Posted by: angiefm | January 4, 2009

Singapore History – Year 1

We have decided to teach our children about the History of Singapore over the course of 4 years.  This is the plan for Year 1:


Singapore: From Settlement to Nation (the MOE’s text for Secondary 2 students)

A Children’s History of Malaysia by Tunku Halim (available in bookshops in Malaysia.  We bought ours from Kinokuniya there.)

As a substitute for A Children’s History of Malaysia, pick any book with the folktales and legends of Singapore.  A couple of others we have are Singapore Children’s Favourite Stories and Tales from the Islands of Singapore.

You will find an invaluable source of both fictional and non-fictional books about Singapore and the region.


Once a week, set aside 30 minutes to an hour to read and discuss the material.  If you have fieldtrip days, plan to follow up with a fieldtrip to an appropriate location, park, building, etc to coincide with your reading.

Reading Plan:

Start with A Children’s History of Malaysia (or any of the substitute titles above) and read the first 6 chapters over 6 weeks.  That’s one chapter per week.  These chapters cover your must-have legends (Paramesvara, The Mousedeer, naming of Singa-pura) and a little more.

There are 10 chapters in the Singapore: From Settlement to Nation book.  You should cover these at the rate of 1 chapter every 3 weeks.  Unfortunately, this book (like any typical textbook), is HIGHLY UNREADABLE.  So you will have to read it in advance to see how you want to present it to your children.  I was actually hoping to re-write it into a narrative, but can’t seem to find time to work on it.  Maybe in the future. 

There are too many sidebars and snippets of information, charts and lists.  I do not recommend that you cover it all.  You will want to craft a storyline out of it.  However, it remains the best text I can find and will have to do as a curriculum “spine”.

Fieldtrips and Other Activities:

Chapter 1 – Singapore History Museum for general information about Singapore’s history, as well as to look at early artifacts.  Fort Canning to visit the keramat (read last page of Chapter 1 for details).

Chapter 2 – Singapore Philatelic Museum to look at early stamps.  Victoria Concert Hall to see statue of Sir Stamford Raffles.  Malay Heritage Centre at Kampong Glam to visit the Sultan’s Palace, where you can also learn about the Bugis.

Chapter 3 – Chinatown, Little India, Kampong Glam, etc, to see the divisions according to Singapore Town Plan 1822.

Chapter 4 – Fullerton Hotel, Old Supreme Court, Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall.

Chapter 5 – Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, The Cenotaph on Connaught Drive.

Chapter 6 – Memories at Old Ford Factory.

Chapter 7 – Nanyang Technological University.

Chapter 8 & 9 – Look up origins of the flag, the state crest, the national pledge and the national anthem.

Chapter 10 – Read more about one of the following first generation leaders: Lee Kuan Yew, Dr. Goh Keng Swee, S. Rajaratnam, Dr. Toh Chin Chye, Lim Kim San, Devan Nair, E.W. Barker, Ong Pang Boon, Othman Wok, Yong Nyuk Lin, Jek Yuen Thong.


If you have an existing timeline (for those Charlotte Mason and Classical Homeschoolers out there), please add the appropriate milestones and records of buildings, people, etc to your timeline.  There is a useful timeline on the final pages of the Singapore: From Settlement to Nation textbook.  I am trying to convince our School Principal (aka Daddy Tee Chiou), to draw some timeline figures for us.  If he does find the time, I will be sure to let you know.  🙂

Other Considerations:

Since we school using a Charlotte Mason philosophy, this plan to cover Singapore History is very unsatisfying.  Unfortunately there is no good literature written for children on the topic.  So just hang in there and take this as an OVERVIEW of Singapore History from pre-Raffles days to 1971. 

You will want to “spice” things up by adding fieldtrips and looking at books with lots of photographs like the ones compiled by Gretchen Liu.

In the subsequent years, we will be reading some “living” books, including The Father of Charity (the life of Ee Peng Liang written by his daughter) and The Singapore Story (the two volume memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew). 

If you have a book by a religious organisation or society which chronicles its history, please look that one up as well.  We have one about the 140-year history of the Brethren Church in Singapore, of which we are members.

Happy History Hunting!  🙂



  1. Wah! Must re and re-read to digest man! Good meaty stuff! I’ll be back to take notes when not so spaced out. 🙂

  2. Hey, thanks for posting all this info. We’re just starting AO year 1, but I’ve left out Singapore history from books for the moment…we’re sticking with field trips and a family history project later in the year (interviewing grandparents and collecting old photos).
    *Er, just an editing note–you wrote Lee Kuan YES at the bottom of this post 🙂

  3. […] History (HERE is our plan for reading these books and going on […]

  4. Talk about living books, I recall that I enjoyed “Son of Singapore”, “Man of Malaysia” by Tan Kok Seng very much when I was in my teens. I’m not sure how suitable it is for children; can’t remember the content much. You might want to check those out.

    • Hi Yvonne, sorry for taking so long to respond to this. I only just figured out how to do it! 🙂 Thanks for the book leads! Will certainly find time to check them out.

  5. […] History (detailed plan here): Singapore: From Settlement to Nation and A Children’s History of […]

  6. NLB have published some brochure on Local street , interested ? Can post to u if I can get hold of one.

  7. Hi
    The supreme court is having their open hse on 14/15 March for children.

    For your possible interest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: