Science Centre Singapore [on June 5] unveiled KidsSTOP™, Singapore’s first and only children’s science centre, in a ceremony officiated by Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat. Over the next five years, KidsSTOP™ expects to receive an estimated 1.5 million visitors from Singapore and beyond.
Mr Heng said, “KidsSTOP™ complements our efforts in schools to encourage students to explore and experiment, to tinker and build, to discover and apply scientific concepts. By stimulating curiosity and creativity, I hope our children will develop a lifelong love for Science & Technology.”
A/Prof Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive, Science Centre Singapore, shared, “Science Centre was established with the goal of igniting and sustaining an interest in science among all who pass through our doors, and KidsSTOP™ reinforces our ability to accomplish this objective. It is heartening to see the children enjoying themselves thoroughly today, and we hope that even more will come to love KidsSTOP™.”
Designed for children between 18 months and 8 years old, KidsSTOP™ provides dedicated edutainment facilities that introduce science through four themes of Imagine, Experience, Discover, and Dream, spread across 17 zones. Children can enjoy various attractions such as a ride on the seven-metre-high Giant J slide to be acquainted with gravity, or learn about their physical make-up at the Human Body Zone.
To strengthen its educational appeal, KidsSTOP™ will roll out new science programmes that introduce the subject through engaging activities such as puppet shows and hands-on experiments. These programmes will cater to children as young as 3 years old and up to 8 years old.
Mr Gerald Tee, Director, KidsSTOP™, Science Centre Board, said, “The opening of KidsSTOP™ is a significant milestone in Singapore’s science education journey, as children will be exposed to science even at the tender age of 18 months old. We are thankful for the support of like-minded organisations that have supported our endeavour to introduce science to the young, and will continually strive to provide a world-class experience to all KidsSTOP™ visitors.”
KidsSTOP™ was developed with funding support from the Ministry of Education. Further support totalling S$3.5 million was received from four partner organisations – the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), LEGO Education and Tote Board.
Applauding Science Centre Singapore during the official opening of KidsSTOP™, Dr John Keung, Chief Executive Officer, BCA, said, “We are proud to be able to contribute towards the development of KidsSTOP™ and support Science Centre Singapore in its new initiative. We would like to congratulate the Centre on its innovative and hands-on approach in educating the young. KidsSTOP™ is an excellent touch point for young children to know more about their built environment and how it can be made future-ready”.
Mr Yap Ong Heng, Director-General, CAAS shared positive sentiments as well. He said, “We would like to congratulate Science Centre Singapore on the launch of this exciting venture to kindle and keep the interest of the very young in science through creative and fun ways. CAAS is happy to partner Science Centre Singapore on KidsSTOP™’s Flight and Space Zone, and we hope kids who go through its doors will be inspired by the wonders of aviation and the many opportunities it offers.”
Commenting on the partnership with KidsSTOP™, Mrs Lene Friis, Managing Director of Asia Pacific and Emerging Markets, LEGO Education said, “LEGO Education is proud to partner with the Science Centre Singapore to provide an engaging environment for young learners to discover Science and Technology in KidsSTOP™. This collaboration helps LEGO Education in reaching its goal of transforming education by providing learning experiences in which we allow children to succeed and unleash their individual potential.”
Agreeing that KidsSTOP™ will enhance the learning of the young, Mr Fong Yong Kian, Chief Executive, Tote Board, said, “Science Centre Singapore’s progressiveness and transformative approach to education has led to the inception of KidsSTOP™. We are confident that KidsSTOP™ will serve as an effective platform in enhancing learning among our youngest generation, and enriching the lives of our community in years to come.”
Instilling a passion for education is far more important than forcing education down children’s throats. Often times, teachers get wrapped up in conventional lesson plans, passing students to the next grade just to pass the problem onto another teacher. They force students to memorize facts and dates and then ask them regurgitate the information on a test. But within a year, a month, maybe even less than a week – the information is gone. Weeks’ worth of teaching – for nothing. This is why so many children are falling behind. They’re only preparing for the test, when in fact, the ultimate test is the world that awaits them beyond the classroom.
This is why initiatives like KidsSTOP are so important. They teach children to WANT to learn. And unless they want to learn, they’ll never learn to push the accepted boundaries of what we’ve taught them. Where would we be if we simply swallowed every idea our parents and grandparents fed us? Where would they be if they had done the same? The truth is, the world would never have evolved past prehistoric cavemen. Curiosity sparked the first fire. Invented the wheel. Crossed the ocean. Jettisoned men into outer space. The thirst for knowledge has changed the world, and will continue to do so, thanks in no small part to the Singapore Science Centre and KidsSTOP.
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