Looking for a preschool for your child? Take note of the following pointers.
WORDS CINDY LIM
There is no single formula that fits all – every parent and child have different requirements for what they consider as the ideal preschool. Here are some pointers to consider when selecting a preschool.
Consider a preschool that is located closest to home for the convenience of dropping your child off and picking her/him up at the end of each day. Another option is to choose a school that is located close to your workplace. This option is handy in the event of unforeseen circumstances where you may have to pick up your child from school early, such as when your child suddenly falls ill.
The cost of preschool in Singapore differs across a broad spectrum so pick something that is within your budget. There are also basic subsidies available from $150 for a basic half-day programme to $300 for a basic full-day programme. More information can be found at www.ecda.gov.sg under Subsidies and Financial Assistance.
Kindergartens feature programmes that usually last for about three hours daily, with morning (8am to 11am) and afternoon (11am to 2pm) sessions, while childcare or preschool centres offer either half-day (usually 7am to 1pm) or full-day (7am to 7pm) options. The exact timings in each preschool vary. Determine a duration that is suitable for your child’s attention span, daily habits and character.
When paying the school a visit, bring your little one along so that he or she can give you unbiased opinions about each school. When you step foot into the place, do you hear happy children singing and playing? Or is it a quiet place where students are studying hard?
Take note of how the teachers interact with the children,
what facilities the school has, how often the children get to
interact with each other in a group setting.
Are there paintings and pictures drawn by students adorning the walls? Are there posters of moral values that the school wishes to inculcate in their students?
#5 Student teacher ratio
The higher the number of children for every teacher, the less individual attention your child will be able to receive. The Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) recommends a student-teacher ratio of 1:12 for Nursery and 1: 20 (K1) and 1:25 (K2) to maintain the quality of staff-child interactions. This number may differ across preschools, so it is advisable to take note.
Different preschools adopt differing learning methodologies. Some kindergartens provide a structured approach to teaching with a strong emphasis on classroom lessons while other preschools and playgroups focus more on play-based learning. Find out what values the preschool promotes and how they incorporate it into their curriculum.
Suss out their Chinese curriculum and how much emphasis the
school places on spelling, completing worksheets and
project work. How does the school’s curriculum prepare
the child for Primary education?
As you are entrusting your child to another person, it is important to find out what safety measures and precautions the preschool has put in place. Some things to consider about safety – does it have CCTV installed and what is its policy on reviewing CCTV footage? How does the school verify the caregivers before releasing the children to them at dismissal each day? Does the school have open forms of communication and quick response time where parents can contact the school in case of emergency and vice versa? Does the school have staff who are trained in basic first aid and CPR?
Find out what precautions the school has in place to prevent contagious illnesses from spreading. For instance, does the school do daily temperature checks? What happens if a child has a suspected illness like Hand, Foot and Mouth disease or chicken pox? How often does the school clean and disinfect its premises?
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