Whether you’re living in Singapore or contemplating a move here with young kids, looking at the best preschools will be top of your list. Hearing the opinions of other parents, their reviews and recommendations for both kindergartens and preschools in Singapore – might help you make your decision.
We talked to 28 families about their choice of kindergartens and preschools in Singapore.
Lauren and Matt Stapleton, Australians; Olivia (5) and Poppy (3)
We’ve been living in Singapore for 2.5 years and both Olivia and Poppy have attended the preschool programme at Alphabet Playhouse for just over two years. The preschool was recommended by a lovely neighbour whom we met in the early days following our arrival. They are a sweet family and we thought if our kids turn out like their little one, we’ll be happy!
We met Ms Cat, one of the teachers, on site at the preschool – it’s a gorgeous campus, brightly decorated with the creations from their students. We felt welcomed and supported from the moment we arrived. To ensure we aligned on core values, communication standards, and the level of care and support, we asked loads of questions. We also liked the diverse curriculum on offer and the indoor and outdoor facilities for play. So we enrolled our children right away.
Our girls have thrived at Alphabet Playhouse. Relocating from Australia, it’s been a great experience for them to be immersed in a bilingual environment. They’ve taken to the diverse mix of English and Chinese languages, science, reading and mathematics, all coupled with play. It’s a thrill to see the girls enjoy their preschool life, frequently sharing new songs, dance, sporting skills and academic practice each week. We’re blown away with how much they’ve developed during their time at Alphabet, including their continued enthusiasm for learning.
The preschool has provided exceptional learning care for both Olivia and Poppy. The teachers are conscious of our girls’ emotional development and understand key differences in order to position them to thrive. In addition, when we’ve had concerns about the girls, we’ve received immediate response and support from their teachers Ms Cat and Ms Sharon, and the preschool team to ensure we’re aligned across our home and school lives. We really can’t recommend the preschool highly enough. Seeing our girls not only thrive but also happy and fond of the teachers and students makes us appreciate that this was the right fit for our girls.
- Somerset campus: 16 Dublin Road
- East Coast campus: 440A Upper East Coast Road
Australian International School
Emma and Graham Oddie, British; Amelia (5) and Ethan (3)
This is our family’s 10th year in Singapore and both our kids started at AIS when they were two. Ethan is at the Early Learning Village (ELV) and Amelia is in her first year of Prep.
We learnt about AIS after attending a playgroup held by the school. We were won over by their friendly manner. The play environment was well resourced and the staff were approachable and knowledgeable.
What appealed to us most is the play-based curriculum and its child-centred approach. The learning environment is stunning – the kids are free to be kids and get creative. Both our children have been lucky to be taught by Amy Sparks.
Photos and updates are shared with families via the Storypark app, which makes the feedback timely and personal. The kids’ grandparents really enjoy being part of the community too.
Another appeal is the sports programme – the PE department is incredible. Our daughter is extremely sporty, so a preschool that offers excellent opportunities for sport is a must. The staff have always gone out of their way to support the students, in particular, the Early Years PE Specialist, Anita Perry. During lockdown, they provided many suggestions and opportunities for activities.
If you’re looking for a preschool in Singapore with great sports facilities where children feel valued and listened to, then AIS should be your preschool of choice.
Brighton College (Singapore)
Sophie and Sam Flint, British; twins Arlo and George (4), and Rory (1)
We’ve lived in Singapore for 11 years. Arlo and George started in pre-nursery last March and are currently in Nursery. Rory will join his brothers this August for the new school year.
Since starting at preschool, we’ve seen the confidence of both Arlo and George increase. Arlo had a mild stutter that disappeared quickly and George began to engage with people much more than he had previously. Amongst other things, we attribute these developments to the kind and supportive teaching environment at Brighton College (Singapore).
We like the focus on the British National Curriculum, in case we ever move back to the UK. The teachers encourage a love of learning, prompting students to question things and explore the world around them. The boys clearly love going to school and are challenged and engaged every day. The boys are also exposed to a wide range of activities including dance, drama and PE. We like the “small prep school” feel of the preschool and that there is access to the wider Early Learning Village facilities such as the outdoor playgrounds and swimming pool.
Each student is known individually by the teachers, support staff and the school community; they take a genuine interest in the students’ wellbeing. When the boys are greeted personally by their teachers, it makes them feel important and very much part of the school’s community. We also enjoy receiving regular updates on their learning journey through the online portal.
We have had a wonderful experience with Brighton College. We recommend the school to families especially if they’re looking for quality British-based education with caring and experienced teachers, as well as a growing and welcoming community of students and parents.
Cristina Matushima and Fernando Otero, Brazilian and American; Isabela Sayuri (5)
We’ve been living in Singapore for almost five years. Isabela was 21 months old when she started half days in Camberley’s Playgroup, back in July 2018. She’s in K2 now.
When deciding on a preschool in Singapore, our first criteria was distance and the ease to get to the school – Camberley was next to our condominium. We liked that they offered half- and full-day plans with flexibility around drop-off and pick-up. We also liked the curriculum and the variety of activities offered at the preschool. Their meal options are rotated weekly, providing Isabela with a balanced diet. We’re most pleased with Isabela’s evolution in her reading, writing and speaking abilities during the time she’s been at Camberley. In the early years, there was a focus on motor skills. More recently, show-and-tell presentations have continued to develop her confidence. Their process involves classroom learning combined with home-based activities – the preschool is a big proponent of parents engaging in the learning process, which is also important to us.
