Milestones in a life of education

Dr Florence Lee was an influential pioneer in raising the standard and professionalism in Singapore’s early childhood (EC) education landscape. A veteran early childhood specialist, Dr Lee, provided vital transformational contributions to Kinderland group. Between 1985 – 2014, Dr Lee was Head of Kinderland Curriculum & Training,  and a founding member and the First Academic Director of Kinderland Learning Centre (KLC), now known as KLC International Institute (KLCII).

Early Childhood Care and Education Basic Course, 1989 – First intake with late Dr Florence Lee (front row, 2nd from left)

In 1985, Ms Kwan Peck Leng, founder of Kinderland International Education, roped in Dr Lee to spearhead Kinderland’s Curriculum & Training Department. Located in Thomson Plaza, KLC was set up to bolster Dr Lee’s vision and Kinderland’s commitment to training quality EC teachers. Under her stewardship, KLC supported the government’s needs and call for expansion of quality child care teacher training as more mothers return to the workforce.

More than 30 years on, this training arm has grown to become an independent school, KLCII. The School continues to offer early years training and professional development to educarers and preschool teachers in the region.

Presentation of Accreditation Certifications by (left) Professor Leo Tan, Director of NIE to (right) Dr Florence Lee, Academic Director of KLC, at 1st Singapore Conference on Preschool Education, 1998

In 1987, Dr Lee and Ms Jane Ching-Kwan, Kinderland Curriculum Co-ordinator, reviewed and reset the Kinderland kindergarten curriculum approach. This set pace for Singapore’s EC landscape. Kinderland moved from a worksheets-based approach to an exploratory learning approach, pushing Kinderland to be on par with international preschool standards.

Dr Lee played a pivotal role in the development of Singapore’s EC teachers’ training. She connected foreign universities to accreditation with the Ministry of Education and training scholarship with the then Ministry of Community Development. She has left a great legacy that has touched the lives of many preschool educators.

At the BNU 100th Year Anniversary Celebration in Beijing, 8th Sept 2002 From left: Professor Dong Qi Current President of BNU, Professor Zhong Binling Former President of BNU, Ms Lorna Poon KLCII, Dr Florence Lee, Former Academic Director KLCII

Signing of MOU for the Early Childhood degree programme

From left: Dr Jane Ching-Kwan, KLC, Dr Florence Lee, KLC, Professor Sandra Vianne Mclean, Executive Dean QUT Faculty of Education, Associate Professor Bob Elliot QUT at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and KLC signs MOU for the Early Childhood degree programme in 2003

Today, we celebrate the spirit of an education pioneer who has made it her life’s work to contribute to early childhood education. Kinderland holds firm to Dr Lee’s belief that every child is unique, with the potential to stretched to their fullest under the guidance of a quality teacher. We will always remember her for her inextinguishable passion for early childhood education and her values embodied through those lives she has touched and inspired.

On 1st row, 6th to 8th from the left: Dr Florence Lee, Ms Kwan Peck Leng, Mr Robert Leong, distinguished partners from Singapore and overseas at the inaugural annual Kinderland Day 2005.

We mourn the loss of Dr Florence Lee, who passed away peacefully on 5th September 2021. We thank her for her immense contributions to the education fraternity.

A colleague held in high regard, an inspiration to many