So your three-year-old is a bubbly fellow who seems to enjoy playing with his peers. As you gaze at him playing alone at home, the thought of putting him in a preschool comes to your mind.
Is he ready to start preschool? Are you ready?
Preschool In Singapore is for children aged 18 months to 6 years old, and broadly includes half-day or full-day programmes and kindergarten preschool education. As your child graduates from toddlerhood, he would need an environment that could further support his quest for knowledge and craving for social interaction.
For the working parents, placing your child in a preschool would be ideal as he could get to be in an environment where he could learn some skills and have fun with his peers while you work. Even for Stay-At-Home Parents or those who work from home, putting your child in a few hours of preschool could be beneficial for both parties as it could mean some form of interaction for your kid with the other children and adults while you get a few hours of break from looking after your kid.
Below is a list of signs that you can look out for to decide if your child is ready to start preschool.
Questions to ask to determine whether your child is ready for preschool in Singapore
1. Is your child fairly independent?
Many preschools in Singapore require children to have certain basic skills. Most of them would prefer that your child be potty-trained and could feed himself without much assistance. Your child should also be able to perform some other basic needs like washing his own hands and taking care of his own belongings.
2. Does your child like to play with other children?
As you bring your child to the nearby playground or to a playdate, does he look for others to play?
Does he delight in the company of his peers?
This is perhaps one of the best signs to tell if he is ready for preschool. If he likes to play with other children, chances are he will also be ready to participate in the group activities organised by the teachers in the preschool.
3. Has he spent time away from you?
This might not pose too much of an issue with working parents but for parents who stay at home to look after the children or work from home, you would have to deal with the initial separation anxiety faced by both you and your kids.
Kids who are used to being apart from their parents often settle into preschool quite readily.
If your child has not had many opportunities to be away from you, you may want to intentionally schedule some time for that to happen on a regular basis. Get the grandparents, relatives or friends who are willing to take care of him for that short period of time to try this out.
4. Can he follow simple instructions?
No, we are not referring to complicated instructions but simple ones that the teachers in the preschool require the children to follow. It would be helpful that he could understand and carry out the instructions.
5. Does he have the stamina for preschool?
A preschool does keep the kids busy and engaged whether it is a half-day or a full-day programme. There are various activities such as art, circle time and playground time.
Does your child thrive best on activities such as these or does he have trouble with moving from one activity to the next without getting upset?
When is the best time to scout for a preschool in Singapore?
The best time to look for a preschool for your child is when you are not in a hurry to find one. Without the pressure, you could list the factors that you are looking for in a preschool and visit the ones that you have shortlisted.
Get your child to visit with you and get a sense of the environment. In this way, you could also involve your child and indirectly signal to him that he will be placed in a preschool soon.
How you can help to settle your kid in preschool?
So, you have looked around, considered all options and settle for the best preschool in Singapore for your child. The next step is to prepare your kid to settle well in the preschool.
1. Talk to your child
Get your child ready by building anticipation rather than anxiety. Talk to him about life in a preschool so that he will know what to expect. It will be best if he has visited the preschool, as well as met the teachers and principal.
When your child has a positive attitude towards preschool, it is half the battle won.
2. Read, read, read
There are many picture books on ‘First Day of School’. Read to your child and help him visualise what a day in a preschool would be like.
Keep reading to your child and inculcate the love for reading in him. As you continue to read and talk to your child, you are also building up his vocabulary which will help him articulate his thoughts as he interacts with his peers and teachers.
3. Get your child to be involved and be self-sufficient
Help build positive anticipation and make preschool more of an adventure by getting your child to pick and pack his backpack and choose a special snack for school.
Remember not to do everything for him.
Encourage your child to do simple things like wearing his shoes, putting on his own clothes, or button some buttons. When your child feels a sense of accomplishment in these tasks, he will feel confident and be more comfortable and ready to enter this next big phase – preschool life.
4. Be on time
On the first day of school, try to ease separation anxiety by helping your child to know how to say goodbye. Talk about it in advance, on the way to school and assure him that you will pick him up from school on time.
Say a firm goodbye and leave quickly. Do not linger and let the teachers handle your kid. Subsequently, be on time as you send your kid to preschool so that he will not be in a rush and he has ample time to ease into the class.
When you pick up your kid, be sure to be punctual. Know that you are the first person he is looking for when he steps out of the preschool.
Your child could have the best time of his life in preschool if you can prepare him adequately and that he adapts wonderfully well. Take your time to look for a preschool in Singapore that is a good fit for your child. Your effort will certainly be paid off if he comes back to you with a big smile and enjoys learning.