Press Releases

More than 34,000 Pre-School Children Participating in Start Small Dream Big 2017

24 Mar 2017

New Resources to Make Volunteerism a Way of Life for Our Young 

24 March 2017
1. The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) launches the third edition of its President’s Challenge initiative, “Start Small Dream Big”, with more than 34,000 children from over 550 preschool centres participating this year. This is about four times the number of 8,000 children and 150 preschools which participated in the inaugural run of the initiative in 2015. “Start Small Dream Big” aims to make volunteerism a way of life for our young by involving pre-school children in various community service opportunities over a period of six months. 

New “Start Small Dream Big” Resources for Teachers, Centres, and Parents

2. This year, ECDA will introduce a new service learning guide for teachers to integrate community service with experiential learning for participating pre-school children. Pre-school teachers will be able to tap on practical ideas to instill the joy of learning in our children and encourage them to pursue meaningful activities through caring for their family and community.  The service learning guide will be distributed to all pre-schools participating in “Start Small Dream Big” this year, and made available on ECDA’s website,

3. This year, ECDA is also launching a new “Start Small Dream Big” Online Portal:, which allows participating pre-schools to document and share their service opportunities and experiences with others. Through such exchanges, we hope that like-minded centres will come together to form communities of practice and continue to nurture in our young children the “Start Small Dream Big” spirit of service and giving back. 

4. Parents play a crucial role in inculcating values in their children. To facilitate parents’ involvement, ECDA has produced a brochure, which provides parents with tips on how they can be involved in their children’s community service efforts and follow their progress using the “Start Small Dream Big” Online Portal.

Virtual Launch of “Start Small Dream Big” 

5. This year, “Start Small Dream Big” will be launched in a unique way. While pre-schools are celebrating their own project launches in their centres with parents and community partners, they can also join the “Start Small Dream Big” Virtual Launch Party on Facebook. Pre-schools and parents can log on to the “Start Small Dream Big” Virtual Launch Event Page (, from 3 April to 17 April 2017.

6. In his welcome message at the Virtual Launch, Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin said, “Parents and teachers are partners in early childhood education. ‘Start Small Dream Big’ offers a meaningful platform for them to come together to inculcate positive values in their children and enrich their learning opportunities through community service projects. The active support and role modelling of parents and teachers in ‘Start Small Dream Big’ will also inspire our children to continue to contribute to others and their community. ”

7. More information on “Start Small Dream Big” can be found at​

Annex A​


1.   What is the “Start Small Dream Big” Project?

The “Start Small Dream Big” Project was initiated by the Early Childhood Development Agency 
(ECDA) to encourage pre-schools to create authentic platforms for children to innovate, problem-solve and tap on their unique strengths to help others. It was first launched in 2015 as part of SG50 and the 15th anniversary of President’s Challenge, an annual series of fund-raising and volunteer activities. ECDA works with participating centres to design and implement community service projects for children over a period of six months. In 2016, some 20,000 children from over 300 pre-schools contributed a total of 500,000 service hours to their “Start Small Dream Big” projects

2.   What are the objectives of “Start Small Dream Big”?

As a society, we aspire to nurture each child holistically, including character building, so that they are well-prepared for life-long learning, active and responsible citizenry and success in later life. Through “Start Small Dream Big”, we hope to encourage young children to use their own resources and creativity to give back to society, and in the process, instil the spirit of giving and good values such as care for others, humility, kindness and compassion.  

3.   What is the age range of children that will be participating in “Start Small Dream Big” and what is expected of the children?

The children are mainly from the K1 and K2 levels (i.e. 5-6 years old). The pre-schools are encouraged to involve and guide the children in developing, planning and implementing the community projects. Under the guidance of teachers, the children should play an active role in deciding who they want to help and what they want to do.  Parents are also encouraged to be involved in supporting their child’s community projects.  

4.   What are some of the community projects that centres will be carrying out?

The participating pre-school centres have come up with various types of meaningful community projects. Some examples are food donation drives for charity organisations and elderly homes; caring for the environment, such as recycling efforts and water conservation; raising awareness on dengue and haze to families and residents in the neighbourhood; and caring for animals and their welfare, including endangered animals and rescued pets.

5. What kind of support will ECDA provide to the participating centres?

ECDA has provided a resource package to all participating centres. The resource package includes Start Small Dream Big pledge cards, bucket hats, stickers, hanging mobiles, storybooks and Resource Guides. ECDA also links pre-schools to community partners and creates opportunities for centres to share best practices. 

6.   What is the Service Learning Guide?

The Service Learning Guide is developed for “Start Small Dream Big” 2017 to support service learning of our centres and make it easier for them to incorporate “Start Small Dream Big” into their curriculum. The Guide will help bridge “service” and “learning”, by teaching children to incorporate what they have learned into their community projects, benefitting the community around them. All “Start Small Dream Big” 2017 centres will receive hard copies of the Guide, and an e-version will be made available to the early childhood sector on​

7.   How will “Start Small Dream Big” (SSDB) be launched this year?

ECDA will host an SSDB Facebook Event Page in the lead-up to the launch on 3 April 2017, Monday. Participating SSDB centres will be encouraged to plan and execute, on or before the launch day, their own SSDB launches at their own premises and share photos/videos of their celebrations through the SSDB Event Page. Centres can encourage parents to actively participate in the launch, physically at their centre and/or virtually, online. The virtual launch will be held at: on 3 April 2017, at 1200hrs.  

8.   How will the “Start Small Dream Big” projects be showcased?
The community service projects will culminate in an exhibition at the “Start Small Dream Big” Finale on Children’s Day, 6 October 2017. It will be held in conjunction with ECDA’s annual Early Childhood Conference. 

9.   Which are the community and government agencies that ECDA is partnering with in 2017 for “Start Small Dream Big”? 

Centres are welcome to engage the various community and government agencies for their projects. ECDA has also worked with many agencies to support centres in relevant community projects. Some examples are National Parks Board (NParks), Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), National Environment Agency (NEA), Public Utilities Board (PUB) and the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM).