Learn more about the unique programmes and facilities these preschools offer, so you can make the right choice for your child. Click on the preschool names to get to their websites.
I WANT HIM TO BE CREATIVE
What’s special This school has an award-winning curriculum – it won the prestigious Outstanding Programme Award in the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports Child Care Awards 2010.
A notable part of the curriculum is Project Hub, which allows children to explore topics that they initiate in class. Projects take pupils out of the classroom and give them hands-on experience in things that interest them. Depending on the topic, these can include surveys, experiments and even excursions. Chances for self-expression in the form of arts and crafts, music and dance are also incorporated into these plans.
What’s special Do you want fish, batik prints or Picasso? These are just some of the themes children may explore under its Nimble Fingers, Nimble Minds arts and crafts programme.
The thematic approach allows children to delve into different topics, artistic mediums and styles of drawing. But in keeping with the Montessori philosophy of giving children a freedom of choice in their learning, kids can approach the topic in any way they choose, draw anything they want and use any medium they like.
This programme is open to the public, too, as an enrichment course, but only at Josiah Montessori Kindergarten and Learning Centre. It’s for ages four to 12.
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My First Skool
What’s special Play is a priority at this preschool – intelligent play, that is. My First Skool uses the Petal approach, which is an acronym for playing, exploring, thinking, and applying learning.
Playing creates awareness: In one class, pupils press, knead and roll a lump of dough to learn the concept of forces.
Then they explore what happens when water is added to the dough, and think about how they can reverse the process and make it less damp.
This knowledge can be applied again in the future, during baking sessions, or if the class happens to play with flour again. The Petal approach is integrated similarly into other lessons at the school.
I WANT HIM TO BE BILINGUAL
What’s special Patricia Koh, its founder, claims to be the pioneer of the Bilingual Immersion curriculum, which involves assigning an English teacher and a Mandarin teacher to each class.
Both languages are given equal priority. In every class, the English teacher guides the kids she is assigned to in English, while the Mandarin teacher does the same in Mandarin. This method aims to give children maximum exposure to both languages throughout the day. Perhaps the best proof of the programme’s effectiveness is its adoption in many preschools today.
Yuquan Language School
What’s special Kids need to recognise at least 800 Chinese words to read independently, says Sonya Song, its principal. But the children at her preschool will master 1,500 words by graduation. It uses a proprietary curriculum designed and written by the principal herself.
Education at Yuquan isn’t just about reading and writing; culture and the arts are a big part of the curriculum, too. Pupils recite classical poems to music, learn Chinese painting and dabble in calligraphy.
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What’s special Depending on the amount of exposure to Mandarin your child needs, pick from its Pure Mandarin preschool programme or the Bilingual preschool programme. The former puts kids in a 100 per cent Mandarin speaking environment, while in the latter, Mandarin takes up half the day. Desiree Ng, programme director of the school, believes that full immersion during Mandarin class is most effective.
The school also runs a series of enrichment classes for different age groups, including a parent-accompanied class called Mandarin & Tots, for kids aged 12 months to 30 months.
I WANT HIM TO BE AN ALL-ROUNDER
What’s special If you want a one-stop solution to your child’s education needs, Mindchamps Preschool may be it. The full-day kindergarten programme includes a long list of enrichment courses – from the academic (like phonics and Mandarin) to the less conventional (like aerobics and a cooking class).
Mind Over Matter is an interesting programme that bridges movement with the mental and emotional. It starts with energetic physical exercise and some aerobics, which slows down to more focused, controlled movements. Then physical activities cease, and a visualisation of the movements and the feelings associated with them are visualised.
What’s special Kids here don’t just learn to count, read and write; they can do perfect tumbles in the gym, defend themselves with aikido, and are polite and creative, too.
Gym and aikido classes are not an optional enrichment – they are part of the curriculum. So is Character Development, which teaches values like respect and consideration for others through giant books featuring the school’s character coach, Stanley Starfish.
The newest programme is Write a Rainbow, which encourages pupils to exercise their creativity through producing stories. It simplifies the writing process for the kids by compressing it into seven aspects, each represented by a colour of the rainbow.
I WANT HIM TO HAVE SPACE
Odyssey the Global Preschool
What’s special Its campus at 20 Fourth Avenue is about the size of eight football fields – and a whopping 84 per cent of that is outdoor. Facilities include an orchard planted with papaya trees, brinjal and lady fingers; a music garden with drums and xylophones; an alfresco dining area where pupils eat their lunch; and a long driveway where kids ride their trikes and bikes.
Carpe Diem Kidz @ Russels Road
What’s special The school fully utilises its outdoor area, which spreads over three football fields in size. There’s an animal farm that houses rabbits and birds, a suspension bridge that leads to a low tree house, and a fishing pond where children can observe and feed fish. The school has even managed to install a flying fox.
Pupils enjoy at least one session of outdoor activities daily. Ng Hui Hoon, the assistant centre manager, believes these pursuits are crucial to developing a child’s motor skills, and can also be planned to include other aspects of learning, like language and numeracy.
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I WANT HIM TO BE AN EXTROVERT
Lorna Whiston Pre-school
What’s special Mention speech and drama, and chances are Lorna Whiston Schools will come to mind. It runs popular speech and drama enrichment classes for the public, but kids at Lorna Whiston Pre-school enjoy it as a part of their curriculum.
Under the school’s Creative Development syllabus, K1 and K2 kids have speech and drama classes once a week for 1_ hours. It is also incorporated into their Communication, Language and Literature curriculum, where children act out the stories they read.