Pre-school Shopping

In another lovely Missy Messy creation

I took Bubbles to visit a few pre-schools recently.

She was truly a dear little girl that day. She kept her flower hair-clip on, and brought along a little pre-loved teddy she was recently given. She made friends with the people I spoke to, and even picked up a biscuit crumb (?) at one of the schools and gave it to a teacher with a verbal instruction to 'Throw!'.  The teacher was much amused!

Today, if you ask her what she sees at schools, she'll tell you Chewdren (Children)! =)

Unfortunately, the pre-school shopping didn't go as well as I had hoped. 3 schools - none giving me the 'this is it!' feeling. They all had their plus and minuses of course.

The Pluses I liked include a low teacher to student ratio (1:5), teachers who are properly Montessori trained, outdoor play areas, good Mandarin teaching/exposure, general cleanliness and upkeep of facilities, and good feedback from other parents. (I met one at the entrance of a school. She raved about the school where 2 of her kids go to and told me I'll have no regrets. That's really compelling!)

If the school is slated as an MCYS-approved childcare, the subsidy that comes along with it would be a good to have too.

The Minuses were mainly the opposites of the Pluses I looked out for: Half-baked Montessori teaching methods, insufficient Mandarin teaching/exposure, worn/dirty/messy facilities, insufficient furnishings (one school had students sit on the driveway floor to eat), lack of space, and no outdoor play areas.

It was a rather disappointing day for me especially since I was expecting more for the high fees schools charge these days! Thankfully I am in no hurry to send Bubbles to school. If I can get her someplace I am comfortable with, she'll start next year (the year she turns 3). But if not, we can wait till the following year, I think!

There are a couple more schools I would like to check out. Some traditional kindys, church based ones, and one or two more Montessoris.

Bubbles, Mummy's gonna take you to see more Chewdren! 

8 comments:

Kelly said...

oh yes, I did that 2 weeks ago too! Some places I vocally exclaim "WAH! Nice!" But, I am still undecided. So far, all I have seen are safe/clean/organised/equipped/certified. But for me, the most important factor of all, is my need to be able to sense that the staff are HAPPY at their jobs. That they are relaxed and in control of situations with the children. I am looking out for happy employees/directors who are welcoming and inviting when I show up unexpectedly (it is the norm here).

But I am in no hurry to send K off to creche either. My baby, to school! I get a strong feeling, that the one getting abandonment issues is going to be ME.

BeanBean said...

i feel you completely! i've been going around a fair bit myself and it's been tiring. noey was excited to see chewdren too, though even more excited to see the playground.

little bubbles looks so lovely in that dress!

poiema said...

Aww... she looks lovely in that dress! I'd frame the one in the bottom left corner up!

It's gotta be MCYS licensed childcare for the subsidy though. MOE licenced ones don't qualify. :(

corsage said...

Kelly:
I knew I missed out something in my post! You're right, I was also trying to observe the staff. I was particularly impressed with one principal who took it upon herself to show me around and introduce the school's philosophy and programmes. As we walked around the school, she occasionally interacted with the kids and I was amazed that she could remember them all by name! But unfortunately this was the same school where the kids were eating out at the driveway. I suppose in coming to a decision I may have accept the good with the bad as long as the bad is not TOO bad =P Is K ok with being left on his own? Bubbles does still very much want Mummy around at all times!

BeanBean:
Haha! Bubbles kept insisting to 'Sim Sim Sim' (Swim) when she saw some kids at a water play! :) I'll email you to trade notes!

Poiema:
Aw, I really should start printing her photos! I haven't really done so properly. Oh YES! I meant MCYS. Edited my entry. I actuallywrote to them to be sure. I still don't understand how they make the distinction though esp since even if I send her to an MCYS approved childcare, I'll only opt for the half-day prog.

MamaJ said...

I know the school search headache too! We've no luck so far, I wanted a school nearby but the ones we checked all only allow admissions at the start of the year, so Jude's too young, then its no point letting him start next year if we're moving overseas in March... All the best for the search, since you started early I'm sure you'll be able to find one that's suitable. :)

corsage said...

mamaJ:
I know what you mean about wanting to search for something nearby! Proximity is so important for sanity each day esp with small kids! I suppose you can wait to enrol him to a school there instead? How exciting :)

lovexiaolongbao said...

she can really talk! Can you teach me how to teach Dylan to speak?

corsage said...

lxlb:
She's definitely a chatterbox now! We don't do anything in particular other than reading frequently and constantly interacting with her. Mum and I also do a tag team to reinforce new words she's picked up. Eg. If I notice that she is able to say a certain word, I'll let my mum know on the days I work, and she'll follow-up by asking Bubbles about that object/item so that she gets to say the word again. Bubbles is very game to copy what we say, so that really helps. She's a real parrot now, and unfortunately has also picked up stuff like Aiyoh, which she says with great gusto =P

We also make it a point to name things, and constantly describe what we are doing. We also use proper terms. Eg. She is able to say and differentiate between Shoe, Slipper and Sandal.

Dylan's probably absorbing both English and Mandarin considering the environment you're in! Billingual baby! He's getting a very rich foundation for language development. (Bubbles unfortunately is in an almost totally English one) Just keep talking to him and giving him loads of praise when he attempts to say something just like you always do! He's already communicating so well through his own ways!