroom, students sit in a semicircle and put those statements to test. “Let’s say we are talking about British Singapore. I’ll first get everyone to contribute a question or comment about the chapter. If there are 40 students, I’ll have 40 responses,” he says of the active level of classroom participation.

There is no perspective too ludicrous to Mr Chan, because “every idea is improvable, every individual is valuable, and every inquiry is do-able”."


A teacher’s devotion draws his students back to school (31 August 2023)

"A mother nearly gave up on her child until she saw Mr Shahul Hameed S/O Kuthubudeen and his team working tirelessly to turn his life around. The HOD of Student Management at Serangoon Garden Secondary School also brings community partners on board to deliver a raft of support for students and families in need. Mr Shahul is a recipient of the President’s Award for Teachers 2023.

As head of Student Management at Serangoon Garden Secondary School, Mr Shahul Hameed S/O Kuthubudeen takes on multiple roles in the lives of students at risk of dropping out of school. To many of them coming from low-income families or missing parental guidance at home, he is a mentor, a confidant and sometimes, even a surrogate parent.

In all these roles, the focus is not on disciplining but lending the social and emotional stability they need to stay in school and keep learning, he says.

It’s no easy task. Many of these students are frequently absent from school or affected by complex family issues and bad company. To give them the environment they need, Mr Shahul ropes in stakeholders and community partners ato set up support systems to prevent them from falling through the cracks and back into old habits.

When the educator of 23 years is asked what his greatest contribution to teaching has been, he says, “While I have contributed to value-added results many times, I felt a greater sense of fulfilment when I was able to get a chronic long-time absentee student to attend his GCE N-Level exams. The student managed to move on to the post-secondary institution of his choice.”


Big wins start with small wins for lecturer who co-developed a self-sterilising agent (31 August 2023)

"From developing commercially viable projects to helping students overcome their personal and learning gaps, Ms Malini D/O Thyagesan, Senior Lecturer at Republic Polytechnic’s School of Applied Science, believes in breaking down problems to find solutions. Ms Malini is a recipient of the President’s Award for Teachers 2023.

When Senior Lecturer Ms Malini D/O Thyagesan first joined Republic Polytechnic (RP) in 2011 to teach Biological Science modules, she felt well-equipped for the job. As an educator for seven years, she had experience teaching in both secondary school and junior college, and was confident of both her disciplinary skills and pedagogy.

Unfortunately, things did not go as well as planned; she saw from her students’ feedback that they were not as enthusiastic about medical laboratory technology, an area that she was very passionate about.

Not one to be discouraged by setbacks, Ms Malini jumped into action with a key mission: What if she helped students see the relevance of what they are learning by demonstrating the real-life industry applications?

Soon, she was reaching out to lab professionals to organise learning journeys to research and diagnostic labs.

The benefit was twofold: When students saw how the labs worked, they were able to contextualise what was taught in class, so that the information was relevant rather than "dry". They also got to interact with true-blue lab practitioners to gain a better appreciation of the industry.

When the learning journeys were launched, the students lapped them up, and things started to click for Ms Malini too."


No grades? No problem to his interior design students (31 August 2023)

"What makes a student sacrifice the holidays for projects that carry no grades? A strong community, one that Singapore Polytechnic’s Diploma in Interior Design lecturer Fann Zhi Jie has worked hard to cultivate, so that students benefit from industry and vice versa. Mr Fann is a recipient of the President’s Award for Teachers 2023.

All over Ann Siang Hill, from its sidewalks and five-foot ways to its stretch of parkland, striking plywood structures had popped up. Intrigued passers-by could not resist exploring the structures, which were created by Mr Fann Zhi Jie’s Interior Design students. After weeks of ideating, designing, and building, the youths from Singapore Polytechnic (SP) were elated to witness the interest in their Year 3 project.

Scaling up project work in more ways than one

Equally gratified by the reception was Mr Fann. This was the inaugural 1:1 Scale Project, designed to bridge design theories with implementation and construction. Mr Fann had revamped the project after joining SP in 2013 -- he saw the potential to turn the routine model-building exercise into a real-world experience of an Interior Design project.

In revamping the project, Mr Fann made the project a team effort, rather than a solo project, to reflect the collaborative basis of design work in the real-world. To engage students, he used popular culture references to fire up students’ imagination. For example, students took inspiration from popular anime movie, Howl’s Moving Castle, to conceptualise and construct a transporter prototype.

With the 1:1 Scale Project, students learned to take full ownership of their work, and stretched their capacities not just in design, but also in research, design, user experience, construction and project management – all key skills required in the real-world.

