Preschool review: Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong
Read our preschool review of Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong...
As parents, giving your kids the best quality care at all times is paramount.
If your child is still an infant and you find yourself having to go back to full-time work, perhaps you are on a search for a daycare centre that can give your baby the best possible care while you are at work.
And if your child is now a toddler, you might be looking for a great preschool that not only provides a fun, warm and friendly environment for your child, but also stimulates him or her, and sets the foundation for his or her future education.
Well, if you are on the search for a preschool/nursery that has you ticking all the right boxes when it comes to your child's care, we think you can probably look towards the direction of Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong!
Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong Institution
Learning Vision prides itself on being one of Singapore's leading providers of high-quality preschool care, and has a 25-year record of excellence in early childhood education.
Their curriculum gives children a head start in becoming critical thinkers and creative learners, paving the way for a love of lifelong learning.
Here are some other things the Learning Vision team strongly believes in:
- Collaborative Partnership: They foster a strong relationship with parents and associates.
- Culture of Excellence: They strive for excellence in everything they do.
- Professional Conduct: They hold the highest standard of integrity, and treat everybody with respect and dignity.
- Community Spirit: They inculcate a strong sense of community spirit in their organisation.
As a mum to a 2-year-old toddler myself, looking out for preschools is high on my to-do list these days. So I was very interested to visit Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong in leafy, green Bukit Timah.
Opened in October 2013, Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong is the newest addition to the Learning Vision family. I was greeted by Ms Karen Lee — a lady with 22 years of experience in early childhood education, and the principal of Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong.
As Ms Lee proceeded to take me on a tour of the preschool, I was immediately delighted by the tranquility and beauty of the surroundings.
She explained that kids at Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong are often taken on nature walks where they get to enjoy and appreciate the environment.
Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong: Teaching approach
The child as the protagonist
With a child-centered curriculum, at Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong, kids are viewed as active, self-directed and competent learners who initiate their own learning.
They are actively engaged in hands-on exploratory learning experiences through making independent choices and selecting their own activities.
The teacher as facilitator
The teachers at Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong plan engaging and meaningful experiences that build on the children's understanding, and they also provide appropriate resources within the environment to facilitate the children's learning.
Children are able to work independently as they direct their own learning in collaboration with their peers, rather than rely solely on their teachers for directions.
The process of learning is the focus
The processes of learning, rather than the end product, are the key focus in the teaching and learning process at Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong. Experience-centred, hands-on learning encourages kids to explore, experiment, inquire, investigate, interact and discover ideas and concepts.
To find out more about Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong, please go to the next page...
Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong is spread over 2 levels so, as you can imagine, there is plenty of room for the kids.
The ground floor houses the Infant Care section and on the 2nd floor are the Nursery 1-2 and Kindergarten 1-2 classes.
Infant care at Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong
I couldn't just walk into the Infant Care area, and that goes for anybody who isn't a staff member at Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong. Why?
Because of their state-of-the-art facial recognition technology placed right outside the entrance to this area — talk about security, right?
In fact, they have facial recognition technology placed in strategic points around Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong (e.g. at the main entrance, and near the doors to all the classrooms).
Needless to say, I was quite impressed with their level of security and if you have an infant who needs to be placed in daycare while you are at work, I'm sure measures such as these will erase any concerns you may have about the safety of your child.
Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong takes in babies from ages 2-17 months and have the capacity to look after 21 babies. Their carer to child ratio is 1:3.
The infant care section is actually divided into 2 sections for older and younger infants. While this helps staff focus on the different needs of, say an 8 week old baby compared to a 16 month old, it is also an effective way of preventing and controlling the spread of illness.
They also have a spacious sleeping section with cots and dim lights for the little ones.
To find out about how the staff at Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong cares for older kids, please go to the next page...
We then proceeded to the 2nd level where classes for bigger kids are located.
There is both lift and stair access to this level and Ms Lee assured me that on rainy days when the stairs are slippery, kids take the lift to get to their classrooms.
The classrooms are divided into the "Left Wing" and " Right Wing."
While there is a large balcony area in front of the classes, the whole section has been childproofed. There are also safety grills covering the windows of the classrooms.
One of the first rooms I was shown was the Music and Movement Room. This room is spacious and airy, and is indeed a mini studio, complete with mirrors covering one entire wall.
Ms Lee explained that subjects promoting the Arts, such as English Speech and Drama, are included in Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong's Core Curriculum for kids aged over 4. Classes covering these are conducted in their Music and Movement Room.
Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong: Core Enrichment Modules
Learning Vision offers a series of weekly core enrichment modules, building on their award-winning curriculum.
EARLY YEARS (BELOW 36 MONTHS)
- Junior Culinarian: Promotes engagement of the 5 senses, various self-help skills and positive self-concept
- Junior Explorer: Promotes children's sense of wonder, triggering their inquisitive minds through firsthand experiences
- Junior Puppeteer: Promotes children's natural inclination to pretend and role-play
PRESCHOOL (ABOVE 36 MONTHS)
- Apple Bytes: Promotes innovation and creative minds through technology as a learning tool for enquiry
- Environment Crusaders: Shapes children's values, perspectives and understanding of the world they live in
- Mind Over Music: Integrates musical experiences to develop children's musical literacy skills
- The Culinarian: Creates opportunities for teaching nutrition concepts and educating children about healthy eating
I was very impressed by the next room I was shown: The Chinese Lab.
