Time flies, and your little one is now ready to go to preschool in Singapore. Preschools in Singapore generally have classes for Playgroup (18 months to 2 years old) to Nursery (3 to 4 years old) and Kindergarten (5 to 6 years old).
There are many considerations when picking a suitable preschool in Singapore and these questions can help to narrow down your choice.
1. How do I find the best preschool in Singapore?
This is subjective, but rather than looking for the best preschool among all the preschools in Singapore, choose one that best meets the needs of you and your child. A centre which fulfils most of your criteria will be your best choice.
2. What is the teacher-student ratio?
The teacher-student ratio as stipulated by ECDA is 1:8 for Playgroup, 1:12 for Nursery 1, 1:15 for Nursery 2, 1:20 for Kindergarten 1 and 1:25 for Kindergarten 2. Most centres assign an assistant teacher to support the main teacher in classroom activities.
A preschool in Singapore that has a lower teacher-student ratio, such as MindChamps PreSchool, will mean that your child will enjoy more individualised care and attention.
3. Is the school established and the teachers experienced and qualified?
Preschools in Singapore are required to conform to strict ECDA guidelines regarding safety and the qualifications of their teachers. An established school with many years of operation like MindChamps PreSchool has its teachers undergo up to 200 hours of extensive training and accreditation, regardless of their early childhood qualifications.
4. What is the curriculum like?
Each school has their own curriculum which prepares children progressively for primary school. Take for example MindChamps PreSchool with its curriculum that is based on the S.M.I.L.E.S.™ approach. S.M.I.L.E.S.™ stands for Sensory, Motor (Music and Movement), Intellectual, Linguistic, Emotional and Social, and all activities conducted with the preschoolers are designed to encompass these elements.
MindChamps PreSchool uses the bamboo metaphor as inspiration for developing strategies for the children’s social and emotional growth. Some of the 10 key root strategies include communication strategies, nature and environmental awareness strategies, as well as narrative intelligence strategies. A detailed explanation of all the key roots of the bamboo can be found here.
5. Does the nursery school offer enrichment programmes?
Children who attend MindChamps PreSchool enjoy a variety of enrichment programmes which exposes them to different activities and builds up their skills. Enrichment classes include programmes that develop the mind and body such as NeuroMooves™, Creativity and Theatrical Strategies™ and Music for the Mind™.
6. What is the menu like?
Ideally, young children should be fed frequently with healthy foods. Thus, the menu for playgroup or nursery school children in Singapore should be planned to suit their nutritional requirements.
MindChamps PreSchool serves well-balanced, nutritious meals and snacks, such as organic low fat and low salt cheese and yoghurt. Yoghurt and cheese are vital sources of calcium for growing children.
7. Should I choose a preschool that’s located near my home or workplace?
As both you and your child will need to commute to the centre for the next few years, you’ll need to determine if it is easier to have your child attend a preschool that is near your home or workplace.
Parents who have other family members and/or caregivers to help them out with the preschool pick-ups and drop-offs may opt for a perschool near their home – while for the rest, having their kids near their workplace may be more convenient and time-saving. You would also need to consider which option makes it easier to reach your child during emergencies or if he or she feels sick in school.
A majority of MindChamps PreSchool centres are located in office buildings or shopping malls within walking distance from MRT stations – making it easily accessible and convenient for parents to send and pick up their kids from preschool.
8. How will updates on my child’s progress be shared with me?
For most playgroups and preschools in Singapore, short updates are given via simple face-to-face communication between the parents and teachers during drop-off and pick-up daily. Preschool teachers in Singapore typically use a communications book to relay messages to parents.
MindChamps PreSchool uses a mobile app to send communications and updates including photos and videos to parents. This way, parents are kept in the loop on the progress and development of their children regularly.
Parents will be invited to Parent-Teacher Meetings twice a year to review their child’s progress report. Various aspects of development, as well as strengths and weaknesses, will be discussed too.
While the questions we’ve outline may help you in the process of choosing a preschool for your child, the most important thing is for your child to be comfortable in the preschool that is chosen. Going for open houses may help you assess the environment and meet the staff and teachers who will be spending the day with your child.
Written by Jamie Koh