11 things to note when choosing a preschool

Use our handy checklist to compare different preschools, so as to make the right decision for your little one.

So, it’s time for your peewee to take his first step into formal education ― preschool!

A new bill was passed in parliament in February this year mandating that all preschools will have to renew their licences within three years, to ensure that they maintain their standards.

And whether your child is 12 months old or 36 months old, we are sure that you, as a parent, would like to have assurance that you pick the right preschool for your child.

Your choice preschool facility could feature caring teachers, a comprehensive curriculum, state-of-the-art facilities, and be priced decently. Or perhaps it’s a particular learning style you’re looking for ― such as the Montessori or the Reggio Emilia approach.

Take a look at our checklist of factors to consider, so that you can whittle down your preschool choices.

1. Location
One of the most crucial factors that parents consider is where the preschool, or childcare centre is located. You may want to pick a preschool that is located closest to your home ― for the convenience of dropping your child off and picking her up at the end of each day. Or perhaps, if you have another caregiver to do the preschool runs, like your mum-in-law, you might want to pick a preschool that’s located closer to her home.

Another option is to opt for a school that is located close to your workplace. Cynthia Loo, mum to Declan, 4, placed her son in a childcare centre next to her Bukit Timah workplace. “Most preschools penalise you for picking your child up late ― I didn’t want to stress over that, so I picked the preschool located in the same building as my office. I can even pop down to check on him during my lunch break,” she explains. 

If this is the first time your child is entering a classroom setting, or leaving you for more than a couple of hours, you may worry about things like separation anxiety.

2. Duration
Determine the type of hours you’d like your child to spend in school. Preschools in Singapore offer either half- or full-day services. A day-long programme usually runs from around 7am to 7pm, while a half-day programme is from 7am to around 1pm.

If this is the first time your child is entering a classroom setting, or leaving you for more than a couple of hours, you may worry about things like separation anxiety. So, a half-day option may suit him better till he becomes more familiar with the preschool environment.

Or consider a kindergarten, which feature programmes that usually last for about 3 hours every weekday, such as from 8am to 11am. The exact timings in each preschool varies.

3. Budget
The cost of preschool in Singapore can vary anywhere between $300 a month, to over $2,000 a month, so pick something that is within your price range. There are also subsidies available for full-day and half-day childcare ― from $300 for a basic full-day programme subsidy, and from $150 for a basic half-day programme subsidy. Find out more about how you can reduce your preschool costs here

4. Accreditation
To ensure that preschool you are keen to register your child in meets certain standards, you might want to ensure that it is accredited under the Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (SPARK) mark. The Ministry of Education introduced the SPARK certification to raise the quality of preschools in Singapore. So, supervisory checks on areas like health, hygiene and safety are conducted before certificates are issued.