The Parents Guide To Preschool – Choosing the Right Preschool for your little champ

Starting a pre-school is a big milestone for little ones and their parents. Parents are excited to see the transition of a toddler into a preschooler and for the little ones, they are kind of amused, kind of scared to enter THE SCHOOL!

When it comes to choosing a preschool, there are whole lot of choices available in Singapore. There is an excellent system where preschools are made available at all convenient locations. You step out of your home and you will have at least a few of them located within walking distance.

I found this link that makes it so easy to see the kindergartens around your area. Many of them offer preschool facilities as well – http://app.msf.gov.sg/dfcs/kindergarten/default.aspx. Child care centers also do offer preschool facilities.

Well, there is a slight difference between preschool and kindergarten. Preschool can be started once the kid is 18-months old whereas kindergarten they enter around 5-years of age.

So many terms and so many options – it can be a daunting task for parents to decide exactly where to send their precious gems to get started with their first school.

For my elder daughter, it was simpler to decide. She was in child care and child care had the pre-school facility. So she completed her pre-nursery and nursery there. Only when it was time to enter K1, I enrolled her into a kindergarten.

But for my younger boy I was a bit in two minds…we never sent him to a child care since there was a full time help at home. I could have sent him to the preschool once he became 18 months old but he was too young in my opinion that time and it was not okay to push him.

First Playgroup

Once he turned 2 years, I took admission in one of the playgroups. The primary reason – it was just downstairs my home! I had seen my neighboring kids going there, I had met the teacher too and found her quite experienced. Fees were reasonable and teacher-kids ratio was around 1:10 so all looked fine and My boy – “S” started going there.

I will say it was a good experience though not great for him. He learnt a few things in the playgroup but he could have learnt more. Also, the playgroup space was too small just 1 room. The toys and other plays were limited too.

So after one year, I decided to put him in a bigger, better preschool.

Current Preschool

My obvious choice was Sparkletots Preschool by PAP Community Foundation AKA PCF.

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Why Sparkletots?

  • My daughter attended Sparkletots when she was in K1 and K2 and loved it! She has some very fond memories of this place. She still remembers the teachers and vice-versa. Her teachers brought some things about her to my notice that I also didn’t know. She learnt quite well there. In fact,
  • One of the leaders in preschool education, PCF started its first childcare in 1991 and since 2012 decided to centralize the operations of childcare and kindergartens to establish consistent quality standards and improve educational outcomes for the children under its care.
  • Sparkletots offers many options for working parents. Though we chose Kindergarten programme, we had option of choosing childcare too. –

    Childcare Programmes

    Infant Care: For infants aged between 2 months and 18 months

    Childcare: For children aged between 18 months and 6 years old

    Student Care: For children aged between 7 and 14 years old

    Kindergarten Programmes

    Nursery 1*: For children aged 30 months old

    Nursery 2: For children aged 4 years old

    Kindergarten 1: For children aged 5 years old

    Kindergarten 2: For children aged 6 years old

  • PCF is a charitable organisation founded by the PAP, committed to nurturing a multi-racial, fair, just and inclusive society by providing educational, welfare and community services. For me, as a parent, it is important to know the people who are running the preschool. As a parent, I need to believe in their vision and trust them for my kid’s education.
  • Fees are quite reasonable.
  • Sparkletots provide nutritious food at the preschool. Unless your kid has special dietary requirements, you can just let him / her eat at the school itself. My boy loves to eat school food and enjoys eating it along with his friends. The menu keeps on changing every week so as to provide variety to kids.
  • There are regular field trips, parent teacher meetings and other activities like concerts happening all over the year. Whole year’s timetable, school terms, holidays all are handed up to the parents at the beginning of the year itself. Wow! I also like the fact that Sparkletots devote proper time for teachers’ professional development. Ultimately, this is going to benefit our kids.

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  • PCF Sparkletots’ curriculum consists of focus on the vital areas like Aesthetics & Creative Expression, Discovery of the World, Self & Social Awareness, Language & Literacy, Numeracy and Motor Skills Development

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  • The space of the preschool is quite big. Kids have puzzles, legos and lot of other educational toys to play. I also found the worksheets quite creative.

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  • So far, “S” and we are happy with his preschool. He has completed his Nursery 1 and currently in Nursery 2. Hope to continue and enhance the experience in K1 and K2 also.

