Kiasu parents, at the ready: an exclusive preschool in Singapore is promising to teach your precious tots soft skills like grit, adaptability and empathy to survive the digital age.
Trehaus preschool, which accepts children between 2 months and 6 years old, will start its first intake of students in September, it said on Wednesday (Sept 11).
It costs S$2,568 per month for a full-day programme and S$2,354 for a half-day programme.
After adding in various fees and a refundable deposit, the cost of enrolling a child in Trehaus under the full-day programme will set parents back S$31,198 per year.
Calling itself a “Silicon Valley-inspired preschool”, the school’s curriculum was designed by early education experts from institutions including Stanford’s Bing Nursery and Silicon Valley’s Khan Lab School.
The school’s six programmes are each themed after a job (CEO, engineer, philanthropist, athlete, creative, and chef) and aim to teach children the skills associated with it, such as entrepreneurship, coding, public speaking, teamwork, design thinking, and cooking.
Trehaus’ school head Carolina Sam said that grit, which “encompasses determination, toughness and resilience”, would help children look at failures and mistakes in a positive way.
“This plays a large role in their ability to be successful in school and in life,” she added.
She said that children would be taught about grit through a “no failure, only feedback” policy that encourages them to work on their abilities and treat failure positively.
Teachers also teach children to take calculated risks, expand their comfort zones, and learn emotional skills, such as how to self-soothe and self-regulate.
Apart from a bilingual English and Mandarin programme, Trehaus is also offering a pure Mandarin immersion programme to give students a headstart in reading and writing Chinese.
Trehaus founder Dr Elaine Kim said the preschool hopes to prepare children for “a future disrupted by technology”, where soft skills become more important than hard skills.
“More than 50 per cent of the jobs that exist in the next 50 years don’t even exist today,” said Kim. “The skills children learn in our programme will prepare them for this future.”
To help children gain skills quickly, “loving” and “nurturing” teachers will act as co-parents, Trehaus said.
The school boasts a teacher-child ratio of 1:5, which is at least two times more than recommended minimums.
In comparison, government guidelines stipulate that preschools must have a teacher-child ratio of at least 1:12 for those aged two to three, 1:18 for those aged three to four, 1:20 for five-year-olds, and 1:25 for six-year-olds.