Press Releases

Pre-Schoolers Raise Highest Amount in Three Years for President's Challenge "Start Small Dream Big"

07 Oct 2017

Over $200,000 raised this year, and more than 1 million hours of community service in six months ​

1. ​More than 34,000 pre-school children from over 550 preschool centres have raised over $200,000 in cash donations for the President’s Challenge beneficiaries and other community organisations as part of this year’s “Start Small, Dream Big” (SSDB) initiative. This is the highest amount raised so far, in the three years since the movement was initiated. President’s Challenge beneficiary organisations supported by the preschools include Singapore Cancer Society, Community Chest, Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped, All Saints Home, and Ain Society. Last year, 20,000 children from over 300 preschools raised over $150,000 for charity.

2. The pre-schoolers’ efforts also raised many in-kind donations for the beneficiaries, with support from their family members, community partners, and corporate organisations. These contributions include items such as food items, daily essentials and toys. Apart from garnering donations, the children also raised public awareness on a range of community causes, such as recycling to protect the environment, wildlife conservation, and spreading kindness to others. Together, they have dedicated over 1 million community service hours, double the number of service hours in 2016, on planning and implementing community service projects within a period of six months. On average, each child participating in SSDB has spent 5 hours a month on a good cause.

3. To conclude this year’s SSDB project on a high note, the SSDB community set a new Singapore Book of Records for “The Largest Word Formation Made up of Pledge Cards” at the SSDB Finale .The word formation “SSDB 2017” were made up of more than 3,000 pledge cards to do good deeds, written by the SSDB children and their supporters. This finale event was held in conjunction with the ECDA Early Childhood Conference at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, on 6-7 October 2017. It celebrated the contributions of the children, teachers, parents and partners to SSDB 2017.  

4. More information on SSDB can be found at

Annex A​

Supplementary Information​

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 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. 

2. How many children has 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. This year, some 34,000 children from over 550 pre-schools raised more than $200,000, the highest amount so far. 

3. 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.  

4. What is the age range of children that participated 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.  

5. What are some of the community projects that centres carried out?

The participating pre-school centres were involved in 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; promoting a healthy lifestyle to families and residents in the neighbourhood; and caring for animals and their welfare, including endangered animals and rescued pets.

6. What kind of support did ECDA provide to the participating centres?

ECDA had provided a resource package to all participating centres. The resource package included pledge cards, bucket hats, stickers, hanging mobiles, storybooks and Resource Guides. ECDA also linked pre-schools to community partners and created opportunities for centres to share best practices. 

7. Where are the “Start Small Dream Big” projects showcased?

Pre-schools have documented their projects on the “Start Small Dream Big” portal:  

8. Which are the community and government agencies that ECDA has partnered with in 2017 for “Start Small Dream Big”? 

ECDA has 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).