This parent engagement also extends to preschool activities (pre-COVID) and field trips that create a community among parents. We’re grateful to Ms Jenny, Ms Kurtrina, Ms Arvie and Ms Luo for their dedication, patience and professionalism in being a part of Isabela’s development and growth.
There’s closer communication between the teachers and parents as the preschool is comparatively smaller. The teachers are very attentive to the individual needs of each child such as allergies, whether they’re potty trained or still using bottles, to name some examples.
We recommend Camberley without reservations – there’s a good connection between the instructors and parents, which is noticeable given Isabela’s pleasure when it’s time to go to the preschool to be with her friends and be engaged in each day’s activities.
Canadian International School
Erin and Mark Broeske, American; Mae (8) and Henry (5)
We moved to Singapore in October 2021. Henry has been in Junior Kindergarten since then and Mae is in Grade 3 now.
Back in the US, our kids were thriving in an IB programme and CIS was recommended as one of the top IB programmes in Singapore. Our biggest concern was how well and quickly our kids would adjust to new lives in Singapore, especially in the middle of the school year. Our son is an incredibly active kid but the calm and assured demeanour of his teacher Ms Kamal has kept him focused.
CIS’s curriculum centres on the student’s curiosity, so Henry is constantly engaged. The small class sizes ensure that he’s getting plenty of attention and the intimate community at kindergarten in Singapore has helped him make many friends in the short amount of time.
CIS has been instrumental in giving our kids the incredible opportunity to grow and learn through immersing them in other cultures at the school. The student body is amazingly diverse and Henry is surrounded by kids from all parts of the world.
CIS has also helped him acclimate to Singaporean culture and taught him – and us – about cultural events like Deepavali and Chinese New Year, which we had little exposure to in the US.
Although he’s not in any of the bilingual programmes, Henry is learning a lot from the daily Chinese lessons and he loves to teach us at dinner what he has learned. CIS classes use the entire campus in learning, from using iPad cameras to document the world outside to testing projects designed by the high school students. As parents, we get to see all of this through the photos and videos Henry’s teachers share every week.
We love the quality education he’s getting at CIS and would recommend the school to other families.
Dover Court International School
Millie and Adam Martin, Australian; Maddie (6), Evie (4) and Bella (2)
This year marks 14 years we’ve been in Singapore. Evie joined Dover Court last August in Reception and Maddie is now in Year 2.
We’ve always heard positive feedback about the school from friends and colleagues. We were fortunate to get a tour between COVID restrictions and we really noticed the school’s great sense of community. It fosters respect and care for all, which is something we instil at home. There are also plenty of opportunities for parents to get involved if they want to.
The Early Years classrooms and play areas are grouped together in their own section on campus. It’s not overwhelming for the younger ages but they remain part of the larger Dover community. It’s also helpful for both our girls to be in the same school and know that they can continue at Dover for all their school years in Singapore, should we stay on.
Evie settled right in and is thriving – her teachers are kind and attentive. Dover understands that each child learns differently, so the curriculum involves a lot of self-guided, play-based learning that can then be tailored for each child should they have specific areas they need support with.
Each morning, Evie chooses which learning station she starts the day in and we’re always hearing about the fun activities she does. There’s an excellent outdoor play area just for the early years, which is a firm favourite of hers.
The preschool and school as a whole is wonderful; we definitely recommend it. There’s a sense of pride without any pretentiousness and it’s really lovely to be part of that.
Dulwich College Kindergarten School
Poppy and Richard Skinner, Italian-British and British; Bertie (3.5) and Apollonia (2.5)
We’ve been in Singapore for nine years and this is Bertie’s first year of DUCKS at Dulwich College (Singapore). We plan to enrol Apollonia in the next school year and they’re excited to go to the same preschool together.
One of the main things that drew me to Dulwich was the fact that they teach Mandarin from such a young age – I heard from other Dulwich parents how wonderful it was to hear their kids speaking it so well. Every day when I drop Bertie off, his Lao Shi greets them in Mandarin and he comes home telling me the things he has learnt. From the first day, Bertie has thrived and loved it at DUCKS and made some lovely friends.
We also love how warm the school community is. It’s easy to think that a child could get lost in such a large school but the great community and welcoming feel when you drop the kids off is comforting for parents.
Quite a few of my friends’ kids go to Dulwich so it was on the list when we looked around. We were very impressed by the Head of College when we met him, which was a major plus, and the facilities are amazing. Also, the kids who we know and are students of the school seem to be well-rounded children, which is a good indication of the school.
If you’re looking for a kindergarten in Singapore that you would want to attend yourself, then it’s got to be DUCKS!
ELFA Chinese Preschool
Ong Chun Kiat and Kim Jin, Singaporean and Korean; Jonte (5) and Jovan (2)
Jonte has been attending ELFA Chinese Preschool since August 2020. We heard about the preschool from Chun Kiat’s sister as the school is well known for its focus on the Chinese language. We did a lot of research and visits to various schools for a few months, both popular ones and others through recommendations. However, there were always some areas of concern at these preschools, and often our expectations were not met. After a few rounds of conversation with Principal Tracy at ELFA, many of our concerns were alleviated and we felt very reassured that she and her team really listen to parents’ views and concerns seriously. This is why we decided on the preschool.
