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How to choose the the right preschool or kindergarten for your child

With so many preschool and kindergarten options, how do you pick the right education for your little one? Each school comes with its own unique set of strengths so we figured it would help to hear from educators who teach at some of the top international schools in Singapore, on tips and tricks that may help us along. Parents give us their reviews and testimonials too, on what they like about the kindy system within K-12 educational institutions. Read on for the inside scoop!

GEMS World Academy (Singapore) (GWA)

A word from a teacher: Karen Orlowski, Pre-Kindergarten teacher

What should you look out for in choosing a school?
This is where first impressions count: what you first notice, how the children are playing and interacting, and how the teachers are supporting them.

What are the strengths of GWA?
We work with a leading curriculum and incredible state of the art facilities but what really highlights us as a wonderful school for any child and family is the teaching staff. This school is warm, welcoming and supportive, and it is what it is because of the teachers.

How should parents complement their child’s learning at home?
Play! Learning through play is what is best for this age group. Go back to the simplicities in life: messy play, baking, building forts, putting on shows, role playing, climbing and riding bikes.

A word from a parent: Diane Hall, British
“GWA focuses on learning through play and looking at things in a different way. The teachers have empathy and a caring nature. Choosing a preschool is a very personal choice- you’ll get a gut feeling when you’ve got the right fit and you follow your instinct on what is right for your children.”

GEMS World Academy Singapore
2 Yishun Street 42
6808 7300 | gwa.edu.sg


Singapore American School (SAS)

SAS Early Learning Center
SAS Early Learning Center

A word from the principal: Jo McIlroy, Deputy Principal of Early Learning Centre

What should parents look out for in choosing a school?
When choosing a school, trust your instincts. It is important to find a school where you feel your child is well cared for.

What are the strengths of SAS?
The Early Learning Center recently had a full renovation. We have created beautiful, modern learning environments that are inviting and inspiring. We are inspired by the educational philosophy out of Reggio Emilia, Italy. Our focus on learning is inquiry-based and concept driven.

How should parents complement their child’s learning at home?
Read regularly to them, give them new and varied experiences to enrich their lives and ask lots of open-ended questions to challenge their thinking.

A word from a parent: Preeya, Australian
“It gave me a lot of comfort meeting the teaching and administration staff. They truly love to be there and that has such a positive impact on the kids. Aside from visiting the school to see the classrooms and playground, try to meet the staff around the school. This will give you an idea of the ethos of the environment and help to determine if it is a good fit for your child.”

Singapore American School
40 Woodlands Street 41 | sas.edu.sg
 

UWC South East Asia (UWCSEA)

UWCSEA Dover
UWCSEA Dover

A word from the principal: Lynda Scott, Infant School Principal (Dover Campus)

What should parents look out for in choosing a school?
Think about some practical questions: how will your child get to school? How long will it take? Does the school offer activities after school? How much does it cost? Also consider the school’s mission and vision, as well as the approach to teaching and learning. Attend open days and talk to teachers, students and principals.

What are the strengths of UWCSEA?
Our learning programme reaches far beyond just rigorous academics. Activities, outdoor education, personal education, social education and service are central to each child’s education.

How can parents complement their child’s learning at home?
We share an interactive online learning journal with parents that allows them to be actively engaged in their child’s learning.

A word from a parent: Karin Motteram, Brazilian
“Often, as you walk into a school, you know whether it feels ‘right’ or not. I love that UWCSEA offers a play-based, Reggio-inspired curriculum guided by the children’s passions and inquiries.  The curriculum offers many opportunities for children to learn about concepts in meaningful ways through activities that they enjoy. The teachers are also wonderful at providing a nurturing environment while at the same time fostering independence.”

UWCSEA
Dover Campus: 1207 Dover Road
East Campus: 1 Tampines Street 73
6775 5344 | uwcsea.edu.sg

 

Sir Manasseh Meyer International School Singapore (SMM)

Sir Manasseh Meyer International School Singapore
Sir Manasseh Meyer International School Singapore

A word from a teacher: Navvab Ramirez, Grade 1 teacher

What should parents look out for in choosing a school?
A school’s culture, environment and teaching philosophy are important aspects to look at for a kindergarten. Notice details in the environment and observe whether the teachers are experienced in instilling discipline in a loving way. Ask parents whose children are in the school questions to gain insights about how the school is run.

What are the strengths of SMM?
SMM has a unique, strong and research-based academic curriculum.  The teachers are well trained in delivering the curriculum and in giving instructions to different learners.

How should parents complement their child’s learning at home?
Provide experiences related to what is being studied. Math and language are easily reinforced by a variety of games while thematic units can be supported by trips to the farms, the science museum and cultural sites.

A word with parents: Adi and Efrat Ben-Or, Israeli
“SMM provides a caring and nurturing environment that gives a good balance between playing and learning. We are very impressed with the facilities and really like the various activities that our children get to do. We have seen teachers take the children to the library to inculcate a love of reading. We also like the fact that there are over 20 nationalities in the school so our children get to mix around and learn more about other countries and cultures.”

Sir Manasseh Meyer International School
3 Jalan Ulu Sembawang
6331 4633 | smm.edu.sg


Psst… this school is growing beyond preschool and branching into older years!

White Lodge

White Lodge
White Lodge

A word from the principal: Sumitra Devi Chandran

What should you look out for in choosing a school?
The structure of the programme, cleanliness, safety, aesthetics of the environment and the amount of time the children spend playing. The right school will have responsive children, energetic teachers and a healthy climate.

What are the strengths of White Lodge?
White Lodge offers a comprehensive reading programme that complements our literacy framework. Through our inquiry based curriculum, children are encouraged to problem solve while exploring the realm of curiosity and discovery through research and sensorial exploration.

How can parents complement their child’s learning at home?
Parents can share our weekly scopes and the plethora of photographs with their child, encouraging them to recall the learning at school.

A word from a parent: Ruchika Kapoor, Indian
“The Kindergarten was recommended to me by other parents in my condo, I trust their viewpoints. The overall feel as I walked into the place stood out, as did the outdoor exposure my child gets in comparison to other Kindergartens. I like the diversity of nationalities. Also, low staff turnover means my children can foster secure relationships with their teachers. For those choosing a preschool, you should visit the facilities, talk to the teachers and observe the children in action.”

White Lodge
Eight locations islandwide
6255 4230 | whitelodge.edu.sg


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