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Choosing a Pre-school for Your Child

They say education is one of the most important, if not the most, gifts a parent can gift their children. This is especially true with children at a young age. Of course, parents have the responsibility to feed and shelter them but education gives them the foundation for their future as adults. At a young age, a child will start to get to know the world around them and discover what the world has to offer. And while there are many things a parent can teach their child at home, they also have schools that offer them enrichment in lessons.

As your child reaches the age wherein they can attend pre-school, it’s important for parents to research the preschools their child can attend and pick the best one for the child. Of course, not every school is the same and even more so with preschools. As such, your child may not also be at the same learning pace or preference as the school which can also affect the way they learn. This article lists down the factors parents should consider in choosing the best preschool for their child.

1. Location

Location is a very important factor when choosing the preschool for your child. Parents will want a school that they are familiar with the location of. As such, parents should also consider schools that are in close proximity to their homes or workplace to make it easier for you to drop and pick them off.

Aside from the benefits of access, parents will also have little to no problem running to the school when needed. They are closer to their children and they will also feel more secure that they can go when they are needed. If the preschool is farther off from the home or workplace, this may cause the child to tire out easily after long rides and even cost more in the future considering the fare of commuting and gas if there’s a service.

2. Syllabus and curriculum

Pre-schools also vary in terms of curriculum and syllabus. While all of these are aimed at helping your child’s development, they may use different approaches to do so. Some preschools may use curriculums based and focusing on a child’s learning style while there are also others that focus more on hands-on exploration and inquiry-based. With all this being said, parents should also know and understand which approach they think works best for their child. After all, they know their child more than the school that will teach them, and hence, choosing a preschool’s curriculum and syllabus that aligns with their child’s learning preferences is the way to go.

3. Philosophy and values

Aside from the academic area of the preschool, you should also consider what the school stands, what values and philosophies they hold to the highest degree, and which they want to impart to their students. When thinking of education, it’s not just the academic department that should be taken into consideration. Parents want their children to be well-rounded individuals and for that to happen, they should also integrate values into them. Do the preschool’s philosophies and values align with what you want your child to learn? Does the school encourage the parents to be part of their child’s learning process? These are some of the questions parents should also ask themselves since behavioral learning is just as important as cognitive.

4. Duration of classes

Classes duration for preschools are often categorized into two, you have the full-day class and the half-day class. Generally, the two categories start at the same time which is usually around 7 AM but whereas full-day classes usually end around 7 PM, half-day classes end around 1 PM. Choosing the duration of classes the preschool offers will help the child with their new routine as well as their parents. Some hours may be convenient for parents while others may not. As such, it also helps you if the child is entering school for the first time. This is why half-day classes are recommended to avoid separation anxiety from students and possible tantrums as well. If you are not quite sure if your child can handle a full day or half-day in class, consider enrolling them in kindergarten instead as they offer 3 hour-sessions daily.

5. Student-teacher ratio

Preschools in Singapore must abide by the student-teacher ratio set by the Early Childhood Development Agency. It states that preschools must have a small number of students per teacher so that the teacher can attend to their students’ needs immediately. However, you should still consider the student-teacher ratio of the preschools you are considering. Some preschools may have a lesser number of students per teacher than others. In cases like this, you would want for the teacher to be able to keep an eye on your child and pay attention to them.

6. Budget

According to The Independent, preschools in Singapore can cost an average of $325-$2,900 for a full day class and $150-$5,000 per month. This is depending on the types of centers and the preschool’s curriculum, facilities, and other benefits. You can also expect other miscellaneous costs such as school books, uniforms, field trips, etc.

The budget allotted for your child’s education is a huge factor to consider when looking for a preschool for them. Consider your family’s daily expenses and budget if you can afford these sessions on the regular. However, the government does offer subsidies if the child will be enrolled in government-approved centers. The basic subsidy can go up to $600 per month for full-day infant care and $300 per month for full-day child care. For more information about these subsidies, check here.

7. Preschool food

Of course, the child will be staying in their school for a while and parents may also be concerned with how often they will be fed during their sessions, what kind of food will be given to them, and if the preschool offers special menus for children with allergy or health requirements. Parents will not be there to check what their child is eating so it’s best to have a clear understanding of the preschool’s menu firsthand. Parents should also make sure their children are being fed healthy food.

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8. Safety and health measures

Since you will not be with your child during the time he/she will be attending school, you also need to make sure your child’s safety and health in school are protected. Discuss with the preschools their safety and health protocols and see which ones pass your needs. Do they check who is fetching their students and make sure these people are approved to fetch students? Do they have people on standby if there are problems with their students’ health? Additionally, it would be best to see these protocols and measures up close and if possible, speak with the staff and even schedule a school tour to learn more about them.

9. Accreditation

Make sure that the preschools you are considering are also government-recognized. Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (SPARK) is a quality assurance framework to assist preschools in raising their quality and it is strongly encouraged that preschools participate in getting a good rating to endorse the holistic quality of the preschool. This is a voluntary assurance, however, it also serves as a guide for preschools as to what they should be striving to achieve and benchmark to measure themselves against.

10. Parent-school communication

Since it may be the first time for your child to attend a school, many parents will prefer a preschool with active communication with their students’ parents in order to stay updated with their child’s progress. Discuss with the preschool about how they communicate with the parents and the frequency of these communications. This can be especially helpful if the child is having difficulties or issues in school. Check the preschool’s online sites or social media to see how well they interact with the parents and how quickly they can respond to inquiries. This will give you a reference as to how well and quickly they can communicate with you if you happen to enroll your child in their preschool.

11. School environment

They say that the school environment can also affect the learning of the child. As milieu can affect the teaching of students, this also will affect the learning. Students as young as preschoolers will want an environment that is welcoming and they can be comfortable learning in. Check the facilities of the school if you happen to be able to get a school tour and bring along your child if you can. Additionally, it will be your child spending their time in the school so also considering their opinion is valuable.

12. Policies of discipline

The preschool’s disciplinary actions should also be brought into consideration, especially for misbehaving students. Parents already have their own set of principles when it comes to disciplining their children so they should consider a school that aligns with these. Some parents may want a stricter approach to misbehavior while others want a steady but gentle approach. Speak to the teachers and staff about how they handle misbehavior. However, it’s important to note that Singapore doesn’t approve of the use of physical punishment.

Conclusion

It will be a big step for your child to be enrolled in a preschool and with that, it will be crucial to choose the best one for them. Always do your research with the different preschools before picking out which one to enroll your child in. Aside from the factors mentioned above, you should also consider personal factors. You can also involve your child in the choosing process as they will be the ones attending after all.

Carelle

Carelle

Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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