In this day and age, most parents don’t have the luxury to provide full-time care for their kids.
As the number of dual-income families have increased, a majority of parents in Singapore now send their children to pre-schools.
The number of preschools in Singapore has ballooned to over 1800!
If you’re a working mother yourself, chances are you’re probably considering the idea of sending your child to a preschool.
In this article, I will share my thoughts on whether or not preschool education is a necessity and how does it impact your child in the long run.
Is Preschool Education Important?
Most parents send their children to preschool because they want them to develop emotionally and socially as well as to hone their literacy and numeracy skills. Ultimately, you want your child to transition well to primary school.
Research has shown that children who received preschool education are more likely to have a positive attitude towards a new environment like going to primary school.
They will also be more confident in making friends and being sociable.
So how do preschools ease the transition to primary schools?
Under the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), pre-school teachers’ training programs are now required to include “Transition to Primary Schools”.
At the end of Kindergarten 2, the school simulates the setting of primary schools’ classrooms as well as classroom activities.
Our preschoolers are in good hands!
Factors to Consider Before Sending Your Child to a Pre-School
1) Emotional stability of your child
Children express their emotions mostly by crying.
All those tantrums and screaming at home? It is highly likely what you would expect on their first day of school. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to hear toddlers crying for the entirety of their first school month.
Separation anxiety is real but thankfully there are still ways we can help them deal with their emotions.
How do we prepare our children?
We can inform our children verbally that they will be attending school soon. Don’t underestimate their level of understanding!
Visiting the school together with your child ahead of time helps them to visualize where they will be spending most of their time.
You can also try to pretend play by acting out routines such as letting him/her wear a bag pack, saying bye-bye, singing songs, or reading stories.
There are several books that you can start sharing with your child. Talk to them about what is happening in the book. Alternatively, a simple search on the internet will yield videos that you can watch together.
Reassure your child that going to school is going to be fun! Do remember to keep it low-key as being overly excited might make them anxious.
Another factor to consider is the environment of the preschool you’re selecting. I would strongly encourage parents to visit multiple schools together with your children to see where they would be most comfortable.
This is your chance to get a gauge of what are your own expectations of a pre-school.
One of the few things that I would look at is the cleanliness of the school and the school’s culture.
Here are some of the questions that I had when I was choosing a pre-school myself:
- How often do the center’s cleaner clean and sanitize all the study/play/dining area?
- What would be the course of action for the teachers when a child suddenly falls ill during class?
- Are all the teachers experienced and patient?
- What is the actual teacher to student ratio?
- What will a teacher do if your child refuses to eat or nap?
Lastly, do trust your parental instincts, and first impression matters!
3) Risk of Bullying / Abuse
As a parent, allowing strangers to take care of my child will always feel less safe. Especially, in recent news there were reports on how teachers were frustrated with the children which resulted in physical abuse.
Our children enduring any sort of abuse is one of our biggest fears. The risk will always be there.
Fortunately, nowadays we can usually receive regular updates from preschool teachers via WhatsApp to be constantly updated on our child. Some pre-schools do that on their own accord by sending updates and pictures. I find that extremely comforting.
4) Financial Means
While it may be tempting to send your child to the most expensive pre-school with advanced technologies and a big playground, it might be a good idea to budget realistically.
These are just their first few years in the education system. Some parents prefer to find a more affordable choice of pre-school and then send their children for enrichment classes.
The Singapore government has provided various subsidies even if you are a stay-at-home mum. This will allow many families from different socioeconomic statuses to enroll in a pre-school if they choose to.
Monthly fees for preschool can range between $400 to $2000 a month. Of course, that would depend on whether parents pick full or half-day programs for their children, and in turn, affects the subsidies given.
Time to sit down with your spouse and set a budget!
Early childhood education is a crucial part of forming children’s social and emotional growth.
Even though it is tough to deal with separation anxiety, in the beginning, many children eventually love going to school.
They learn to become more independent and reliant on themselves. For example, learning to wear their own shoes or packing away toys or books.
Preschool teachers provide several opportunities for children to learn a skill by allowing them to practice it. Whereas at home, parents may often intercede by picking up after their children. I am so guilty of this!
It is so interesting to witness their growth after attending school.
I hope that this article had given you an insight into how pre-schools are beneficial for our children.