The end-result may look more like an art installation than a traditional scale model, but it gets students – and passers-by— to think critically and deeply about the design process and outcome."


Teaching values to tweens takes heart and lots of ice cream sticks (31 August 2023)

"Mr Kelvin Koh makes sure that no group of students escapes his care. St Anthony’s Primary School’s Year Head develops initiatives to cater to all students, including the vulnerable ones and the graduating cohort. Mr Koh is a 2023 President’s Award for Teachers finalist.

Imagine giving every primary school student a handsome sum of $500 a week for pocket money.

Then start charging them for the use of the classroom and furniture, or a loan of stationery if they forget to bring their pencil cases. What about a fee for every time they use the toilet?

The thrill quickly fades as the idea sinks in that facilities, benefits, actions and treats come at a price, thanks to this scheme hatched by Mr Kelvin Koh to give them “money” in the form of ice cream sticks, to “spend” as they like.

To teach good values, critical thinking, and prudence in the real world, the English and Social Studies teacher at St Anthony’s Primary School also allows students to “earn money”.

Students can earn more ice-cream sticks if they answer questions correctly, are made PE champions, or performed a good deed. As the students found their “wallets” emptying faster than they were refilling them, they quickly learned to negotiate with Mr Koh, such as asking for bundle deals for washroom visits, he recalls with a laugh. “It showed they were really thinking.”


Pokemon Maths? Game on, says teacher who speaks his students’ language (31 August 2023)

"Mr Daniel Chua Boon Hwee didn’t enjoy school, and doesn’t want any student to ever feel the same. The Maths and Science teacher at Chongzheng Primary School designs lessons – no two are alike! – to help students make connections between school, the world, and what interests them. Mr Chua is a finalist of the President’s Award for Teachers 2023.

Watching the students in Mr Daniel Chua's class huddle around pieces of cake and hearing the squeals of joy, you’d think they were celebrating a birthday.

That’s what Maths lessons sound like in Mr Chua’s class. In this particular lesson, the students were having fun trying to cut cake into portions based on the fractions they were given.

“I wanted to show the kids that they actually use these concepts in real life,” says the Chongzheng Primary School Mathematics and Science teacher. “At the end of the day, the most important thing for me is the child’s curiosity. When you ignite their curiosity, and they want to find out more, or see how to bring the lesson to another part of their lives — that is where I feel teaching is successful.”

Mr Chua benchmarks his teaching ideas against his own experiences as a student, when he didn’t find school interesting, not even when he chose to pursue engineering at a polytechnic.

“So now, every time a child comes into my class, I will try to make this class his or her happiest place in school,” he says. “I hope no student will go through what I went through. There should not be another young Daniel who studies for the sake of passing examinations, but one who can see connections to life beyond the classroom in what he learns, and experience joy when learning.”

Holding tight to these sentiments, he strives to make lessons interesting and relatable. He seems to have nailed it from the get-go: At the very first school he taught at, his students voted him their Most Innovative Teacher for two years in a row."


Stronger, louder, CALMer students, is this CCE head’s three-pointed wish (31 August 2023)

"Get students to speak up and you may get to hear their inner voices, says Ms Saedah Bte Mohamed Hussien, Head of Character and Citizenship Education at Xishan Primary School, and a finalist at the 2023 President’s Award for Teachers. She creates a nurturing environment for students – and teachers too.

Ms Saedah Bte Mohamed Hussien was a child who knew just what it meant to make ends meet.

She wanted to play badminton so badly, she fashioned a racquet out of an old book. She would save her pocket money to buy books. She never wanted to ask her father for anything, as he was the sole breadwinner of the family.

Ms Saedah knows what it means to make do and still thrive, and her passion for what constitutes good values makes her quite the role model as Head of Department (HOD) of Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) at Xishan Primary School.

Every day, she finds ways to slip a message on values into her Malay language classes."


Read-e, stead-e, PE! How this sports coach leapt for tech (31 August 2023)

"When the Covid-19 pandemic pushed schools into hybrid teaching, PE teachers like Mr Yeo Choon Hwa got creative. Applying e-tools turned out to be a game-changer, speeding up everything from differentiated instruction to student motivation, says the Assistant Year Head at Queensway Secondary School. Mr Yeo is a finalist of the President’s Award for Teachers 2023.

The year 2020 was significant to Mr Yeo Choon Hwa for many reasons, starting with the chaos that the Covid-19 pandemic threw the PE department into.

Everywhere, teachers were holding hybrid classes with online tutorials, recording videos and marking e-worksheets, but the football fields, sports halls and rock walls stayed eerily quiet.

