What Every Parent Should Know About Preschools in Singapore
When it comes to selecting an early childhood education program, every parent wants to cherry pick the best program for their child. This is understandable, especially for first-time parents. As a nation that prides itself with top rankings in global education in the field of mathematics and science and reading skills, even leaving behind Japan, Taiwan and Finland in 2016, it is not surprising to know Singaporean parents have more than 1,800 preschools to choose from. This attests to the competitiveness and robustness of Singapore’s education system.
With compulsory primary school age at seven years old, children in Singapore may attend four-and-a-half years of preschool before that. Many children start as early as eighteen months old and continue until they aged six. Preschool years are important because it helps the children to build good habits, develop basic life skills and learn how to interact with their peers.
However, before deciding which early childhood education provider can be entrusted to teach your children, it is best to prepare with some basic information about the preschool system provided in Singapore.
Understanding the Preschool System in Singapore: Kindergartens vs Childcare Centres
Preschools in Singapore can mainly be divided into childcare centres and kindergartens. Regulation of all early childhood education centres are put either under Ministry of Education or another agency known as Early Childhood Development Agency or ECDA. The Ministry of Education regulates operation of kindergartens, both public and private while ECDA is responsible for childcare centres in Singapore.
The main difference between a childcare centre and a kindergarten lies in the subsidy provided by the Singaporean government. Thus, parents who send their children to childcare centre enjoy lower fees compared to parents who choose to send their children to kindergarten, unless parents opted for kindergartens categorized under anchor operators. Anchor operators also enjoy subsidized rates from the government.
Schooling and operating hours also differ. While kindergartens usually operate between three to four hours a day, childcare centres are required to provide longer service, either half-day or full day. Some are even open for half-day on Saturdays.
Which Preschool is the Best for Your Child?
Choosing a preschool that may perfectly fit a child can be a daunting task. This is because we must put into consideration many aspects such as school hours, school facilities, location of the school, curriculum it offers, and student to teacher ratio, among others.
Types of language programs provided by the preschool should also be evaluated. Being in a country rich in culture and languages, we may opt for English language focused, a bilingual program, or Mandarin-based preschools.
Regardless of the choice, you need to consider your education budget which should include the school fees, activities fees and transportation fees.
Choose the Curriculum Wisely
All parents hold high hopes that their children will grow not only intellectually, but also emotionally, physically and socially. To receive all benefits that may accrue from successful early childhood education, parents should pay close attention when choosing school curriculum. It is a parent’s duty to find one that can suit the nature of the child and the next course in their education plan. There are over 7 different approaches taken by different early childhood educators that can be explored.
Ask the Right Questions
Before finally deciding on the course of our children’s future, do not forget to inquire the operators directly about their centers. Not sure what to ask? Get inspired by the questions suggested here. Based on the centre’s answers and the conversation, parents will obtain a better overview of the preschool’s curriculum and attitude towards education.
Take some time to do your research and speak to fellow parents about their experiences with preschools and kindergartens. As you and your child embark on this journey of education together, know that the first education choice is paramount in setting the right foundation for your child. After all, we want to supply our children with all the right tools to achieve success in today’s dynamic and ever-changing world.
To find out more about our Preschool Curriculum, contact us here.