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Home PARENTING Thoughts How To Choose A Preschool

Questions from a friend prompted me to share my thought on what to look for when parents are choosing a preschool. What age is preschool is perhaps an arbitrary now. Depending on the preschools, some take in as young as 18 months old whilst most child enrichment centers are running for 3 year-old and above.

How To Choose A Preschool For Your Child: What matters?

1. What is the experience you wish your child to have?
Merely a place to mingle, interacting with peers or huge play space, this is the first question you have to ask yourself? Since most Malaysians or Singaporeans live on high rise, pigeon holes where space and outdoor are scarcity, parents tends to send kids to preschools early to allow the children have a variety of exposure to grow up. Nucleus family, one child, these scenes leaves the child with not many faces to interact and play with. Going to preschool thus becomes a good option, one of the benefits of preschool. If this is your objective, focus on play school rather than classroom learning variety.

Ask around, talk to experienced parents, sometimes they can give you a few recommendations and this save you some time of scratching your head.

2. Visit.
Call up and visit the preschool. Speak to the principal and teachers to understand how a typical day going to be, what is the teacher-to-student ratio, what is the teacher's turnover, cost, health screening, length of day, how does discipline is handled etc. If the school offers you the first 3 days to sit in the class, take up that chance to go with your child so that it helps you to picture how he is going experienced.

3. Safety.
Ask around, ask yourself, observe, does this preschool is a safe ground for my child? Be the indoor or outdoor area, does the center a child-friendly place? From flooring, furniture, gates, toys to utensils, are they up to your expectations? This also means the place is clean, no potential of bugs landing zone!! Is there any effort in place on health care e.g. take body temperature, mouth/hand/foot inspection to prevent bugs go around?

4. Convenience.
It depends on what convenience means to you? Convenience can be near your neighborhood if you're a stay-at-home mom or on-the-way to your working place if you've to go to office. Think of commuting seriously, on a heavy traffic day e.g. how long is the traveling time, vehicle that you need e.g. walk or drive him to school, and who is likely to pick your child. Make this arrangement as convenience as possible, because going to preschool an everyday kind of thing, thus it has to be something that you and your child enjoy.

5. Bright, Ventilated & Organized.
Perhaps this is a personal preference but I like a place that sun can sneak in, ventilated and neat. We didn't go for the air-conditioned indoor kind because we are skeptical about the air filtration. What was inside will never go out. Furthermore, we live on a tropical island, aren't heat and humidity are something we have to get used to it? Having that said, the place needs to be cozy e.g. lots of window or operating with fans.

6. Education - Curriculum and Co-curriculum.
As long as Austin enjoys learning, curriculum is a small matter to us at this stage. The bottom line is he must have fun. Of course, if there is a variety of learning-through-play approaches, it is a bonus!

Almost every day care operates according to a standard curriculum and co-curriculum. Unless it is run by the retirees who are purely offering nanny service, the registered play schools are bound to follow the syllabus of their franchises. Montessori, Waldorf, these are a few famous approaches for preschoolers in addition to over hundreds of variety out there.

Montessori education emphasizes on independence and freedom within limits. Rather than blanket an education for all, it respects individual's natural psychological development.

Unlike the mainstream education, Waldorf/Steiner education emphasizes on living skills, home activities and cultural festivities. Waldorf also resonates with nature so these centers usually do not have classrooms instead they offer swings at backyard, cooking or baking and recycling activities.

In Malaysia, perhaps you'd heard of Fun Gates, a curriculum developed by Malaysian to prepare kids for Malaysia education system, blending multiple lingos (English, Bahasa Malaysia & Chinese) with science and mathematics.

7. Parent's instinct.
Finally, do not ignore your sixth sense. If you think this place is somehow not right though without a valid reason, then it perhaps is. If you like the preschool for no reason, your child tends to love it too! Personally, this is a gift from God, parents are bound to have the instinct. And most importantly, play attention to your child's response and reaction whether he is calm and happy there. Does he feel comfortable, roaming around freely or does he stick to you when he is at preschool? This clue sometimes can help you to make a decision.

I know it is not easy when it comes to choosing the right preschool for our child. Finding a preschool for Austin, we took more than 6 months, hopping over a handful of centers before deciding for one. The effort however paid off. Austin took less than 2 weeks to settle down opposed to what we expected. A happy boy at his second home, we're glad that he also plays very hard because he comes home flat everyday!! 



0 #1 YY 2014-01-29 00:07
Hi, I am looking for preschool for my daughter. Can i know which preschool you enrolled ur children to? THanks!

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