The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) has launched the sixth edition of its President’s Challenge initiative, the ‘Start Small Dream Big’ movement, with more than 53,000 children ready to embark on projects that contribute to the community. The movement, which started with only 150 preschools in 2015, has grown six-fold to 950 preschools this year. This is the highest participation by preschools to-date and shows the sector’s resilience and determination to overcome a difficult time together.
The theme of this year’s ‘Start Small Dream Big’ is “A Caring and Inclusive Home for All”. It is aligned with the President’s Challenge’s focus on giving everyone a chance to contribute to society. Through ‘Start Small Dream Big’, we encourage all preschool children to care for their community in their own unique ways. Children, with guidance from their teachers, select the causes they want to champion.
The ‘Start Small Dream Big’ movement this year has taken on greater significance as the preschool sector comes together to uplift community spirits and do good for others amidst the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Many preschools participating in ‘Start Small Dream Big’ are responding to the SG United call to help our society overcome the coronavirus outbreak in creative ways. For example, preschools are making cards, crafts, care packs and videos in appreciation of unsung heroes in our community and frontliners such as healthcare workers, cleaners, and other community workers. Another key project, in tandem with the SG Clean campaign, is raising awareness of the importance of social responsibility by practising good personal and public hygiene habits, such as making homemade soap and creating songs on proper hand-washing.
For instance, as part of their community project, the children at PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Sengkang Central Blk 206A plan to organise a donation drive for the elderly, as well as make refreshments for the cleaners in their neighbourhood to thank them for keeping their school compound clean. On top of that, they have also created a video to teach others how to keep themselves safe from the virus, and interactive games that reinforce good hygiene habits. “Through the ‘Start Small Dream Big’ project, our children learn how to care for the others and show kindness, compassion and appreciation, while continuing their efforts to keep the virus at bay,” said Ms Glory Janessa Puvaneswari Kumaran, Principal of the Sparkletots Preschool.
Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Desmond Lee said, “The ‘Start Small Dream Big’ movement empowers our children to give back to our community through creative and meaningful projects, cultivating a caring and inclusive society for all. The current COVID-19 situation makes it especially important for us to look out for each other. We can turn crisis into opportunity – to build resilience in our young and nurture them to be a positive force during challenging times. I hope that the children’s enthusiasm will inspire even more people to support one another through this unprecedented period, and beyond.”
Parents are encouraged to show support for their children’s projects by participating in their project activities, either at home or online. Teachers and parents can also make use of the new ‘Start Small Dream Big Activity Kit’ to engage their children meaningfully, while learning how they can show care and kindness to others around them. This online printable kit provides suggested activities that incorporate key ‘Start Small Dream Big’ themes.
Preschools participating in ‘Start Small Dream Big’ are advised to conduct their community projects in accordance with ECDA’s prevailing advisory on precautionary measures against COVID-19 to safeguard the health and well-being of children and staff.
More details about ‘Start Small Dream Big’ and stories from all participating preschools on their project events and activities can be found at www.startsmalldreambig.sg.