Beautifully decorated, clean, bright and spacious, Ms Lee explained that this room was specially for kids over the age of 4 to enjoy learning Mandarin.
She said that they generally dedicated about an hour a day to Mandarin learning.
I also visited the Nursery (N) 1 and 2, and Kindergarten (K) 1 and 2 classrooms.
Ms Lee explained that a special feature of Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong is that they have dedicated, separate rooms for N1 and 2, and K1 and 2 kids.
This is in contrast to many other preschools that have open-plan classrooms for kids of all ages.
The benefits of having separate rooms for kids is that it's easier for teachers to focus on developing the skills of kids of similar ages. It also helps immensely in preventing and controlling the spread of illness.
The teacher-to-child ratios for the Nursery and Kindergarten classes are as follows:
K1 and K2: 1: 18
Ms Lee explained that while K1 and K2 classes are usually separated, they are sometimes combined for activities such as nature walks.
More on Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong on the next page...
Kids' meals at Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong
When choosing a daycare centre or preschool for your child, finding out about what the centre provides in terms of meals and nutrition would certainly be a top item on your list.
At all Learning Vision centres, including that at Hwa Chong Institution, nutritious and appetising meals and snacks are provided for all kids.
In fact, they have been conferred the “Healthy Eating Programme in Child Care Centres” by the Health Promotion Board for providing healthier food and promoting healthy eating in all their centres.
They seek to cultivate good eating habits in children and introduce different types of food to kids. Because of this, parents are encouraged not to bring home-cooked food to the centre.
If your child has an allergy to a specific food, the staff at Learning Vision will try to make an appropriate substitution where possible.
If the child has special dietary needs, e.g. he/she is a vegetarian, you may be required to provide his/her lunch and/or snacks.
For those parents whose kids have nut allergies, you'll be pleased to know that Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong do not include any nuts in their kids' meals.
What's more, breakfast, lunch and tea are provided and are cooked in-house on a daily basis to ensure your kid gets fresh, nutritious meals.
If you are late to pick up your child for whatever reason, Ms Lee said they will provide your child with a snack.
A typical day for a child at Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong
7am-8.30am: Arrival & Hello, health check, free choice activities and/or group activities
8.30am-9am: Breakfast (mixed age groups or according to class)
9am-11am: Activities according to daily timetable
11am-12.30pm: Lunch, followed by shower time or vice versa, quiet activities e.g. Story-telling or reading, getting ready for naptime
3pm-3.30pm: Washing up and afternoon snack-time
3.30pm-5pm: Activities according to daily timetable
5pm-6pm: Group activities and interaction
More important information about Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong on the next page...
We asked the management at Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong some questions that all parents would want information on when deciding on a preschool for their child.
What is the school's curriculum like?
The curriculum focuses on 7 distinct developmental areas:
- Communications, Language & Literacy
- Early Numeracy
- Environmental and Community Awareness
- Personal & Social Development
- Physical Skills & Well-being
- Creative Expression
Project work is also an important part of the core curriculum. Project work involves an in-depth exploration and investigation of topics of interest initiated by children.
It engages children in a variety of learning experiences — investigation, representation, field work, discussion and exhibition.
What kind of hygiene practices do staff and students follow?
Each staff member at Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong is required to practise good role modelling in cultivating good health and hygiene habits.
This includes the thorough washing of hands before meals and after outdoor play, washroom use and contact with saliva, mucus, vomit, urine or faeces.
Standard Operating Procedures and records are also in place to ensure toys, mattresses, meal areas, toileting and diapering areas are cleaned and sanitised at regular intervals.
Hygiene campaigns are conducted to stress the importance of maintaining a hygienic environment and to ensure these habits become part and parcel of the children’s daily routine.
In addition, hygiene is one of the areas regularly inspected and audited.
Are enrichment programmes offered?
Learning Vision's enrichment partner, Learning Horizon, provides a wide array of optional enrichment programmes, aimed at instilling creativity, curiosity, inquisitiveness and leadership in their children.
The list of programmes consists of:
- Art Appreciation
- Chinese Cultural Appreciation
- Holiday camps
- Junior gym
- Confident Communicators
- Field Trip
- Speech & Drama (English)
- Junior science
Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong offers both full-day and half-day programmes for kids.
For parents and kids who do not live in or near Bukit Timah (or even if you do live in the area!), you'll be pleased to know that Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong provides a bus service at a heavily subsidised rate (do contact Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong for details -- number provided below).
Hall D, Hwa Chong Institution Boarding School
673 Bukit Timah Road
For directions, click here.
If you are driving in or taking a taxi, drop-off and pick-up is at Gate 5.
Contact details and opening hours
+65 6781 0888
7:00 am - 7:00pm (Monday-Friday)
7:00 am - 2:00pm (Saturday)
Come by for Hwa Chong’s Open Day on 27 September 2014, to find out more!
To RSVP, call 6781 0888.
Parents who are in the process of looking for a preschool for your little one, we hope you found this review of Learning Vision @ Hwa Chong useful.
Do contact them through the number provided above for more information, including fees and charges.
If your child already goes to any of the Learning Vision centres, we would love to hear your feedback... please leave a comment below.