So you have decided to let your child try out for the Direct School Admission – Secondary (DSA-Sec) Exercise. There will be selection tests and interviews to ace. Think your child might require an extra push? Good news – gone are the days when parents had to rely solely on intuition and their child’s academic prowess to make the cut. Whether your child is in primary one or six, there’s a DSA preparation programme out for him or her. Yes, it’s never too early to begin!

Your child can be coached in a particular sport, trained in a field of the arts, have his communication skills sharpened and be taught how to handle the interviews. Here are seven centres in Singapore which offer DSA preparatory courses for primary schoolers.

1. Guru Kids Pro

Programme: Analytical Critical Thinking

Suitable for: Primary 1 – 6 students

Phone: 6779 2858

Website

This course aims to improve your child’s visual-spatial, logical-mathematical and verbal-linguistics intelligence skills – also known as General Ability skills (GAT). Designed for average and above average students, it will enable already good learners to do even better in school through the acquisition of stronger cognitive skills. For best long term results, the centre recommends parents to enrol their children into this programme during their kindergarten years.

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2. Ace Academy

Programme: DSA Programme

Suitable for: Primary 4 – 6 students

Phone: 6468 8381

Website

This is a tuition centre that specialises in grooming its pupils for admission into secondary schools via the DSA scheme. Their curricula are designed and taught by experienced NIE-trained teachers. Ace Academy places an emphasis on the understanding and application of concepts through hands-on and inquiry-based education. Bonus – life skills and strategies are thrown in to equip students for the future.

3. Speech Academy Asia

Programme: Children’s Public Speaking Class

Suitable for: Primary 1 – 6 students

Phone: 6690 3258

Website

As this centre’s name suggests, its focus is on speech skills. No, speaking well is not just about being able to articulate thoughts fluently. There are many more aspects to public speaking, such as voice force, body postures, tonality, eye contact and facial expressions, to name a few. Professional public speaking trainers will help your child to master the lot. Kids will also be awarded with a Certificate of Completion for each Mastery Level attained. (there are three in total!)

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4. Speak! Ventures

Programme: DSA Interview Skills

Suitable for: Primary 6 students

Website

For parents who are worried about their child not being able to ace the DSA interview, this is the programme to sign him up for. Courses are offered in class sizes of three to five students – that means more attention for every child. Pupils will be asked to speak before an assessor and trained to respond to tough questions in a creative manner. There’s also a parent briefing at the end of the six-hour course.

5. Kids Performing Academy of The Arts

Programme: DSA Preparatory Course for SOTA

Suitable for: Primary 4 – 6 students

Phone: 6836 5008

Website

If you want your child’s artistic strengths to be honed, this is the training programme that will prepare him. Thirteen out of 16 students here gained entry into SOTA in 2013. There are four modules – Theatre, Music (voice), Dance (Ballet, Jazz & Modern Dance) and Communications. Students are encouraged to attend all classes under each module and participate in frequent performances to gain experience. Certificates awarded are from reputable institutions such as the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art and Royal Academy of Dance Ballet.

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6. Asia Pacific Sports Management (APSM)

Programme: one-on-one coaching in a chosen sport

Suitable for: Primary 1 – 6 students

Phone: 9127 8732

Website

If your child is looking to secure a place in a secondary school through the Sports domain, training under the professional guidance of an experienced coach can better his chances of success. At APSM, individual training sessions are available for basketball, cricket, football, hockey, tennis and volleyball. There are also holiday camps for the various team sports for kids to get a taste of teamwork and sportsmanship.

children in swimming pool

7. J Carter Centre for Public Speaking

Programme: Trinity College Communication Skills Grade 3

Suitable for: Primary 5 and 6 students

Phone: 6737 2700

Website

The J Carter Centre for Public Speaking has been offering interview coaching in group and one-to-one classes since 2009. Topics covered include interview etiquette, first impressions, and how to handle interview questions. Interview questions from the various IP schools, compiled over the past six years, will be given to every student. J Carter’s communication cum DSA preparation course consists of 20 sessions held once a week at 1.5 hours per lesson. Each class has a maximum of eight to nine students. For one-to-one interview coaching, students book by the hour.

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