21 November 2023
NTUC First Campus’s innovative Digital Literacy Programme empowers preschoolers to navigate the digital world safely and confidently
Senior English language teacher Eileen Chia watching Keagen Tan and Teng Hairuo, both six, search for posters related to Internet safety at the Little Skool-House branch at Ulu Pandan Community Club
NTUC First Campus (NFC) has launched its innovative Digital Literacy Programme to empower young children to navigate the digital world safely and confidently. NFC believes it is the first local preschool with a structured programme for kindergarten children that covers various aspects of digital literacy and well-being.
Unlike computer-aided learning or hard skills like coding, NFC’s digital curriculum equips children with skills to navigate the digital world and tech tools in a safe and purposeful manner. The aim is to teach children to protect themselves and stay safe online. At the same time, it prepares them for primary school by familiarising them with basic learning tools and instilling in them the confidence to manage technology.
Over six terms from K1 to K2, the curriculum will cover topics such as online scams, data privacy and cyberbullying prevention, ensuring that young learners attain digital literacy, stay safe and become responsible digital citizens.
The specially-designed curriculum is taught once every two weeks through a mix of age-appropriate classroom activities including storytelling, physical games and discussions, and hands-on practice with basic digital tools. Actual screen time is within LSH’s 20 minutes per week limit, well below Health Promotion Board’s recommended limit of 1 hour of screen time per day for children in that age group.
In today’s digital age, the proliferation of harmful online content and unwelcome interactions pose a significant challenge, with children being particularly vulnerable. A study conducted by NielsenIQ in 2022 showed that young children have more access to digital devices as compared to 2020. Parents of 5 to 6-year-olds in the survey indicated that they were keen to cultivate digital well-being in their children, particularly the ability to behave responsibly on the internet, as parents acknowledge the transition to the digital era.
At the same time, home-based learning is now a permanent feature of the education system. Familiarising children with the interfaces of popular educational portals ensure that they do not feel overwhelmed upon encountering these tools in primary school. Children also learn to use technology purposefully by looking up educational topics online.
The Programme is being piloted in all Little Skool-House (LSH) preschools. Kindergarten classrooms in each LSH centre have been redesigned with a dedicated digital literacy centre. These centres are equipped with posters on digital well-being and cybersecurity, laptops and storybooks on digital literacy in both English and Mandarin. NFC will evaluate the effectiveness of the Programme and the results will be used to enhance curriculum.
“NTUC First Campus’s Digital Literacy Programme reflects our organisation’s commitment to nurturing future-ready preschoolers. Digital Intelligence is a vital skill for tomorrow. While we cannot forecast the precise tools and platforms that will define our future, we can equip our young to be adaptable, innovative and responsible digital citizens. Our Digital Literacy Programme is meticulously designed to nurture this adaptability and digital literacy from an early age. More importantly, the Programme educates children on potential online dangers and imparts to them the knowledge to stay safe and well,” said Coreen Soh, General Manager, Little Skool-House and Chief Child Development Officer, NTUC First Campus.
Parents have also expressed strong approval of the programme and believe it will benefit their children. “It’s good that LSH is promoting digital literacy. Nowadays, our children are exposed to smart devices from a young age, and we feel more assured when they understand how to stay safe when using the internet. Keagen often comes home talking about scams and tells us to stay safe online,” said Mr Tan Chee Hau, parent of six-year-old Keagen Tan who has been undergoing NFC’s Digital Literacy Programme.
Stay informed on the latest news and happening in NFC and the industry