Assisting you in your PRESCHOOL PICK

Preschool is the first step your child takes into formal education and we know how important this decision can be. Rashmi Ullas gives you quick tips on choosing the right preschool for your child.

The first of everything is very special and when it comes to your baby’s first school, it is one of the most special choices you’ll make in life. With so many choices at hand, you’ll need to sift through the widely available preschools. Here is a checklist to size up your options:

#1 Make a list of schools most convenient for you

There are many preschools, which cater to different needs of parents. You should decide what suits you the best – proximity to home/work place, cost, etc. You can refer to this list for further details: https://www.childcarelink.gov.sg/ccls/home/CCLS_Home.jsp or call the Childcare information line: 62585812 for more information.

#2 Contact the schools

List about 3-5 schools and contact each of them. Fix an appointment with the schools to talk about their philosophy, objectives and other functional details. Check for the age range of the kids enrolled, operating hours of the school, availability of seats, fee structure and mode of payment, government childcare subsidy schemes, notice period for withdrawal, curriculum, teacher vs. student ratio per class and teacherparent interaction opportunities.

#3 Investigate the school

Check for the eligibility and qualification of the school’s staff and if they are well trained to handle your child emotionally and physically. Have a chat with other parents (if possible) or browse the Internet for views and opinions on the school. Social media and review forums can prove to be a boon.

Understand the fee structure (any hidden costs) and the mode of payment (which should be the most convenient one for you). You may need to change schools for various reasons and a short leaving notice is helpful.

#4 Health and wellbeing checks are important

It is important to know if your child will get meals at the school; if yes, check on the menu, source of food and freshness. Check on the meal/snack times, nap times, wash times, etc. It is also very important to know if the school is well prepared to deal with a sick child and what arrangements are available in case of emergencies and how the school protects healthy children when there is a sick child around. Also find out who will be giving your child medicines when he is ill.

#5 Check the curriculum

A good child-education programme has to be planned well to facilitate your baby’s overall development. The school’s programme should include a series of enrichment programmes [social and behavioural skills, human values, fine motor skills, sportsmanship and the text book curriculum (alphabets, numbers, rhymes, etc.)].

Finally, when you have done all the background research, base your final decision on your convenience, quality care, credibility of the school and cost-effectiveness. Above all, ensure that the school is child-friendly and safe.