Learning Beyond the Classroom
Choosing a preschool or after-school-care can be a difficult – and complicated – decision. Allow us to shed light on some considerations that should be your top priority.
Education plays a vital role in childhood development, and with an education system like Singapore’s, parents are faced with a myriad of considerations when choosing a preschool or an after-school-care programme. Apart from quality programmes and an environment conducive to learning, parents hope that their children can continue to enjoy growing up while they learn.
“One of the first considerations was accessibility, and my preference was for [the school] to be near home,” said Ms Felicity, who enrolled her child in the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Cultural Academy (SHHKCA). She added, “The facilities and environment were also factors that I took into consideration.”
Making Chinese Education Immersive and Natural
Ms Felicity had concerns about how her child could pick up Chinese, as nowadays, the language is spoken at home less and less. Fortunately, parents can look for schools that provide an immersive Chinese environment. In such environments, a significant portion of interactions and activities are conveyed in Chinese, up to 70% of the time. This makes learning Chinese a natural and comfortable experience for children.
Beyond the Classroom
“It was after sending my child to preschool that I appreciated how programmes also cater to important aspects such as life skills and moral education,” Ms Felicity went on to say. “Through fun activities and interactions with peers, schools help to inculcate sociability and a sense of responsibility in children from a young age.” Because of these activities, Ms Felicity then proceeded to enrol her child in the after-school-care programme.
Parents would be keen to know that after-school care centres offer non-core academic programmes like sports, gardening, coding, and robotics, amongst others. These are learning activities that go beyond the academic syllabus, and are designed for children to genuinely enjoy.
For Ms Felicity, after-school-care should not be confined to textbook learning. On top of teachers assisting students with homework, Ms Felicity liked that there are hands-on activities, ticking off items on her mum-checklist for developing her child’s motor skills.
Making a Difference in Your Child’s Growth and Development
Activities beyond the classroom allow children to explore their social and cognitive skills and ignite their imagination. Ms Felicity shared that “When [my child] does the outdoor activities, it’s like a breath of fresh air. We should let kids continue to be kids; enjoy time away from classrooms and mobile devices. This truly makes a difference in their growth.”
Ms Felicity has followed her child closely through this journey from preschool to after-school-care. She has embraced a holistic approach to provide the best childhood experience. A conducive environment is just the first step, and imparting the child with the right values and discipline will allow them to flourish.
If there is any progress in her child that Ms Felicity is particularly proud of, it is a sense of independence and initiative, in spite of her child's young age. While the immersive Chinese environment has made her child feel at home when communicating and learning Chinese, instruction on traditions and values has laid a good foundation for her child’s overall development. It is Ms Felicity’s humble wish for her child to grow up happy and confident, and after-school-care programmes like this help her to fulfill that wish.