World’s First Early Learning Village Opens In Singapore

Two international schools have collaborated to open a mega early learning village in Singapore for children aged 18 months to 6 years.
World’s First Early Learning Village Opens In Singapore
By Carli Allan
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Stamford American International School (SAIS) and Australian International School (AIS) have opened an Early Learning Village in Serangoon. Fondly known as The Village, this 50,000 sq m shared campus has the capacity for 2,100 children aged 18 months to six years.

Located in Chuan Lane, The Village is a collaboration between SAIS and AIS, which are both operated by the Cognita group. While the two schools share the same campus, they operate independently, and offer different curricula and academic calendars.

Claimed by Cognita to be the world’s largest pre-school, The Village is home to a modern seven-storey building with 100 classrooms, each having pint-sized doors for little learners to walk through into indoor discovery zones. The campus has a library and enquiry centre, mini libraries and teaching kitchens, and child-friendly science labs,

The Hive gym and arena, a medical centre, and parent cafe. There are several shaded, themed outdoor play areas including The Village Green, The Shipyard and the Discovery Cove; sporting facilities include a covered swimming pool designed for those learning to swim. Inspired by Reggio Emilia’s philosophy that “the environment becomes the third teacher”, the campus features natural materials, living walls, multi-sensory resources and plenty of greenery.

One of the many discovery spaces in The Village

During the opening ceremony, Michael Drake, CEO of Cognita Asia, said,

"The Early Learning Village is the product of an exciting collaboration with educational experts. We are proud to offer an unparalleled Early Learning Village that reflects our modern and innovative approach, inspired by Reggio Emilia principles, at a scale unlike anywhere else in the world for children in their vital pre-school years."

The campus was developed under the mentorship of Professor Gary Moore (Environment-Behaviour Studies, University of Sydney), who said,

“We’re bringing two schools into one so there’s a great economy of resources being brought together.”

The Village charges around $20,000 for five full days at nursery, making it one of the most expensive pre-schools in Singapore. It is, however, on a par with nurseries at several international schools including Tanglin Trust School and One World International School.

Parents can choose to apply for a place at either the AIS Early Learning Village or the Stamford American Early Learning Village, both of which have all-through schools in Singapore. While these pre-schools share the same campus and facilities, they do differ in various ways, as outlined below.

Child-friendly classrooms

The Village is located next door to the AIS campus, and around 2.5km from the SAIS Woodleigh Lane campus in Toa Payoh.


Both schools follow the inquiry-based International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme from the age of three. AIS has a more Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum, while SAIS incorporates STEAMInn – science, technology, engineering, arts, maths and innovation – into its teaching.

In terms of language, both schools teach daily Mandarin lessons from nursery age. SAIS also offers daily Spanish lessons, a Mandarin/English bilingual programme, and an accelerated English programme from the age of five.

AIS teaches the Orff Music Literacy Programme from 18 months, which combines music, movement, drama and speech into play-based learning; SAIS offers Singapore’s only school-based Suzuki violin programme from KG1 onwards.

Both schools follow the SMART Steps programme, which integrates numeracy, literacy and language with physical play.


Academic calendar
The school year runs from January to December at AIS, and from August to June at SAIS. Timings The school day at AIS starts at 8.45am, or 9am for nursery, and ends at 3pm. Parents can opt for the half day, which finishes at 12noon.

SAIS offers a choice of half day (9am to 12.10pm) or full day (9am to 3.30pm). Both schools give parents the option to sign up for three, four or five days up until KG2, and offer both breakfast and teatime/afternoon clubs.


Co-curricular activities
Both schools offer a broad programme of co-curricular activities (CCAs) including ballet, soccer, tennis, creative drama, circus skills, basketball, swimming, gymnastics and mini maestros.


At AIS, five full days at nursery will cost you $21,418; five full days in prep/KG1 costs $33,646. At SAIS, five full days at nursery will cost you $23,004; five full days in prep/KG1 costs $34,606.

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