February 12, 2015 / 8:11 AM / 3 years ago

Angry Birds fly into Singapore to teach preschoolers

Dreamkids Kindergarten principal Dawn Choy shows how the Smart Board is used for educational games in class as teachers plan their lessons in an Angry Birds-inspired classroom environment in Singapore February 11, 2015.Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A for Angry. B for Birds. The heroes of an addictive mobile game dishing out revenge on evil pigs have landed in a classroom in Singapore to prep kindergarten children the Angry Birds way.

Finland's Rovio, the company behind the game franchise, has partnered with local preschool Dreamkids Kindergarten to launch an Angry Birds Playground in the city-state, the fourth globally after openings in China last year.

A giant indoor tree house takes center stage in a classroom dotted with stuffed Angry Bird toys and matching wallpaper, while a large wall-mounted touch screen plays educational games.

The preschool program, aimed at children aged between three and six, is based on the Finnish National Curriculum, widely considered one of the world's best education systems.

"Behind the Angry Birds Playground educational concept is a belief that fun and play are at the very center of effective learning," Rovio said in a statement.

The program was developed with the University of Helsinki along with partners such as U.S. space agency NASA, National Geographic and CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

Dreamkids Kindergarten, which has just started advertising, expects classes to start filling up from mid-March.

Preschool is not compulsory in Singapore but is a popular choice among parents who believe it helps children prepare for formal schooling and develop social skills.

There are nearly 500 kindergartens in the city, with about 68,000 children enrolled, according to 2013 data from the ministry of social and family development.

Rovio is battling a highly competitive mobile games market, despite brand merchandising and a spin-off animated TV series. But its newer games have not matched the popularity of the original Angry Birds, the most downloaded paid app of all time.

An animated Angry Birds feature film, a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Rovio, is slated for release in July 2016.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Tony Tharakan

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