If you’re looking for a childcare centre or kindergarten for your child, it’s important to visit those on your shortlist as well – don’t just rely on word of mouth recommendations.
Veteran educator Patricia Koh, who is now chief executive and education ambassador at Maple Bear Singapore, offers a handy checklist of points to note during your tour:
SAFE AND SECURE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
1. Are the entrances, exits and safety gates sufficient to ensure your child’s safety?
2. Is the furniture and play equipment child-friendly?
3. Ask about the procedures at arrival and dismissal times to ensure that the centre is clear as to how your kid will be received and dismissed.
4. What steps are in place to ensure a clean and healthy environment?
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CREATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
5. Take a look around and assess if the classroom is enriched with materials and resources for the teachers and children.
6. The environment must show that the kids are allowed the space to share their ideas and talents. Are the boards creatively filled with their work, or are they just displays of standard worksheets?
7. The classroom should also have exciting learning corners and activities for children to explore, investigate, observe and learn.
8. Kids do not necessarily have to be seated in rows or always seated facing the teacher with a book in hand.
9. If the learning environment is too quiet and kids are made to sit quietly and not allowed to interact with each other, this may be a concern. Conversely, it is also worrying if the learning environment is too chaotic and kids are running around aimlessly.
10. Teachers must be engaged with the children under their care. There should be a positive rapport between the teachers and kids. If you notice the teachers just standing around or occupied with their own work, that is a clear indication that they do not have the children’s interests at heart.
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