Pibo's Garden Playschool
1 Dunearn Close and 7 Hua Guan Crescent
(+65) 6466 2639 and (+65) 6465 0019
British mum Kerry Cracknell has two children, Isabel (2) and Joshua (3), who both attend Pibo's Garden Playschool.
"Pibo's struck me as the most friendly, relaxed and caring school, focusing on play, social development and building confidence rather than academic achievement.
"The staff loves the children but doesn't smother them; they are firm but relaxed. They were incredibly helpful with potty-training both my kids. The location is perfect for me as it is within walking distance from home. The food is prepared and cooked on the premises, rather than catered. Other schools have slicker, more modern facilities, but that's not the priority for me.
"And my kids have fun there. Both always come home with big smiles, full of details about what they’ve been doing and what they had for lunch. They are stimulated and challenged."
7 Ming Teck Park
(+65) 6469 6681
Australian mum Denise Branson has two children, Thomas (3) and Charlie (five months). Thomas started Character Montessori in February last year.
"What sold me was the high teacher-to-student ratio, the idea of learning through play and, most importantly, having fun. It’s a bonus that the last hour of class is in Mandarin. Thomas is a child who demands lots of attention and this environment gives him the stimulation he needs.
"The staff is friendly and treats Tom like he’s part of a family. He is learning new skills but without pressure. He is encouraged to be creative, he's picking up Mandarin, and he's learning etiquette such as cleaning up after himself, sharing and being kind to others."
EtonHouse International School
Nine preschool campuses
(+65) 6747 3333
British mum Ruth Eldridge sends her children Rosie (7) and Sébastien (4), to EtonHouse Preschool.
"The main reason we chose it was the friendly atmosphere. The admin and teaching staff are always welcoming and approachable, willing to help and listen. They arrange great trips, after-school activities, cultural days and sporting events. The children study a wide and varied curriculum, and they both have Mandarin lessons every day, which they enjoy.
"The school is quite small, a positive thing for us. There is a good library, art room and computer room, and soon there will be a new multi-purpose hall for sports and assemblies. The school feels like a community where parents, pupils and staff are working together in a friendly way to create a stimulating learning environment."
Emaar International School
201 Ulu Pandan Road
(+65) 6536 6566
American mom Kelly Snyder has two children, Lina (9) and Talia (5), both of whom attend Emaar International School.
"The main factors in choosing the school were the IB programme, the school year calendar, the campus and the staff. The location is not too remote and public transportation to the school is easy. The facilities are good and they have a pool on site. I love that the school is made up of kids from 54 countries, so they get to learn about different cultures. I am very happy with the preschool curriculum. My five-year-old is reading and doing simple math, which I didn't expect, and she's loving it. She is so proud of herself."
Carpe Diem Kidz
1B Royal Road (off Alexander Road)
(+65) 6275 0995
Portuguese mum Carla Leonor Akyuz has a three-year-old girl, Kathleen, who attends Carpe Diem.
"I liked the concept of a school with a garden and a few little farm animals. The location is good for me, with easy access to the AYE. I like the building itself and the lovely garden. The teachers are very friendly and helpful. They organise a lot of interesting activities for the kids and every year there are a few field trips that Kathleen enjoys attending.
"The curriculum seems well balanced to us; the kids learn a lot through playing, and they learn Chinese. Kathleen loves going to school to see her friends and she enjoys the trampoline, too. We especially appreciate the school’s Weekly Bulletin informing us about the teachings of the week ahead, which includes pictures of the previous week's activities."
Sunflower Baby House
200 Turf Club Road
(+65) 6474 6181
Austrian mum Marie-Christine Kossich has one daughter, Tessa (19 months), who has been attending Sunflower Baby House since she was eight months old.
"We don't have a live-in helper and feel more comfortable knowing that Tessa is being taken care of by professional teachers, as well as stimulated in an appropriate way.
"They have always been very flexible and had no problem with us bringing Tessa after her nap to attend the afternoon programme. Tessa has fun and feels excited and proud when she puts on her little uniform in the morning. She loves the programme and activities, and she adores her teachers, who are loving and caring. There is constant rapport between the parents and teachers, and we receive a weekly report. The place is always clean and well organised."
Chatsworth International School
East Campus, 25 Jalan Tembusu
(+65) 6737 5955
British mum Cheryl Salters has three children: Imogen (6), Aidan (4), and Ilona (2). Imogen and Aidan both attend Chatsworth International's East Campus.
"The school is small with about 250 children aged three to 11, so it feels very cosy. They teach the IB programme and the teachers are very professional and approachable. The principal has an active open-door policy for everyone. As a family in Singapore without expatriate benefits, we are grateful that Chatsworth East offers everything we want in a preschool, at a price that is more affordable than many other schools. At the end of the day, though, if the children are happy and love their school, that makes us satisfied parents."
Stamford American International School
Eu Tong Sen Street
(+65) 6593 3698
American mom Kathleen Colbert has one daughter, Julia (3), who will be attending the new SAIS when it opens its doors in August this year.
"SAIS is an unknown for us. However, after speaking with a number of people associated with the school, we get a good impression that they are working for the kids and want their experience to be the best and most well-rounded. The curriculum is a nice balance between the American system and an international one, and we want our daughter to have a sense of the diversity here.