When Mr Yeo, the Assistant Year Head at Queensway Secondary School, popped his head into other classes during lesson observations, he saw his colleague teaching Food & Nutrition using Padlet whiteboards, while another colleague was running a Humanities class aided by interactive lesson app Pear Deck.

“I thought, ‘Wow, these tools make the students’ thinking visible!’,” recounts Mr Yeo.

In a flash, he was hit with inspiration. Would e-tools translate well for sports? How does high-tech PE sound? Could we go further than where we were before the pandemic?"


Hacking the Chinese language so students want to learn (31 August 2023)

"Mdm Tan Pin Yin leverages everything from educational technology to K-drama serials to make the Chinese language more accessible to students. This Lead Teacher at West Spring Secondary School, and a President's Award for Teachers 2023 finalist, shares how she stays a step ahead of her students.

It’s the middle of the school day at West Spring Secondary School. The bell rings to signal the end of another lesson, but in Mdm Tan Pin Yin’s class, no one stirs. All eyes are fixed on the screen, watching the unfolding plot of a popular Korean drama.

“Mdm Tan, please don't stop the video. Why is our Chinese period so short? Can we watch for a few more minutes, just five more minutes?” the students pleaded as their teacher prepared to end her lesson.

Chinese lessons have not morphed into Korean language classes at the school. What the students were watching was a dubbed-in-Mandarin version of a K-drama snippet, which was part of Mdm Tan’s meticulously crafted curriculum to level up their Chinese language skills. In another activity ‘I am a star screenwriter’, students had to come up with their own script endings of yet another K-drama by utilising the vocabulary and essay-writing techniques they had learnt in class. It was a task which they dove into with much zeal and delight.

“You'll be amazed by their level of engagement and creativity. They came up with storylines beyond my imagination. I remember thinking, wow, I never expected this student to write like that,” Mdm Tan recalls."


Nursing gets real, thanks to scenario-based learning and real-life experiences (31 August 2023)

"She regales her students with stories and crafts true-to-life scenarios to prepare them for the world of nursing. Former ICU nurse Clarissa Lee Vwen Chia, Senior Lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Health Sciences, also leaves students with firm advice to always “apply their hearts” as nurses. Ms Lee is a President’s Award for Teachers 2023 Finalist.

It’s lesson time for the nursing students in Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP). Ms Clarissa Lee Vwen Chia can be heard berating someone on the phone and slamming down the receiver. Stunned, the students take time to recover before sniggering at what had just happened.

Ms Lee is a Senior Lecturer at NP’s School of Health Sciences and that was her acting as a time-strapped medical staff in a hospital emergency room. Now, the students know first-hand how badly tempers can fly from the stress, and how nurses must keep a cool head, no matter how heated the calls may get.

When not role-playing for scenario-based lessons, Ms Lee is training nurses who can hit the ground running. She oversees the Diploma in Nursing and Nursing Career Conversion programmes at NP, where scenario-based learning is a signature pedagogy."


How to get students all excited about voltage or waveforms? Ask (Meng) 'Cher (31 August 2023)

"ITE College Central Senior Lecturer Choo Meng Cher is the original ‘Cher, an OG to his students despite the wide age gap. The easy rapport he builds makes his 40 years in ITE memorable to generations of students and teachers. Mr Choo is a finalist of the President’s Award for Teachers 2023.

‘Friendly’ and ‘approachable’ are two of the most common words used by Mr Choo Meng Cher’s students to describe him. Their memories of him are peppered with anecdotes about the lunches they shared, how he reminds them repeatedly to pursue their dreams, and how he called them up one by one during the COVID-19 circuit breaker to check on their well-being.

To them, the ITE Senior Lecturer in the School of Electronics and Info-comm Technology is more than just someone who teaches them about electronics, the Internet of Things (IOT) and Python programming. Instead, he is someone known to have his students’ backs.

Mr Choo is quick to point out that he was not always like this. When he joined ITE some 40 years ago, he was extremely task-oriented and had a “very army style”. It was not until he started a family that he began to change his mindset and approach towards his students.

"In the army, being strong and assertive gets things done. But in my family, it was chaotic, and I had to try different approaches to get through to my children,” he says candidly of his lessons in parenting, which have since benefitted him as an educator."


Securing more women for the cyber force (31 August 2023)

"The dearth of professionals in the cybersecurity arena has Ms Mapel Yap Wei Ling reaching out to female students to plug the gap. Her initiatives are forward-looking, as are her Cyber Security students. Ms Yap is an Assistant Programme Chair at Republic Polytechnic, and a finalist for the President’s Award for Teachers 2023.

