Preschools in Singapore accept children between 18 months old to six years of age and equip them with the necessary knowledge and readiness for the next milestone of their young lives – primary school.
A 2012 survey conducted by the Lien Foundation revealed that 96% of 1,396 parents considered preschool important or very important to their children’s education. Furthermore, the 2016 statistics from the Ministry of Social and Family Development indicated that over 90% of Singaporean children aged five to six years old were enrolled in preschools.
As preschool education is not compulsory in Singapore, children can be enrolled at any age after 18 months and before they turn seven years old. Today, a large proportion of parents are placing their children in preschool at an earlier age, which is attributed to changing family dynamics and needs, and increased awareness of the benefits of preschool education.
If your child is still a toddler, you might want to evaluate their readiness against this Playgroup Readiness Checklist. Due to their young age and emotional readiness, they might take weeks or even months to be familiarised with their new teachers, classmates and the environment.
But if you are considering if your four- or five-year-old child, who has been homeschooling or attending two- or three-hour playgroups and enrichment classes, is ready for kindergarten at a full-day preschool, here are some signs which may indicate a smooth-sailing transition.
1. Follows simple instructions
Good speaking and listening skills are important in the classroom, where the teacher plays the role of facilitating classroom activities.
Is your child able to follow simple two or three step instructions?
2. Sits still for a short period of time
Young children cannot be expected to sit quietly for extended periods of time, but in order to participate in class activities, focus and concentration is needed.
If your child is able to do so, they may be ready for preschool.
3. Understands basic hygiene rules
In general, children can start toilet training between the ages of three and four years old, when they are cognizant of the feeling of having a full bladder and are able to voice it out.
While young children might have small accidents in class, children around five to six years old should be able to go to the toilet by themselves and wash their hands with soap after they are done.
4. Shows an interest in learning
Is your child excited about learning and asks you questions about the topics encountered?
If so, it could be time to send him or her to preschool in Singapore, where learning topics can be brainstormed together with peers their age and activities conducted under the guidance of a teacher.
5. Tells you straight
“Mummy/Daddy, can I go to school too?”
There is no clearer sign than having your child tell you straight that they want to attend school. Though they might not have attended preschool prior to this, the concept of school would likely have been introduced to them through books and movies.
How children can benefit from attending preschool in Singapore
In 2039, the preschoolers today will grow up to enter the workforce. Early childhood education cannot be compromised as it is the time for children to develop an edge that will give them the ability to handle the unknown challenges that they will face when they become adults. Therefore, when selecting a preschool, it is ideal to carefully assess the type of curriculum that the preschool is able to provide.
Due to the advancement in technology where information can be retrieved in a few clicks, the ability to remember and recall information will no longer be valued – instead, the focus is shifted towards their “soft skills”, such as their creativity, confidence and the ability to collaborate. This forms the basis of MindChamps PreSchool’s 3-Mind education model that aims to develop the Champion Mind, the Learning Mind and the Creative Mind in children.
The curriculum in MindChamps PreSchool is conducted in a S.M.I.L.E.S.™environment, where activities encompass Sensory, Motor (Music and Movement), Intellectual, Linguistic, Emotional and Social elements. All children at MindChamps PreSchool will benefit from the curriculum that weaves in both core programmes and enrichment programmes.
Core programmes in MindChamps PreSchool in Singapore comprise MindChamps Reading & Writing™ (Natural Literacy™), Fun with Language™, The Love for Chinese Language™, Numeracy Strategies™ and Enquiry Teaching and Learning™ for children to develop academically. Children will learn by constructing meaning from their experiences, sharing their discoveries of the world and developing language, number and relational concepts through individual and collaborative work. This has been found to be the most effective method of learning.
In addition, enrichment programmes such as Creativity & Theatrical Strategies™, Gourmet Moments™, NeuroMooves™, Music for the Mind™ enable children to explore interests and develop lifelong skills.
When you have made the decision to enrol your child, you can refer to these tips for helping your child adapt to kindergarten.
Written by Jamie Koh