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The K1 English Syllabus: A Comprehensive Guide

K1 English Syllabus

The K1 English syllabus in Singapore is designed to lay a strong foundation for young learners. Following the guidelines set by the Ministry of Education (MOE), the curriculum emphasises holistic development through an integrated approach to learning. The Nurturing Early Learners (NEL) Framework is central to this curriculum, aiming to foster curiosity, active learning, and competence among preschool children. This article will delve into the key components of the K1 English syllabus, exploring how various activities and exercises help a child learn effectively.

1. Recognise and Match Uppercase and Lowercase Letters

One of the primary goals of the K1 English syllabus is to help children recognise and match uppercase and lowercase letters. This skill is fundamental as it forms the basis for reading and writing. Visual recognition exercises are employed, where children are shown uppercase and lowercase letters and asked to identify matches. Tools such as flashcards, worksheets, and interactive games are used to make these activities engaging.

For instance, a typical exercise might involve displaying the letter 'A' in uppercase and asking the child to find the matching lowercase 'a' among a group of letters. These activities not only help in letter recognition but also improve visual discrimination skills.

Recognise and Match Uppercase and Lowercase Letters

2. Holding the Pencil Correctly

Learning to hold the pencil in the correct way is another crucial skill emphasised in the K1 English syllabus. Proper pencil grip is essential for developing good handwriting and fine motor skills.


  • Help your child to form an "L" shape with his or her thumb and forefinger as pictured here. Place the pencil against the top of the bent middle finger and on the thumb joint.

Holding the Pencil Correctly

Now, have your child squeeze the pencil with the thumb and the forefinger.

have your child squeeze the pencil

Check the way that your child is holding the pencil against the picture to decide whether or not it is the proper way.

holding the pencil against the picture

Note: It can be difficult for a child who does not have enough strength in his or her hand and fingers to hold the pencil properly. Gradually teach this skill to keep your child interested and willing to hold a pencil naturally!

This practice is gradually taught to ensure children develop the strength and dexterity needed to hold a pencil naturally. Regular practice of writing both uppercase and lowercase letters help reinforce the correct pencil grip and improve handwriting.

3. Phonics and Word Blending

Learning the Sounds of Letters

Understanding the sounds of letters A to Z is a fundamental aspect of phonics education in the K1 English syllabus Singapore. Children are taught to sound out each letter individually, which is the first step towards blending sounds to form words. This phonetic approach helps develop reading skills and enhances pronunciation.

Blending Simple Words

Once children are familiar with the sounds of individual letters, they learn to blend them into simple words. This process begins with three-letter words (CVC words), where a consonant is followed by a vowel and another consonant. Words like "cat," "dog," and "hat" are used as starting points. Teachers guide children to sound out each letter, blend the first two sounds together, and then add the third sound to form a meaningful word.

Here is a list of CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words that are easy to blend and suitable for K1 children:

  1. Cat

  2. Dog

  3. Hat

  4. Mat

  5. Rat

  6. Bag

  7. Cap

  8. Tap

  9. Fan

  10. Van

  11. Net

  12. Pet

  13. Bed

  14. Red

  15. Sun

  16. Fun

  17. Bun

  18. Pin

  19. Tin

  20. Win

These simple words are great for helping young children practise blending sounds and develop their reading skills.

Phonics and Word Blending

4. Understanding Basic Punctuation

Basic punctuation is introduced to help children understand the structure and flow of sentences. The K1 English syllabus includes teaching children to recognise and use punctuation marks such as full stops, question marks, and exclamation marks. These marks are essential for understanding sentence boundaries and expressing different types of sentences.

Using Punctuation in Context

Children learn that a sentence begins with an uppercase letter and ends with a full stop, question mark, or exclamation mark. For example:

  • A full stop (.) is used at the end of a declarative sentence: "This is my toy."

  • A question mark (?) is used at the end of an interrogative sentence: "Where are you going?"

  • An exclamation mark (!) is used to express strong feelings: "Watch out!" or "Happy birthday!"

These lessons are reinforced through exercises where children punctuate given sentences correctly, helping them understand the function and importance of punctuation in writing.

5. Building Vocabulary

Thematic Vocabulary Development

Building a rich vocabulary is a key focus of the K1 English syllabus. Children learn words related to common themes such as family, body parts, colours, numbers, animals, food, shapes, weather, clothing, and school items. This thematic approach ensures that the vocabulary is relevant to children's everyday experiences, making learning more meaningful and engaging.

Using Flashcards and Songs

To reinforce vocabulary, teachers use flashcards with pictures and words, incorporating songs and rhymes that feature these themes. For example, songs like "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" and "Finger Family" help children learn the names of body parts. Storytelling sessions, where books with clear illustrations and repetitive language are read aloud, also play a crucial role in vocabulary building.

To assist children in expanding their vocabulary on familiar topics such as family and body parts, we can:

  • Utilise flashcards that pair images with words to strengthen their understanding and pronunciation.

  • Include songs and rhymes that focus on these themes, like "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" and "Finger Family."

  • Participate in storytelling by reading books and narrating stories that have clear illustrations and repetitive language.

Typical vocabulary themes for K1 children encompass:

  1. Family

  2. Body Parts

  3. Colours

  4. Numbers

  5. Animals

  6. Food

  7. Shapes

  8. Weather

  9. Clothing

  10. School Items

These themes help children build a foundational vocabulary that is relevant to their everyday experiences. It is also important to let your child recognise key instructional words such as "circle", "cross out", "underline", etc.

Understanding Basic Punctuation

Tips for Parents

Here are some K1 English exercises to support their child's learning:

  • Read together: Spend time reading books with your child daily. This helps in developing a love for reading and improves language skills.

  • Play educational games: Use games and apps that focus on letter recognition, phonics, and vocabulary building.

  • Practice writing: Encourage your child to practise writing letters and words. Provide them with fun writing tools like coloured pencils and markers to make the activity enjoyable.

  • Sing songs and rhymes: Incorporate songs and rhymes into daily routines. This helps in reinforcing vocabulary and phonics skills in a fun way.

Tips for Parents

The K1 English syllabus in Singapore is thoughtfully designed to provide young learners with a strong foundation in language and literacy. K1 English lessons foster curiosity, active learning, and competence. By focusing on key areas such as letter recognition, phonics, punctuation, and vocabulary building, the syllabus ensures that children develop essential language skills in an engaging and supportive environment. Parental involvement further enhances this learning journey, making it a collaborative effort that prepares children for future academic success.

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