Tucked away in the leafy Burghley Lifestyle Hub in Serangoon Gardens, Chicky & Olive Learning Centre is the only preschool of its kind in Singapore.
What makes it special? Founded by Sophie Wong, its innovative approach to teaching French, English and Mandarin allows little ones aged 16 months to 5 years to express themselves in whatever words or phrases that naturally come out.
Whether it’s “I am putting on my chaussettes” or “Je met mes socks”, at Chicky & Olive, there are no arbitrary rules requiring young children to speak in one language or the other, depending on the class or day. Such “code-switching” is very normal, explains Sophie, who speaks six languages herself (including three Chinese dialects!). She developed this bespoke approach after working in early childhood education for more than 15 years, first in Hong Kong and then at the respected Lycée Français de Singapour.
Sophie’s own upbringing – being raised in Yemen and Djibouti and schooled in France and the U.K. – makes her uniquely empathetic to children from diverse backgrounds living in Singapore. “I just want them to be happy,” says the kind-hearted head of school while giving a recent tour of the colourful, light-filled campus.
What’s more, Sophie takes care to provide lots of outdoor time along with fun enrichment opportunities for students such as swimming. Bonus: Swimming is even covered by the regular school fees!
Find out more about Chicky & Olive in the gallery, below. Intrigued? Sign up for one of its upcoming Open Houses – this 6 and 13 April, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. – to check out the school and meet Sophie in person.
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