STEM: Beyond the Buzz

By now, most parents have heard the buzz around STEM. Never before have four random letters of the English alphabet held more importance in education. But what is STEM, and is it all hype? We talked to Toh Wei Ping, founder of Kids DiscoveryWorks, to find out.

Q: Kids DiscoveryWorks is a pioneer in STEM education in Singapore. But what is STEM?

STEM is an acronym, and stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM education is a teaching approach that integrates knowledge from these disciplines to encourage students to think about topics in a more holistic way. Harnessing a child’s natural curiosity and interests, STEM educators engage kids in hands-on, active learning that not only fosters deeper understanding of concepts but also promotes creativity and critical-thinking.

Q: STEM is creating a learning revolution in schools across the world. The US and Europe were early adopters and Singapore is just now getting on the bandwagon. What sets Kids DiscoveryWorks apart?

Kids Discoveryworks’ learning programs are specifically catered for preschool and primary school children and are designed around imaginative themes that generate strong student interest. With titles like Dinosaur Discovery, Superhero Science, Secrets of the Lost Tomb and LEGO Animation Adventures, children happily participate in the learning process. Our instructors have been trained in our unique teaching methodology which combines exciting visual demonstrations with engaging hands-on experiments and tinkering activities. These activities allow children to actively participate in their own learning and apply concepts for better understanding and retention. Research has shown that students remember only 20-30% of what they hear or see, but up to 80-90% of what they personally experience. Our most popular programs are Superhero Science and Once Upon A Time, where kids are presented with a problem, which they have to solve with science!

Through the design of our lessons, we also foster 21st century skills such as collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking. We encourage kids to exercise their creativity by coming out with different solutions to problems. Many material options are provided so that each child can realize his or her unique design. We also alternate between individual project work and team projects, so that kids learn to communicate and collaborate better with their peers.

Q: Have Singaporean parents been receptive?

We have been pleasantly surprised by the positive response from parents. Our business has grown considerably since inception, and we are very proud of our unusually high rate of returning customers. During the peak holiday seasons, up to 50% of our holiday camp seats are usually snapped up by past campers. We have students who have attended every single one of our programs, because they’ve come back every holiday!

We view our high customer retention rate as the greatest testament to the quality of our programs. 5-star reviews on Facebook do not matter if your customers do not vote for you again and again with their wallets.

Q: Do you only conduct classes at your own learning centre?

We regularly conduct weekly classes at local preschools and international schools as well. The international schools were amongst the first to welcome us. The International School of Singapore was so impressed with the breadth of our available programs that they engaged us to run 4 weeks of science camps for their summer school last year. Feedback from both the parents and kids was very positive, and we’ve been engaged to run their summer school science camps again this year.

We also work with several niche preschools and kindergartens to bring quality, early STEM enrichment classes to their students on a weekly basis. In one of our partner kindergartens, good word-of-mouth amongst the parents has swelled sign-ups for our STEM programs – the kindergarten has had to open both morning and afternoon sessions for STEM enrichment classes!

We believe that quality early STEM learning experiences should not be reserved for the international schools, so this year, we are reaching out to more local preschools. By offering innovative experiential learning programs like ours, kindergartens and childcares can further differentiate their schools from the pack.

Q: As summer rounds the corner, what do you have in store?

This summer, we are offering a whopping mix of 13 holiday programs, from fun science camps to exciting multimedia and technology camps. In addition to popular favorites like SuperHero Science and Once Upon a Time, look out for our new 3D printing camp MakerLab: 3D. We even have a Back-to-School Boot Camp! Parents asked us to apply our fun teaching style to the dry MOE curriculum, so we’ve designed a science camp to help P3-P4 kids review lower block MOE science for their SA2s in a fun and engaging way for better retention and understanding.

For more information on Kids DiscoveryWorks holiday camps, check out