The teachers provide a lot of feedback, both on the app and in person daily. We get to see photos of our son’s time in the preschool, receive potty training updates, know whether he eats by himself at lunch and even how much he naps. A highlight is the curriculum where the school focuses on Chinese language and culture from PreNursery, and adds English, coding, speech and drama from Nursery. Our son had not been exposed to Chinese as much since he was young because we mainly speak English at home. He was shy to speak Chinese at first but, within a short few months, he’s now speaking and singing in the language at home by himself.
ELFA is a preschool where the principal focuses a lot on the students, and this is carried through by teachers and staff. The principal and teachers also communicate with us very regularly and our concerns and feedback are always acted upon promptly.
Three locations island-wide
GESS International School
Reimar and Amrei Gutte, German; Noemi (15), Noah (12), Joona (9), Leni (7) and Aaron (5)
We just moved to Singapore this January. As a German family, we looked into a German/European environment first in a school.
Having said that, we had heard of GESS from other expats – everyone mentioned that their kids are in good hands and that the school provides a good education to their students. We also like the idea of a soft entry to a totally new environment, with German still being the central language yet within a multicultural environment.
All our children are enrolled in GESS in Grades 2 (Leni), 4 (Joona), 7 (Noah), 9 (Noemi), with Aaron attending the preschool.
The preschool offers German, English and a course called dual immersion. We enrolled Aaron in the Kindergarten 2 dual immersion class with Mrs Dell’Aglio as we like the idea of being brought in touch playfully with a new language. The teachers are friendly and attentive and well organised.
The school opened a new campus only a few years back, and it offers modern concepts and dedicated spaces for the preschool kids. This includes outdoor facilities for free play and exploration. The gymnasium and Olympic swimming pool are amazing – especially compared to what we know from the kids’ school back in Germany.
GESS also offers flexibility by offering three half and two full days instead of five full days in a week. We opted for this as it allows for a period for Aaron to get used to the new environment before changing to five full days.
We definitely recommend GESS preschool for German families or for any nationality coming to the Lion City. We hope to stay at the school for a long time, as we’re convinced that our kids have a great chance growing in an international environment at a high educational level.
Holland International School Preschool (formerly Hollandse School Limited)
Karen Smits and Adolfo Vazquez, Dutch and Mexican; Lucas (5) and Vera (2)
Lucas started at Holland International School’s preschool soon after we arrived in Singapore from Sydney in October 2020. He was around three and a half years old and took the school bus as if that was the most normal thing to do.
Lucas integrated very quickly with the help of two teachers – one speaking English, the other in Dutch – and fun friends. When he turned four, he moved into Group 1 in the “big school” where he felt at home right away.
Due to COVID restrictions, we never visited the school, but Lucas is always very content. The communication with the teachers has been good so we fully trust this is the best learning environment for our child. Many of the teachers have a long track record at the school, showing that HIS has a great work environment; this allows teachers to bring out the best in our children.
HIS stands out for its philosophy of learning through play and developing social skills in a cosy, small school environment. This allows children ample time for other activities such as sports, playdates and to do nothing, which sparks creativity. The exception is reading – children are encouraged to bring new books home from the school library every week.
The International Stream is a big plus for our family. We may never send our kids to a primary school in the Netherlands but we want them to learn the Dutch way. Vera will soon start preschool at HIS, especially now that there are sleeping facilities and a mix of full days and half days available for the youngest children.
The school may have “Holland” in its name but it’s not for Dutch families only. The international community is very supportive, active and engaged; parents easily find each other and build relationships that go beyond the school.
65 Bukit Tinggi Road
6466 0662 | hollandinternationalschool.sg
House on the Hill
Katie Fournier and Philippe D’Hannoncelles, French; Hugo (4)
Hugo was born in Singapore and has been attending the preschool programme at House on the Hill (HotH) since he was 20 months. Philippe has been in Singapore for 10 years and I’ve been here for 16. When we started looking for a preschool nearby, we realised that HotH was opening next door. Some of our neighbours gave us very good feedback about the preschool too. During our visit to HotH, we felt it was a safe environment surrounded by kind and attentive people, which is what we wanted for our child. We also felt confident about the teaching programme offered by HotH. So we enrolled after the tour. In addition, the preschool was just renovated with nice equipment and a lovely playground.
What we liked was the Montessori approach with show-and-tell activities. As the kids get older, they’re encouraged to speak in front of their peers, which helps them be comfortable speaking in front of an audience; our son really enjoys this activity.
From the youngest age, there are daily Mandarin lessons where kids are exposed to the language through songs and games. The mixed-age-group class allows the younger ones to learn from their elder classmates, while the elder ones feel responsible towards the young ones. This is a good way to improve empathy and encourage team spirit through a buddies system. I also like that the kids are from different countries, giving the school an international aspect.
The teachers regularly send pictures and videos through the school app with an explanation of the activities held during the day. The quarterly review with teachers is a great opportunity to get feedback and discuss how the kids are going, and their behaviour in class. The teachers all pay close attention to the kids so that they evolve in a nice environment. I would definitely recommend the preschool.