"Everyone we spoke to is a genuinely excited about opening the new school. The principal has a great vision of what he wants the school to become for the children, and it is really exciting to be a part of his plans."
75E Loewen Road
(+65) 6475 7262
South African mum Deborah Anne Nelson has four children. Eldest son Clayton is 18 and is at boarding school in Sydney; Kathryn is 13 and attends UWC; and younger sons William (4) and Connor (3) attend White Lodge at Loewen.
"We visited several preschools, and White Lodge's family feel appealed to us. The staff members treat the kids with the respect they deserve. There is always singing and laughing, and the school is constantly offering children new experiences, from learning Mandarin to baking cookies. The parents are involved and it makes me happy that I am included in decisions about what our children learn and take away as a life experience. As for the curriculum, it covers quite a broad spectrum and makes learning fun."
Lock Road Kindergarten
101 Lock Road
(+65) 6474 6181
Australian mum Shannon O'Toole has two children, Amelie (4) and Xavier (2). This is Amelie's second year at Lock Road Kindergarten and Xavier will start in 2010.
"I taught for three years at Lock Road when I arrived in Singapore in 1997, and always felt that it was a special environment for young children. When I had my own children, I looked at a number of kindergartens closer to home but felt that Lock Road offered what I was looking for. The children were all happy and busy, the staff interactions with the children were lovely and warm, and it was so colourful and inviting. I also like the green 'jungle' setting, which has an open, airy feel.
"The most important thing for me is to see that the staff are all very caring and interact warmly with the children. I feel confident that the children are safe and well taken care of."
Preschool by the Park
63 Shelford Road
(+65) 6462 0180
New Zealand mum Larissa Glubb has two boys: Wilbur (3) and Charlie (5). Wilbur was one of the first children enrolled at the Dunearn branch of Preschool by the Park, which opened last year.
"We choose it for Wilbur because the teachers are so warm and welcoming, and because of the great outdoor play area and the big, light classrooms. The curriculum includes a lot of variety. For example, he does art most days and he also attends a dance class every Wednesday that he really looks forward to. We also wanted a preschool where he would get the opportunity to learn Mandarin and interact with children from different cultures.
"The teachers really care about the children and it feels like a real community for their families."
The Odyssey Creative Learning Centre (Learning Vision)
101 Wilkinson Road and 110 Alexandra Road w
(+65) 6348 8800
Dutch mum Sandra de Koning - Heijnen has two children, Kai (3) and Mik (18 months). Both attend the Odyssey Creative Learning Centre.
"The school is in a residential area and is surrounded by a public park, which gives it an overall peaceful, spacious and green feel. The school facilities are great and all brand new. The staff is enthusiastic, professional and approachable. The children are a nice mix of nationalities.
"The curriculum is diverse and well organised. It challenges the children to engage their minds, hearts and hands. The teachers keep parents updated via personal phone calls, and some of the classes even have their own blog.
"We leave our kids behind knowing that they are in good hands and that they are going to enjoy their day. That feels good!"
The Little House Montessori
1 Brookvale Drive
(+65) 6469 2123
Singaporean mum Ai Lin Richards has one child, James, who is two and attends The Little House Montessori.
"When I first visited, I was struck by how calm the environment was, which I thought was very suitable for my distractible toddler. The teachers are affectionate with the kids and there's a lot of emphasis on the child's independence and self-confidence. The main school hall opens out to the playground, so the school has a very airy, outdoorsy feel about it. I think the unstructured play in the playground has also been terrific for building James's social skills.
"The school is unique in that it holds cookery classes weekly, with each child preparing his or her own dish to bring home. The school has also arranged optional afterschool enrichment classes that are really convenient for parents."
67A Eu Chin Street
(+65) 6456 8003
South Korean mum Heayean Lee has two daughters, Kelly (10 months) and Julie (4), who attend Artskidz.
"The teacher-to-student ratio is low and the school building is new, as are all the toys and educational tools, so it feels very clean and homey. The staff is very approachable and try to understand and accommodate each child. They also offer violin lessons and yoga. Julie can actually play the violin now, which is amazing. She is always talking about the teachers and says she loves having conversations with them, which makes her happy to go to school. There is a special Korean coordinator who helps out, too. My daughter is learning English and Mandarin, and recently she began to say some words in Japanese. They have native-speaking teachers in these languages and qualified art and music teachers too."
Australian International School Singapore
1 Lorong Chuan
(+65) 6883 5155
Australian mum Virginia Allen has four children: Annika (11), Isabella (9), Austin (7), and Archie (4). All attend AISS and Archie goes to its preschool.
"I chose the school because of the dual curriculum. When we move back to Australia, it will be an easy transition. And you couldn't ask for a nicer environment. Beautiful classrooms and pod areas, a junior library, music and art rooms and fantastic outdoor play areas. It also has the most enormous gymnasium, which doubles as a concert venue.
"The preschool is my favourite part of AISS. I love its focus on being childcentred. The curriculum is the PYP (primary years programme, part of the IBO) but it also follows the Reggio Emilia programme, which has at its heart learning through play. There is an open-door policy, and I have found the communication to be outstanding."
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