Starting nursery in Singapore is a major milestone for your child, and to help him or her get the most out of it, a smooth transition is essential.
“The nursery years are a crucial stage for your child, as beginning from Nursery 1, what your child has learnt in playgroup will gain momentum as he/she acquires further development of language, communication and vocabulary,” explains the MindChamps PreSchool Curriculum team.
While some children may have attended playgroup prior, for others, the nursery years may be their very first exposure to preschool. Whichever is the case, all toddlers may benefit from the following tips to get ready for nursery in Singapore.
Familiarise them with a routine
As children will likely be following a fixed schedule in nursery, you could implement a loose schedule at home first to familiarise them with the concept of following a routine. For instance, certain activities can be carried out at the same time each day (i.e. waking up, sitting down together for dinner, and reading bedtime stories).
Studies have shown that preschoolers with family routines “tend to be emotionally healthier and better adjusted socially than kids who don’t have such routines,” Reuters Health reported. “Such development plays a key role in enabling kids to thrive in the classroom,” researchers said.
Build their concentration
Does it ever seem like your little one plays with one thing and loses interest quickly before moving onto the next? Concentration can be practiced.
In nursery in Singapore, students are expected to work on tasks independently at times. This cultivates their self-reliance, problem-solving skills and focus.
“During the nursery years, your child will be introduced to numbers, sounds and letters of the alphabet, as well as books and reading,” the MindChamps PreSchool Curriculum team said.
Naturally, given their young age, it is important to manage your expectations. For instance, it is not entirely realistic to expect a three-year-old to complete an hour-long task. Start with bite-sized, 10- to 15-minute activities to engage their interest, before progressing to longer duration tasks.
Some ideas include colouring, connecting-the-dots, age-appropriate puzzles and sorting activities. Feel free to praise them along the way or reward them with stickers after.
Become more sociable
If this is your child’s first entry into preschool, they will be surrounded by new faces in a new environment, which may be overwhelming.
To help them cope, set up play dates at the playground with other children and broaden their social interactions outside of the home. This is beneficial even for kids who have already attended playgroup. Keep building their social skills to strengthen their ability to relate to others.
Having good friendships makes a positive impact on a child’s school experience. When they look forward to seeing their new friends and teachers, they will be all the more enthusiastic and happy about attending school.
Practice self-help skills
Learning some self-help skills in advance may help children have an easier start to nursery in Singapore.
In many childcare centres, children are required to take off their shoes before entering the classroom. If this is the case for you, let your child practice how to fasten his or her shoes. When they take off their shoes after coming home, remind your little one that shoes belong in the shoe cabinet.
Additional self-help skills to practice include zipping their backpacks, going to the toilet, cleaning up their toys, and pushing their chairs back in after eating.
How to talk to your child about nursery in Singapore
Conversing with children about what to expect in class could help get them more excited, and less anxious.
If possible, arrange a visit to the preschool centre for your child to meet the new teacher in the new classroom. When the teachers introduce themselves to your mini-me, try not to answer for your child. Smile encouragingly and observe whether your child engages with the teachers.
Afterwards, praise your child even if he or she was timid or was nervous to answer all the teachers’ questions. No matter what, let your little one feel encouraged after that first meeting, like telling them that they did a good job.
When you say, “Wow, you were great back there. Your teacher seemed to really like you!” your mini-me is more likely to look forward to seeing the teachers again next time. All kids want their teachers to like them.
Additionally, point out other positive highlights such as, “You’ll get to sing and dance with new friends!” or “I know you like to colour at home. Well, guess what? In your new class, there will be fun art projects all the time.”
Along with “hyping” them up about nursery, also give them reassuring, practical reminders such as, “In school, you cannot run around and play with toys or watch movies during meal times. In school, everybody sits down to eat,” or “If you need anything, who should you ask for help?”
Lastly, reassure your child that you will be there to pick him or her up each day – and that you are excited to hear all about their nursery school adventures.
Written by Jenny Tai
Want to find out more about what nursery children learn and experience at MindChamps PreSchool?