ACCS has weighed in on the discussions on preschools, saying many Catholic ones employ ‘purposeful play’ and that the Church consistently provides affordable, high quality education.In the wake of public discussions on preschools, the Catholic schools’ commission says it agrees with the experts that play is important in a child’s development.

“Many of our preschools are already using purposeful play in their approach,” says Ms Merilyn Dasson, the Archdiocesan Commission for Catholic Schools’ (ACCS) project director for early childhood education.

“Through purposeful play, children develop an understanding of their social worlds. They learn to relate to each other and socialise and learn the basic skills,” she told CatholicNews.

“We are studying the situation to strengthen best practices in developing the core curriculum, religious education content and approaches building on the Ministry of Education’s frameworks and guidelines,” she said.

ACCS is also providing regular formation programmes to raise the expertise of teachers, she added. The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports “also provide programmes for professional development and our schools benefit from these as well”.

On the question of affordability of Catholic preschools, ACCS executive director Wendy Louis says that “the Catholic Church has always regarded education as her special mission and has consistently provided affordable, high quality education”.

She says she hopes more young Catholic parents would consider Catholic preschool education for their children “as these are the crucial years of growth in religious, social and emotional competence”.

“It is crucial that schools partner parents in the education of their children,” she said. For this reason, schools work very closely with parents for their children’s holistic development, she said.

There are presently 19 Catholic preschools in Singapore catering to 4,840 children aged between four and six.