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My two cents for parents looking for suitable preschool for your kid –

  • Look for different options according to your preference – Location, Fees and so on
  • Personally meet, inquire with the Principal and teachers to zero down your choice.
  • Don’t forget to check the curriculum and value it will add to your kid’s formative years.
  • Get pointers from the teachers how the typical day in a school looks like.
  • Also, have a look at the outdoor and other edutainment activities the preschool offers.
  • Read the testimonials of other parents.
  • Get answers for other factors like time slot, fees payment schedule, food choices, first aid and other medical facilities etc.
  • Once admission is done, make your kid familiarize with the school area before he / she actually joins.
  • Keep monitoring all small little details even after the kid settles in the preschool.

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This article is exclusively written by me for The Parents Guide To Preschool.

 

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50 comments on “The Parents Guide To Preschool – Choosing the Right Preschool for your little champ”

  1. Tomas Killington Reply

    My son is getting old enough to start thinking about preschool. We want to make sure he gets the best start to his academic career. I didn’t realize how important it is to choose a preschool program that feeds into the child’s kindergarten easily. I’ll be sure to remember this consideration moving forward.

  2. Annika Larson Reply

    I am looking to enroll my son in a preschool. It’s important that we find a facility that will help him develop socially and academically. As you said, it’s a good idea to check the curriculum and make sure it will be beneficial for your child. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Rachel Lannister Reply

    Thanks for the wonderful article. You advised learning about the curriculum that the preschool will be following during the course of the program, and ensuring that it will help your child develop. I’ve been looking for a good preschool for my daughter to go to. I’ll definitely look for one with a good curriculum, because I want my daughter to get the best possible head start as she starts her academic career.

  4. Jen Pack Reply

    My husband and I are trying to choose the best preschool to enroll our kids in, so I appreciate this information. I like the tip you give of asking employees to explain any term you don’t understand so that you can make an informed decision. I imagine that we’ll want to visit lots of preschools before picking the right one, but it will be worth it!

  5. Mary H Reply

    I’ve heard good comments about Sparkletots. This post is very informative for parents who are looking for a preschool.

    – Mary

  6. Susan Koh Reply

    There are lots to consider when picking a pre-school and we’re glad that despite the bumps along the way, my daughter enjoyed her pre-school very much. The next phase would be primary school 🙂

  7. Jolin @ The Js Arena Reply

    Thanks for the info. I am looking for a preschool for my son too and our criteria is almost the same as what you have pointed out. Choosing a suitable school for our child is really important so he/she will enjoy school!

  8. David Sim Reply

    It’s a good list. For my wife and I, we would also look at the surroundings – are there children’s works being displayed? How do the children look? Happy? Quiet? How do the teachers converse with the kids? Lovingly or in an authoritative manner….we would purposely visit them when lessons are ongoing…by appointment of course. The other thing we would look for would be if there are sufficient space for kids to run and play – an important part of their development.

  9. Mummy Ed Reply

    My kids have all gone to a PCF and although it is not a glamorous school, I’ve found that the teachers are very very passionate. Also it helps to have a good principal.

  10. Debs G Reply

    Yes, it’s so important to choose a preschool with a nurturing environment that is in line with your personal preferences as a parent. It would be terrible to send your kid to a preschool that teaches them the opposite of what you are trying to achieve at home!

  11. Michelle Reply

    Good pointers. We spent a lot of time talking to principles to ask about the school values and her belief in terms of educating the young ones, funding (are they for profit or supported by a certain organisation?) and teachers turnover rates before deciding on a preschool for our daughters. I used the same app to locate preschools near us too! 🙂

  12. Leke Awonuga Reply

    A well detailed post analyzing the importance of pre-school. It thus pays to ensure proximity of home to school is comfortable for Lil kiddos and quality of learning in the school must be highly considered.

  13. nicol Reply

    i didnt realise there was so many factors to take into consideration. pre-school is the start

  14. Tiffany Yong Reply

    Not sure if it’s relevant, but as a kid, I preferred the child-care centre to kindergarten as I spent the whole day there with other kids, we had to be independent and learn to do many things ourselves.
    Not only that, the older kids get to help the younger toddlers too!

  15. Rodger Reply

    The world is becoming so competitive that children have to start as early as 30 months to ‘learn how to be competent’. I feel that I am lucky that I was not born in this era.

    As a parent, we have to make sure that our children is equipped with all kind of knowledge to survive. Thanks for sharing your experience here. Will definitely be useful for new parents to prepare their kids for the future.

  16. Rosey Reply

    Our kindergarten was no joke here!! THe older kids had it easy, today there’s a really strenuous curriculum!

