Mourn and Wear Black: The Slow and Painful Death of Small and Medium-Sized Kindergartens and Childcare Centres in Singapore

On Friday, the 3rd of July 2015, the Early Childhood Development Agency (or ECDA) uploaded their proposed Early Childhood Development Centres Bill onto the Reach Singapore website, one day after a fairly noisy briefing session for early childhood providers in the Nexus auditorium at Cuppage Plaza. https://www.reach.gov.sg/ There had been rumblings of the new legislation […]

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An Open Letter to the Council for Private Education

Dear Sirs, I had a very interesting encounter with two of your officers yesterday. I say “interesting” as a euphemism of sorts because the excitement from the meeting did not abate and allow me to sleep well last night. I had seriously and sincerely thought that we had made some progress as a nation to be […]

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Schools for the Biddables – Part 3: Secret Schools

One of the more disturbing problems with measuring was that over time, the dimensions of comparison became finer and all-the-more minute, where even a difference of eleven decimal points became necessary to distinguish and distribute the islanders between the fringe and dome schools. There were those who were tall, but just not tall enough. And […]

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Schools for the Biddables – Part 1: And So It Begins

Once upon a time, in a balmy village on a small tropical island not far from the ocean core, there lived a group of people called the Biddables. The Biddables were descendants of a group of simple fisherfolk and vegetable farmers who had been on the island since the very beginning of time. They were […]

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The Problem With Supposed Expertise

In 1995, some 20 years ago, a comprehensive study of cultural, linguistic and racial diversity in early childhood education was conducted in Canada (Bernhard, Lefebvre, Chud & Lange, 1995). The study included 199 teachers in the three cities of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, plus many families and 78 faculty from three provinces. The study found […]

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Why Teachers Fail in Singapore Preschools

Not everyone knows how or why I started to teach, just close friends, but the consistent problems Wee Care has faced in cultivating a strong team of early childhood educators over the years has brought me, time and again, to recall the moment when I felt working with young children was going to be right […]

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Taking a Stand Part 2: Homework Hysteria

One of the problems with the way meritocracy is applied in the Singapore context is what happens in daily classroom life as a result. In the last newsletter, I outlined how even supposedly “holistic” ventures such as projects and extra-curricular activities in Singapore schools are platforms for performativity (to borrow Professor Stephen’s Ball’s term for […]

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Taking a Stand Part 1: When there are few Merits in Meritocracy

It is difficult to write about meritocracy, especially when one has benefited from a system that extols the virtues of hard work, effort, diligence and that certain amount and kind of intellect that gets rewarded in school. It is even more difficult to imagine anything else. Surely, identifying individuals by merit is society’s fairest way […]

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