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PCF Sparkletots at Joo Chiat launches outdoor learning programme with obstacle course, animal care

SINGAPORE: Students of PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Sparkletots at Joo Chiat can now spend more time outside the classroom after an enhancement to its outdoor-learning curriculum. 

At the official opening of PCF Sparkletots@Joo Chiat, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong launched the enhanced programme, refreshing its syllabus so children can have more outdoor time and experiential learning.

After works to expand the premises was completed in 2020, the school now has an outdoor play area more than double its original size, said PCF Sparkletots in a media release on Sunday (Apr 28).


Under the programme, students can attempt a mini obstacle course, learn to care for animals and go on nature trails as part of their preschool curriculum.

The mini obstacle course students can try out as part of the preschool's outdoor learning programme.


Mr Tong, who is Member of Parliament (MP) for Marine Parade GRC, also announced a new bursary for families with children as young as 18 months old.

It will benefit residents of Marine Parade GRC, and more information on the criteria will be announced later, said PCF Sparkletots. 


Citing his parliament speech from 2013, Mr Tong said that children from well-off backgrounds inevitably get a head start by enrolling in comprehensive preschool programmes and extra-curricular activities. 

By the time they enter primary schools, there is often already an "appreciable gap" between those who are more well-off and those who are not.

“Hence this bursary is meant to help find solutions and ease the burden of families who have difficulty sending their young to preschool,” said Mr Tong. 


Besides costs, there could also be other practical or logistical reasons, such as transportation, that cause families to opt not to send their children to preschool, he added.

“We will be studying to see how we can best support such families and help get (their) young children in preschool,” he said.


GENERAL ELECTION

Mr Tong also spoke to reporters about the Marine Parade GRC team’s preparations leading up to the next General Election, which must be held by November 2025.

Mr Tong, who represents the Joo Chiat ward, said: “We’re always preparing. We’re always working on the ground. My team and I are actively serving our residents, making sure that their needs are looked after,” he said. “That’s always ongoing.”


Marine Parade GRC has been short of an MP after former Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin resigned last July due to an affair with former Tampines MP Cheng Li Hui.


Following the incident, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Mr Tong will oversee Kembangan-Chai Chee residents in Mr Tan's Marine Parade constituency.


The other MPs in Marine Parade GRC are current Speaker of Parliament Seah Kian Peng, Manpower Minister Tan See Leng and Mr Mohd Fahmi Aliman.


In response to CNA’s question on whether the PAP is stepping up infrastructure building in the area, Mr Tong pointed to the new initiatives in Joo Chiat, such as an upcoming community centre and a new MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line. 


He added that various facilities will also be upgraded, including Siglap and Frankel estates under the Ministry of National Development’s estate upgrading programme.

“These are all initiatives that will be coming on board soon, and our residents are looking forward to,” said Mr Tong. 


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