World's largest early years setting opens

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The world’s largest early years setting has opened in Singapore with more than 2,000 childcare places.

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The Early Learning Village has spaces for over 2,000 children

The Early Learning Village in Singapore is a collaboration between two schools, Stamford American International School (SAIS) and the Australian International School (AIS), both of which are owned by Cognita.

The Village, which opened at the end of August, is spread across 50,000 sq ft and over seven floors. It has places for 2,100 children aged 18 months to six years, making it the largest early years setting in the world.

Parents choose to send their children to either the American (blue and red uniform) or Australian school (striped uniform).

 

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While the two international schools share the same campus and facilities –  including more than 100 classrooms, a 20m swimming pool and two large play decks – they follow slightly different curriculums and academic calendars.

Both schools follow the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme, but the American school, SAIS, incorporates the STEAMInn approach – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and Innovation, while the Australian school, AIS, draws upon principles of the Reggio Emilia philosophy.

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Children can take part in a number of activities including ballet (from 18 months), languages, drama, football and robotics – which involves making and programming robots. Those attending the American school receive weekly Suzuki violin lessons. The Australian school runs a music literacy programme known as the Orff approach, which combines music, movement, drama and speech into play-based learning.

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All teachers at the Early Learning Village hold masters degrees.

The cost of a full-time place (five days a week) for a three-year-old at the Village is $14,500 a semester, the equivalent of £8,112.47.

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Sir Kevan Collins, chairman of Cognita’s Education Advisory Board and chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), said, 'Research clearly shows that investment in early years doesn’t just give children the best start to their education, it gives them the best start for life. It’s also at the heart of Cognita’s ground-breaking Early Learning Village in Singapore. With its innovative design and scale, the Early Learning Village is a timely addition to international school provision on the island.'

Michael Drake, chief executive of Cognita Asia said, ‘The Early Learning Village is the product of an exciting collaboration between two of our schools and educational experts. We are proud to offer an unparalleled Early Learning Village that reflects our modern and innovative approach, at a scale unlike anywhere else in the world for children in their vital pre-school years.’

Read more about the Early Learning Village in an interview with its principals in the next issue of Nursery World, out on 18 September.

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