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Rising interest in kindergarten arts programme

NAFA Arts Kindergarten, which currently has a three-year waiting list at its East Coast branch, opened a second centre in March to cope with demand.

SINGAPORE: For an hour every day, students at NAFA Arts Kindergarten (NAK) immerse themselves in the world of the arts. It could be a lesson in clay-sculpting one day and a class on the finer points of ballet the next.

The popularity of NAK’s arts programme led to the opening of a second centre in Novena, NAK @ Derbyshire, in March.

The new centre was set up in response to overwhelming demand at the kindergarten’s first centre in East Coast. TODAY understands that there is currently a three-year waiting list at the East Coast branch, which was set up in 2004.

NAK has said its classes are filled to maximum capacity every academic year.

With the opening of the new centre, student intake at the kindergarten will double. Currently, the East Coast centre takes in 150 students per session and there are two sessions each day.

The new centre will offer speech and drama classes, conducted in English and Mandarin, following feedback from parents, said Ms Claire Ng, principal of NAK @ Derbyshire.

Students undergo an hour of the arts programme each day, along with two periods of 45-minute academic lessons.

Ms Ng said parents are “realising the importance of art education, because children can develop skills that relate to life and schoolwork”. “Through art, students learn that sometimes, problems don’t necessarily have one solution and sometimes, questions may have more than one answer.”

Unlike art enrichment classes, Ms Ng said, students at NAK are taught fine arts techniques, such as using clay or charcoal to do artwork.

“Such early arts education will nurture the children into happy and confident individuals (and) provide a solid foundation for their appreciation of arts and culture, while developing their whole minds,” she added.

Mr Manish Gupta, 34, whose son is enrolled in a pre-nursery class at NAK @ Derbyshire, said he was attracted to NAK’s emphasis on the fine arts, such as speech and drama and dance classes. “The other kindergartens I have looked at don’t offer art courses related to these other elements of art,” the businessman said.

Ms Ng noted that parents are happy that their children have blossomed under the curriculum. “When the children come in at the start of the year, they are quite shy. But slowly, we see that they open up and are more willing to participate,” she said.

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