Every child is unique due to their personality and living environment. Therefore, understanding our kids is the first step to give them the “right” education. If you have ever wondered whether it’s necessary to find your kids a pre-school or have no idea how to choose the right pre-school, you will find some helpful tips below.
What is pre-school?
A pre-school, also commonly known as a nursery school, is an early childhood education center offering educational programmes to children aged 2 to 5, with a formal or regular curriculum.
The main goal of the programme is to provide your child with play-based learning. Pre-schools offer an opportunity for your kids to be curious about things around them.
When should parents apply?
In general, children are ready for pre-school at the age of 2. However, pre-school is not mandatory. Each kid is unique and there are many factors to consider before deciding whether you should enrol your child into pre-school. If you want to give your child a learning environment with a specific routine, pre-school could be a good choice.
Why is pre-school important?
Pre-school is the golden age to prepare for primary school with fundamental skills, better pre-reading skills and stronger pre-math skills. In pre-school, children will learn how to find answers to many of their questions driven by their curiosities.
Meanwhile, they will have a stronger desire to explore their interests that were cultivated through play-based learning.
How do I choose the right pre-school?
Although it’s essential to give our children the best education possible, it’s also necessary to choose a suitable one. In Hong Kong for instance, it is common that some pre-schools propose nursery and kindergarten options.
In general, parents should review these two factors before choosing the right pre-school:
- Location: It’s a good idea to start with local preschools that won’t take up too much of your time to drop your kids off and pick them up. If it’s practical, choosing one that matches another family member’s office would give you more flexibility.
- Budget: Tuition fees and other costs can be barriers in pre-school selection. Pre-school is a long-term programme, so it’s essential to choose one that best fits your family financially in order to avoid changing schools, which can affect your child behavior.
Which method of teaching to choose?
The next step is to look at a pre-school’s structure and approach. Children are unique and knowing a school’s approach is the right way to find the most “suitable” one instead of the “best” only.
- Emphasize independence, hands-on learning, and collaborative development.
- Create an environment in cultivating kids’ interests driven by natural curiosities.
- Build a solid foundation through children’s explorations at their own pace for life-long learning.
- A teaching method that encourages a broad curriculum, including academic, physical, social, emotional, and art education.
- A learning process that engages kids in thinking, feeling, and doing.
- Supports children’s growth and development from an understanding of human beings.
- A philosophy that includes a self-guided curriculum.
- Encourages children to communicate, collaborate, and express how they feel.
- Learn in a relation-driven environment.
- Teachers’ role in this approach is to assist children in learning and cultivating their interests.
- Aims to create an environment for kids to learn and explore.
- Kids will gain the foundation through plays and interactions.
What to look for during your visit?
Apart from the school’s approach, it’s essential to consider your kids’ long-term school goals.
Besides, there are a few things parents should look at during a visit:
- Facilities: Sufficient school facilities provide access for students to learn through hands-on experiments, enhancing the programme’s quality and children’s development. More importantly, good quality facilities guarantee materials safety which can keep kids safe and healthy.
- Typical school day: There are both half-day and full-day pre-school programmes but take note that pre-schoolers usually can’t sit still for more than 20 minutes. It could be challenging for 3-year-old kids to get used to a full-day school life. However, a full-day programme helps kids better prepare for kindergarten.
- Student-teacher interaction: Knowing about the teachers’ backgrounds and how they interact with children has a great impact on their academic success as well as on the development of their core skills, such as learning skills, social skills, and self-motivation.
Pre-school is the bridge to leverage our children’s fundamental skills and cognitive abilities through toddler to school years. It’s essential to seize the moment to choose a school that suits them the most.