New parents starting the search for the best preschool curriculum for their child might find themselves confused and overwhelmed. Once you start looking into different preschools and their programmes, you’ll probably encounter many new terms such as progressive, Montessori, play-based, Waldorf, and more. Some terms may be familiar, while others may sound like they’re part of a foreign language.
Don’t worry! We’re here to help you choose the best preschool curriculum for your child. Take note that we emphasise “for your child” here. Each child is unique and all children have their own likes, dislikes, and needs which you will need to consider when choosing a school.
As a parent, you also have your own needs and wants in a preschool. Your best friend might love her son’s preschool, but the same school might not offer the same experience for you and your child. Let’s look at how to choose the best preschool curriculum in Singapore for your child.
1. Observe your child
The first thing to do is to observe and get to know your child’s learning style better. Does your child enjoy singing and dancing? How is their attention span like for extended periods of time? Do they love doing arts and crafts? The best preschool curriculum for your child would be a curriculum that offers activities and experiences that your child will enjoy learning from. After all, it doesn’t matter what kind of preschool you enrol your child in if they aren’t having fun and they wake up dreading going to school every day.
If your child loves doing art activities, you can consider a preschool with a Reggio Emilia curriculum approach. Do they like hands-on activities? Maybe Montessori’s materials will be of interest to your child. If your child is generally open and curious, a preschool with a balanced curriculum that offers a wide variety of experiences and activities, like Little Oxford Schoolhouse, can meet your child’s needs.
Before anything else, here’s a quick guide to a few of the most popular preschool curriculums and educational philosophies and what they offer.
- Reggio Emilia
- Inquiry-based approach
The Montessori method of learning sees children as innately curious and capable of learning on their own, based on their own interests. A Montessori school features Montessori-trained teachers, a mixed-age classroom, and specialised Montessori learning materials. Students are allowed to choose their work and have uninterrupted work periods.
Reggio Emilia is a philosophy that many schools base their preschool curriculum on. This philosophy is a child-centred approach that believes children learn best through touch, movement, hearing, listening, and observing. It believes that children have “100 languages” that allow them to learn and express themselves.
A preschool curriculum based on the Waldorf approach provides developmentally appropriate and experiential activities to its students. It aims to inspire the love of life-long learning in its students. The arts are integrated into all their classes and are vital to each child’s learning experience.
A preschool curriculum can also use an inquiry-based approach. This approach aims to nurture and develop a child’s innate curiosity. Typically, it begins with a question, an idea, or a problem. Then the children experiment and investigate in an attempt to solve the problem or expound on the idea. This type of curriculum requires a conducive learning environment that encourages collaboration between students and results in learning a wide variety of academic and social concepts.
There are other types of preschool curriculum in Singapore. These above are just a few examples of the more popular ones available. Knowing what each approach or curriculum offers, you can determine what will meet your child’s learning needs and provide them with the best preschool experience.
2. Determine your needs as a parent and as a family
Once you’ve started researching different kinds of preschool curricula, you can also decide which preschool curriculum in Singapore appeals to you and resonates with you the most. Evaluate if what you are looking for in a preschool matches your child’s needs. Are you interested in a Montessori school? Do you prefer an inquiry-based thematic approach? Maybe you want your child to experience a Waldorf education. See if your child fits well with your “ideal” curriculum.
Apart from the learning approach, you may also wish to consider other aspects when choosing your child’s preschool. Considerations such as how far is your home away from the school? Does your child’s preschool programme schedule fit into yours? Ultimately, the most important thing is choosing what works best for you, your child, and your family.
3. Visit the school
When you go on a school visit, you’ll also see other important details like school cleanliness, classroom setup, and overall school environment. You’ll also be able to meet the teachers and observe how they interact with the students. You can also enquire more on how the preschool curriculum is implemented in the school. While this may seem different from choosing a school based on the preschool curriculum, it is crucial to see if they are executing the principles of the preschool curriculum correctly.
4. Attend a trial class if available
Some schools offer a free trial class to interested applicants. This trial will also help you choose which preschool has the best preschool curriculum for your child. You’ll be able to observe if your child enjoys the experience, how the teachers interact with the children, and determine if the school fits you and your child’s needs.
Choosing the best preschool curriculum in Singapore for your child can be a challenging yet exciting time. Keep the notes above in mind, and you’ll soon find the best school for you and your child. Good luck!