June 7, 2019
How Do You Choose the Right Kindergarten for Your Child?
Singapore is home to more than 1,500 childcare centres at the date of writing. New parents can be conflicted with which kindergarten is the best for their children with so many choices and options available for them. Kindergartens in Singapore are important as it sets the education foundation and prepares your child for primary school.
What are the differences between a childcare centre and a kindergarten?
It is important that you know the difference between childcare centres and kindergartens. In Singapore, both are classified under “preschool”. Childcare generally accepts children that are over 18 months to 6 years old. Some childcare centres provide infant care for babies that are around 2 months old or more. On the other hand, kindergartens are generally available for children who are 3 to 6 years old. Time wise, childcare centres open during the working hours when parents must work and are unable to attend to their children.
On the other hand, kindergartens usually have programs that at most last 4 hours. The schedules vary for each preschool. Childcare centres are only allowed to close operations for around 7 days a year not inclusive of public holidays and Sundays but, kindergartens generally follow the same holidays as primary schools. Kindergartens do not serve meals during classes, but they might give out snacks in between. Childcare centres serve breakfast, lunch and snacks due to the full day curriculum.
How should I go about enrolling my child? Which factors should I consider?
Many popular kindergartens start their enrolment list as early as from birth. Do enquire about the kindergarten’s waiting list that you are interested in. Many parents in Singapore do check with the kindergarten enrolment status when their child is a few months old. Most kindergartens will require parents to submit a form and pay a registration fee to reserve a spot for your children.
- Location and Convenience
Research on suitable kindergartens and childcare centres that are either close to your house or close to your workplace. This in term can reduce the cost and time and increases the convenience when dropping them off or picking them up. You can also attend to your children and pick them up quickly if an emergency occurs during the period. You can find out more about the locations of our My Little Campuses here.
- Qualifications and Certifications
Next, you can look up on the centre’s preschool license. This can give you a rough idea on the school’s quality and safety. Kindergartens in Singapore must be registered with the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA). ECDA will then issue out the license to the following preschools with their duration validity ranging from 6 months to 24 months.
Centres with 24 months are generally stable and higher in quality with a good reputation as compared to a 6 months license. However, this is not a definitive means to judge the kindergarten and you should do more research and background checks before registering with that childcare centre.
- Testimonials and Reviews
Alternatively, you can always ask the parents who have sent their children to those childcare centres. They will be able to provide you with their first-hand experience for the childcare centre of what the school provides and you can further check whether that school has and can meet your expectations. You also can read the reviews of the childcare by the parents online by searching up your shortlisted candidates for your childcare centres.
- Curriculum Types and Content
Another major factor you must consider is the curriculum. Different kindergartens have different based curriculum and you need to consider and cater for your children as every child is unique in their way and learns differently.
Generally, there are two types of curriculum which are play-based and academic-based. A more active child would benefit more from a play-based curriculum whereas a visual learner would benefit more with an academic-based curriculum. As parents, you need to identify which category your children are in and select based on their style to enhance their learning experience. Ultimately, the best way for you to check out the school’s environment and their curriculum is during the open houses or tours.
Under the guidelines of ECDA, under kindergartens, the advised staff to children ratio is 1:20 for Kindergarten 1 and 1:25 for Kindergarten 2. The smaller the ratio, the better it is. This means that more attention can be given by the teacher to the children. Some kindergartens allow you to sign up trial classes that you can attend to see whether your child is comfortable with the school that you chose.
- School Fees
Of course, do not forget about the kindergarten school fees. Take note and ask about any extra payments during the registration and ensure they are all within your budget. There may be subsidies that are present by ECDA that you can look up.
To find out more about the Kindergarten curriculum offered at My Little Campus, click here.