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Ngee Ann Primary School Holistic Education Experience

Introduction – The Ngee Ann Holistic Education Experience

The holistic education offered at Ngee Ann Primary School (NAPS) is built upon the strong foundation laid down by the founding fathers of the Ngee Ann Kongsi. In keeping with their aim of nurturing resilient children, the school’s mission has been to nurture every child to his best.

Every NAPS pupil will go through a holistic education experience in three phases - ‘Experience’, ‘Explore’ and ‘Expand’ phases. Our education experience with a holistic perspective is concerned with the development of every pupil’s cognitive, moral, social, physical and aesthetics potentials. It seeks to engage pupils in the teaching & learning process and encourages personal and collective responsibility.

We believe that our holistic education will develop in our pupils’ core competencies as well as values and character that will enable them to thrive in the 21st century.

The school forges strong partnerships with stakeholders to equip pupils for the future and nurture them to be caring and responsible citizens. The avid involvement of stakeholders has provided crucial building blocks in creating a positive and enriching learning environment in NAPS.

1. Primary 1 and 2: Experience

The emphasis during the Experience Phase is to lay a strong foundation in basic literacy and numeracy skills, coupled with an introduction to basic ICT skills. This is accomplished through English Language, Mathematics and Mother Tongue Language which make up a significant part of our school curriculum. These subjects help our pupils to develop literacy and problem solving skills – skills that provide a strong foundation as they progress on their education journey.

Our programmes are customised to help pupils acquire fundamental concepts and learning skills that will enable them to develop a keen interest in learning, whether independently or collaboratively. Pupils learn basic ICT like touch typing and also learn cyber safety and netiquette. We expose our pupils to different areas of study in art, music and sports at an early stage which allow them to discover their interests and talents, equip them holistically with a range of important knowledge and skills, and also provide teachable moments to develop in them the core values that define a person’s character and their sense of responsibility to society.

Of equal importance is the emphasis of inculcating values and 21st Century Competencies in our pupils. Through our programmes, pupils acquire and practise values such as respectfulness and integrity to develop their character. To facilitate this, our teachers guide and encourage pupils to demonstrate good character traits and work cohesively with others. Platforms adopted in this phase include Programme for Active Learning (PAL), where pupils participate in modular activities in the areas of aesthetics, outdoor education and sports & games within curriculum time under the Ngee Ann Modular Enrichment (NAME) Programme. This has been introduced since 2008 to facilitate the well-rounded development of pupils.

The Form Teacher Guidance Period (FTGP) provides the opportunity for our school to build quality teacher-pupil interactions. There is a common time slot for the FTGP period for each level. This deliberate move in time-tabling has allowed the school to creatively plan activities for each level. During certain FTGP, the pupils from a level could interact with each other. They could come together to celebrate birthdays, successes, exemplary behaviours as well as participate in activities that reinforce the concepts covered in the social and emotional domains. These sessions are important as they help pupils in the gradual transition from kindergarten to primary school.

2. Primary 3 and 4: Explore

In this phase, concepts and skills learnt are reinforced as pupils undergo new learning experiences and built on their foundation. Teachers encourage pupils to create, explore and think critically by asking questions to test their concepts learnt previously. Teachers use the collaborative learning approach to facilitate pupils’ learning and to foster teamwork among pupils.

Pupils are henceforth provided with platforms to apply the values they have acquired. Partnering external organisations like ‘Toys from the Heart’, allows pupils to engage in Values-In-Action (VIA) activities with the aim to create a positive impact on the community.

Teacher-pupil relationship is strengthened through cohort FTGP activities like birthday celebrations, acknowledgment of pupils’ desired behaviour and academic and CCA achievements. These initiatives motivate pupils to give their best in their academic and non-academic pursuits.

In ICT, pupils are equipped with basic office skills and learn how to manage multimedia resources. Copyright and gaming addiction issues are discussed to help pupils understand and better manage their behaviour online. GarageBand lessons are conducted for our P4 pupils to equip them with the skills to compose music digitally. The NAME Programme is developed to provide additional platforms for our P3 and P4 pupils to explore different art forms and instruments in art (P3 Cartooning) and music (P4 Guitar) programmes during curriculum.

The P4-P1 Buddy Programme is a platform that allows the P4 pupils to take on the leadership role by guiding and helping the newcomers to adjust to the new physical environment. At the same time, the care that is shown helps to also give moral support particularly to the timider ones. Through the interactions, pupils develop reciprocal care and respect amongst themselves.

3. Primary 5 and 6: Expand

A rich diversity of learning experiences that cater not only to the cognitive aspects, but also the physical, aesthetic, social and moral domains are provided for P5 & P6 pupils in this phase. Apart from the academic curriculum, our pupils can further develop their interests and talent in music, arts and sports through CCA. Through these activities, our pupils are provided with the opportunities to hone their talents and leadership skills, as well as develop their socio-emotional competencies. For ICT, pupils are given the opportunities to consolidate their learning and create multimedia artefacts, while managing deeper Cyberwellness issues to prepare them for their teenage years.

In character development, the school organises various VIA programmes to enable pupils to contribute to the communities around the school. Pupils are given the opportunity to role-model the school values to their juniors as they spearhead the VIA projects. For instance, they are tasked to engage in their level VIA projects like ‘Project Hope’, a home-school-community-wide collaboration spearheaded by the graduating cohort, to assist low-income families living within the Marine Terrace vicinity. ‘Project Hope’ is also planned and organised by the pupils to raise funds for their needy fellow schoolmates as well. In addition, education and career guidance offer perspectives beyond the classroom to help our pupils work towards realising their potential.

To provide our pupils with a global perspective, the school designs and organises overseas learning trips. School Immersion Programmes at schools in Penang, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Xiamen, which are also aesthetic and cultural performing schools, have enabled the school to nurture our pupils in developing a global outlook, as well as to develop our niche areas of aesthetics and the performing arts.

In this phase, teachers often take on the role of facilitators to guide and nurture our pupils. Activities like decentralised assemblies and breakfast with Principal and form teachers allow teachers to interact with pupils to better understand their needs and to motivate them. Awards are given to pupils to recognise them for their improvement in academic and non-academic areas. The P5 camp and the P6 ‘Camparaderie’ provide the platform for pupils to strength the rapport between teachers and pupils while acquiring life skills.