- 33 Mount Sophia | 6337 4635
- 396 Pasir Panjang Road, #02-01 | 6251 6451
- 2H Balmoral Crescent | 6258 6061
- Opening soon: Hollandse Club, 22 Camden Park
International Community School (Singapore)
We’ve been in Singapore for two and a half years. Jack joined ICS in January 2021 and Luna joined in September 2021.
Jack loves preschool, especially the science experiments. Although PE was partly suspended, Jack developed a new passion for sports and he’s now into basketball. He also loves the after-school activities – he gets to do sport right after school. This makes life easier for us because we don’t have to organise any more activities outside of school.
An important aspect of this preschool is its Christian values. As a Christian family, we felt it was important for our children to grow up with Christian values and we’re very grateful that, besides an academic education, Biblical values are also taught at ICS. We consider this as the best prerequisite for a good future. We also have a special situation with Jack as he has type 1 diabetes. The school nurse, Jyl Neri, keeps an eye on him. As parents in such a situation, we need assurance that someone is taking care of our kids’ needs when we’re not around.
Initially, we weren’t convinced about the American curriculum as we’re from Germany and everything is different. But the school’s Christian foundation and values were more valuable to us than the choice of curriculum. We haven’t regretted our choice and we’re very happy to be part of the ICS community where we’ve made new friends.
We highly recommend the preschool for its academics and we’re grateful for the nice and helpful teachers.
International French School
Kate and Saxon Shirley, Australian-Mexican and Australian; Lula (5) and Kipling (18 months)
We’ve lived and worked in Singapore for over 10 years. Lula started in the Petite Section of IFS in April 2020 and is now in her third year.
One of our top priorities is exposing our children to new languages and cultures from an early age. IFS Maternelle uses the Reggio Emilia methodology, which allows children to harness their interests through a relationship-driven environment. Saxon had a similar immersion experience when he was schooled in Italy in his early primary years so he had full confidence in this.
Although Saxon is an advanced beginner in French, we don’t come from a French-speaking background. This meant we needed to partner with the teachers to make Lula’s immersion a success. The kids are able to ask questions and communicate in English as they come up to speed with French, so that helped Lula feel comfortable at the start. We learned with Lula using materials in French, working in sync with her Petite section teacher, who is also a trained linguist, to ensure that Lula had a fulfilling experience.
All of Lula’s teachers in her three years at the preschool have offered a similar experience; we’ve seen her writing, reading and passion for art blossom in wonderful and unexpected ways. A number of our friends have also placed their children at IFS so there’s a growing group of kids from Australian and English expat families. We love that Lula has made many friends from different backgrounds.
The teachers from France seem to be of an extremely high standard and the school is part of the international network of French schools (AEFE).
We’re looking forward to excursions, end-of-year plays, more sport and extracurricular activities restarting when COVID restrictions are relaxed. We’re confident this will make the preschool experience even richer and more exciting for Lula.
Kinderland Academy & Preschool
Irene Soh and Davide Del Gatto, Singaporean and Italian; Jaden (3)
Jaden has been in Nursery for six weeks at Kinderland Academy @ Yio Chu Kang. His teachers, especially Fu Laoshi and principal Ms Susan, were very responsive during the first weeks of settling in; they sent updates and pictures on a regular basis and made time to speak with us to alleviate any concerns.
The staff have been incredibly patient and friendly from the start – they answered all our questions during both the virtual and actual school tour, which was a key factor for us enrolling Jaden immediately on the day itself. Other deciding factors were the well-kept compound and the way the preschool was a great fit to Jaden’s interests, which we believe are important to keep him engaged and learning.
Jaden has settled in well and talks about the new friends he’s making and what his teachers have been teaching him. He is taught both English and Chinese, giving him confidence to speak and write bilingually. He also learns technology and literacy through the preschool’s Literacy through IT programme, and is exposed to fitness and wellness as part of the KinderFit programme.
The preschool’s environment is tranquil, and perfectly suited for optimal and focused learning. The play areas and equipment are regularly upgraded to ensure that children are constantly provided with fun and refreshed experiences.
The children co-share their learning space with nature; we love that Jaden can witness the beauty of how nature evolves. With ample outdoor areas and play spaces exclusive to the school, Kinderland children also have the opportunity to practice and train in musical instruments and be part of Singapore’s first and only Preschool Marching Band.
The team cares for the children and believes in communication; we feel Jaden is well taken care of and we feel very supported, which allows us to focus on our work and not have to be worried about how he is getting along.
15 locations island-wide
MapleBear Preschool Singapore
Oliver and Charmaine Bouchard, French-Canadian and British; Etienne (4)
We’ve been in Singapore for over 10 years. When he was six months old, Etienne started in the infant care class at MapleBear Orchard. When we started searching for preschools, it was based on location and a preference for a bilingual immersion programme. As soon as we arrived at MapleBear for a visit, we were immediately struck by the warmth and enthusiasm of the teachers, the bright and cheerful environment and the level of focused care, which was evident from the interactions between the teachers and the pupils.
Our experience with MapleBear has been extremely positive, primarily due to the teaching staff who take time to get to know and understand each child. We receive almost daily updates through the MapleBear app, with photos and descriptions detailing the numerous activities that the children undertake such as sports, art, music and drama. These are in addition to their daily lessons, which are always conducted with a fun twist. We’re continually impressed by the creativity and thought put into each lesson to ensure the children remain engaged.
