Swallows and Amazons
200 Turf Club Road
+65 6762 8158.
Recently I took my two year old daughter to a trial class at Swallows and Amazons, a kindergarten and enrichment centre at Turf City. We revelled in the sense of open space. The well-shaded outdoor playground accommodated a play-gym, more Bobby cars and trikes than I’ve ever seen in one place, a massive sandpit, an impressive two-storey tree-house (very Swiss Family Robinson), a large marquee, and a class of children scattering in every direction. A far cry from some preschools I’ve seen, where the playground comprises one small square of Astroturf.
Evie and I joined the Hornbills class, a multicultural bunch hailing from the Netherlands, Australia, the US and the UK. The teacher, Miss Jam, made us feel very welcome; Evie soon had her own pigeonhole to store her shoes.
The children made paper-plate photo frames using primary colours, sang along to familiar nursery rhymes during story-time, “helped” the teacher make a treat for dessert (today was a designated cooking day) and ate their lunch together before leaving at 12.30pm after a session of more than three hours.
Evie clung to the safety of Mummy’s skirt for a while, but soon she opened up. I beamed with pride when she counted from one to ten (with only a little prod) in Mandarin for the Chinese teacher Miss Pauline, who in turn immersed Evie in the language for the remainder of the class. With regular time spent with Miss Pauline, I have no doubt my daughter would learn quickly.
When we left Swallows and Amazons to head home, Evie skipped out with a bag of art-and-craft goodies she’d made. She’d had fun in a new and unfamiliar place, and played co-operatively with children she’d never met before. Every teacher, assistant and trainee had been delightful and professional. I also liked the focus on learning through play. Research has shown that children learn best through play in the early years; so, a play-based preschool isn’t just expensive mucking about.
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