Singapore has a wealth of learning experience to offer preschoolers. We found about some of their fun and educational school outings this year.
Caring for Otters
Location: Singapore Zoo
School: Kinderland Preschool and Kindergarten
Grade: Preschool and Kindergarten
Over 600 Kinderland children (ages four to six years) visited Singapore Zoo to learn about the otters living in Singapore’s wetland ecosystems, and the impact of water pollution on them. The aim was to learn about the animals, and to encourage, explain and discuss why children should take care of the natural environment through their own actions.
They participated in the Trashbusters programme presented by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, which teaches children not to throw or leave rubbish behind after picnics in nature. They learnt about polluted environments, how to identify rubbish types (paper, metal, plastic) and the correct bins for disposal. Later, they watched a demonstration on how plastic rubbish can get caught around the neck of an otter. They watched videos on how to identify an otter, and learned where otters can be seen in Singapore – often in family groups.
Children travelled to the Zoo by bus, wore their school uniforms and were accompanied by teachers on this trip. It’s a great social experience for the children and encourages them to take ownership of their actions and inspires their appreciation for the environment.
Art for All
Location: National Art Gallery Singapore
School: Arts Kidz International Preschool
Grade: K1 and K2
The educators at Arts Kidz recognise that young children not only have the capacity to create amazing art (as exemplified in the school’s annual Art Show), but they can also appreciate artworks made by others. To support this ethos, students took a trip to see the National Art Gallery exhibition, Imaginarium. As young art critics, the students developed their creative and analytical thinking as they discussed their thoughts on the exhibits. The inspiration and ideas gained during the visit were a contributor to the amazing works of art they themselves created; these will be exhibited at this year’s Early Childhood Development Agency Conference.
Prior to the visit, Arts Kidz International hosted a representative of the Gallery who conducted an interactive presentation introducing students to various art forms and to museum etiquette.
The security and safety of each child is a top priority for all school excursions, and teachers are the most important safety feature! All teachers receive thorough training on safety and security procedures, and are briefed well in advance. Parents also help to prepare their little ones for excursions by packing water bottles and hats in their children’s school bags and applying sunblock and mosquito repellent when needed.
Location: Changi Beach
School: Pat’s Schoolhouse
In line with the curriculum theme on Intertidal Zones, kindergarten students from Pat’s Schoolhouse River Valley visited Changi Beach. The children enjoyed walking around the intertidal regions of the area and learnt about the vast biodiversity of Singapore’s coastal shores.
During the one-hour guided programme by Young Nautilus, the children experienced a glimpse of a day in the life of a marine ecologist. A highlight was the hands-on interactive experience with the marine intertidal animals found on Changi’s shores such as hermit crabs, purple crabs, sand dollars, sea anemones, sea cucumbers and others.
The children were well equipped for the learning journey in their comfortable attire, covered shoes, and caps; They even brought along additional footwear to change into so that they could walk along the shore after their programme!
Location: ACRES Wildlife Sanctuary
School: Raintrees Kindergarten
Grade: Busy Bees (four- to six-year-olds)
This trip was organised as part of the Busy Bees’ topic work on “Mini-beasts and Reptiles”. It was an extension of the learning the children had thoroughly enjoyed about different animals seen around Singapore. ACRES was deliberately chosen to offer children a perspective on the rescue and rehabilitation of animals, and the presentation was interactive and fun for this age group.
The children had a great time learning about different creatures, including wild animals and others that had been rescued from injury. During the indoor presentation, the children had fun playing games, and enjoyed a collaborative activity finding different animals in the garden using clues given by the helpful staff.
The children and staff travelled on a school bus. All participants were advised to wear long, slim-fitting trousers and long-sleeved tops to avoid being bitten while walking around looking at all the animals; the children also wore mosquito patches as a precaution. Everyone carried water and a snack and enjoyed this indoors.
Sometimes parents come along on the school’s excursions, but this time they weren’t needed because the child/staff ratio was adequate. The children had a great time, enjoyed learning and put in a lot of effort to make a picture of a turtle in the style of Eric Carle – a gesture truly appreciated by the ACRES staff.
Location: Bollywood Veggies
School: Shaws Preschool
Grade: Nursery Two (three- to four-year-olds)
Students at Shaws are fortunate to experience up to 10 fascinating field trips a year. These trips are designed to take learning outside the classroom, so children can connect what they learn in the classroom to real life; when this happens, the world makes more sense to them. Excursions are kept simple and real, to ensure even the little ones are able to learn from the visits.
Recently we took a trip to Bollywood Veggies in the island’s north at Kranji to see a small but operational Singapore farm. As part of the curriculum, the children were learning how plants grow, and their plant of choice was the papaya tree. In school, the children explored the parts of the plant and, of course, grew their own plants from seeds in the Shaws garden. They visited Bollywood Veggies to explore papayas in a farm environment and to learn more about plants in general.
Parents are invited to come on all Shaws excursions; they are a valuable addition to the experience. For trips with younger students (under three years old), an adult helper is a must.
Five locations islandwide shaws.com.sg
Location: Kok Fah Technology Farm
School: Swallows and Amazons Kindergarten
Grade: Summer Camp students
A two-hour visit to Kok Fah Technology Farm concluded a weekly Summer Camp themed around “Edible Garden”. The trip offered the children a sensorial experience to learn how vegetables are grown in a landscarce country like Singapore. During the week, the children discovered various types of vegetables and fruit through cooking, science and craft activities.
The guided 45-minute tour was hands-on and sensorial, and the children were given many opportunities to see, smell, touch and taste. What’s more, they harvested some of the vegetables and the guides took care to speak to the children in easily understood terms. The children not only got to watch the process of growing vegetables – from seed to vegetable – they also got to taste and touch them. They also took a packet of green vegetables home!
Teacher-to-student ratios on excursions are 1:3 for Pre-Nursery and Nursery 1 children, and 1:4 for our Nursery 2/Kindergarten 1. Children and staff wear their school uniforms and carry water bottles with a strap. Each child has an “If Found” sticker on their backs as a precaution. Staff members carry emergency contact lists and a mobile First Aid kit.
Location: Hay Dairies
School: White Lodge
White Lodge runs two field trips per term. These educational trips, just for Kindergarten, are conducted during school hours, while other trips for all ages are held during weekends so working parents have the opportunity to attend.
As part of the school’s “Farm” learning theme, children recently took a day trip to Hay Dairies, a working goat farm. The trip lasted around two-and-a-half hours and provided the opportunity for discovering and experiencing how a farm works – from caring and feeding the goats, to milking them and learning how the milk is pasteurised and bottled, ready for sale.
This was a hands-on learning experience because the children were involved in the feeding of the goats, and it generated great enquiry and discussion. Since health and safety is of prime importance at White Lodge, the school’s principal visited the site prior to the visit to perform a review and to submit a risk assessment report for approval. Teachers accompanied the children on the day. (Parents don’t join Kindergarten excursions at White Lodge because the trips encourage children to develop social skills and independence while accompanied only by their educators.) Children carried a water bottle, snack and sun hat.