Scouting for the right pre-kindergarten in Hougang (or in any part of Singapore) can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re a first-time parent.
Given the number of great pre-kindergartens in Hougang and the several factors to consider when looking for a preschool in Singapore, we can’t really say whether it’s easy or difficult to find the best one for your child.
However, knowing what to look for in early childhood education in Singapore can help you make an informed decision as a parent. We’ve put together a quick guide on what you need to know when choosing a pre-kindergarten in Singapore.
1. Kindergarten or Childcare?
There are 2 types of preschools for Singapore children aged 3 to 6: kindergarten and childcare.
Kindergarten is typically a half-day programme with structured and comprehensive classes, usually without naptimes or mealtimes. Some schools offer full-day kindergarten classes.
Meanwhile, childcare offers a full day of activities where children can play outside and take a nap after.
Assess your current work situation and whether you’re capable of hiring additional support before deciding between kindergarten or childcare.
If you don’t need to go back to work full-time yet, then sending your child to kindergarten would be the more practical option.
Location is another important factor when choosing a pre-kindergarten in Singapore. Most parents prefer preschool near their home while others want their children to be close while they’re in the office.
Choosing a preschool near your workplace would offer the convenience of dropping off and picking up your child before and after work. A preschool close to your home means you get to walk them to school every day, which can be a bonding experience for you both as well.
In Singapore, commuting with a child can be stressful, so the recommended distance would be a 15-minute drive or within two to three MRT stations. Anything longer than this could be an inconvenience for them and they might not enjoy going to school every day.
3. Teaching pedagogy
Every preschool in Singapore follows a certain teaching pedagogy. The two most common are Montesorri and Reggio Emilia, but each preschool has a different way of implementing these pedagogies and incorporating them into their curriculums.
Montessori prioritises independent learning, while Reggio Emilia focuses more on collaborative learning. It helps to know your child’s attitude toward learning and while interacting with other children when considering a preschool’s teaching pedagogy.
Dropping by a preschool and talking to its directors would help you gain a deeper understanding of its teaching pedagogy and curriculum.
4. School Fees
Preschool fees in Singapore differ depending on the type of preschool. Private and international preschools tend to be more expensive, while government preschools have more reasonable fees.
Fees at private preschools can range from $800 to $3,000 per month. The good news is, that those enrolled in approved childhood education institutions can qualify for a monthly subsidy.
Lower-income families with household income below $12, 000 can receive additional childcare subsidies as well.
Decide on an amount that your household is capable of and comfortable with paying first, and then look through your options. Paying less doesn’t always translate to lower quality of education as it also means the preschool enjoys government subsidies.
5. Preschool environment
Are the classrooms conducive for learning? Is there a dedicated area for resting, eating, or free play? Are the outdoor play spaces safe enough for children to run around in?
These reveal a lot about a preschool’s environment. The only way to get a better sense of the environment is by paying the school a visit and walking around the classrooms yourself.
It’s important to consider all these before deciding on a preschool for your children. After all, it’s your little one who will be spending most of their days here, so you’d want a place where they can be comfortable while learning and interacting with their peers.