There’s a strong sense of community within the preschool, thanks to the many organised events. Pre-COVID, parents would be invited to concerts, coffee catch-ups and an annual children’s day event where MapleBear schools across Singapore would participate. Even now, with restrictions, the preschool works to involve parents as much as possible.
We’ve seen Etienne thrive and grow into a confident little boy, one who is now able to converse in Mandarin with his teachers and peers. The preschool has such a homely feel and Etienne is always excited to go in – he comes home with lots of stories about his eventful day.
We’re happy that we made the decision to send Etienne to MapleBear and we frequently recommend the preschool to other families.
More than 50 centres island-wide, and locations in Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand
Cheryl Teo and Damien Pang, Australian; Zoe (5), Charlie (3) and Noah (2)
We moved to Singapore in January 2020 and visited over 10 preschools in Singapore before deciding on Mosaic. We loved the look and feel of the place – during the school tour, our kids felt right at home. All three of them have been there for a year and a half, with Noah joining at 16 months.
We feel that Mosaic Preschool has taken the best elements from Reggio Emilia, Montessori and the like, with a good balance between indoor and outdoor learning and play. It also offers electives such as ballet, coding, swimming (pre-COVID), science and cooking among others, all of which add another dimension to their learning experience and enjoyment at school. We also love that the kids are in a bilingual environment and are picking up Mandarin quite nicely.
The teachers are great – they really love the children and do go the extra mile on a daily basis. The teachers take time during drop-off and pick-up to chat about our kids. It’s also clear that a lot of effort goes into preparing the reports for parent-teacher interviews. The preschool has a very warm feeling. It’s a great little community and you can see that there are interactions between the older and younger classes and friendships formed on different levels. The preschool goes to a lot of effort for celebrations, be it birthdays, festive holidays or end-of-year concerts.
Mosaic has provided a well-rounded education for our kids. Our children absolutely adore their teachers and, as parents, we can see the positive impact that the teachers are having on our kids.
- Bukit Timah campus: 896 Dunearn Road, #05-01 | 6909 0470
- Eunos campus: 168 Changi Road, #05-01 | 9615 3641
Nicolas and Sylviane Gisbert (French); Eva (4) and Chloé (6)
We’ve been living in Singapore for seven years. Eva has been attending Mulberry since she was two and a half, and Chloé from six months.
We were looking at preschools that are walking distance from our neighbourhood. Mulberry was one of them and we decided to pick it because the infant and kindergarten sections were particularly good, with well trained staff, a bright environment and lots of activities.
Our daughters are learning in a playful atmosphere and the habits of mind concept is a great way for kids to learn and to be more responsible. The preschool setting has dedicated places for specific activities, and the teachers really know the children. We are well informed about the lessons and activities as well as our children’s behaviour and progress.
The preschool has some learning topics called “projects” that are selected by the children as a group. So the children themselves decide what they are learning. We find this a great way for them to interact with others. It also makes the topic that the children are studying much more interesting for them. We’ve been impressed to see that our child now knows about subjects like the French Revolution, and how the immune system works. They know these topics at six years but they didn’t learn it in the way they would at a regular school – they learnt it by working on a project in a playful way with craft, painting or drama.
Our daughters are very happy at the preschool; they like going there and learning in this environment with their friends. We would recommend Mulberry Learning to other families as it’s a great preschool.
Nexus International School (Singapore) Early Childhood
Karan Mak and Hans Cheung, Hong Kong; Karsten (9), Hannes (7) and Karis (4)
Before we moved from Hong Kong to Singapore in May 2021, we researched online for a preschool that provides both the software and hardware to allow its learners to flourish at their pace and to the best of their abilities, while not neglecting academic excellence as learners progress.
The new Nexus campus at Aljunied includes state-of-the-art facilities – it gave us a sense that the preschool is future-proofing our children. The preschool empowers the learner to discover their passions and allows them to thrive within a very inclusive environment. The feedback and advice shared on different forums and social media sites about the preschool were also positive.
Karis joined Kindergarten at Nexus last August, while her two older brothers started at the school at the same time – Karsten in Year 5 and Hannes in Year 3. Karis always walks out of Kindergarten with a big smile on her face, sharing first-hand any artwork, paper folding or other fun things she did during the day. We often receive additional insights of her day through the school’s Seesaw app – we get to see the variety of activities and learning she is engaged in throughout the week.
What we love about Nexus is how it fosters a love of learning and how Karis has benefited and grown within this environment. Karis is often engaged in different “excursions” within the Nexus school campus, which exposes her to more than just the Kindergarten, which is already amazing.
Having been with Nexus since the start of the school year, we take plenty of assurance from the diversity of students and parents that this can be the right preschool for families of any background and nationalities. Given our own positive experience and that of other families at the school, we would most definitely recommend Nexus.
North London Collegiate School (Singapore)
James and Rebecca Puddle, British; Cressida (6) and Jake (5)
We’ve been living in Singapore for 4.5 years. Jake started in Pre-KG when NLCS (Singapore) opened in August 2020 and is currently in KG1. Cressida started in KG2 and is now in Grade 1.
NLCS is a well-known school in the UK for the ongoing success of its students achieving great things after they have left. There’s a strong balance between learning and nurturing an inherent feeling of wanting to learn more; who doesn’t wish that for their child?
