Choosing the right kindergarten in Singapore
Choosing from the wide range of kindergartens in Singapore is the first step to formally kickstart your preschooler’s learning journey towards primary school.
Right from kindergarten, children familiarise themselves with the routines of school and become accustomed to formal learning.
This kindergarten education prepares them for the future rigorousness of primary schools in Singapore. It is thus pertinent to select the right kindergarten that will allow them to become confident individuals who are excited to learn.
This step by step checklist will guide you to make the right choice in choosing kindergarten in Singapore for your child.
Step 1: Begin your selection process early as popular kindergartens in Singapore fill up quickly
Many kindergartens, especially popular ones, open up waitlists for enrollment as early as from birth.
Be sure to enquire about the waitlist for the kindergartens in Singapore that you are interested in.
It is common practice for parents in Singapore to ring up kindergartens to check the enrolment status when their child is born. Most kindergartens will then require you to submit a form and a registration fee to secure a spot for your child.
Step 2: Shortlist the kindergartens within close proximity to your home or workplace
Identify suitable kindergartens that are within close range of your home or your workplace.
This will minimise travelling time and costs when dropping off or picking up your child.
Another benefit of choosing a kindergarten within close proximity to your home or workplace is that you can get to your child quickly in the event of an emergency.
Step 3: Check the credibility of the kindergarten in Singapore.
Check the school’s license
Now that you have highlighted several kindergartens near you, it is then important to carry out a background check to ensure the school’s quality and safety.
Kindergartens in Singapore must be registered with the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA). The licenses issued to these kindergartens vary from 6 months to 24 months.
Schools that are stable and of high quality are usually awarded a 24-month license. Such a kindergarten might then be preferred over one in Singapore that is given a 6-month license.
Feedback from Parents
Another surefire way to verify the credibility of the kindergarten would be by word of mouth. Speak to parents who have children in the schools that you are looking at. They will be able to give you firsthand accounts of what the school environment is like and if it meets your expectations.
Reviews in Local Forums for Parents
Finally, do a quick check on the web to see if anyone has written reviews in local parenting forums about the kindergartens that you have shortlisted. This will then paint a clearer picture for you as you narrow down your choices.
Step 4: Identify a learning environment that best complements your child’s learning style
Play-based vs. Academic-based curriculum
While looking for an accredited and popular kindergarten in Singapore might be on your priority list, you must keep in mind to match the curriculum of the school to your child’s learning needs.
Every child is unique and learns differently.
A kinesthetic learner might benefit from a play based curriculum while a visual learner might excel in an academic-based kindergarten. It is important to select the right curriculum that best complements your child’s learning style so that he/she is motivated intrinsically to learn.
The best way to find out more about the curriculum would be to sign up for a school tour or attend the Open House of the kindergartens that you have selected.
Not only that, you can also find out more about the enrichment/extracurricular options at the school tour.
Teacher-child ratio and other dynamics at the kindergarten
Another aspect that you wish to consider would be the teacher-student ratio.
While ECDA has some guidelines, you’ll be happy to know that premium kindergartens in Singapore such as MindChamps keep the teacher-student ratio low ( e.g. 1:11 in K1) to ensure enough attention is given to each child.
Signing your child up for a trial class allows you to learn more about the teacher-student ratio and other dynamics such as teaching styles and discipline in the classroom.
Most kindergartens offer a free trial lesson that your child can attend. This is a good gauge for you to see if your child is comfortable with the school that you have chosen.
Step 5: Consult about the fees and subsidies available to you
You are almost set to enroll your child in the kindergarten of your choice!
Remember to ask about the school fees and any extra payments at registration.
Make sure that the school fees and additional costs are within your budget. Also, don’t forget to take into consideration the subsidies you are eligible for.
For instance, according to the ECDA, Singapore citizen children whose mother/single father works 56 hours or more per month are eligible for Additional Subsidy for child care.