How to choose a kindergarten
As a parent, choosing the right kindergarten school for your child is a huge responsibility. It is easy to realise why. Kindergarten is the child’s first introduction to the school environment. His/her experience here will determine the orientation he/she has for the entire academic life – it may be nourishing or leave a permanent scar. If you are out scouting international schools for the perfect one for your kid, it may help to have a checklist of what to look for in the perfect kindergarten. Run your eyes through the list below for the essentials:
Do a thorough internet research: Make sure you have checked the websites of all probable schools and check out on parental reviews wherever available. Also be discreet in ensuring that the websites and reviews are current because stale information may indicate a careless attitude from the school administration.
Do location scouting: So you think you have hit upon the perfect school for your kid, but have you checked the location? If the school is located far away and does not have a bus service to pick up and drop your ward, you may be in for a lot of daily toil.
Open house visits: Be on the lookout for open house visits that schools organize just before enrolment time and treat it as an opportunity to view the school. If the school doesn’t hold open houses, ask for a guided tour before you make your final decision. Any school who avoids revealing its operations before enrolment should be avoided.
Students and teachers are the key: The current students and teachers of a school are your key to judging the status of the school. A good school will have happy teachers and students and an upbeat mood. A school with a gloomy front and dissatisfied employees will not be a good choice.
Active participation in learning: Gone are the days of rote learning methods. Any school that expects children to sit stationary for a long time is a strict no-no. Look for schools that employ methods like pretend play, reading, painting, puzzles and encourage students to participate in the lessons. Schools like the Canadian International School Singapore use latest interactive techniques to engage children in their lessons. This results in better analytical and experiential skills.
Low teacher-to-child ratio: Look for schools that have greater attention for the individual child with more teachers per child and hence a chance for better development. This gives your child the opportunity to feel special and perform better.
The writing on the wall: When you are visiting a probable school, look towards the walls to see whether the writings and drawings of the children are prominently displayed. A school that does not do it is negating the uniqueness of each child and losing out on the opportunity of instilling pride in each of them.
Question the teachers: What the children learn every day should be your business. Do your bit to ensure that learning numbers, alphabet, beginning science such as nature exploration, frequent reading, and computers are included in the curriculum and a 1 hour recess is provided for your kid to refresh.
Verify the school’s policy for children with different learning capacities: Look for a school that has a definite policy to deal with students who are ahead of and behind the class. Everyone has a unique learning rhythm and deserve their own personalised study regime.
Talk to other parents: Talk to parents of students currently studying or who have studied in the school in the past. This will give you a clear idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the school as you will get a horse’s mouth view about the school.kindergarten singapore
Check for an after-school program: A full time working mom? It would make sense to check whether the school has an after school program that can engage your kid while you are away. Check to see if the program has academic syllabi rather than plain babysitting services.
Research the advanced grades: Look up the students in the advanced grades. Check if they are being educationally challenged and if the teachers and children are still happy. Are they picking up the skills fast and are they smoothly going on the learning curve? This may be the right choice!
Zero tolerance: Don’t shy away from asking school authorities about their anti-bullying policies and throwing up what-if situations. You have every right to ensure that your child is protected from the menace right from the beginning.
Be clear on the discipline policies: Be sure to agree on the discipline policies of the school. What is the expected behaviour and how should you maintain consistency at home? What are the rewards and punishments?
Kindergartens are the preparatory zones for a long academic career ahead and getting it right will spell success for the child. A right beginning always shows the way.
Information courtesy: Canadian International School, Singapore