Dr Tan Swee Kheng is the founder of I AM Kids® which was established in 2008. She is the pivotal force behind all of I AM Kids® specialized programs. Dr Tan is a strong advocate of children experiencing learning through movement as she firmly believes that movement provokes a child’s brain pathways for learning. Dr Tan is the resident Program Director of I AM Kids®. She relentlessly creates and develops innovative curriculum for all I AM Kids® programs. A dedicated and passionate practitioner, Dr Tan continues to teach many of these programs and is personally involved in the mentoring and coaching of the children. She is determined to witness the progress and development of the children’s learning first hand.
Affectionately known as “Aunty Swee” to the children at I AM Kids®, Dr Tan is patient and kind yet firm when she needs to be. She wisely gauges when a child needs to be pushed to try harder and not give up; and when to encourage with gentleness and comforting hugs. Her professional experience and expertise in the field enable her to help her charges overcome their learning difficulties and bolster their self-confidence. Indeed, she feels most gratified when she sees how the lives of these children have been transformed. Dr Tan has positively impacted the lives of children and youths for the last 19 years.
Dr Tan is a trained Kinesiologist and Movement Consultant. She obtained her Doctorate of Philosophy in Kinesiology from Michigan State University, USA, in 2002. She specialized and majored in Growth, Maturation, and Motor Development, and minored in Exercise Physiology and Epidemiology. Prior to attaining her Ph.D, Dr Tan graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science with 1st Class Honors in Human Movement and Exercise Science at The University of Western Australia, Perth. She specialized in the area of Motor Control and Development.
During her undergraduate studies, Dr Tan taught fundamental movement and aquatic skills to children with motor learning difficulties (including those with developmental coordination disorder, dyspraxia, perceptual-motor dysfunction or motor impairment) through the Unigym program at the then School of Human Movement and Exercise Science.
While pursuing her Ph.D, Dr Tan lectured in the University of Michigan on growth, maturation and physical activity as well as on techniques used in teaching fundamental movement skills to preschool children. Dr Tan was the program supervisor, coordinator and teacher for a preschool motor skills program at the Child Development Laboratory, Michigan State University, for two years. During this time, Dr Tan developed techniques to positively guide and communicate with children. Dr Tan’s students included children with attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), cerebral palsy, global developmental delay, learning difficulties, motor learning difficulties, neuromuscular difficulties and speech delays.
On her return to Singapore, Dr Tan joined the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) as a research scientist. For three years, she was engaged in research for the enhancement of human performance in extreme environments and operations. Dr Tan continues to be involved in research and publishes in internationally peer reviewed journals, in the areas of growth, maturation, and physical performance.
Dr Tan subsequently returned to academia in 2006 and became an Assistant Professor at the National Institute of Education (NIE). She lectured in the areas of physical education and sports science for its diploma, degree, and postgraduate programs. She was also the outdoor adventure program coordinator and the student advisor for the organization of NIE biathlons. While fulfilling her role as an Assistant Professor, Dr Tan was a visiting Kinesiologist with KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital where she initiated a program to assist children with special needs to acquire competence in movement skills in a positive and fun environment.
After leaving NIE in 2008, Dr Tan joined Republic Polytechnic for a short stint where she was instrumental in the course development of the Human Motor Control and Development module. At the same time, she played a crucial role in the design of the motor control and development laboratory for the School of Sports, Health and Leisure.
Ever willing to share her passion and knowledge in her field, Dr Tan continues to lecture in fields of study such as Early Childhood, Special Needs Education, and Sports and Exercise Science whenever time permits.
Dr Tan is a former national hockey player who started playing hockey at the age of 8. She was part of the team that won the first and only gold medal (to date) for Singapore Women’s Hockey during the 1993 South East Asian Games. She was awarded the Singapore Sports Council Certificate of Merit for Hockey.
She and her team went on to win more medals in the SEA Games of 1995 (Bronze), 1997 (Silver), and 1999 (Bronze). Dr Tan then retired from hockey in 1999 to further her studies in the USA. However, her love for the sport and her desire to give back to the hockey sporting community compelled her to serve as Chairperson of the Singapore Hockey Federation Coaching Committee for several years thereafter.
Never one to rest on her laurels, Dr Tan began running marathons in the USA shortly after hanging up her hockey gear. Her first marathon was the Columbus Marathon in Ohio (2001) which she completed in 3hrs 29mins. Dr Tan repeated this impressive performance in the 106th Boston Marathon in Massachusetts (2002). Dr Tan remains an avid runner, having completed six half marathons (best time of 1hr 38mins), twenty full marathons (best time of 3hrs 29mins) and one 84km ultra-marathon (10hrs 6mins). Always pushing the limits of the human body, Dr Tan has competed intensely in biathlons, triathlons, and Ironman triathlons. Dr Tan is a one-time Ironman finisher (Langkawi, 2006) and has completed several half Ironman triathlons with the best time of 6hrs 01min (2007) and best placing of 3rd position (2008) in her age category.
In the media, Dr Tan was part of the panel of experts whose opinions and views were regularly featured in a local women’s magazine Vanilla. Dr Tan was an active contributor of articles to a local online sports news portal – Red Sports, and a local magazine, Lifestyle. From 2010 to 2012, Dr Tan went on air weekly (Thursdays, between 6am – 10am) with FM 91.3, The Married Men, to share her knowledge and expert opinion on fitness, running, and running-related topics. Dr Tan currently sits on the advisory board for local magazines, RUN Singapore and Shape. She periodically writes for several other local magazines, namely Men’s Health and Singapore Women’s Weekly.
To date, Dr Tan is the only certified TRX® Sports Medicine Suspension Training Course Instructor in Singapore.