Tao Nan School

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Tao Nan School
道南学校 (Dàonán Xuéxiào)
Tao Nan School, Mar 06.JPG
49, Marine Crescent, Marine Parade
Type Government-aided
Motto Sincerity and Perseverance
Established 8 November 1906
Session Single (Since 2017)
School code 5240
Principal Dr Chin Kim Woon
Enrolment Approx. 2,500
Colour(s) Blue, white

Tao Nan School (abbreviation: TNS; Chinese: 道南学校), is a co-educational primary school in Singapore. One of the six Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan schools, along with Ai Tong School, Chongfu Primary School, Kong Hwa School, Nan Chiau Primary School and Nan Chiau High School, Tao Nan School is among the 30 most popular primary schools listed by the Ministry of Education.[1]

Tao Nan School is also offering the Gifted Education Programme that started in 1996. In 2007, it also started the Bi-Cultural Chinese Elective Programme (BiCEP) to develop effective bilingualism in its students. Tao Nan celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006 with a carnival held on November 4. To provide better infrastructure to support the teaching and learning of its students, Tao Nan School underwent the PERI Upgrading from 2014 to 2015 and operated at the holding site in Bedok South Road. With the completion of the Upgrading Exercise, it returned to Marine Parade in 2016.

School crest[edit]

The school crest consists of a leaping lion and an open book on a blue shield. The lion represents the Lion City, which is Singapore. Its leaping position symbolises bravery and continuous progress and advancement in the face of difficulties. The open book represents the unquenchable thirst for knowledge. At the base of the crest is the school's motto: "Sincerity and Perseverance". The entire crest signifies the acquisition of abundant knowledge and the training of the strong and healthy body.


Tao Nan School once occupied this building on Armenian Street from 1911 to 1981. The old building now houses the Peranakan Museum, and has been gazetted as a national monument.

The Hokkien Clan Association (otherwise known as the Hokkien Huay Kuan) started Tao Nan School on 8 November 1906. It was one of the six modern Chinese schools in Singapore with a curriculum influenced by the educational reforms in China at the end of the 19th century.[2] The school was initially named Tao Nan Study Hall (道南學堂, Daonan Xuetang). Daonan Xuetang (道南學堂) can be translated as "spreading our philosophy, our culture and ideas to the South".

Classes were first held at the residence of Tan Kim Ching on North Bridge Road. With support from the Hokkien community, a purpose-built school was constructed. Benefactors include Tan Boon Liat, Lee Cheng Yen, Low Kim Pong, Tan Kah Kee, and Oei Tiong Ham, the sugar magnate from Semarang, Central Java, whose donation largely financed the purchase of land on Armenian Street.[2] Although it was originally set up to serve the Hokkien community and the lessons were held in Hokkien, it became the first Chinese school to accept speakers of other Chinese dialects.[3]

The move to Armenian Street coincided with the 1911 overthrow of the Qing dynasty. Tao Nan became the first Chinese school to change the medium of instruction from the Hokkien dialect to Mandarin. One of the teachers was the philanthropist Lee Kong Chian (1894–1967).[2] Pioneer artist Pan Shou was the headmaster from 1932 to 1940.

In 1982, Tao Nan School moved to a new campus in Marine Parade, where it still remains to this today. It was named a SAP school in 1990 and a Gifted Education Programme Centre in 1996.[2] In 2014, it moved to a temporary campus in Bedok South, while the Marine Parade campus underwent PERI Upgrading. It moved back into the Marine Parade campus in 2016. With 110 years of history (as of 2016) it is one of Singapore's oldest primary schools.



Boys wear white shirts and blue shorts. Girls wear white blouses and light blue pinafores. Both uniforms have the school crest emblazoned on the left. While school shoes and socks can be purchased, any white-based shoes or ankle socks are allowed.

For days with PE lessons, students wear a white shirt with dark blue shorts to school. This uniform may be worn throughout the day on those days. The previous shirt had the image of the mascot of the house (Dolphin, Killer Whale, Marlin or Shark) that the student belonged to on the back. The new shirt has the words "道南学校 Tao Nan School" on the back. The school initials (TNS) are sewn on the shorts. House T-shirts are the same as the normal shirts, except that they have a picture of the house animal on the back instead of the school initials.

Prefects wear a blue Velcro tie, a name tag, and a junior prefect or prefect badge above the school crest. The number of white lines printed on the tie determines the prefect's status: the Head Prefect has three stripes, the Vice-Head Prefect and other members of the Executive Committee have two, and the others have either one or no stripes.

The prefect name tag is blue with the students name carved in white on it. The old junior prefect badge has the words 'junior prefect' engraved on them. The new one has the school crest and 'prefect' written in gold on a black background together with the Prefect's name. The frame of the badge is gold.

A prefect T-shirt has been introduced. It is white with a blue high collar, with the word prefect on the left side of the T-shirt and on the back. Prefect in Mandarin (学长) is printed in blue on the left sleeve of the T-shirt. The prefects wear this shirt with their PE shorts on events during which they have prefect duties, such as Pesta Sukan or Swimming Carnival.

Sports' Day[edit]

Every year, there is a sports day event held by the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan. All members, (i.e. Ai Tong School, Kong Hwa School, Chongfu Primary School, Nan Chiau Primary School and Tao Nan itself.


There are four houses in Tao Nan School:

  • Dolphin 海豚 (blue)
  • Killer Whale 逆戟鲸 (red)
  • Marlin 马林 (orange)
  • Shark 鲨鱼(green)

These houses are mainly for organising the annual Swimming Carnival, Pesta Sukan and other special events. There is an inter-house swimming competition that is held annually.


Tao Nan has numerous CCAs ranging from uniform groups like Brownies and Scouts to cultural groups like Chinese Dance and Chinese Orchestra.

Sports & Games

Clubs & Societies

Uniformed Groups

Cultural Groups

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c d National Heritage Board (2006). "Tao Nan School". In Tommy T.B. Koh et ali. Singapore: The Encyclopedia. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet. p. 549. ISBN 981-4155-63-2. 
  3. ^ "Tao Nan School". Singapore Infopedia. National Library Board Singapore. 

Coordinates: 1°18′19″N 103°54′40″E / 1.305375°N 103.911164°E / 1.305375; 103.911164