If you are a parent, choosing the right preschool for your child will likely be one of the most important decisions you will be making in his/her early years. After all, this is a precious window of time that is most critical for your child’s learning and development.
Beyond considerations such as the preschool’s location and facilities, you may be asking, “Should I choose a preschool that focuses on developing my child’s character? A care centre that lets kids be kids? Or a preschool that prepares my child for the academic demands of primary school?”
Today, education that imparts knowledge is not enough. Our children will require a different mindset and unique set of skills to thrive and adapt quickly to a rapidly changing world.
So which preschool curriculum is best at helping your child prepare not just for formal education, but life beyond?
Here are some of the things you should be looking out for.
1. Developed by early childhood experts
A preschool curriculum is typically designed with the developmental milestones of preschoolers in mind. With the aim of helping them gain new skills that correlate to their age and abilities, the curriculum is often based on studies conducted by early childhood experts.
For example, MindChamps PreSchool’s unique and proprietary pedagogy and curriculum is based on the 3-Mind education model, which is designed to bring out the Champion, Learning and the Creative Minds in a child. By synthesising over 20 years of research in the four domains of neuroscience, psychology, education and theatre, the MindChamps PreSchool curriculum nurtures and imparts in children the skills that are essential in the 21st century.
2. Preschool programmes that promote all-rounded development
Studies show that a child’s brain undergoes rapid cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional and motor development in his/her first five years of life. To make the most of the crucial years, preschools in Singapore often include a range of core and enrichment programmes in their curricula that target the development of preschoolers in these key areas.
At MindChamps PreSchool, the S.M.I.L.E.S.™ curriculum provides preschoolers with experiences that engage the Sensory, Motor, Intellectual, Linguistic, Emotional and Social aspects of development. This is carried out through specially designed and highly experiential programmes such as Enquiry Teaching and Learning™, Numeracy Strategies™, Creativity & Theatrical Strategies™, NeuroMooves™ and more. Details on these programmes can be found here.
3. A team of qualified teachers
Beyond determining which preschool curriculum is best for your child, it’s also important to look to the teachers. After all, what’s a good curriculum without the right people to deliver it?
In selecting a preschool, check to see that it has a team of qualified teachers, and that they are given ample opportunities to upgrade their skills to keep up with the latest developments in early childhood education.
At MindChamps PreSchool, all teachers are required to undergo up to 200 hours of ongoing professional training and accreditation, regardless of their prior qualifications and experience. This helps to ensure that they are empowered with the necessary skills to effectively deliver the unique curriculum.
4. A framework that encourages curiosity and learning
Children are curious by nature – and early education experts have shared that the more curious a child is, the more he/she learns. Thus, it is important to nurture children’s curiosity as this is how they grow up to become lifelong learners.
To encourage preschoolers to explore, discover and figure out how things work, MindChamps PreSchool integrates the Enquiry Teaching and Learning™ approach within its curriculum. In lessons, teachers guide the children to find out all there is to know about a certain topic, and show them how to use evidence-based reasoning and creative problem-solving to reach a conclusion. Ultimately, this process helps to bring the child from the stage of general curiosity to the stage of critical thinking and understanding.
5. Lessons that nurture a love for reading
Reading during the early years does wonders for a child’s development. Not only will they learn about sounds, words, language and how the world works, reading also helps to build their early literacy skills – leading them to develop a love of reading for life.
In Singapore, most preschools include a reading component in their curricula. This can either be integrated into daily English lessons or be offered as an enrichment programme during curriculum hours.
At MindChamps PreSchool, the MindChamps Reading & Writing™ programme is part of the core curriculum, and is offered to children from PG to K2. Developed by Brian Caswell, MindChamps’ Dean of Research & Programme Development, the programme is designed to develop a love of reading in children. It also instils a Champion Mindset and builds confidence by cultivating essential reading skills such as narrative intelligence, phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary-building, structural awareness and more.
Apart from the in-class literacy activities, one of the key highlights of MindChamps Reading & Writing™ is the collection of e-Books which can be accessed through a Read-Along mobile app. These reading materials feature stories that include elements such as a catchy song, an interactive reading and listening experience, and a collection of integrated phonics activities.
Keen to know more about what goes on in a MindChamps PreSchool?
First published in part on Kiasuparents.