Alternative Approaches to the Development of Early Childhood Education in Singapore

Author: 
Yong Yik Wei
Aekapol Chongvilaivan
Chew Jing Yang
Description: 
Paper No. 2008/08 – November 2008
JEL codes: 
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Abstract: 
A knowledge-intensive, innovation-driven economy needs innovative and creative individuals in business, government, and the various professions. Singapores education system has an important role to play in equipping the young with the right qualities. This could be better achieved by moving away from an overly rigid education system that places undue emphasis on rote learning and examination scores, to an education system that develops students creativity and critical thinking abilities, and encourages their innate curiosity and willingness to experiment. We examine, as a backdrop, various economic theories of entrepreneurship and, believing that it is important to begin with a good educational foundation, the features of some alternative approaches to pre-school education. We also examine Singapores attempts to promote independent thinking and creativity among Singaporean students, and other countries experiences, in particular those of Finland and the Netherlands. Among other issues, emphasis is placed on play and the fostering of students love of learning, in less structured settings, as the media of learning during early childhood education.