  17. Bhushavali Reply

    Shubadha, that’s a very detailed post. I’m yet to become a parent and honestly your post is scaring me! Lolz.. Parenting is such a complicated thing indeed…

  18. Claire Marie Algarme Reply

    It is really important to choose a good institution at this stage because pre-school (apart from parents’ education) is the foundation of a child’s mental development. It is also at this age when they learn how to socialize and be with their peers.

  19. Fred Reply

    Our main criteria is the distance from our house. It has to be near our house first, then we choose the best one among them. Luckily for us, the most accessible one is also the best one.

  20. Franc Ramon Reply

    Looks like Sparkletots has a good track record when it comes to pre-school education. Kids would really learn a lot from them.

  21. Farena Reply

    It is quite daunting choosing the right school for your child. Luckily I have a couple of years before i go down that path. Thanks for sharing – great tips!

  22. Leona Reply

    I think most Singapore preschools have pretty high standard right? For me, I just chose the one nearer to my home for the sake of convenience and thankfully it was a good one too.

  23. Sunshine Kelly Reply

    Thanks for the information, although I don’t have children yet but its good to prep myself with all these knowledge. Pre-school is very important start for a child education so have to make it right.

  24. Suzanne Rudge Reply

    Any decision regarding your kids is super important, but especially when they are young. This will shape their future educational path for sure.

  25. Amanda Love Reply

    That’s a really good list. I always make sure I visit and check out numerous locations before I do anything at all. Glad you found one that you loved.

  26. Mommy Roxi Reply

    Your tips are spot on! I didn’t get to choose much for when my eldest went to Nursery school. But we’re homeschooling now, so I think this is the right one for us for now. 🙂

  27. Baz Reply

    Back then there wasn’t even any pre-school, usually we will just end up sitting with nannies or babysitter, is good to send kids to pre-school as kids can absorb better at that stage.

  28. Miriam Reply

    These are really some useful tips to choosing the right preschool. I don’t think I actually attended pre-school. Went straight to kindergarden but it sure is important to choose the right environment for children when they are still young

  29. Arisa Reply

    I agree selecting the right kind of school is important for the young child’s development as environment plays a huge factor.

  30. Betty Liew Reply

    It very hard to choose a good pre-school for the kids. During my time, my parent that enroll me to the nearest pre-school and it only provide simple learning process. Nowaday, pre-school has update the education whereby they prepare the kids before the enter kindergarten.

  31. Elizabeth O. Reply

    Putting them in a good school is important, finding the right one can be a bit of a challenge. I did a lot of research before I decided. It’s good to know that we have apps that can help us look for schools, that’s really awesome. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  32. Amelie Yap Reply

    Woah! it was indeed an alternative choice for working parents, sparkletots seems like a good choice, learn while having fun with some other kids

  33. Jane Reply

    My son started his pre-school this year and he enjoyed it. It is really important to find a suitable pre-school for them.

  34. qian Reply

    Thanks for the tips. I still remember my pre-school days. I have changed 2 pre-schools. I like my first pre-school but not the second, and I still remember it vividly until today.

  35. Miera Nadhirah Reply

    I agree pre schooling is important but sometimes we have to see how it is as well as many middle income or lower income cannot afford to send their children to these exclusive and expensive pre schools that charge a lot… I come from a lower middle class family where we all struggle to make a living and all my kids go to just a normal government pre school and well, they turned out fine…but yes, I guess, if you can afford more, you should send the kiddies to a good one…

  36. Everest Reply

    It is not easy to choose a school that is good for your children yet considering budget, location and environment. This is a very detailed and well written article and will definitely benefit parents who are torn between choices.

    Much love,
    Everest
    http://www.everestsays.com

  37. Joyce Reply

    Hi Shub, this is a really good and informative post. Thank you so much. My son is about 32 months and I have no inkling when should I send him to preschool. Most parents in KL, if both are working, their kiddo will usually be in a preschool at 3 years old. I’m working too, but I’m thinking to let him go to preschool at 4 years old instead, then kindy at 5.

  38. Jacqueline Khoo Reply

    Yes, I agree that pre-school really important before getting into primary school. This can help them to built up their learning basic 😀

  39. LING Reply

    Kids learn fast during this stage, pre-school is definitely helping a lot in developing their growing!

  40. Bella Enveeus Reply

    That looks like a very good safe place. I completely agree that pre-school (and the right one) is important for the development of a child.

  41. Rose Reply

    Choosing a good pre-school is important as it is the first school that every kids will go to.

  42. Ortolana Clare Reply

    I remember when my nephew just started going to preschool, he was sooooo excited. I totally agree that preschool is very important, although I can’t help worry about what the kids are learning from other kids. ._.

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