The high quality of the teachers is what stands out for us at NLCS, and the teachers at NLCS (Singapore) have been incredible. Jake’s first teacher in Pre-KG, Mrs Platt, was wonderful in starting him off on his first real school journey. His current teacher Mrs Peacock is incredible – she instils a love of learning in children from such a young age. Mrs Benson and Mr O’Suilleabhain also deserve a mention.
The campus has brilliant facilities for sports and playtime so there’s an excellent merge of academics and childhood fun.
Both our children love being a part of NLCS (Singapore). They’re different characters – one more introverted, the other more extrovert. Yet the preschool brings out the best in both of them through play, learning and inclusivity with their classmates.
There’s an open level of communication and respect for parents and teachers from the administrative staff to the heads of school. Above all, there’s respect for the children who are encouraged to be the best version of themselves.
It’s amazing to see how far both the children have come and we’d highly recommend this preschool to parents.
One World International School
Colette Einfeld and Gareth Williams, Australian and British; Nia (6) and Rae (4)
As parents who are relatively new to Singapore (just over a year), we were looking for a preschool close to the East that our girls could attend together and, most importantly, where they could thrive. Learning Mandarin as a second language was a priority, as well as a preschool with a learning environment and values that are aligned to what we want our girls to be exposed to.
Our experience at OWIS Suntec has been welcoming and positive from the start. Rae and Nia joined in January and managed to adapt very fast to their new school life and make friendships quickly. Upon joining, their teachers made sure that our girls were included and we had daily conversations that didn’t go for long – within a week or two, everything had settled down. All the staff, from the teaching to administrative staff and security guards at the preschool, genuinely care for the families.
The teaching style is inquiry-based, which means that our girls are developing great ways to look at the world; we felt this was really important at this age. Nia is encouraged at preschool to interact fully. At home, she has many questions and wants to experiment by applying what she has learnt. Rae tells us about her friends and the Unit of Inquiry she is doing; she’s been learning about water and has come home to water the plants or to tell us about the pollution and plastic in the water.
Although the preschool is indoors, there’s a lot of room to play, and they also make use of facilities nearby. Going to the SuperPark every week is the current highlight but the dance, drama and sports CCAs are all engaging and fun. They also do yoga at school, which our girls love.
We also like that the preschool is non-profit. Our girls want us to add that it’s a really fun school!
- Suntec Campus: 1 Raffles Boulevard, Suntec City, Level 3 | 6914 7240
- Nanyang Campus: 21 Jurong West Street 81 | 6914 6700
Overseas Family School
Janna and Yaniv Tenenbaum-Katan, Israeli; Adi (11), Bar (9) and Ofer (5)
Ofer has been attending K2 at OFS for six months, ever since we arrived in Singapore, and his experience has been great.
The school is known for a sense of community, support with English and meaningful mother tongue programmes. The staff were patient and informative from the very beginning. Ofer started his preschool year with zero English and his teachers Ms Cynthia and Mrs Wood were patient and supportive, helping out through his first months. They celebrate his successes and encourage him when things are tough, and they kept us informed of every part of his progress.
We quickly discovered that language is not a barrier between kids. Ofer communicates in Hebrew with his Italian friend Alessandro, who communicates in Italian. Nevertheless, the boys understood each other. Ofer’s teachers shared this valuable moment with us, just like many other experiences in class.
His classes are diverse and unique, with cooking, swimming, chess and music. Ofer also has Hebrew tongue classes for an hour a day, where he feels at home.
The preschool gives a sense of accountability for the children and that makes us feel confident. This feeling is priceless for an expat family, especially so early in our journey in a new country.
Rain Trees International Kindergarten
Melanie and Robert Ridland, British; Millie (6), Max, (4) and Poppy (1)
As a primary school teacher, finding my children appropriate preschools in Singapore was something I was determined to get right! We left Hong Kong in March 2020, had a brief stint in London then moved to Singapore in August that same year to join another lockdown.
Having missed out on a lot of kindergarten, we were very eager to find spots for Millie and Max and provide them with formal education as soon as possible.
Rain Trees was recommended by some old friends and we’ve been extremely satisfied with all aspects of it. The staff couldn’t be friendlier or more caring and committed.
Max needed some settling, having never been to any form of class; the teachers brought him into the fold and effortlessly settled him within a couple of days. He absolutely loved his year in Dragonflies with Ms Alba and is now being carefully nurtured by Ms Gail in Busy Bees, who can only be described as a magician. Under her, Max is developing at a rapid rate, hungry for knowledge and extremely happy in a carefully constructed play zone. He loves Mandarin and comes home buzzing about all the things he is learning.
Ms Rohini, the Head Teacher, is supported by Ms Mel and both have been wonderful to our family. They’ve protected and retained that important social aspect of any school despite all the challenges. This is a great credit to them and the culture of the kindergarten.
Rain Trees is a gem and anyone looking to find a happy, creative and personal education for their precious little people should look no further. Our smallest member of the family, Poppy, has started attending the toddler drop-in classes and absolutely loves being part of it too. We are enormously grateful to have found Rain Trees!
Marlies and Bryce Boland, Swiss and Kiwi; Mia (6), Amy (4), Kim (2) and Zoe (7 months)
We’ve been living in Singapore for eight years. Amy and Kim each joined Shaws on Boscombe Road when they were 18 months. Mia did too but she departed last August to go to “big school”. They all started with three half-days and loved it so much that they wanted to go every day, so we moved them to five half-days.
