We often hear about what parents want to know about childcare centres, but have you ever wondered what preschool teachers in Singapore want parents to know?
We spoke to the perfect people to answer this question.
Jessie and Karine are teachers from MindChamps PreSchool @ Boon Keng, but that is not all – they are also a mother-and-daughter pair! While many may assume that mum inspired her daughter to get into early childhood education, the truth is that Karine was the one who introduced her mum to it.
Jessie and Karine were more than happy to share their insights into what they think parents should know from their children’s preschool teachers.
1. Trust your children’s preschool teachers – even on the first day of school
Many parents are understandably anxious on the first day of school. It is never easy to entrust your precious babies into the hands of someone who is essentially a stranger to the children.
However, Karine reminds parents to have confidence in the teachers, although it might feel counterintuitive at first. It is normal for children to be unsettled for the first few days as they adjust to a new environment. Many of them cry initially, but parents are encouraged to trust the teachers. Very often, the kids cry while the parents linger on, and quickly stop once they leave.
Jessie agrees, saying, “Give your child time to adapt to the new environment. Our teachers are experienced to identify and handle the different traits of children.”
2. Children reach developmental milestones at varying times
When their children start school, it is inevitable that parents start comparing their offspring to their classmates. It can sometimes be worrying if a class has a “star pupil” who seems to be miles ahead of the others – and if you feel that your child is lagging behind.
However, Jessie again counsels patience, saying that children will keep up with the pace when they are ready. After all, children hit milestones at varying times, and a normal range can be quite wide. Remember also that an age gap of a few months can actually add quite a bit of developmental distance between two children at that age.
Karine says that parental involvement is also key. “Parents can spend some time at home practising with their children,” she says. “This is also a good bonding and learning time for both parents and children.”
3. Some children are naturally more reserved than others
Parents may sometimes be concerned if they find that their children are quieter and less sociable than their classmates. One worry that parents have is that their children are missing out if they do not speak up as much.
Not to worry – just like adults, some children will tend to be more outgoing, and others will tend to be more reserved. This does not mean that they are not able to catch what is happening in school.
However, Jessie notes that having parents provide constant encouragement does help children open up a little bit, the same way that their teachers do in school. “We praise the children when they show little improvements,” she noted. “This will help children build up their self-confidence and the willingness to mingle with other peers.”
Parents can also create more opportunities for their children to play together with others.
4. Close communication with childcare or preschool teachers is key
Both Karine and Jessie encourage parents to keep in close contact with their preschool teachers, communicating to find out the problem and come to a mutual solution. It is always beneficial for children when parents and teachers work together.
Staying closely connected helps to keep parents in tune with what is being taught in preschool. The kids would learn the concept faster and more thoroughly when it is reinforced at home in the same way as it is taught by their childcare teachers.
“The same set of methods should be practised regularly, be it at home or in school, so as not to confuse the children,” Jessie advises.
5. Your children’s teachers love and care for them deeply
Jessie and Karine both started out as teachers because they love being with children and are deeply invested in their learning. As such, they assure parents that they always have the kids’ wellbeing first and foremost in their consideration.
“Teachers always want to maintain a safe environment for the children, but accidents do happen at times,” Karine mentions. Most parents are understanding, she says, and teachers really appreciate this.
Another thing that teachers would love parents to know is that it is okay for kids to make mistakes. As the saying goes, if you do something right the first time, you have only learnt one thing; if you make 100 mistakes before succeeding, you have learnt 100 things.
In the same way, Jessie reminds parents to have a positive mindset. “Keep an open mind,” she says. “Children need to be allowed to explore and learn from setbacks.”
Written by Danielle Hee