The girl is seated furtively at the computer and taps furiously away at the keyboard; seconds later, she hacks into the system. So cool, thinks the teenager watching the scene in the darkness of the movie theatre. There and then, student Claudia Chee decides she wants to be a cyber sleuth."

But after Claudia enrols at Republic Polytechnic’s (RP) School of Infocomm, she hits several roadblocks and the dream fades. In walks Ms Mapel Yap."

A less inviting domain for women"

Ms Yap is the Assistant Programme Chair for RP’s Diploma in Infocomm Security Management programme, and teaches cybersecurity and IT networking."

When she first joined RP in 2013, she was tasked with developing the new IT diploma programme. The first thing she told her team was that more female students should join the course."

With the fourth industrial revolution under way and Singapore’s push to be a “Smart Nation”, the demand for qualified cybersecurity professionals exploded."

So why were women holding back from accessing the available opportunities, and why did the IT sector seem less than inviting? Perhaps they need a larger women representation in this sector?"


UX lecturer puts students’ experience first, walks the talk (31 August 2023)

"Mr Flex Tio Choon Fook designs teaching modules based on his students’ level of readiness and challenges them to step out of their comfort zones. That’s what education is about, says Mr Tio, Senior Lecturer at Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Engineering (SEG). He is a finalist of the President’s Award for Teachers 2023.

There is a distinctive humility to Mr Flex Tio.

The Senior Lecturer at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) professes to have been a “typical 10-year-series kind of student”. But, as he wryly notes, “Everything became fuzzy when I entered the workforce; there was a different set of expectations I did not understand.”

He had a rocky start as an IT professional in the public service but found his sweet spot several years later as a lecturer in NYP.

Today, the Senior Specialist (Teaching & Learning) in NYP’s School of Engineering is known for designing unique learning experiences to prepare his students for the workplace.

He also emphasises that it takes more than good grades and technical competencies to thrive at work. In soft yet confident tones, he says: "I have walked the path, so now I can give students a smoother ride.”


What’s got them hooked on defence? (7 September 2023)

"There’s technology and there’s defence technology. Four students on Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) scholarships tell Schoolbag how their school experiences exposed and shaped their passion for this niche branch of STEM.

By Jacquelyn Ng

At this year’s Singapore Defence Technology Summit , we ambushed a 17-year-old student participant to ask what defence technology meant to him and his answer came easily.

“It’s about the tools and techniques to protect a country or organisation from threats and attacks,” said Joshua Tong, a JC1 student from Victoria Junior College. A scholarship holder from the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), he’s been following developments in this area and is keen to further his studies in ways that would allow him to contribute to Singapore’s defence capabilities.

Apart from Joshua, there were other student participants – Tammi Chia, Neha D/O Ram Singasan, and Daryl Tai – who had been invited to attend the gathering of global thought leaders on defence and security capabilities.

We asked them what had triggered their interest in defence technology, and what role their education experiences, whether at junior college, polytechnic or university, had played in their journey."


Heard of the mixed form class? Here’s how one teacher engages students of different abilities in the same class (12 September 2023)

"Mixed form classes are going to be the norm as Full Subject-Based Banding is rolled out across all secondary schools by 2024.

What does a class comprising students with varying strengths and interests look like, and how does a teacher bring out the best in all of them?

Using her five favourite phrases, Pei Hwa Secondary School teacher Ong Bee Bee shows Schoolbag how she engages different students differently in her Food and Consumer Education classes.

By Jacquelyn Ng

Students smell the muffins from afar as they arrive at the Home Economics room for their Food & Consumer Education (FCE) lesson.

The trays of baked goods are sitting on Mdm Ong Bee Bee’s desk, a foretaste of what they will be learning to bake in class that day. The mixed form class, taking place at Pei Hwa Secondary School, comprises Secondary Two students from the Normal Technical (NT), Normal Academic (NA) and Express streams.

What is lesson time like in a mixed form class? How does Ms Ong try to engage everyone? Through her five most commonly used phrases in class, we get to know her five strategies for engaging students with a myriad of abilities, interests and learning styles."


The No. 1 rule to learning effectively – and why parents should give their kids more space (13 September 2023)

"NUS lecturer Katy Kan knows a thing or two about learning. She teaches business communication at the university’s Centre for English Language Communication, and has come a long way from barely passing her English exams in school. After more than 20 years of teaching tertiary and adult students, she has answers on how to get knowledge to stick.

Dr Katy Kan teaches adult learners, encouraging them to work those brain cells even when their hair turns grey. But there was a time when she herself wasn’t sure she wanted to open a book ever again.