The experience with this preschool has been positive at every stage. The teachers are kind and caring, and know every kid in the school and their parents and helpers.
The environment is fun and play-based. The girls especially love the fun games at circle time and mud kitchen in their first years. They learn to sing and dance with Chinese songs and all three will sing songs together during the festival times.
The Shaws Little League sports programme is also excellent – they all love the skill development and fun. Both Amy and Kim love going to school and seeing their friends, and sharing what they’ve made when they come home. Prior to COVID restrictions, the kids loved the regular water play. They would also go on excursions to interesting places – these were great fun for the little ones and adults alike.
The result for Mia has been extremely positive – she is excelling at big school, conversant with her Chinese teachers and helps other kids with their learning. Her old teachers love to see her when she stops by occasionally on the school run, especially Miss Carmi.
We initially found Shaws while looking for something play-based on the East Coast near where we lived. It was one of the few preschools where there was flexibility on the number of days and length of programme, and we wanted that flexibility to see how the girls adapted to the preschool. We liked the outdoor play area, which we think is very important for little kids. We also liked the location, being on a quiet side street without a lot of road noise.
We would recommend this preschool to other families who are looking for a play-based programme, a fun and happy environment where the kids don’t want to leave, and with Chinese-native speakers to give the kids a fun approach to learning Mandarin.
Singapore American School
Whitney and Mark Smith, American; Graham (8) and Claire (5)
Claire joined the preschool at SAS in August 2020. Since we moved here during the pandemic and only days before the school year began, we weren’t able to visit preschools and had to rely on online research. We were drawn to the Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum and felt a connection with seeing children as unique and capable learners. We were also encouraged by the professional support teachers receive and the low teacher turnover rates. If teachers are happy, it’s a good sign. We initially looked into preschools closer to home but decided that having both children on the same academic schedule would be best.
We’ve been very happy with our decision so far – and extremely impressed with the preschool. Our daughter is happy to go to school every day and her curiosity and love of learning is encouraged. During weekends and school breaks she asks, “Do I have school tomorrow? When can I go back?” She’s learning so much about the world around her, while having the time of her life riding bikes, building fairy castles, exploring, painting and enjoying her daily Move and Groove class.
There are Chinese classes every day and we’ve been amazed at how quickly she’s picking up the language through songs and games. There are many preschools in Singapore so it can be overwhelming. We’d encourage families to tour SAS and see for themselves whether the school is right for them. Distance from home seemed like a huge deal but turned out to be a non-issue for us and definitely not a reason to miss the opportunity to attend an amazing school like SAS. It’s a very special and magical place.
Stamford American International School
Mina Kaye and Wyatt Biessel, American; Elias (3)
We live within walking distance of SAIS but it was our online research and conversations with other parents that made us feel that preschool at Stamford was the right choice for Elias.
Elias started attending the SAIS Early Learning Village (ELV) last January. He is very inquisitive and curious so we were looking for a playbased, child-led and hands-on learning environment. ELV’s curriculum is specially designed for young learners following the Reggio Emilia approach. The teacher will follow Elias’s interest and expand on it in the classroom; this gives him the chance to take ownership of his own learning. There’s a balcony area attached to each classroom with lots of natural sunlight. The children can move freely between the balcony and the indoor classroom; Elias talks about “balcony play” all the time!
Elias’s social-emotional skills have flourished under the guidance of his current teacher, Ms Ioanna, in just a few short months. She connects with us regularly and openly. This is in addition to the weekly blog and photo updates of what the kids have been up to during the week at school. This has enabled us to see the progress of Elias’s learning journey and wellbeing; he loves his preschool and is happy and excited to go to preschool every morning. The teachers and support staff have gone above and beyond in caring about the students’ wellbeing. The ELV has an incredibly amazing student support team that has really helped address our child’s developmental and social emotional needs.
The school is truly international; Elias’s classmates are from all over the world. They learn about each other’s cultures and observe different holidays in the classroom. This is great exposure to cultural differences and knowledge from a young age. Stamford has exceeded our expectations.
Swiss School in Singapore
Laura and Michael Bächli, Finnish and Swiss; Benjamin (6), Joaquin (4)
We’ve lived in Singapore since October 2018. Both boys started at the Swiss School in August 2020. Joaquin joined Little Tots at age two, and in August 2022 will start Kindergarten. Benjamin started in Kindergarten and will be in Primary 1 this year.
We might move back to Switzerland someday, so it’s important that our kids have the required language skills. We’re both from the Swiss school system where young kids are educated through play – the focus is to develop their social and creative thinking skills. We think the Swiss School ideology is the closest to this.
Our boys are in the German stream. That means they have both English- and German-speaking teachers and classes. Joaquin’s first half of the day with his playgroup is in English; after lunch, he continues with German classes. When Benjamin starts Primary 1, his classes will fully be in German.
Activities are also part of the curriculum. Highlights include weekly swimming lessons, sports day, and show and tell where they bring in a toy or a book and talk about it in front of the other kids. They also spend time outdoors – some eat lunch outside; some have sand play or just playtime at the climbing ground. There are plenty of ECA options including dance, karate, music, football, arts and crafts, and Chinese language, to name a few. The school celebrates all the local holidays, but the students get some Swiss influence from the teachers.
