Playgroup and nursery : necessary?

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Playgroup and nursery : necessary?

Postby jse_05 » Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:53 pm

Would like to invite opinions from forummers, is it necessary to send our toddlers to playgroup before kindergarten.

I have a bad experience recently with neighbourhood playgroup and is thinking to just send my girls straight to Kindergarten when they are 4 years old. I think most neighbourhood playgroups are understaffed and is not suitable for my girls as they were crying all the time during class. For their case, 2 teachers are handling 16 children between 1.5 to 3 years, and at the start of the term one teacher is very busy with admin stuff. She has no time to teach at all, leaving 1 teacher (new one!) to handle the teaching. A lot of children were crying and they can barely handle the class, it was horrible. I decided to withdraw my girls and still thinking whether to look for another playgroup/nursery for next year, as they will turn 3 feb 2010. My girls are doing quite good at home and they have already learnt about alphabets, numbers, colors and some general stuff. I guess the only reason to send them to playgroup is just to get them some friends to play with, as they are always alone most of the time. Any advise? Thank you.

jse_05
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Postby Jennifer » Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:12 pm

I sent my children to Apple Tree when they were 3 y.o. Apple Tree only admits 3 y.o for their playgroup. So I did not have the young children crying issue.

I am surprised the playgroup you sent your children to has children aged 1.5 to 3 y.o.

Since your girls are fine at home, I think you can wait till they are older.

Jennifer
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Postby gweichan » Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:50 am

I started my son in Playgroup when he was 25 months.

There were about 15 students and 2 teachers were handling the children. The first week was chaos with crying children and there was hardly any teaching. My son cried for the 1st and 2nd week but subsequently he stopped crying and is now happily going to school. He likes school and his friends now.

I was like you, wanted to pull him out when I saw how badly he cried for the first week but I didn't cos I also need to learn to get go.

I think this is a phase which every kid will go through, whether he's 2, 3 or 4 yrs old.

My purpose of sending him to playgroup is to socialise and get used to being separated from main caregiver (my mum).

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Postby thebusybee » Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:49 pm

Since your main purpose is to get them socialize with other children, you can consider sending them to centres that provide programs with flexicare-session.

If money is not an issue, I know of Josiah Montessori @ Millenia Walk has flexi-session, like 2x or 3x a week (1/2 day) kinda toddler class.

For me, i send my son to full-day childcare since 18mth (now 22 mth), although I have helper and in-laws at home to take care, still think that it's better to let him learn about discipline and group activities. Moreover he learns more from the teachers there than from the old folks at home.

I chose a nearby childcare, not the branded kind as I like the teachers and care-givers there. Fullday after subsidy only $213 (half day $10 less, so FD more worth it). My initial thought was to bring him back home after lunch (12.30pm) when I'm not working, but drop the idea as he can keep to the centre's routine for his afternoon nap, unlike at home, he will just play and play till evening then fall asleep.

Yes, young toddlers will definitely cry for at least a week or 2 initially, it's the separation anxiety issue. I let my son cry for the first 2 weeks, like what the teachers said, it's the same for all new-comers, give them a few weeks and they'll be fine. We have to learn to let go and 'harden' our heart :) My son occasionally still cry when going in the morning, like past 3 days he cried and didn't want to go in and today he's perfectly fine. One of the teacher told me, it's natural as it's part of the transition period, she said it's the child's attachment to parent/s 依恋父母, especially after the weekends.

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Postby jse_05 » Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:19 pm

Hello all,

Thank's for the input:)

Jennifer, I initially wanted to put them in apple tree too next year. But I changed mind bcos this playgroup (not apple tree) is just below my block and convenient to me. i should have waited until they are 3 as planned. Now I can't even get any place at apple tree for next year as registration is already closed:<

Money is definitely an issue to us. Between paying rent, maid, and two toddlers we are quite tight and some more we are not citizens and there is no subsidy. Neighbourhood playgroup is still ok as it is cheap, but we can't afford expensive ones unfortunately. Since i am SAHM, i thought it will be easier to just teach them at home as I know exactly their learning style. Not easy tho as we need dicipline.

