Good afternoon. I am very pleased to be here today and thoroughly enjoyed the entertaining concert presented by the K2 children.

The Ramakrishna Mission is well known for its service to Society and over the last 22 years, Sarada Kindergarten has served our preschool children well. The caring teachers at Sarada are committed to delivering quality programmes for our children, and have won many awards – the pinnacle of which was the 2013 inaugural Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) Outstanding Centre for Teaching & Learning and Outstanding Early Childhood Leader.

Sarada is active in promoting bilingualism through meaningful teaching and learning initiatives. Recently, the teachers at Sarada utilised the ECDA Innovation Grant and facilitated students in writing and illustrating ‘Little Tamil Story Books’.

Bilingualism remains a cornerstone of our education system. The setting up of the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism in recent years has boosted our efforts in promoting bilingualism. For a start, the Fund is focusing at the pre-school level to nurture a love for languages in our children from young. The Fund will continue to encourage and support the efforts of partners to develop more teaching and learning resources, to augment the pool of locally available resources for pre-school children.

I understand that the wonderful team here at Sarada is passionate about contributing to the professionalism and growth of the preschool community. They have generously shared their SPARK certification journey with other early childhood educators, and were also at the Early Childhood Conference last weekend to share their best practices. Ms Pushpavalli, principal of Sarada Kindergarten, is also one of the members in the Ministry of Education’s advisory group for the teaching and learning of Mother Tongue Languages in preschools.

The ministry is committed to supporting the preschool sector with curriculum resources for the Mother Tongue Language curriculum. We recently announced that the Chinese, Malay and Tamil versions of the Framework would be available to better support early childhood educators of Mother Tongue Languages.

Early childhood is a key period for learning and development. Parents and educators play a crucial role through their many interactions with children throughout their development. To the parents here today, you are your child’s first teacher and learning takes place both at home and in school. I encourage you to continue playing an active role and partnering the school to create a happy and holistic learning experience for your child.

Thank you.