EtonHouse, which officially opened a few weeks ago on 30th August, 2010, is already a household name in early childhood education in many Asian cities.
About the school
The EtonHouse offers an inquiry based curriculum that is focused on research-based best practice. The EtonHouse curriculum follows the International Baccalaureate (IB) philosophy of inquiry based learning and the Literacy and Numeracy strategies from the United Kingdom for the primary children in Singapore. For the Early Years Programme (Nursery to Kindergarten), a child-responsive, play-based, “inquire, think, learn” EtonHouse pedagogy is followed. The early childhood curriculum is inspired by the Reggio Emilia educational project of northern Italy.
EtonHouse offers an outstanding second language programme. The school prides itself on providing a well-rounded curriculum that allows children to be exposed to a bilingual education in English and Mandarin. It offers an integrated Mandarin program whereby its English and Mandarin staff work in collaboration to support children’s language development.
EtonHouse’ Inquire・Think・Learn curriculum framework, is based on 7 pedagogical principles of teaching and learning (excerpted below from the EtonHouse website):
1. An image of the child as competent: We respect all children as strong and competent learners, curious and interested in their world. Our curriculum is generated through ongoing observation of individual children’s skills, ideas and interest. In this way, we demonstrate the pedagogy of listening (Rinaldi 2006 p 65), valuing the individual child and their unique characteristics and learning styles to create a responsive curriculum based on inquiry and play.
2. Acknowledging children as sophisticated thinkers and communicators. Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the schools of Reggio Emilia, proposed that children have 100 languages with which to communicate their ideas and thinking, e.g. children draw, paint, compose, write, sculpt, design, model, sing and dance…
3. Focusing on seeing children as participants within a socio-cultural context where knowledge is constructed through reciprocal and responsive interactions with others (Curtis & Carter 2008). Children construct understandings and develop critical and creative thinking capacities as they engage with physical and interpersonal world.
4. Play and conversation are the central modes of learning for young children. Play serves as an integrative device which provides a context for social interaction, the development of new skills and the sharing of knowledge. Learning occurs when the adult takes an active role within the play, focusing the child’s awareness, extending and complicating their thinking and guiding and supporting their engagement.
5. Ensuring our curriculum has intellectual and pedagogical integrity. We engage in research based teaching, drawing principally on social constructivist theory and the work of Vygotsky and Gardner.
6. Creating alliances with parents as the child’s first educators. We believe that to best support children, we must work closely with the parents to establish shared goals and expectations about the child’s learning.
7. As educators, we demonstrate our accountability to children, parents and the wider community through our commitment to pedagogical documentation. Through our documentation we make our learning and teaching visible to others and create a context for self reflection (both children and adults)
The pre-school’s learning goals are help children maximise their opportunities by providing many diverse educational experiences and an environment in which children grow in independence and take responsibility for their own learning. Excellent staff- to-child ratio.
The first of the EtonHouse Pre-Schools was established by founder Mrs Ng Gim Choo, who was so impressed by the operation and management methods of a small pre-school in London that her own children had attended in London, that established a similar school on returning to Singapore. Much research, care and planning had gone into the creating of a similar ambiance and to replicate the curriculum and learning methods of the British. system. The EtonHouse group now run nine campuses in Singapore including two Japanese Pre-Schools and seven EtonHouse Schools in China. It has 24 schools in the Asia Pacific region.