Actually, it is not me who wanted to pull out. it is the teachers who cannot bear with them. I initially pull out the younger girl at the end of second week (they are twins) as she is crying out the loudest and more stubborn. But then the teacher said the older one also keep on crying once the younger one was not there and asked me to take her home. I have got no choice. I even have to chase them to pay back one month fee as I already paid 2 months. it is really a bad experience for me and i feel very discouraged to try similar playgroup now:<

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Postby Jennifer » Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:40 pm

jse_05 wrote:Now I can't even get any place at apple tree for next year as registration is already closed:<


Maybe you can give Apple Tree a call. If there is vacancy, it should not be a prob even though official registration date is closed.

Surprised to learn that the teacher asked you to pull out the twins. Very unusual teacher.

Since you are a SAHM and know your girls best, it might not be necessary to send the girls to playgroup.

JMHO

Jennifer
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Postby Acidica » Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:19 pm

I think you can still put down your name on waitlist. Normally there are drop out and they can inform you.

My ds was in appletree and he enjoys it so when it comes to dd's turn. I put her at appletree but it turn out that she did not like it at all. The age children are from 2 to 3 yo and quite a few keep crying for weeks and my dd felt very disturb. In fact, when I stay there with her, I was wondering when is 2hrs going to end. (They extend the hours from 1.5 to 2hrs). After March, I pull her out as she still drag to go to appletree. She stays at home for a few months and I started her at another nursery organised by RC (Residental Committee at my place, Jurong) and she love it so much. She looks forward to go the school. She does not need uniform. There 2 teachers to a smaller group of children plus a helper who does cleaning etc (who speaks English)

So I guess you just need to find the nursery with the environment that your children feel more comfortable.

Acidica
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Postby schellen » Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:21 pm

When I was a SAHM, I only enrolled my DD in 2 "long-term" activities: physical play and a 2-hour playgroup. The first one lasted about a year and I didn't renew the membership. The second one, we withdrew her cos we were not satisfied with the school and how the staff handles communication with parents. All the while, I just "taught" my DD at home. I used "taught" cos I didn't actually do it the school method. I just incorporated what she needed to know into our daily activities like reading, playing with toys, etc. Only when she was 4 did I enroll her in full-day childcare and that was when I gradually returned to work. She adapted very quickly without fuss and crying.

So, jse_05, you can continue what you have been doing with your girls at home until they are of age for kindergarten. At that point, you should enroll them in a kindy to let them get used to being in a classroom with a teacher and other children.

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Postby jse_05 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:24 pm

Hi All,

Thank's all for the input:> Still deciding whether or not to put my girls on apple tree's waiting list. I guess the good thing about putting them there is getting some free time for me :) and let them mix with some friends. Also easier for me if we are going to be without maid next year. Schellen, what is physical play?Is it somekind of playgroup too?

Also, anybody have any ideas on how to prepare my girls for school i.e: to adapt more quickly without crying? I have tried to bring them out more often, to meet some friends, etc etc but still they have very bad separation anxiety.

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Postby schellen » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:56 pm

jse_05 wrote:Schellen, what is physical play?Is it somekind of playgroup too?

Also, anybody have any ideas on how to prepare my girls for school i.e: to adapt more quickly without crying? I have tried to bring them out more often, to meet some friends, etc etc but still they have very bad separation anxiety.


Physical play (dunno exact name) is what TumbleTots offers. They have modular equipment that they put together for different age groups. I chose them cos back then, free public playgrounds were hard to find and mostly for older kids. Also such playgrounds were dirty and poorly maintained. TumbleTots had more interesting equipment and creative "set-up" so that got me interested. Therefore, I went for a trial session with my DD and decided to sign up for membership (which lasts a year). TumbleTots also offers other programmes but I wasn't interested in them. Of course, now, there are so many organisations offering such programmes so you will have more choices.

It takes a while to overcome separation anxiety. If you attend church, maybe can enrol them in kids' programmes where parents don't need to be present? Or make regular playdates with other parents with similar age children? Parents must also check if they are the ones causing the anxiety. If parents cannot let go, children can sense this and feel insecure. My DD also went through this stage but I "ignored" her cries and reassured her that I will be back to get her when and where. I don;t tell her where I'll be but I emphasise on what she will be enjoying when I'm away. I also make sure I return on time as promised to cultivate trust. Don't do disappearing acts; always inform them that you are leaving (and that you'll be back) or they will cling to you next time for fear that you will suddenly disappear again. Good luck!

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