Going to pre-school is a big change for both children and parents. Not only will the kids learn to navigate socially with friends and explore new environments, they also will have to do it without their parents. In this issue, find out what are some of the si gns that your child is ready for pre-school and how to deci de which pre-school is best for your little one.
IS MY CHILD READY FOR PRE-SCHOOL?
In deciding if children are ready to enter pre-school, parents should look for behavioural markers rather than just going by the age. Each child is unique, so children of the same age may have different levels of readiness for pre-school. Some may be good to go by the age of two, while others may wait until they are four years old before they enter pre-school. There are some signs that you can use to gauge your children’s preparedness to embrace their next adventure.
Firstly, look at your child’s physical development and reaction to separation. Independence is key. Your child must not feel anxious when you leave his/ her side for an extended period of time. They should not be clinging to their parents or caretakers. Also, it is important for your child to be able to walk and move around without much assistance as class activities require independent mobility.
Curiosity is another tell-tale sign that your little one is ready for pre-school. When your child starts exhibiting inquisitiveness, asking more questions than usual, and showing boredom or restlessness at home, it is time to expand your child’s horizon beyond the home environment.
Socio-emotional readiness can also be a cue that your child is ready to learn and explore the world outside. If you teach your child something and your child is responsive, understands instructions quickly, and is interested in engaging in conversation, you can be sure that your child will be able to interact and stay engaged in preschool classes.
WHICH PRESCHOOL IS BEST FOR MY KID?
In pre-school, your little ones will be educated on lessons and values that will make a lasting impression, even after they grow up. Therefore, it is paramount to ensure that the pre-school of your choice will bring out the best in your child. In a sea of choices in Singapore, here are some guidelines that you can use to select the best pre-school for your children.
1 – Curriculum and Philosophy
Most parents will glaze over a school’s philosophy, but it is what you should consider if you want to find out about the preferred teaching method and the focus of the curriculum. While there is hardly any right or wrong approaches, by learning more about a school’s approach you can determine if it is suitable for your kid. Also, look at the children’s typical day in the pre-school. Observe if there are enough opportunities for them to develop holistically such as through free play, outdoor play, large and small group activities. Learn about the values that the pre-school cultivates in children.
2 – Teacher-Child Ratio
In pre-school, teachers will be surrogate parents as they are the main caregivers and role models for your child. A good teacher-child ratio will ensure that your children’s growth is properly monitored and that they will receive optimum attention and support required for their development.
3- Child-Teacher Interactions
Look at how teachers respond to different behaviours. Studies have shown that children learn best not by disciplining, but rather through constant positive reinforcements. Also, it is important that teachers show respect to the children. You want to ensure that you are putting your children in an encouraging environment where their feelings will be acknowledged and respected.
4 – Communication With Parents
Find out if they send out newsletters, have frequent parent-teacher meetings and detailed feedback about your child. You will rely on these media to obtain information about your child’s development and activities. So, it pays to more about it.
5 – Child-Friendly Environment
Pre-school environment will shape your children’s educational experience so dig deeper than the rainbow-coloured walls and cute decorations.It should be equipped with child-size furniture and structures that are sanitised daily. Look at the kitchen and bathrooms to evaluate the facility’s hygiene level.
6 – Safety and Security
It is also important to check the level of security in the facility. Look out for the presence of safety gates, locks, and standard operating procedures for picking up a child.
7 – Location and Accessibility
In Singapore, preschools open from 7am to 7pm. Plan how you will be dropping or picking up your child.
WHAT IF MY CHILD IS NOT READY FOR PRE-SCHOOL?
As mentioned, each child has different intellectual and social development rates. Some children maybe late bloomers and they may find early education too pressurising within the short hours in school.
Pre-school acts as abridge to ensure smooth transition into larger school settings in primary schools. The classroom setting which simulates a primary school setting will aid in children’s transition to Primary One. In pre-school children are trained to transfer information from the board, take group instructions, and learn with their peers.
In this way, pre-school provides an earlier exposure for children in terms of intellectual, language, social, and emotional development in a group setting compared to children brought up at home until formal education in Primary One. As a result, pre-school goers tend to be more confident when they begin their primary school since they have been exposed to similar environments at pre-school.
However, the shorter hours in pre-school means that children are exposed to more rigorous academic training. Some children may prefer a more immersive learning experience and childcare centres may be a better option.
Educational programmes in childcare centres include the same educational programmes offered in pre-schools. But, with more time spent in childcare centres, your children will have more opportunities to have an all-rounded learning experience in their physical, intellectual, emotional, and social
Children who attend childcare centres also have more chances of being independent at an earlier age as they get to practice self-help skills such as putting on their own clothes, feeding themselves, and making their own beds, compared to children in pre-school.
Whatever your choice is, these guides are there to help you make the best decision for your children. Be it going to pre-school or childcare centres, it is natural for parents to worry a little when they see their children taking their next big steps and going out of the comfort of their homes.