Press Releases

Over 670 Preschools Participate in Start Small Dream Big 2018

12 Apr 2018

Preschools develop teaching resources to encourage children to care for others, together​​  

12 April 2018

1.    This year, the Early Childhood Development Agency launches the fourth edition of “Start Small Dream Big”, a President’s Challenge Initiative. Some 39,000 children from over 670 preschools are joining the movement, almost five times the number of children and preschools that participated in the inaugural run of the initiative in 2015. “Start Small Dream Big” encourages our pre-schoolers to make volunteerism a way of life.

2.   The theme for this year’s “Start Small Dream Big” is “Caring for Others Together”. In line with the SG Cares movement, which encourages Singaporeans to be involved in building a more compassionate and inclusive society, “Start Small Dream Big” hopes to inspire our young ones to contribute towards building a culture of care, consideration and contribution, through simple everyday acts of care and kindness.

3.   Starting from April 2018, pre-schools will be celebrating the launch of their “Start Small Dream Big” projects at their respective centres. There was also a virtual launch on 6 April through the “Start Small Dream Big” 2018 Facebook Event Page (, where centres shared their children’s projects, and parents showed support for their children’s early forays into community service and volunteerism. 

Ground-up contributions to “Start Small Dream Big” initiative

4.   Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Desmond Lee, visited My First Skool at 10 Jurong West today, to support the launch of their “Start Small Dream Big” project. My First Skool is contributing to the movement this year by developing resource materials on service learning for the preschool sector, in the form of a storybook for children. This project is part of My First Skool’s efforts to incorporate service learning into their curriculum in a creative and relatable manner.

5.   Over the next few months, educators from My First Skool will be producing an original story with a local flavour and in the four main languages, featuring children learning life skills through acts of consideration and care. It will cover four main themes under “Start Small Dream Big”: ‘Caring for My Family’, ‘Caring for My Friends’, ‘Caring for the Community’, and ‘Caring for the Environment and Animals’. An Educators’ Guide will also be developed based on the story, to include service learning related activities that parents can do with their children. The project will be completed in September 2018, and will be shared with all preschool centres. 

6.    Stories from all participating preschools on their “Start Small Dream Big” events and activities can be found at


Annex A​​


1. What is “Start Small Dream Big”?

“Start Small Dream Big” was initiated by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) as a movement 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. Participating centres design and implement community service projects for children over a period of six months. 

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. How many children have participated and how much has been raised for “Start Small Dream Big” over the years?

In 2015, more than $100,000 was raised by 8,000 children from 150 pre-schools. In 2016, more than $150,000 was raised by 20,000 children from 300 pre-schools. In 2017, some 34,000 children from over 550 pre-schools raised more than $200,000, the highest amount thus far. Our pre-schoolers have spent more than 1 million hours on community projects in total over the years.

4. What is the age range of children who participate 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 play an active role in deciding who they want to help and what they want to do.  Parents are strongly encouraged to be involved in supporting their child’s community projects.  

5. What are some of the community projects that centres will be carrying out for “Start Small Dream Big”?

Some examples of community projects that centres carry out are food donation drives or fund-raising for charity organisations and elderly homes; befriending people with disabilities and special needs; caring for the environment through recycling efforts and water conservation; promoting a healthy lifestyle to families and residents in the neighbourhood; and caring for animals and their welfare, including endangered wildlife and rescued pets.

6. 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 pledge cards, bucket hats, stickers, hanging mobiles, Resource Guides, reflection journals, posters, and a personalised centre banner. ECDA also links pre-schools to community partners and creates opportunities for centres to share best practices. 

7. How was “Start Small Dream Big” launched this year?

ECDA hosted a “Start Small Dream Big” 2018 Virtual Launch via a Facebook Event Page at on 6 April 2018, Friday. Participating centres are encouraged to carry out their own project launches at their own premises throughout the month, and share photos or videos of their celebrations through the Facebook Event Page. Centres can encourage parents to actively participate in the launch event, either physically at their centre, and/or virtually online.  Highlights of this year’s Virtual Launch included: the “Start Small Dream Big” 2018 Launch video, featuring children from Kindle Garden Preschool by AWWA, an inclusive preschool; a welcome message video by A/P Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development; livestreams of project launch parties at participating centres; and photos, videos and stories shared by teachers and parents, with the hashtag, #SSDB2018.


8. Where will the “Start Small Dream Big” projects be showcased?

Pre-schools will document their projects on the “Start Small Dream Big” portal: There will be an exhibition to showcase centres’ projects with community partners at the “Start Small Dream Big” Finale, to be held on 5 October 2018, Friday, in conjunction with ECDA’s Early Childhood Conference.   

9. Which are the community and government agencies that ECDA is partnering with in 2018 for “Start Small Dream Big”? 

ECDA is working with many agencies to support centres in relevant community projects. This year, some of the organisations on board include SG Cares, Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM), National Parks Board (NParks), Singapore Art Museum (SAM), Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), Public Utilities Board (PUB) and Sentosa. 

10. How will the new resource materials be made available to all preschools?

The storybook and Educator’s Guide by My First Skool will be made available online at for all preschools to access.

11. How many My First Skool centres are participating in “Start Small Dream Big”?

Eighty My First Skool centres have come on board “Start Small Dream Big” this year, an increase from 52 centres last year. My First Skool at 10 Jurong West, is one of the 80 centres who will be actively participating with meaningful projects under this initiative.