We’ve been very happy with the Swiss School in Singapore. We feel that our boys have been seen and heard, and encouraged to be creative and develop their social skills. The teachers’ firm and kind way of educating our kids has taught them good values in life.
The school is located next to the Swiss Club. It’s an added value for parents who are members of the club to have a quick coffee or tennis class after the morning school drop-off. The overall atmosphere of Swiss School in Singapore is cosy – like a little fairy tale village in the middle of the jungle! What else would you wish from a preschool?
Tanglin Trust School
Hannah and Adam Richardson, British; Ella (4) and Emilia (2)
Adam and I have been living in Singapore since September 2011. Ella joined Nursery Class 8 at Tanglin last August and is currently in the Snails class. Her teacher, Mr Pyatt, and his teaching assistants have created an open, nurturing and supportive environment for children to explore and engage in a fun and creative way. Class areas are open-plan and use open-ended play to allow little ones to use their imaginations and take themselves on learning experiences in a natural way.
The preschool’s wide range of extracurricular activities further feed curious and eager minds and bodies. They include kids multi-sport, languages including French and Mandarin, music, and Centre Stage Creative Drama and Centre Stage Musical Theatre. Nursery has Pedal Power, which enables Ella to learn how to ride a balance bike, and the Tanglin Forest School Programme, where Ella has been immersed in learning outdoors and connecting with nature. The preschool’s mini-bus facility allows me to be home with my youngest and not worry about the school run. Despite being only four, Ella enjoys going on the bus; all credit goes to the school for making it a positive experience.
We’re still new to Tanglin but we immediately felt part of the school community. The children have a sense of identity through their Houses, which stays with them through their entire school life; Tanglin will also ensure that Emilia has the same House allocation so our family will forever be Team Cameron! On House Fridays, Ella can see fellow House members around the school; she can find fellowship with other students whether they be in Nursery or older years.
There’s a class rep system in place for parents to connect and build a wider Tanglin family. Parents can connect and be informed of important class info and special event days. This is valuable, comforting and encouraging, knowing that we’ve given our child the best start.
The Grange International Preschool
Bonnie Zhao and Al Qiao, Chinese; Charles (9) and Doris (5)
We’ve been in Singapore for half a year; Doris is in K2 at The Grange International Preschool (TGIP) while Charles is in Y3 at The Grange Institution (TGI).
While we were still in China, we found TGIP through a web search. During the virtual tour, we met the principal, Mr Low, who introduced us to the school’s philosophy and curriculum. We visited the school after arriving in Singapore and found that it’s close to nature and has a joyful atmosphere.
We would like to mention two people in particular. As Head of Schools, Mr Low has been managing the [reschool for many years and he pays attention to the wellbeing and creativity of students while creating a family-like atmosphere. Doris’s head teacher, Ms Yin San, ensures students learn in an all-rounded way.
With rich Units of Learning, our children are learning a lot of new knowledge and are happy every day. TGIP shares specialist subject teachers with TGI. These are experienced teachers in art, music, PE and Chinese (and Japanese is offered too) who are all wonderful. Every semester, teachers from different professional fields also teach courses. For example, in the PE class this semester, a senior badminton coach is teaching the children how to play badminton.
The younger a child is, the more attention they need from the teacher. In kindergarten, the teacher’s input is especially important so small-scale schools like TGIP can help kids develop their abilities better. Doris can be herself at TGIP and know who she is; she loves it there and it’s wonderful that she can learn in a warm and cheerful preschool.
We love the teachers, environment and atmosphere at TGIP and definitely recommend it to other families.
UWC South East Asia Kindergarten
Jennifer Koo and Braydon Barcham, Australian; Lily (11) and Sarah (8)
We moved to Singapore in 2012 after previously living in London. Lily started attending UWCSEA East in K1 in 2015 (now in Grade 5) and Sarah started in K1 in 2018 (now in Grade 2). We learned about the school mainly through word of mouth in the expat community, as well as online (plus Expat Living, of course!). The school’s reputation for service, the IB curriculum and a learning style that teaches children how to think rather than what to think are all reasons why we enrolled Lily and Sarah. We’ve noticed the girls’ genuine curiosity and awareness about the world around them. The successes of UWCSEA alumni in diverse endeavours also speaks volumes about the school.
UWCSEA is a very special school that instils a strong sense of community and offers a diverse range of after-school activities, in addition to the IB curriculum. The facilities are second to none, from the sports and music facilities to the classrooms and playgrounds. The teachers come from a diverse range of countries and are committed to the school’s mission. There’s a strong focus on personal development, too; our daughters have learnt skills like mindfulness and an appreciation of different cultures. Special mention should go to the school’s service activities, including the trips offered (prepandemic) as well as the amazing swim programme that both girls enjoyed.
The school ticks just about every box – amazing facilities, engaged and enthusiastic teachers, a great school community and well-rounded curriculum that doesn’t just focus on academics but also on activities, community service and developing skills like critical thinking and collaboration. We’ve seen our girls evolve and develop as a result of their UWCSEA experience, and would certainly encourage other parents to consider the school.
This article first appeared in the Preschool Mini Guide in the April 2022 edition of Expat Living Singapore. Subscribe now!
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