The communications lecturer and management consultant grew up in a Chinese-speaking family and used to struggle to pass her English tests. “I got through each stage of my education by the skin of my teeth, doing badly at junior college, failing accounting at university, just not your usual success story,” rattles off the articulate 50-something, sounding very different from the girl she describes she was.

Her turning point came when she saw the point in improving her language ability. She didn’t care to improve her English grades per se – but she did care that a good grasp of the language could open doors to greater knowledge and opportunity. After she joined those dots, she started tuning in to what her teachers were saying, watched English TV, and even took classes on pronunciation. The secret to learning effectively, she says, lies in intrinsic motivation.

“There is no point forcing someone to learn,” says the mother of three sons, who bounces easily in conversation on anything from Malcolm Gladwell’s thin slicing theory to the calming effects of crochet."


82 Students Recognised for Their Creativity and Oral Skills at 2nd National Vlog Competition (18 August 2023)

"82 students were recognised for their creativity and oral expression skills at the 2nd National Vlog Competition for Primary School Students ("我们是小网红"全国小学生短视频制作比赛). Guest-of-Honour Ms Gan Siow Huang, Minister of State for Education and Chairperson of the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning (CPCLL), delivered a speech and presented awards to the winning teams at the Awards Ceremony."


Pricing Cap Adjustment for Existing School Bus Contracts (24 August 2023)

"With effect from January 2024, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will be allowing school bus operators to increase the pricing cap of school bus fares under existing contracts by up to 13%. This adjustment will help schools by supporting the sustainability of school bus services in view of rising operating costs."


Primary Mother Tongue Languages Curriculum to Nurture 21st Century Competencies in Students (26 August 2023)

"Minister for Education, Mr Chan Chun Sing, launched the 2024 Primary Mother Tongue Languages (MTL) curriculum at the 12th Mother Tongue Languages Symposium (MTLS) today. The curriculum will be rolled out progressively, starting from the Primary 1 cohort next year."


Close to 200 Students Recognised for Diverse Achievements at Annual Special Awards Ceremony (29 August 2023)

"This year, 206 Special Awards were given out to 195 students from 96 educational institutions to recognise their diverse achievements in both academic and non-academic areas. Minister of State for Education, Ms Gan Siow Huang, presented the awards at the Special Awards Presentation Ceremony on 29 August 2023."


Eight Teachers Receive Top Honours for Dedication and Excellence in Education (31 August 2023)

"Eight outstanding educators received this year's President's Award for Teachers from President Halimah Yacob at the annual Teachers' Day Reception on 31 August 2023."


Naval Base Primary School Crowned Champion of Cepat Tepat Game Show (15 September 2023)

"Naval Base Primary School has emerged as champion of the month-long television game show Cepat Tepat, which challenged contestants on their knowledge of Malay language and culture through quizzes and activities such as Peribahasa (Malay idioms). The winning team will bring home a trophy and individual prizes worth $7,500, including a personal laptop, as well as book hampers and vouchers."


Six Teachers Recognised at Most Inspiring Tamil Teachers' Award Ceremony 2023 (16 September 2023)

"Six teachers received the Most Inspiring Tamil Teachers' (MITT) Award in recognition of their contributions to the teaching and learning of the Tamil Language. Three teachers were also presented with the Best NIE Tamil Trainee Teacher Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award."


More Support for Schools and Students to Shape the Future of Learning (20 September 2023)

"At this year's Schools Work Plan Seminar on 20 September 2023, Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing announced the following measures that will equip students with the values and competencies needed to thrive in a fast-changing world:

a. Enhance 21st Century Competencies (21CC) to strengthen students' competencies and dispositions to thrive in school and in the future;

b. Harness technology as a capability multiplier to enhance and customise students' learning experiences; and

c. Enrich learning experiences through refreshed school environments and partnerships."


Strong Showing by Singapore Students at International Olympiads (21 September 2023)

"The Ministry of Education (MOE) congratulates all students for their excellent performance in the International Olympiads for Geography, Informatics, Mathematics and the Sciences, and the Online Young Physicists' Tournament, which were held either overseas or virtually from July to September this year. Our students benefitted from the opportunity to interact with like-minded peers from all around the world, and they continued to fly the Singapore flag high in the international arena."


More Than 10,000 Student Athletes Recognised for Sporting Achievements at Colours Award 2023 (22 September 2023)

"A total of 10,130 student athletes across 28 sports received recognition for their sporting achievements and display of good sporting character at the 53rd Singapore Schools Sports Council (SSSC) Colours Award. The Award is presented to students from secondary schools, junior colleges, and Millennia Institute based on their sporting achievements and display of good sporting character."


