[Jurong East/Jurong West] Preschools

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 Post subject: [Jurong East/Jurong West] Preschools
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:26 pm 
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Does anyone has any good childcare centre to recommend, staying in Jurong west area. Dun seems to find any good school.....for my 3 years old boy. :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: Recommendation of childcare in Jurong area?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:46 pm 
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sTresSmUm wrote:
Does anyone has any good childcare centre to recommend, staying in Jurong west area. Dun seems to find any good school.....for my 3 years old boy. :cry:


Hi stressmum, a search on the Kiasuparents Child Care Directoryfor "Jurong West" turn up over 20 entries that you may consider.

There a Sparkletots Jurong that you may want to check out. One of our uses, mincy, has had good experience with the Sparkletots Queenstown branch, so hopefully you may get the same.

There are 2 NTUC childcare centres in the same area, both of which are winners in the Healthy Eating Programme audited by the HPB.

If you don't mind expanding your search to the whole of Jurong, there's a Cherie Hearts branch down at Jurong East which appears to be one of the larger premier pre-school franchise in Singapore.

Finally, there's Innate Montessori down at Jurong Park, though its a bit far from Jurong West.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 8:49 am 
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Thanks chiefkiasu!

Do know that there are plently of childcare in my area. But i am not ready to send my son to those, smaller scale private centres which are run by "??". Have seen some of their programmes and was kind of concern if my child will be more than prepared for primary school. Specially since they are there till K2.

Wanted to send him to columbia at Jurong east, until i got a call that even with some vacancy left..they decided that they wont accept children opting to attend half day class. That is academic based.

Will look into those that you have mentioned. Was thinking of Glory Kindergarden and St Joseph Church Kindergarden.

guess my question to myself now, is it really worth the travelling distance for the child to so called get "quality education"?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:23 pm 
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Location: Singapore
Your choice really depends on a number of things:

1. Your intention
- Is it more for someone to look after your child while you work, or is it more for enrichment?

2. Your budget
- Basic childcare is not that expensive, but price goes up if you want the childcare to include enrichment programmes.

3. Your convenience
- Is it too far to be practical for you to send your child to everyday?
- Does the timing match your schedule?

Most people would say that they need all of the above, but these are conflicting interests, and the key is to find the right balance. For example, if your emphasis is on enrichment, then you may need to reduce your requirements on convenience and increase your budget.

Once you have decided which is the most important, you can then evaluate your options by finding out what is available.

Basic services
- All childcare provide the fundamental services of looking after your children while you work. The 5 most important things to consider would be:

1. Quality of the teachers - This is, by far, the most important. If the teacher is unsuitable for your child, even if you pay top dollar for the service, you will be doing more harm than good. Your child may end up dreading to go to school. Talk to the teachers themselves to get a feel for their attitudes.

2. Security - Verify that the centre has proper security measures that authenticate everyone that comes to the centre and have access to the children. Even better would be those childcare centres that offer webcams for parents to login and monitor. Personally, I am very particular about this.

3. Food - Food is normally ignored by new parents, who tend to think all childcare centres serve the same kind of food. They do NOT. Even some so-called premium pre-schools serve only plain noodles and bread for lunch regularly, so watch out.

4. Activities - Even the basic services will offer some sort of lessons to prepare students for kindergarten and primary schools, ranging from free play to story-telling to formal language and math lessons. This is probably the greatest differentiation between the services, so you should spend some time trying to understand what each individual centre's programmes are all about.

5. Flexibility - Most child care services are quite rigid with their rules, eg. pick up kids by 6:15pm or else face a heavy charge, etc. You should try to understand what they are sticky about, and decide if you can abide by these rules, or work your way around them.

Enrichment services
- The more premium services will offer additional enrichment services, mostly as options. They generally tie up with outsourced service providers to come in to teach the students. The most common enrichment services are phonics, speech & drama, art & craft, music appreciation or piano/keyboard lessons, and swimming lessons. Some even provide cooking lessons!

The prices range widely. Here, the convenience factor comes into play. While you might be able to sign your child up for better or cheaper enrichment services outside, you will have to spend time bringing the child to these services by yourself. Having it in the pre-school itself is pretty much killing multiple birds with a single stone - your child gets to learn while you are at work, and you get to spend quality time with your child during weekends instead of rushing them off for enrichment classes.

Specialized pre-schools
These are the schools with formalized programmes for educating children. The most common of these are schools that adopt the Montessori Method, but because of the varying degrees of interpretation, you should probably try to understand what the method is all about first before you approach the pre-school. Don't let the school talk you into buying something other than what you would expect.

There are others like EtonHouse or Pat's Schoolhouse which have successfully marketed their own brand of education as elite or premium early child education methods. You should consider these if you are serious in building a strong foundation for your child, but do your homework first to understand their methods to decide if you think if they are really worth your money.

And of course, there's the famous NAFA Arts Kindergarten which makes learning through art and music the core part of the child's education. An extremely good proposition, but unfortunately you have to be prepared to stay in the waiting list for a long time.

Sorry, this turns out to be longer than I had intended, but I guess choosing a child care centre can be likened to choosing a stereo set. Do you want a mini-compo which has all the features built in, or do you prefer to buy your individual components customized to your specific needs? The component approach to child care would be to just choose the safest and most convenient place that will look after your child while you work, and then to sign your child up for specific enrichment classes that you can bring him/her during your free time. It is a lot more work, but it allows tailoring to what is best for the child.

