How to Choose the Best Preschool Near You

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Is preschool an essential part of your child’s learning journey? What preschools are other Singapore parents considering? How should you choose the best preschool for your child — preferably one that is conveniently located?

In Singapore, the term “preschool” refers to kindergarten, or any full-day or half-day care programmes for children aged six and below. The Ministry of Education (MOE) recommends that all children should attend preschool, for three reasons:

  • Build confidence
  • Learn social skills
  • Develop basic literacy and numeracy skills

However, compulsory education in Singapore doesn’t begin until Primary 1, when your child turns seven. Having your child skip preschool is an option if you feel that you are providing enough exposure to learning and social opportunities on your own. For parents with the luxury of time, you can seek out other families to form playgroups, or join activities organised by homeschoolers. If budget is not a concern, you can also sign your child up for tutoring and enrichment classes. (Read our guide to find out what the research says about preschool education, and hear from a KSP member who let both her children skip preschool.) 

If, like most parents in Singapore, you feel more comfortable following the guidelines to send your child to preschool, this is perfectly valid too. Just keep in mind that there is no perfect preschool — do your best to choose a ‘good enough’ preschool for your child, and leave your child’s teachers to do their job.

When to register for preschool in Singapore?

In Singapore, the preschool enrolment rate is high — over 90 percent of local children aged five to six attend preschool. If you want to send your child to Kindergarten 1 (also known as K1) at age five, it’s ideal to start looking into preschool registrations when your child is four years old. 

If you live in an estate filled with young families, such as Punggol, do be aware that there may be a shortage of places in the preschools near you. If the waitlists are long, you may prefer to expand your search beyond your immediate neighbourhood.

To begin your research, refer to this national preschool guide, which will tell you about: 

  • the types of preschool education in Singapore 
  • preschool fees, and financial assistance options
  • early intervention support for children who have not met developmental milestones

What are the different types of preschools in Singapore?

Broadly, there are two types of preschools that you can choose from.

First, there is the Ministry of Education Kindergarten, also known as MOE Kindergarten or MK. As the name implies, these kindergartens are run by Singapore’s Ministry of Education, and some parents prefer such kindergartens as they are located within primary school compounds and offer priority admission to these primary schools.

For MOE Kindergartens, online registrations are typically in February. But don’t worry if you have missed the registration date — you can still contact kindergartens directly to apply, but do note that enrolment will be subject to available vacancies. If there are no vacancies, your application will be placed on a waitlist instead.

Alternatively, you can consider preschools overseen by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) in Singapore. Use their preschool search portal to easily find preschools near you. You can see if there are immediate vacancies at a glance, and get a fee estimate. The best way to avoid disappointment is to start looking early!

If you are keen on niche preschools, such as Montessori or Reggio Emilia preschools, religious kindergartens, and nature-based curriculums, these are available in Singapore. Simply run a search for what you’re interested in, and contact the preschools to visit them.

What preschools are Singapore parents searching for?

Wondering what preschools other parents are looking up? Here are the top 15 preschools in Singapore, ranked by search popularity. Check out their websites and attend their open house events, or contact them to schedule a private visit:

  1. PCF Sparkletots
  2. My World Preschool
  3. Sunflower Preschool
  4. Mindchamps Preschool
  5. Odyssey Preschool
  6. E-bridge Preschool
  7. Superland Preschool
  8. Safari House Preschool
  9. Little Footprints Preschool
  10. Eton House Preschool
  11. Little Seeds Preschool
  12. Shaws Preschool
  13. Posso Preschool
  14. Small Wonder Preschool
  15. Cambridge Preschool

How can you tell if a preschool environment is good

Apart from talking to the teaching staff and observing the children, look for clean walls to minimise distractions, natural lighting, a comfortable room temperature for your child, and nearby green spaces. A small class size is a bonus, but not essential if your child is a typical learner. (Get local guidelines for staff-child ratios here.)

During your visit, you can also ask questions about the learning process and skills that matter to you. For instance, you may want a preschool that fosters critical thinking and collaborative skills — if a school claims to offer such learning opportunities, ask for specific examples of how this is done. 

Need more tips on choosing a quality preschool? Read our guide, or chat with other parents in our forum!