Press Releases

Over 75,000 Preschoolers to Celebrate Families and Give Back to Community through "Start Small Dream Big" Movement

25 Apr 2022

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) launched today the eighth edition of its President’s Challenge initiative, ‘Start Small Dream Big (SSDB)’. This year, over 75,000 children from close to 1,100 preschools will participate in meaningful projects that seek to benefit their community. This marks a significant growth from SSDB’s humble beginnings in 2015, when it attracted the participation of just 150 preschools and 8,000 children.

2 The theme of this year’s SSDB movement is “Our Family, Our Community”, in support of the Year of Celebrating SG Families (YCF), led by the Families for Life (FFL) Council, and supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Health, Mr Masagos Zulkifli said, “Strong families are the bedrock of our society. They develop resilient individuals and build a caring society. I am heartened to see families involved in their children’s projects and hope it will inspire our young to express love, respect, commitment and care and concern towards their family members, as well as others in their community.”

Our Family, Our Community

3 This year’s SSDB theme echoes the President’s Challenge 2022 call for the community to help support lower-income families1. The community projects that preschools are planning include donation drives for less fortunate families, fund-raising for charity organisations, food delivery to the elderly, and virtual befriending sessions with residents of Children’s Homes.

4 One such SSDB project is initiated by Bright Kids School House @ Punggol Blk 173D. The centre’s project revolves around the family, with children using resource materials from FFL to learn about family values, namely “love”, “care and concern”, “commitment” and “respect”. Children and their families will deliver care packs to an elderly home, as well as set up an art exhibition to thank our community heroes. This year, all five Bright Kids School House centres have come on board.

5 Mrs Ang-Oh Chui Hwa, an ECDA Fellow and advocate of the SSDB movement said, “Children are experiential learners. They learn values from modelling and encouragement. When children develop empathy early in life, there is a tendency for them to give back more when they grow older.” Mrs Ang, Principal of Far Eastern Kindergarten, cited a study published in 2016, which found that grateful parents tended to raise grateful children2. She added, “The people and the community around children are their role models. ‘Start Small Dream Big’ provides children with an immersive and supportive environment to nurture good deeds and empathy towards others.”

Community Partnerships and New Resources

6 The SSDB movement has received strong support from the community. Two new partners — the Centre for Fathering and the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre — have come on board. This brings the total number of partners supporting the movement to 25 this year.

7 The Centre for Fathering has developed an e-resource titled “My Grandfather’s Story”. It allows fathers to help their children get to know their grandfather better through storytelling and creation of a simple photo journal. This provides an opportunity for the children to develop their identity, form bonds with their extended family and learn life lessons. Mr Parcsen Loke, Head of Programmes and Development, said, “We see our collaboration with ‘Start Small Dream Big’ as an opportunity to reach fathers and children in their early life stages to strengthen their relationship. This will give our children a good start in life as research has shown when a father is actively involved in his child’s life, the child will grow up to have better cognitive, psychological, social and emotional skills.”

8 Parents are encouraged to participate in their project activities, either at home or online. Stories from all participating preschools on their ’Start Small Dream Big’ events and activities can be found at​.
2 William A. Rothenberg, Andrea M. Hussong, Hillary A. Langley, Gregory A. Egerton, Amy G. Halberstadt, Jennifer L. Coffman, Irina Mokrova & Philip R. Costanzo (2016). “Grateful parents raising grateful children: Niche selection and the socialization of child gratitude”, Applied Developmental Science, 21:2, 106-120, DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2016.1175945. Link to this article:

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