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Cooperation Established between College of Education and Singapore Public Preschools
The Tsinghua STEAM School has recently been in the news. The recently established STEAM school is distinguished for its innovative approach to interdisciplinary education at the preschool, primary, and secondary levels. Its name is an acronym for the main subjects it teaches: science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. As part of the ongoing development of the STEAM curriculum, NTHU has recently entered into a cooperative project with the Singaporean public preschool chain “My First Skool” (MFS) to develop localized textbooks and conduct teacher training. The STEAM School's curriculum and methodology are based on the STEM program implemented by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the United States, with art as an additional subject. The emphasis of the STEM program is on interdisciplinary education, practical experience, and hands-on learning—an approach which has rapidly become a global trend in education.
 
The three-year agreement was signed on July 19 at a ceremony held at the Learning and Sharing Festival at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Center in Singapore. The agreement was signed by NTHU President Hocheng Hong and Professor Lin Chi-hui, dean of the College of Education. MFS was represented by Chen Zhicheng and Cheng Ailing of NTUC Singapore.
 
 
Hocheng said that Chinese societies have always attached great importance to education, and that even while the birthrate continues to fall in Singapore, the quality of preschool education continues to improve. He also stated that the cooperative project with MFS is expected to make a major contribution to the quality of teacher training provided by NTHU’s College of Education. During his speech, Hocheng said that one of the goals of STEAM School is to provide students with excellent education in science, engineering, and the arts, thereby obviating the need for supplemental classes after school and on weekends.
 
Also attending the ceremony was Singapore’s Minister for Social and Family Development, Desmond Lee, who said that as a father of three children, he gives much importance to early childhood education and that public preschools help disadvantaged children get off to a good start in life by providing them with equal access to quality education.
 
Wang Tzu-hua, associate dean of College of Education said that MFS was established as a public preschool by NTUC in 1977 and currently has more than 140 kindergartens. He also said that the overall plan is to integrate the MFS approach into the current curriculum of the STEAM School, as well as the College of Education’s teacher training program. He also mentioned that the STEAM School has already developed two localized English courses which are gradually being introduced into other kindergartens.
 
Also attending the three-day Learning and Sharing Festival was Assistant Professor Chiu Chia-hui of NTHU’s Department of Early Childhood Education, along with ten of her students. A total of 1,800 preschool teachers from Singapore participated in this grand event emphasizing the joy of learning and sharing. NTHU was the only foreign University invited to present a panal on teaching methodology at the event, and Chiu and her students demonstrated a game they developed for teaching math to children aged 3 to 5 years old. Chiu said that in this game students learn computational thinking by taking no more than eight steps on floor pads of different colors while avoiding various obstacles. She explained that this game helps children to develop a sense of numbers, order, and space, and also enhances their ability to reason and to solve problems.
 
Singapore’s Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee presenting NTHU president Hocheng Hong with a plaque commemorating the cooperation between NTHU and MFS.

Singapore’s Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee presenting NTHU president Hocheng Hong with a plaque commemorating the cooperation between NTHU and MFS.

Singapore’s Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee presenting NTHU president Hocheng Hong with a plaque commemorating the cooperation between NTHU and MFS.

Singapore’s Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee presenting NTHU president Hocheng Hong with a plaque commemorating the cooperation between NTHU and MFS.

Hocheng (left) and Lee (right) trying out the math-learning activity designed by the NTHU’s Department of Early Childhood Education.

Hocheng (left) and Lee (right) trying out the math-learning activity designed by the NTHU’s Department of Early Childhood Education.

Demonstration at the Learning and Sharing Festival of the nutritious lunch provided at public preschools in Singapore.

Demonstration at the Learning and Sharing Festival of the nutritious lunch provided at public preschools in Singapore.

The math-learning game designed by Department of Early Childhood Education helps children to develop a sense of numbers, order, and space, and also enhances their ability to reason and to solve problems.

The math-learning game designed by Department of Early Childhood Education helps children to develop a sense of numbers, order, and space, and also enhances their ability to reason and to solve problems.

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