Teachers' Day school holiday moved to Sept 11, N-Level exams rescheduled due to Polling Day for Presidential Election (11 August 2023)

"SINGAPORE — The Teachers’ Day school holiday has been rescheduled to Sept 11 due to Polling Day for the Presidential Election — which will fall on Sept 1 if there is a contest.

Additionally, the GCE N-Level examinations scheduled on Sept 11 will take place on Sept 12 and 20.

This was announced by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) in a joint press release on Friday (Aug 11), shortly after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong issued the Writ of Election."


Gen Y Speaks: A friend’s death made me reconsider my career path and rejoin school, so I can say I lived life to the fullest (13 August 2023)

"For a long time, I never understood what it meant when others said life is short, and that I should therefore live it to its fullest.

Life, to me at the time, was not about finding new adventures or stepping into the unknown.

I didn’t believe in abandoning stable paths to seek out personal passions. There was always going to be time for me later on in life to chase my dreams."


My Learning Diaries: As the youngest supervisor at a senior daycare centre, picking up new skills is a must (13 August 2023)

"My career in the eldercare sector began in February 2018, when I volunteered with the Silver Generation Office (SGO), the outreach arm of the Agency for Integrated Care.

My grandmother sparked my interest in caring for the elderly. She was an instrumental figure in my growing-up years, having left her job as a factory worker to look after me when I was born. Through her, I learnt values such as empathy and compassion.

I graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2018, with an honours degree in political science. Inspired by my grandmother, my honours thesis was about improving the effectiveness of policy communications to the elderly."


'They don't see me any differently': Preschool aide with disability finds joy in nurturing kids (13 August 2023)

"SINGAPORE — The joyous laughter of children alongside shouts for “teacher Ashley” filled the air at a playground in Taman Jurong as 23-year-old Ashley Collins helped a class of three- and four-year-olds down a slide.

To any onlooker, Ms Collins is like any other preschool staff member. The preschool teacher assistant is one of 40 persons with disabilities working in the early childhood sector.

Just this February, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) approved a programme to train persons with disabilities to take on jobs in the early childhood sector."


S'pore student crowned world champion at 12-sided Rubik's puzzle after honing skill to fend off boredom during Covid-19 (15 August 2023)

"SINGAPORE — Solving a standard six-sided Rubik's Cube is hard enough but imagine trying to get all the colours correctly placed on a three-dimensional object with 12 sides — known as a dodecahedron.

This is what 20-year-old Tristan Chua Yong did at the World Cube Association (WCA) world championship held on Sunday (Aug 13), on his way to winning what is believed to be the first ever title by a Singaporean in any category at the competition, held every two years.

Started in 1982, the WCA world championships are considered to be the most prestigious competition in the “cubing” world."


Is a degree worth it? (26 August 2023)

"LONDON — Ms Eden Heath has a clutch of top grades in her A-levels and was head girl at the south-east London school where she just finished her final year.

University would seem a no-brainer for her. But like many of her friends, she thinks it is a waste of money and only plans to go as a last resort.

“University has become a back-up option for a lot of people,” she said."


Teacher caught rough handling, hitting children in viral video sacked from preschool; investigations ongoing (28 August 2023)

"SINGAPORE — A preschool teacher who was caught rough handling and hitting children in a series of viral video clips has since been dismissed from her job, Member of Parliament Poh Li San said on Monday (Aug 28).

Addressing residents and parents of children attending Kinderland@Woodlands Mart, Ms Poh said that she is currently assisting the parents of the affected children and understands their concerns.

"Such unprofessional acts certainly cannot be condoned and the staff must be brought to task," she said in a Facebook post on Monday."


Another preschool teacher arrested for allegedly hitting boy at Chua Chu Kang childcare centre (29 August 2023)

"SINGAPORE — A 48-year-old woman was arrested on Tuesday (Aug 29) after a new video surfaced on social media showing a Kinderland preschool teacher allegedly hitting a child.

This is the second arrest of a preschool teacher in as many days for allegedly mistreating children under their care. Both cases involved preschools from the Kinderland chain.

In the latest video that was posted on Tuesday morning, a teacher is seen forcefully handing a water bottle to a boy before smacking him on the head several times and pushing him away."


Kinderland bans staff from using personal devices at work after alleged abuse cases (31 August 2023)

"SINGAPORE — Preschool chain Kinderland has banned staff from using personal devices at work, a move which it said will protect the privacy of children at their schools.

The move comes after videos of two teachers allegedly abusing children at its Woodlands Mart and Choa Chu Kang centres emerged recently.

Both were arrested this week, with one of them charged on Wednesday with ill-treating a child."


