Montessori, montessori, montessori: You’ll have heard this time-tested preschool method dropped into conversation frequently at coffee mornings across Singapore, and with good reason. Mums and Dads who’ve gone the Montessori route are typically converts, and the parents of Brighton Montessori students are no exception. Ninety-eight percent of them approved of the curriculum and teaching quality (hence the harping!) at this well-established Montessori preschool group for children aged 18 months to 6 years old, which has seven centres right across Singapore. We get the inside track from parents and professionals on how a Montessori-based curriculum, such as that offered by Brighton Montessori, can give your child a headstart in their early years education. Keep this checklist handy for when you embark on the preschool tour circuit!
‘Do your research into the different methodologies in order to make the most educated decision. The curriculum should also be balanced with practical life activities which foster a child’s character and social development,’ says Raudziah Hamid, Principal of Brighton Montessori Fort Road.
Parent Brenda See, mother of Matthew Powell, couldn’t agree more. ‘My son has developed by leaps and bounds since starting his Pre-Nursery session a year ago. He is now very outspoken, sociable and relatively more independent. My family and I are very happy to have chosen Brighton at Frankel as his preschool,’ she says.
With over 20 years of experience providing quality preschool education in Singapore, Brighton Montessori continues to nurture a love for lifelong learning and prepare children for formal education through a structured curriculum based on reputed Italian doctor and educator Maria Montessori’s scientifically proven hands-on learning approach.
The Brighton Montessori curriculum focuses on five key Montessori areas – Practical Life Skills, Sensorial Activities, Language, Mathematics and Cultural Studies – to develop each child’s cognitive, academic, emotional and social skills. Along the way, children gain confidence, creativity, independence, respect, cooperation and responsibility, in addition to literacy and numeracy – crucial traits for any future leader and thinker, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Add other daily activities, including Mandarin, Music and Movement, Art and Craft, Outdoor Activities and Show and Tell, to the timetable, along with field trips, water play, class parties, holiday programmes and enrichment programmes, and you can guarantee that your child’s early years education will be a well-rounded one!
2. Pace of learning
‘A child’s desire to learn can be nurtured or hampered depending on his early learning experiences,’ says Principal Raudziah. ‘Therefore, it is imperative that your child is not being pushed too hard, or bored because the lessons are not challenging enough. Find out how the school nurtures each each child’s unique strengths and weaknesses.’
Brighton Montessori’s individualised learning approach is key to their success, with one-to-one guidance and programmes specifically tailored for each child allowing students to to learn and grasp abstract concepts beyond even what is expected of their age.
Mum Amrita Singh is thrilled to see how her daughter Aaryaa’s early education is being fostered according to her unique learning style, strengths and needs. ‘I am very happy that my daughter is growing independent and improving academically. I can see the difference in how fast she is learning. Special thanks to Teacher Siti!’ she says.
‘A passionate and committed teacher can make a world of difference to your child,’ notes Principal Raudziah. ‘Have a face-to-face meeting with the principal and educators, and check how regularly the school updates parents on their child’s progress.’
At Brighton Montessori, each little learner is able to progress at their own pace within a supportive, stimulating and creative environment, with trained Montessori educators guiding and nurturing them. Super-low teacher-child ratios of 1:6 in Pre-Nursery and 1:14 in Kindergarten are a bonus, while parents are considered partners in their child’s holistic education. Expect regular parent-teacher meetings and progress sessions, weekly updates on your child’s development (which is monitored daily), an open-door communication policy and the opportunity to join your brood for fun activities during Precious 45 (P45) classrooms sessions.
Shin Ying’s children Samuel and Rachel Teo joined the Brighton Montessori family in August 2015 and they haven’t looked back since. ‘I am impressed by the quality of teaching of the Intensive Chinese Immersion Programme at the school. The children’s Chinese has improved by leaps and bounds in the time we have been here, and it is clear that they enjoy Teacher Guo’s method as they often mention her at home. The teachers have been very kind and loving to my children, and were patient when they had transition issues,’ she says.
‘Last but not least,’ says Principal Raudziah, ‘make sure you visit the school for a centre tour so you can rest assured that your child will be provided with a comfortable and safe environment.’
With this in mind, why not arrange a personal guided tour at any of Brighton Montessori’s centres across Singapore? Find them at Fort Road, Frankel Avenue, Mountbatten Road, Sunset Way, The Grassroots’ Club at Ang Mo Kio Ave 8 and Great World City. You can have a snoop around the classrooms and playgrounds for yourself, and see first hand just how the educators are instilling a love of learning in all of their young students. Or, even better, book Junior in for a free trial session for a real taster of the Montessori magic!
So, which programme will your child fit into exactly? Pre-Nursery starts from 1.5-2 years old, followed by Nursery 1 for 2-3 year olds, Nursery 2 for 3-4 year olds, Kindergarten 1 for 4-5 year olds and Kindergarten 2 for 5-6 year olds until they’re a month off seven and ready for big school. Choose from Half Day morning and afternoon sessions or Full Day programmes from 7am-7pm – and Brighton Montessori is even open Saturdays from 7am-2pm!
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