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"FUN Start, MOVE Smart!" Launched in Singapore

2010-11-30

Children in Singapore will now receive a holistic education right from preschool with the launch of "FUN Start, MOVE Smart! The FUNdamental MOVEment Skills for Growing Active Learners" developed by the Singapore Sports Council (SSC).

"FUN Start, MOVE Smart!" is a resource guide that provides teaching principles, ideas and practices to help educators in their movement education classes. Specifically, the guide provides educators basic information on fundamental movement skills, recommended activities, safety tips, and ideas on integrating the skills with other domains of development. There are also several instructional tools such as cue cards and observational checklists included for educators to use.

Fundamental movement skills are critical in the holistic development of children aged two to ten and are the building blocks for all learning domains such as language, literacy, numeracy and social awareness.

Said Dr Bervyn Lee, Senior Director, Sports Pathways Development Division, SSC, "We recognise that fundamental movement skills are not age-determined but ability-driven. While the initial phase of the roll-out is focused on preschools, the teaching of fundamental movement skills is essential in our primary schools too."

The guide is written by Dr Teo-Koh Sock Miang, an Associate Professor in Physical Education and Sports Science at the National Institute of Education (NIE) and the Nanyang Technogical University (NTU). She added, "People often assume that fundamental movement skills will develop naturally as the child grows. However, these skills have to be taught just like reading or writing. Fundamental movement skills are also crucial perquisites for the child to master more complex and specialised sports skills, for a healthy, active lifestyle later in adulthood."

The SSC will distribute about 1,400 complimentary copies of "FUN Start, MOVE Smart!" to all preschools in Singapore by early 2011. About 30 early childhood educators from up to 10 schools will also be participating in a pilot programme that will run from January to March 2011, where the guide will be put into practice and the results of its use will be monitored.

In addition, a series of training workshops targeting an initial 300 early childhood educators will also be conducted, commencing first quarter of next year. Lessons learnt and feedback received during the pilot programme will be used to frame the structure these workshops. The workshops will give educators a deeper understanding of the importance of helping children acquire fundamental movement skills, as well as guide teachers on how to best utilise the resource guide. In the first year, the Singapore Sports Council plans to reach out to more than 700 teachers, benefitting about 15,000 preschoolers.

Added Dr Bervyn Lee, "The SSC's aim is to give every young child in Singapore every opportunity to be competent physically. In doing so, we will be assisting the development of physical literacy, which is the foundation for an active and healthy lifestyle, sports performance, and better-rounded individuals."

Acknowledging the importance of the teaching of fundamental movement skills in preschools, the long term benefits and strong positive results achieved in countries like Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, the SSC plans to further scale the programme by providing parents and sports coaches with a similar guide in the near future.

The "FUN Start, MOVE Smart! The FUNdamental MOVEment Skills for Growing Active Learners Resource Guide" is developed as part of the Let's Play movement, an initiative by the SSC to encourage all Singaporeans to embrace sports as a lifestyle choice, be it through playing, watching, cheering or volunteering for sports.

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