Hope this is beneficial to you!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 1:08 pm 
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Thanks again....you are right about striking a balance. It is not always easy, especially with me...being so Kiasu! :o As i am not working, i do feel that half day programme will be sufficient for him and he could do enrichment classes in the afternoon.

Speaking of Eton and Pat's schoolhouse, you mentioned that i should consider these preschools if i am serious about building a strong foundation. They do charged premium, but are they really offering premium education? Does it meant that children from it, will do and adjust better in Primary school?

I have seen the setup of one of the mentioned early this year, located near my place. TOTAL disappointment is what i called it. I think my child will do better in PAP than in it. Probably other branches have better quality teachers and setup, but that particular one is a THUMB DOwn.

Speaking of montessori, i did not know that there is one relatively near my place. MMI (Modern Montessori International), have you or anyone has an idea of hw it is?
:roll:


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:01 pm 
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Location: Singapore
Well, since you are not working, I suppose you should have a great deal more flexibility with your time and location, and therefore can consider much better choices. I agree that the half day playgroups followed by enrichment classes in the afternoon would be ideal.. you can decide on exactly what classes you want your child to take on.

Both Eton and Pat's Schoolhouse have spent lots of marketing dollars on their branding and by pricing it out of reach for ordinary heartlanders, they build a sort of elite culture where children and parents of the richer families can interact with the same. It's kind of like the networking that business people do at clubs or golf. So there are people that like that sort of thing, and while elitist, it may not be all bad.

As for actual education, both franchises emphasize on proper certification of the child educators who are subsequently expected to strictly apply what they learn in their courses when managing the children under their care. They import early childhood education techniques from abroad and essentially use them in their pre-schools. Etonhouse applies a very academic and scientific approach to child education that involves careful monitoring and documentation of the actions of the child, and changes the curriculum depending on the child's progress. It really is an "adaptive" Montessori method. Pat Schoolhouse is built upon a long track record (since 1988) of excellent teachers, and uses similar educational techniques.

The key advantage of both Etonhouse and Pat Schoolhouse is the localization of their education. They essentially offer "Singaporeanized Montessori", and both are very strong in their Chinese programmes. As such, Singaporean parents tend to trust them more than pure Montessori centres, which they worry may not sufficiently prepare their children for the rigours of Singapore primary schools.

Personally I feel that much depends entirely on teachers themselves. A teacher may be highly qualified in child education pedagogy, but that does not automatically make her a suitable teacher for children. The teacher's demeanor and natural affinity to children are factors that are difficult to be measured, but no less important.

I say this because of my personal experience with a franchise centre that is affiliated with Pat's Schoolhouse. I find that the principal herself was too focused on methodologies but seem to lack the essential human characteristic of loving children for what they are. You can tell when a person really like children or not. It's kind of like having being examined by a doctor with his interns - you know they are professionals, but you can't help feeling like you are just a curious specimen to them.

Anyway, a possible approach might be to let your children spend their pre-K years in Montessori education centres, and Kindergarten years in more structured learning centres like PAP. When in PAP, you can continue to supplement their creative development with the more fun enrichment and sports classes that they enjoy. Avoid more academic enrichment classes because those provide by PAP are MORE THAN ENOUGH!!!

PS... goodness... I have to stop writing like I'm writing a thesis :)


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:10 pm 
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With regards to MMI, there have been generally very good reports and reports about them and their teachers, so I would say they are at least worth a look-see. Their "boutique" child care centre is really the one at Thomson (Sin Ming area) which includes a swimming pool. However, their Jurong West Extension branch is new and so should have very clean and nice facilities. Looks very nice from outside. Not sure about the teachers there.

Do let us know what you think after you recce the place.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:56 am 
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seen MMI, as u mentioned...it is clean and nice facilities for it is new.

Have not had the opportunity to talk to the teachers. Have signed my son up for a 2 weeks trial to see if he could ease into the new environment.

Will share more, once he starts school next monday. :)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:40 pm 
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Great! Does it have a swimming pool just like their Thomson branch?

As for myself, I'm looking for a childcare near the mountbatten - tanjong katong belt that can handle my kid. Looking at Baby's Inc or Schoolhouse By The Bay. Heard good things about them from friends and also their websites. Baby's Inc looks like a favorite haunt for angmohs :).


Last edited by ChiefKiasu on Sun Jan 13, 2008 11:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 6:08 pm 
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Nope, no swimming pool. :( I would not mind paying extra if there is one, at least i wont need to bring him for swimming classes if the school can do it.

So far the experience with the teachers has been wonderful. They came across as very caring and patient, bother to explain and assured me that his insecurity is normal (my son was sobbing....hanging onto me liked a koala bear when i told him that i am leaving!!).

After 4 days of class, i realised that my son could identify the sounds for 4 letters of the alphabet taught in phonic lesson. Is that consider a good start? :lol:

What about you? Any luck with baby inc or school by the bay?

As i am trying to settle my son into his nursery class. Suddenly it hit me that maybe it is hightime to start sourcing for a PRIMARY SCHOOL. ahaha...


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