Types of Preschool Curriculum in Singapore


New parents may find that sending their child to preschool is a new world they’ve never explored before. If you’re getting ready to send your child to preschool for the first time, one of the questions you might have is, “What are the types of preschool curriculum available?” Aside from typical concerns like location and price, you should also consider the kind and quality of education your child will receive.

You’ve probably already done your homework and read dozens of reviews from other parents. Most likely, you’ve read the terms preschool curriculum, play-based learning, Montessori, project-based curriculum, and more mentioned repeatedly, but what do they mean? In this article, we’ll break down the different types of preschool curriculum to help you make the right choice for you and your child. 


Here are seven types of preschool curriculum available in Singapore:


A play-based preschool curriculum’s guiding philosophy is that children learn best through play. This type of preschool curriculum is gaining popularity around the world. Play-based learning classes believe that children learn better through playing versus activities that involve direct instruction from the teacher. A play-based classroom doesn’t mean that teachers allow their students to play whatever they want throughout the whole school day. It simply means that there are periods of free play combined with guided play. An effective play-based classroom happens when teachers have a “learning goal” behind the play that their students engage in and spend time doing. 


One of the most popular types of preschool curriculum globally is the Montessori Method. This method is a child-centered approach to education developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900s. Today, hundreds of school practice the Montessori Method all over the world. A Montessori school features the following core components – child-directed work, multi-age classrooms, uninterrupted work periods, specially-designed Montessori materials, and certified Montessori teachers.

Reggio Emilia

The Reggio Emilia approach is named after a town in Italy where it originated. The approach focuses on creativity; students have a say in what they want to learn and spend time on that day. A Reggio Emilia classroom offers a student-centered environment where children are encouraged to explore their environment. This approach also encourages students to express themselves in different ways, such as drawing, painting, dramatic play, music, and more. A vital principle of this approach is “hundred languages” which refers to the importance of giving children one hundred ways to share their thoughts. 


Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Some preschool curriculum builds their programs around Dr. Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. The Harvard psychologist believed that people have more than just an intellectual capacity but can have one or more of eight different kinds of intelligence. These kinds of intelligence are the following: 

  • Spatial-visual
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal
  • Musical
  • Linguistic
  • Logical-Mathematical
  • Body Kinesthetics
  • Naturalistic

Many schools offer programs that use Gardner’s theory to create their programs and apply it in the classroom. For example, the preschool establishes different learning areas for each type of intelligence, respects each child’s interests, and assesses the students based on each of the intelligences.


Waldorf preschools base their curriculum on Rudolf Steiner’s principles of education. They focus on providing children with a developmentally appropriate, academically rigorous, and experiential program. Waldorf education considers the needs of the whole child, including physical, emotional, academic, and spiritual. This type of preschool curriculum also sees art as integral to learning. The goal is to raise children who are their true selves and who contribute to the good of society   

Nurturing Early Learners (NEL) Framework 

The NEL Framework developed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) is unique to Singapore. This framework was created to provide high-quality early childhood education for children four to six years old. The NEL Framework is used at MOE Kindergartens throughout Singapore. It is also shared with all other preschools to help guide their programs. The core beliefs of the framework are that children are active, competent, and curious learners. There is a MOE Kindergarten preschool in Serangoon.


Another type of preschool curriculum is inquiry-based. This type of preschool curriculum invites children to lead their learning. Teachers are facilitators who guide learners and encourage them to think and investigate. Students ask questions, and they are encouraged to find the answers to these questions through experiments and to find different solutions. This method aims to develop critical thinkers.

Now that you know the most common types of preschool curriculum, it’s up to you to decide which works best for you and your child. Do you want a curriculum that puts together the best practices in early education or something with specific principles, like Waldorf? Are you a fan of Montessori materials, or do you want your child to use art to express themselves? 

You must also consider your child and their unique personality. What kind of program do you think will fit them best? Is it inquiry-based because they have many questions about anything or everything? Maybe it’s Montessori because your child likes the freedom of choosing what to do inside the classroom. 

Fortunately, there are many options when looking for a preschool in Serangoon. Each school has its strengths, and you can choose one based on what you are looking for in a school. Asking for reviews from friends and family members can also help you make the right choice in choosing the right preschool curriculum for your child. 

The world of preschools need not be confusing. You need to determine what your priorities are and move forward from there. Also, ask the preschools you are considering if your child can sit in or have a trial class. This is the best way to find out if a kind of preschool curriculum works for you.

When looking for a preschool in Serangoon, consider Little Oxford Schoolhouse. The school adopts an inquiry-based thematic approach in its programs that is developmentally culturally, and linguistically relevant for its students. It uses an integrated curriculum that incorporates play-based activities, focuses on meaningful connections, and allows children to build on what they’ve learned in the past to continue growing and learning. 

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