If you are a first-time parent or new to the sunny shores of Singapore, it’s understandable that you may feel confused by the various pre-school options available here. Infant care, childcare centres and kindergartens — there are a wide variety of choices tailored to the specific needs and preferences of parents and their children, thus resulting in a difficult decision-making process. Not to mention the vital importance of pre-school education for the optimal growth and development of your kids’ future skill set and knowledge. Hence, it’s no surprise that many parents end up feeling stressed out about the preschool selection process.
On the positive side, with the Singapore Government’s increased focus and efforts in developing the preschool education sector, families with young children can look forward to enjoying numerous benefits that will ease their various burdens. For example, asides from kindergartens run by the Ministry of Education, parents now have the liberty of choosing preschools run by Anchor Operators. As Anchor Operated Preschools receive funding from the government, they are able to provide subsidised school fees for families, which can be very beneficial for those under the low-income strata. Plus, unlike MOE run kindergartens, foreigners are to apply for a place for their child in anchor operated pre-schools, thus opening up more choices to them. However, do note that there might be a difference in registration fees and requirements among local and foreign students, therefore it’s best to check beforehand with the particular preschool that you are considering.
Already feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information with regard to the preschool education system in Singapore? Fret not as we have compiled a list of tips for selecting a preschool in Singapore that will help you along with the decision process.
A Guide On How To Choose A Singapore Preschool For Your Child
Prior to kick-starting the preschool decision-making process, it is best to be aware of the differences in the various aspects of preschool education in Singapore. This is especially so if you are a foreigner that plans to have your children register in Singapore’s educational institutions on a long-term basis. In Singapore, the term ‘preschool education’ is an encompassing one that includes infant care, child care and kindergartens. However, each type has a different system and caters to varying interests and age groups.
For instance, infant care is dedicated to kids that are lesser than 18 months whereas, for childcare centres and kindergartens, children aged 1.5 to 6 years old can be accepted. Also, the hours of childcare centres tend to be more accommodating to the working schedules of parents as compared to kindergartens, with many of them being open till 7pm. On the other hand, most kindergartens in Singapore are split into 2 sessions to choose from, either in the morning or afternoon. They are also shorter in duration and have a strong emphasis on cultivating essential life skills and knowledge in preparation of primary school education.
Now that you have a better idea of the preschool education system in Singapore, here are some factors that you should consider when selecting a preschool here. For the sake of clarity, we will focus on those that affect your choice of childcare centre or kindergarten:
Type Of School And Its Management
Not all preschools in Singapore are the same. Regardless of whether it’s a childcare centre or kindergarten, many of them are managed under different entities or organisations. There are some educational institutions that are directly under the care of the Singapore government, also known as MOE run kindergartens. To qualify for these MOE run kindergartens, your child must be a Singaporean or Permanent Resident and due to the support from the government, the school fees for such preschools tend to be more affordable. If you are a foreigner, you have to consider other options such as anchor-operated or private kindergartens. Although both of them have higher school fees than a MOE run kindergarten, they also offer a unique set of learning curriculums that is customised to your child’s specific needs. If you are concerned about the monetary aspect of preschool education, do note there are still subsidies available at anchor-operated kindergartens but they might vary according to your residency status in Singapore. Therefore, if you have chosen Singapore as your home and want to reside here permanently, you may want to consider applying to become a permanent resident so as to enjoy these financial benefits. Whereas if you are contemplating sending your little one to a childcare centre, do note that they are also segregated into government based and private institutions and have varying entry requirements and benefits. Hence, it’s best to factor in your kid’s specific needs and requirements and weigh it against the type of school and its management during the decision making process.
Location And Accessibility Of The PreSchool
To facilitate the easy dropping off and picking up of your kids, you might want to consider selecting a preschool that is close to your house or workplace. This will also help you to deal with any unexpected crises, making it easier to reach your child when needed.
As the educational objectives and syllabus differ among various preschools, it’s imperative that you factor in your child’s interests and select one that best fits. For example, if your little one is more well-versed in the arts, perhaps you would like to choose a preschool that has a creative arts programme.
Good preschool teachers or instructors make all the difference. Therefore, be sure to assess their teaching style by requesting to sit in on one of their lessons before deciding if it’s a fit with your kid’s learning style.