Kinderland Woodlands Mart preschool principal removed from duties amid investigation into alleged abuse cases (31 August 2023)

"SINGAPORE — The principal of Kinderland Preschool@Woodlands Mart has been removed from her duties after a former teacher was charged this week with ill-treating a child at the centre.

Another teacher at the Kinderland preschool at Sunshine Place in Choa Chu Kang has also been arrested for allegedly mistreating a child.

"Pending the outcome of the investigations by the relevant authorities and our own disciplinary inquiry for both centres, the principal of Woodlands Mart has been removed from her current duties," said Kinderland Singapore in a Facebook post on Thursday (Aug 31)."


Adulting 101: As an eldest child, I grew up prioritising others' needs. Now I am learning to put myself first (2 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE — As the eldest of four siblings, I grew up accustomed to shouldering domestic responsibilities such as doing the household chores, taking care of my younger siblings and handling all administrative work. As I grew older, I took on more responsibilities, such as paying for all the household bills.

Though I accepted these responsibilities as the eldest daughter, the reality is that it can be very tiring to carry so much on your plate. I also felt lonely and anxious having to navigate such problems by myself at a young age.

So when I chanced upon a commentary by Associate Professor Yang Hu from the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University on the "eldest daughter syndrome", I felt seen as the article described what I have been going through. The article was published on the not-for-profit news network The Conversation."


Gen Z Speaks: As a Malay-speaking Indian girl of mixed heritage, here’s how I celebrate racial harmony every day (3 September 2023)

"Growing up in Singapore, my life has been a colourful tapestry of diverse cultures and languages.

My journey has been one of self-discovery, introspection, and a profound appreciation for racial harmony.

From enjoying various cuisines at hawker centres to celebrating festive occasions with friends of different ethnic and religious groups, I am thankful for living in a diverse country that celebrates multiculturalism."


Kinderland Woodlands operator fined S$5,000, licence tenure cut; ECDA admits 'lapse' in handling of alleged child abuse (4 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE — The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) has issued a warning and fined Kinderland a penalty of S$5,000, as well as reduced its licence tenure to six months due to the severity of the recent child mismanagement cases at its Woodlands outlet.

ECDA also admitted that it should have removed the teacher involved in the alleged abuse sooner for the two-year-old child, as it revealed that investigations uncovered another case of alleged abuse in the same centre on a three-year-old.

In a statement on Monday (Sept 4), Mr Tan Chee Wee, chief executive officer of ECDA, said: “We are reviewing our systems and procedures to strengthen this protocol and ensure better oversight of cases under investigation.”


Preschool teachers welcome mandatory CCTVs in class but some fear excessive scrutiny, parents abusing system (6 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE — Preschool teachers mostly welcomed the use of closed circuit-television (CCTV) cameras in classrooms as a possible “tool of protection” against parents’ claims in possible disputes about teacher misconduct.

Still, some teachers highlighted the importance of mutual trust between educators and parents, and warned against potential abuse of the CCTV footage — where parents might “demand” to see the footage for even “trivial incidents”.

Several teachers also raised concerns about facing excessive scrutiny from centre managers and preschool principals, which they worried could cause them “a lot of mental stress”."


Footage of alleged abuse viewed by Kinderland disciplinary panel more than a week after ex-principal saw it (7 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE — From the time a principal first watched video footage of alleged abuse taking place at a preschool, more than a week went by before the same footage was viewed by a disciplinary inquiry panel set up to investigate the conduct of the teacher filmed allegedly rough-handling children.

This detail emerged in a press release by preschool chain Kinderland late on Wednesday (Sept 6) night, following a meeting with parents over recent events that have already resulted in the teacher, Lin Min, being arrested and charged with ill-treating a child.

Kinderland held a fourth dialogue session with parents at Kinderland Preschool @ Woodlands Mart on Wednesday, during which the company provided a timeline of events."


With monthly fees up to S$3,000, why do some parents send kids to private preschools? (10 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE — On an average week in school, five-year-old Jacob could be found on campus making donuts, learning the recorder, or honing his acting chops in drama class. Soon, he will even learn how to play the violin.

This exposure to myriad extra-curricular activities is one of the main reasons Mr Sebastian Goh, 34, enrolled his son in a private preschool in Farrer Park — even though it sets him back about S$1,800 every month after subsidies.

“It's like an interest check,” said Mr Goh, who works in insurance as a corporate trainer."


How do parents pick the right preschool? Use head, heart and gut, say experts (10 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE — With more than 1,600 childcare centres and close to 380 kindergartens offering the promise of an enriching preschool education around the country, how should parents decide where to send their children?

