How I chose a preschool for my kid – a father whips out his desire record and finds a match

When his firstborn was prepared for preschool, educator and dad or mum Owen Tan was armed with a checklist of experiences he wished for his daughter’s first flavor of college. When an MOE Kindergarten opens near his dwelling, the very first box on his record receives the examine. How does it fare in general? Let us see.  

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The writer’s daughter proudly donning her uniform on her very first day at preschool.

The discussion began a couple a long time back. My spouse and I were being mulling in excess of which kindergarten to put our eldest boy or girl in when she turns 5. We were being new to this preschool stage, but as an educator, I realized that a excellent begin and a good basis would make a change to how she appreciates university lifetime afterwards.

I also required to make sure that our daughter, who could be clingy at instances, would be content when absent from us for people couple hrs every single day.

We have three young children, aged five, 3 and a person, and for comfort, we’d like to deliver all 3 to the same preschool. What that implies is the outcome of this choice would assistance us determine in which the following two will go. The energy at the checklist will pay back for alone!

And so, like the dependable administrator I am (I hope my wife is studying this), I came up with a checklist of capabilities that our aspiration preschool need to have.

Then I started off making a list of the preschools I ought to test out, based mostly on our friends’ and neighbours’ recommendations. But in 2021, lo and behold, a key prospect wedged its way into the prime of my shortlist.

One day, a banner popped up on the fence of a most important college in my estate. It declared the impending opening of an MOE Kindergarten (MK) close to our household! As an educator with MOE, I was previously sold on the curriculum philosophy that MKs embrace. So consider my excitement that there’d be one coming up just a 5-moment wander absent! Incredibly quickly I could photograph myself waking up later on than I had predicted to send out my daughter to college each working day. Wishlist box No.1, examine!

Rapidly forward to 2023 and my daughter is now a several months into her journey as an MK college student. Is it all I wanted it to be? I went back again to the priorities we experienced determined back again then let us see how the preschool checks out so much:  

1. Proximity

My spouse and I are doing work dad and mom, so proximity was a Large thing to consider. We ended up anticipating mornings to be a struggle finding ourselves and children ready. So, going to a university which is a stone’s throw absent built a entire large amount of sense.

In reality, the morning routines haven’t gotten any a lot easier some times it is still a struggle finding out of the house. But hey, extra snooze. 

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Smiles in the mornings when I drop my daughter off at MK just before I head off to do the job.

2. Ample room to play and discover

College students learn better as a result of engage in, and owning plenty of space absolutely can help to produce much more options to do so. All MKs are housed inside a main school, which indicates all of them have entry to the open up spaces and facilities inside the grounds of the most important faculty, which includes every little thing from gardens to soccer fields. This is on top of facilities these as sand and waterplay areas that come with the MKs. I was really enthusiastic that my daughter would have access to a vast vary of services that would ordinarily arrive at a quality.

Knowing all this, I received a very little alarmed every single time I questioned my daughter what she experienced learned that working day in faculty. The respond to was generally the exact: Nothing. What? All these services and, very little? That was until eventually it dawned on me that she didn’t see her encounters in university as learning – she noticed it as engage in! When I improved my concern to “what did you enjoy doing these days?”, she could not end filling me in with a complete bunch of experiences that were enjoyment-crammed and meaningful mastering possibilities for her.  She made use of her five senses to discover distinctive fruits on a person working day, grow inexperienced beans to find out about the everyday living cycle of plants the upcoming, and played game titles to discover the fundamental strokes in Chinese figures the day following. 

Her existing favourite? Whizzing all-around the courtyard on a tricycle, which has certainly helped in her gross motor growth – and served me check want checklist box No.2. 

3. Acquiring the Singapore practical experience

Another vital attribute of the MK knowledge that resonated with me is how the MK syllabus has a exclusive Singapore flavour. Never get me erroneous, I have very little against princesses, knights and dragons and how they can magically spice up our tale time. But understanding inside of a neighborhood context can spark desire, awareness and relationship with our fast ecosystem and persuade much more energetic participation from learners, due to the fact they are speaking about anything familiar to them. 

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MK features a number of mom tongue languages as element of their curriculum. My daughter’s exposure to Mandarin has resulted in her use of some uncomplicated phrases with us – to the delight of her predominantly English-speaking mother and father.

In just these couple of months, I have observed how my daughter has turn into extra aware of what is going on all over her and drawing references from what she has uncovered in university.  For example, my daughter arrived back from school and begun asking us very a number of inquiries about who our prolonged family was.

“How do I phone grandma’s mummy? Wherever is she now? How previous is she”

We scratched our heads at the inquiries that appeared to appear from nowhere.

We have been pondering where by all this curiosity about our heritage arrived from, then located out later from her teacher that they had been discovering the idea of relatives and how every single loved ones member may be dealt with working with distinctive phrases.

As a Singaporean, I also think that it is significant for my youngsters to be plugged into the multiracial, multilingual and multi-religious modern society that we are living in and understand to interact with people distinct from ourselves. So, I was psyched when on the next day of university, my daughter came household and shared about a new mate from a distinct race and preferred to invite her home for a perform day. Third box, check out!

4. Activities that deliver the household together 

“There is homework this weekend!” buzzed the team chat that I am in with a bunch of MK parents in my estate. Erm, homework previously, in kindergarten? I was appalled at the thought. That was till I uncovered extra about the assignment.

MK Family-based Activity

A spouse and children-primarily based exercise sheet that received us talking about how we selected our daughter’s name.

The family-primarily based activity (there is ordinarily a person just about every other week in both English or Mom Tongue)  introduced a raft of strategies for me on how to devote time with my daughter in conversation and enjoy. One of the 1st things to do was to have a conversation with my daughter on how we chose her name – which is not research at all! My spouse and I, who never experienced this dialogue prior to with my daughter, had a excellent time reminiscing and sharing with her about these sweet moments that led to how we chose her title.

One more action associated us taking part in a scavenger hunt. My daughter had just learned about styles in class so we have been tasked to come across these styles in our residence. I definitely appreciated how the surroundings of our home was transformed into the website of a quest, and also allowed us to rope our two-yr-previous into the pleasurable. Producing significant connections involving faculty and dwelling? Significant check out for box No.4.

It was via all these actions that I learned what pursuits her, what she can do, and what she demands extra help discovering.

So for my report card for the initially number of months of preschool, I gave it a rather quick A, for “A safe, pleasurable and inspiring house to increase in”. I’m looking ahead also to see what additional is in retail store for her and her siblings on their preschool journey forward. 

“Play is understanding for youngsters. Perform is actually how children discover and make perception of the earth,” says Dr Nirmala Karuppiah Head for Education and learning at NIE’s Centre for Investigation in Youngster Development. Read through “Learning does not end when enjoy begins” to come across out why participate in is one of the most crucial methods in which small children master.

Just how much does a little one need to have to know in get to be ready for Major 1? Study Are you more than-getting ready your boy or girl for P1?” to discover out much more. 

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