More parents these days are opting for Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergartens in Singapore. When they were first launched 3 years back, they received a rather lukewarm response. Parents blamed their indifference on lack of childcare and school bus arrangements. But things seem to have changed now.
MOE Kindergartens in Singapore
According to The Straits Times, at four of the 15 kindergartens - at Punggol Green, Punggol View, Sengkang Green and Yishun - parents even had to ballot for places. A far cry from the first year, when only half of the 560 places offered were taken up.
So what exactly turned the tide in its favour? Here are some possible reasons:
- Child care facilities: 12 of these centres now offer before and after school care, up to 7 pm.
- Closeness to home: According to MOE, four in five children enrolled live within 1 km of their kindergarten. Less travel time means the child is less tired and has more energy to focus on studies.
- Housed within primary schools: The facilities are impressive and MOE has good quality resources. 12 of the centres are housed within primary schools.
- Bilingual: All three mother tongue languages - Chinese, Malay and Tamil - are taught at the centres.
- Good teachers and reasonable fees : Monthly fees is $150 for the 4 hour programme, which is reasonable considering the quality of education offered. Teachers also seem to be impressive.
- Play-based curriculum: The focus is on learning through play. There is ample scope for role playing as well; a classroom might be turned into a restaurant, so pupils can practise language and mathematics skills through designing the menu etc. Children will love learning through stories, songs and dances with a distinct local flavour. There is also a lot of emphasis on good reading habits.
What should you look out for when choosing a kindergarten for your child? Go to the next page to find out!
Parents today have more options for kindergarten education than ever before. How can parents zero in on the right kindergarten for their children? Here are some pointers:
- Browse local school options online: View the school's websites, and read parents' reviews wherever available. Check if the websites are up-to-date, it indicates how professional the school is.
- Proximity to home: If the school is far, more time, money and energy has to be spent on your child's transportation. Verify if the benefits really outweigh the trouble.
- Is there a childcare option in the school: This is especially relevant when both parents are working and can't hurry home in time to pick up their kids.
- Play based learning : Ensure that the curriculum looks at the all round development of the child and isn't purely academic. There should be plenty of scope for the arts, role playing, reading and story telling.
- Low child-to-teacher ratio: It simply means that teachers are able to pay more attention to the child. Some children really require individual guidance in order to thrive in their school environment.
- Attend open house: Check out when the kindergartens have their open houses. This is your chance to view the school and take a guided tour of the facilities available.
- Study the current students and teachers closely: Happy children and energetic teachers indicate a positive environment, so trust your instincts on that.
- Talk to other parents: Ask parents of children currently attending the school on their views, how satisfied they are, what they like best and what they feel the school can improve upon.
(Source: The Straits Times)
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