Safety measures in preschools have been on Singaporeans’ minds in recent weeks after Kinderland, a private preschool which charges parents upwards of S$1,700 for its programmes, made headlines for several cases of child mismanagement.

Early childhood professionals told TODAY that a higher price point does not automatically equate to a better quality, or safer, programme."


Former Kinderland preschool teacher who allegedly abused children in her care offered S$15,000 bail (13 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE — The former preschool teacher who went viral for rough handling and hitting children at Kinderland in Woodlands returned to court on Wednesday (Sept 13) in person, where she was offered a S$15,000 bail by the prosecution.

Lin Min, 33, was formally charged on Aug 30 with ill treatment of a 23-month-old child on June 30 this year, when she allegedly forced the child to lie down and poured water into her mouth.

Her acts were caught in video, which showed Lin placing her hand on the girl's face to prevent her from moving and then pouring water into the crying child's mouth."


Gen Y Speaks: How my journey to find a new purpose in life took me from being a tech geek to a preschool principal (17 September 2023)

"As a principal of a childcare centre today, I have to admit that the idea of working with preschool children had never crossed my mind when I was growing up.

In my youth, all of my passions and career ambitions were linked to numbers and computers, and I was enamoured by how technology can change people’s lives.

The allure of computers in my younger days opened my mind to the possibilities, and as a result, I pursued a Diploma in Information Technology at Nanyang Polytechnic."


Govt warns preschool operators against 'hindering' teachers from using mobile devices to report wrongdoing (18 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE — In the wake of the alleged abuse of children by a former Kinderland teacher, preschool operators have been warned not to hinder teachers from reporting wrongdoing through their management policy on the use of personal mobile devices.

The warning came from Ms Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Social and Family Development, during exchanges on the issue in Parliament on Monday (Sept 18). Various Members of Parliament (MPs) had filed questions and then asked supplementary questions of Ms Sun.

She said that any policy on the use of personal mobile devices that hindered the reporting of wrongdoing observed by teachers was not acceptable."


MOE to deploy more AI in schools after success of Pri 5 maths tool (20 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE — At Rosyth School, teachers can now quickly identify which students need more help in particular areas of mathematics with the support of artificial intelligence (AI) in classes.

Senior teacher Edmond Lee said it has helped to save valuable time when collating scores and understanding potential gaps in students' understanding before embarking on a topic.

“Instead of the traditional way of tabulating one by one, the system helps us so that it... saves us some time in gathering feedback (manually),” Mr Lee said."


Commentary: What parents should bear in mind when giving their kids an allowance (21 September 2023)

"Instead of setting an allowance, many parents decide to give money on demand to their children.

When figuring out if that’s a good option, we need to be aware that the key is not so much in giving or not giving an allowance, but in how you do so.

Giving our children some money each week is an excellent way for them to learn to consume responsibly and to save. To achieve that, the money we give them must be accompanied by a little teaching."


NUS staff reminded not to break the law when expressing views after Pofma order for East Asia Forum article (22 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE — The National University of Singapore (NUS) reminded staff members on Wednesday (Sept 20) not to break the law when expressing their views, after a correction direction was issued to East Asia Forum over an article written by NUS academic Dr Chan Ying-kit.

In an email sent to staff, NUS president Tan Eng Chye reminded them of the university's position as a leading global university that is trusted by the public.

"This trust is eroded when any of our faculty, staff or students engage in disinformation or misinformation," he wrote in the email."


Highest proportion among youths aged 18-29 with poor mental health, rising to over 25%: National health survey (27 September 2023)

"SINGAPORE — Slightly over a quarter of Singapore residents aged 18 to 29 suffered from poor mental health last year, a national survey has found.

This group of youth made up the highest proportion of residents who faced mental health issues compared to other age groups, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on releasing its findings from the 2022 National Population Health Survey on Wednesday (Sept 27).

The proportion of young people dealing with mental health issues in 2022 — 25.3 per cent — was an increase from the 21.5 per cent in 2020."


18-year-old tries to crack inscription on Singapore Stone, publishes paper that could help unravel its hidden meaning (1 October 2023)

"SINGAPORE — The first time Mr Lee I-Shiang heard about the Singapore Stone was at a National Day Parade rehearsal in 2016, which featured a performance about a legendary warrior called Badang picking it up and flinging it towards the Singapore River.

Seven years later, the 18-year-old is one of the few trying to crack its hidden code, publishing a paper that could help unravel one of its greatest mysteries — its inscription.

“The fact that people really don't know what it says made me think that it would be interesting to just try to find out more,” Mr Lee told TODAY in an interview."