The first step. The first tooth. Their first play date. Yes, your toddlers have had many firsts, and as 2021 kicks off, you get excited thinking about their first school photo. But first – which pre-school should you choose for your children?
There are many pre-school choices in Singapore’s vibrant education scene, but which is the best choice for your needs? Here is a list of three things you should consider: cost and location, facilities, and learning approaches.
If you notice, preschools in Singapore can be divided into public and private preschools. Public preschools are built and maintained by the Singapore government, under the Ministry of Education(MOE). Known as MOE Kindergartens, they are meant to provide Singaporeans and permanent residents with an affordable pre-school education. Private pre-schools are run by private education operators. Some of the pre-schools are run by international schools and provide a holistic education experience for students from kindergarten to high school.
These private preschools have an in-house curriculum and may focus on certain aspects of enriching the child’s education. For example, Global Indian International School(GISS) located on East Coast uses a unique pedagogical blend of Montessori approaches and pre-school approaches. Such preschools are normally only located on one or two campuses.
Another preschool option run by Canadian International School is located only on their Jurong and East Coast campuses. Such private school campuses that are affiliated to international schools are located as standalone campuses near housing estates or main roads. So if you are thinking of say, doing a grocery run before dropping your children off, it can be quite challenging to do so as there may not be malls nearby.
If you prefer a place where you can get your morning coffee and grocery shopping done, or perhaps drop your toddlers near your office, preschools with multiple locations such as The Little Skool House may be a better option. The Little Skool House has outlets located in all parts of Singapore. Usually situated near malls, offices, and community centres, the Little Skool House offers quality pre-school education at accessible locations. For instance, just in the Central area of Singapore alone, it has six outlets, two of which are located within the central district of Singapore itself, Raffles Place.
This is perfect for working mothers or fathers who need to pick up their children after work. While these preschools might not be run by international schools, they are also able to provide a quality education for your young ones, as they have their structured approach to ensuring your child gets the best learning experience. Fees for private pre-schools usually start from $2000 onwards. As a rough guide, the Little Skool costs $1,680 to $1,900 per month and school fees at GISS start from $4000 upwards per term of three months, while CIS charges about $30,000 annually. Therefore, it is a good idea to consider your budget as well as location needs.
While most preschools are equipped with similar facilities, some schools may have more developed infrastructure than others. As a parent, you need to go for the virtual open houses or research the type of facilities offered and decide which of the facilities help your child develop their values and interests. This is especially true as young children require plenty of mental and physical stimulation so that they can learn and discover their talents as well as strengths.
For instance, Eton House in Bukit Timah has a 5 storey campus and the preschool actively encourages the children to explore each nook and cranny of the building. This helps to spark their curiosity and helps them become adaptable to new classroom environments. A rooftop garden to help them appreciate the origins of their food, a recycling centre to highlight the important message of saving Gaia and a gymnasium are all wonderful facilities to help students learn beyond the books, stimulating their creativity.
Do you have a toddler that sways to music or one that likes to exercise its vocal cords? Perhaps consider a preschool with its curriculum rooted in the arts. Mindchamps Performing Arts Preschool is one such school. Its lessons are crafted to provide children with the opportunities to learn language and numeracy skills, while at the same time exposing them to the performing arts. For instance, Maths classes are taught by singing the numbers out!
To achieve that, the preschool is equipped with padded, soundproof music and dance studios, so your little ones can sing and dance safely while learning how to count! As you can see, preschools have their unique environmental features to better carry out their lessons, and you will be much more prepared if you know what sort of learning you would like your child to experience, and match that to the facilities provided by the centre.
- Learning approaches
If this article has inspired you to start researching, you might notice preschools toting their different learning approaches as a plus point. Montessori is one such common education philosophy that you might see appearing. This popular pedagogy focuses on student-driven learning in Montessori classrooms. Students choose which activities interest them and learn at their own pace. Hands-on learning with moldable materials and uninterrupted time within the day for students to explore their favourite activity is a common feature of preschools that use the Montessori approach.
Another popular learning approach is the opportunity to learn and practice different languages so the child grows up confidently bilingual. Given that many people come to Singapore from different countries, knowing more than one language is a significant advantage. Art Kidz International, for example, offers Chinese Speech and Drama. This helps toddlers practice their language skills. Knowing more than one language has definite benefits; amongst others, it has been scientifically proven to also help the brain remember information better and allows the child to gain a global perspective. All these can start at a young age. Finding out more about the learning experience at each preschool by visiting virtual open houses or asking other parents who have their preschoolers enrolled there will help you decide if the learning approach suits your child.
With these 3 things in mind, you can now proceed to start looking for preschools for your toddlers.
Our list of the top local and international preschools in Singapore:
- Global Indian International School (GISS): https://singapore.globalindianschool.org/
- Canadian International School (CIS): https://www.cis.edu.sg/learning/kindergarten
- The Little Skool House: https://www.littleskoolhouse.com/about-us/the-little-skool-house
- Eton House (Bukit Timah): https://www.etonhouse.edu.sg/school/upper-bukit-timah/
- Mindchamps Performing Arts School: https://www.mindchamps.org/preschool/performing-arts-preschool/
- Art Kidz International Preschool: https://artskidz.com.sg/
After that, have fun getting ready their first school uniforms and book bags to take that memorable first photo. Have a great 2021 and the best start to a new school year!