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What’s a future-ready skill that I should equip my preschooler with?

Portrait of Tammy Strobel


What’s a future-ready skill that I should equip my preschooler with?

We live in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world where the shelf life of existing skills is increasingly shortened. Rather than focusing on a specific skill , what is vital at this age is to encourage your child to “play well with others”. 

Dr David Deming, a professor of Public Policy, Education and Economics at Harvard, presented evidence of the growing importance of social skills in the labour market. 

When children play with one another, they are honing their social skills such as cooperation, negotiation, empathy and adaptability. These would certainly stand them in good stead for the future.

As parents, this sometimes mean taking a step back to let the little ones negotiate among themselves when they get into a scuffle, giving them space to solve their problems and to compromise, and allowing them to make mistakes and learn from them. 

Dawn Lim, Star Learners


Brian Caswell is the dean of Research and Program Development at Mindchamps. He has 15 grandchildren. 

Helen Marjan is the CEO and director of Studies at Lorna Whiston Schools. Her three children are in their teens. 

June Rusdon is the chief executive officer of Busy Bees Asia. She has three kids in their 20s. 

Fiona Walker is the group managing director of Julia Gabriel Education – Julia Gabriel Centre, Chiltern House Preschool and Chengzhu. Her son is aged 14, and her daughter is 11. 

Dawn Lim is the curriculum advisor at Star Learners. She has four children aged eight to 16. 


Dr Cornelia Chee is a psychiatrist and director in the Women’s Emotional Health Service at the National University Hospital. Her daughters are in their teens. 


Dr Richard C. Woolfson is a child psychologist based in Britain. He has written 15 books on child and family development, and is Young Parents’ long-standing Age by Stage columnist. He’s also a grandfather of five. 


Dr Chan Poh Chong is the head and senior consultant with the Division of General Ambulatory Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Khoo Teck Puat- National University Children’s Medical Institute, National University Hospital. 

Dr Natalie Epton is a specialist paediatrician and neonatologist at SBCC Baby & Child Clinic at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre. She has three kids aged five to 12. 


Dr Goh Shen Li is a senior consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist in the S L Goh Women’s Clinic at Mount Alvernia Medical Centre. She has three children aged four to eight. 


Kang Phaik Gaik is a senior nurse manager and parentcraft/ lactation consultant at Mount Alvernia Hospital’s Parentcraft Centre. Her two children are in their 20s. 


Pauline Xie is a principal dietitian with the Clinical Services Division at the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics. Her three daughters are aged five to 12. 


Dr Rashid Tahir is a paediatric dentist at The Kids Dentist. He’s also the president of the Pediatric Dentistry Association of Asia and an adjunct associate professor in the Faculty of Dentistry at National University of Singapore. His two daughters are in their teens. 


Alfred Tan is the chief executive officer of Singapore Children’s Society. His two children are in their 20s. 

Any views expressed by the Members of the Editorial Advisory Board in this magazine are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of, or are sanctioned by, this magazine. Members of the Editorial Advisory Board do not, by virtue of their membership, endorse or support any product or service advertised or articles featured in this magazine. The articles in this magazine are for your information only. Do not substitute them for the advice of a qualified health-care practitioner or professional adviser.