Mention NAFA Arts Kindergarten, and the first thing that undoubtedly comes to mind is it is so difficult to get in! Not that it should come as a surprise as not only is NAFA Arts Kindergarten the first and only Arts Kindergarten in Singapore, it is also the 'junior extension' of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts encompassing both academic and arts education in music, art and dance.
In fact, I have heard that the Kindergarten in East Coast has an extremely long waiting list, with a waiting time of up to three years! But fret not if you are intending to enrol your child in NAFA Arts Kindergarten as it has opened a brand new branch at Derbyshire Road, a more central location which is opposite United Square Mall.
NAFA Arts Kindergarten's pre-school programme is unlike other kindergartens as it focuses not only the academic but also arts and moral education for pre-schoolers. Its programme integrates art, drama, music and dance into the curriculum to support its students' holistic growth.
The one thing that struck me when I paid a visit to its new campus on Derbyshire Road is the layout of its classrooms. Each classroom is separated into various corners - Language, Manipulative, Construction and Dramatic - where children can explore and learn through large and small group activities.
The teacher-child ratio in the Pre-Nursery class is 1:8, and the teacher-child ratio for Nursery and Kindergarten class is 1:10. While this means that more attention will be given to each individual student, it also aids the teachers in working more closely with the children when it comes to the various learning corners.
The teacher usually conducts her lessons in a large group, after which the children will be dispersed into the learning corners. The teacher will woth with one group of children, while the co-teacher will move around the learning corners to facilitate the children's learning. A point to note is all materials provided in the learning corners are related to the thematic curriculum for that particular term.
Speaking of its thematic curriculum, NAFA Arts Kindergarten's curriculum is guided by the MOE curriculum framework and is focused on providing children the experiences to build their foundation and learn skills that are necessary for their primary school education. With these skills, the children will be better equipped as an independent learner ready for primary school education.
Of course, all work and no play makes every child a dull young-ling indeed. So at NAFA Arts Kindergarten, great care is taken to allocate enough time for both for free play activities, as well as for structured learning.
And even during playtime, the emphasis on the Arts is still very much alive. Whenever possible, the playthings that are used during outdoor play are not bought but instead painstakingly crafted by the teachers, much like this football made from newspapers.
And the children still have loads of fun all the same.
A typical day at NAFA Arts Kindergarten consists of 15 minutes assembly, 20 minutes of refreshment, 40 minutes of Outdoor time, 2 sessions of 45 minutes integrated activities conducted by English and Mandarin teachers respectively, 15 minutes of Circle time and perhaps most importantly of all, 1 hour of Arts Programme.
Yes, students have the chance to attend one form of Arts Programme every day: 2 days of Music lessons, 1 day of Art lesson, 1 day of Dance lesson and 1 day of Speech & Drama lesson. No additional charges are needed for these classes, hence negating the need for parents to send their children to additional enrichment Arts lessons after school or during the weekends.
To inspire children’s interest in music and develop their musical talents through specially designed music program by School of Young Talents (SYT). Children will receive professional training in sight-reading, aural and performance skills, and children with potential will be recommended for SYT-NAK Music Integrated Program.
To express imaginations and emotions through body movements with rhythm. Children are eligible to join SYT Dance Program Preparatory Year 1 upon graduation.
Speech and Drama
To encourage creative thinking and develop children’s confidence, stage presence, as well as bilingual public speaking skills in English and Mandarin.
To involve children in basic art making using various mediums to express personal ideas creatively.
As with all things associated when it comes to learning for children, activities are carefully designed to be fun and interactive so as to meet the individual developmental needs of each child. So not only are they introduced to academic skills, life skills including cooperation, respects for self and others, sharing and caring for others are strongly emphasized as well.
Interested to find out more? NAFA Arts Kindergarten's second campus at Derbyshire Road will be having an Open House on 28 & 29 June 2014 and 5 & 6 July 2014 between 10am and 5pm.
There will be fun-filled activities for kids such as storytelling, face-painting and more, while parents will be able to discover how NAFA Arts Kindergarten's holistic programme, which blends art, music and dance, can make learning an interactive and fun experience for their children. More details in the poster below.
But that is not all. Parents will be entitled to $100 off the registration fees (original fees: $200) when they sign up for a 2-week trial class and insurance during its open house period. Promotion ends on 17 July 2014. In addition, alumni (Ex-East Coast Campus students’ siblings & Ex-NAFA students’ children) will also be entitled to $100 off the registration fees (original fees: $200) when they sign up for a 2 week trial class and insurance. Also, the 1st term speech and drama material fees will be waived off if they sign up during our open house period between 17 May 2014 – 17 July 2014.
For more information, visit www.nafa-intl.com/kindergarten.htm.