The Importance of a Structured Preschool Education

After the age of 2 and up until the age of 8, a child goes through rapid development and growth. It is during this stage that the foundations for their language and communication skills, socio-emotional skills, motor skills, creativity, and cognitive and intellectual abilities are established. The early years are especially crucial for a child’s holistic development. To this end, it is very important to provide children with a conducive environment, one filled with various stimuli and plenty of guidance and support, in which they can learn. This means providing a quality preschool education which will help build the strong basis upon which future learning and success will rest.

Apart from the cognitive skills that can be developed, children aged 2 to 4 benefit greatly in learning social skills from the environment provided in a preschool setting. They learn how to interact with other children, to make friends and learn to distinguish between appropriate behaviour and inappropriate behaviour. Moreover, being in a social and interactive environment fosters faster learning as compared to when having to learn alone. Young children learn from experience. So, interacting with peers is an excellent opportunity for them to explore and learn. Children also learn how to follow instructions, a crucial skill that they will require later on, especially upon entering the formal school system.

Ages 2 to 4 is the Singapore preschool age, when children start learning to be independent. Going to a preschool gives them that added experience in building other trusted relationships apart from with their parents. They start learning how to take care of themselves much earlier than if they were to stay at home. In preschool, they will be expected to tidy their belongings, put toys away, wash their hands, and eat their food properly. These real-life experiences, doing things themselves, gives them invaluable lessons. While it can be argued that all of this can be learnt at home as well, a structured preschool education’s biggest benefit is the structure. Trained preschool teachers know just what a young child needs to develop holistically and how to encourage and exploit their curiosity for their development.

In Singapore, with more and more parents able to spend less and less time with their young children due to work commitments, preschool becomes crucial because children need an invigorating environment in which to learn and develop to the best that they can.

Selecting Safe Toys for Playgroup Kids

While there is no scarcity of toys for the playgroup kids in the market, they should ideally be available with that all important label that tells their suitability for a particular age group. This discussion will perhaps help in selecting toys for your kids of a playgroup in Singapore and elsewhere. The idea is that your playgroup kid should be able to enjoy playing with her toys in a safe manner.

Toys are regarded by child experts as an integral part in the development of your child and also great fun for your kids. However, on the flip side, many children are often rushed to emergency sections in the hospital for injuries related to toys.

One of the common risks while playing for kids in the age group of three or below is choking since many children have a tendency of putting toys in the mouths.

Toy manufacturers need to adhere to certain guidelines and labeling criteria for kids’ toys, especially in the present times. Teachers of playgroup and parents at home should, however, supervise when their kids are playing.

What you should look for?

Following are some of the basic guidelines that should be kept in mind while you shop for your little one’s toys.

If a toy is made of some kind of fabric, check if its label has a mention of it being fine retardant or flame resistant.

If you are purchasing a stuffed toy, make sure that it is washable.

Paint devoid of lead should be used for any painted toy.

Check the toy’s label for the presence of a safety symbol. The packaging for the toy should have a warning when it is inappropriate for kids below 3 years of age.

Nontoxic materials should be used while making a toy.

Make sure that your little one is not playing with older or second-hand toys even if they have been given by your friends or family members. While such toys may have sentimental value attached to them and cost you less, they might not adhere to the existing safety standards. Moreover, they could get completely worn out due to prolonged use and could break easily, make them hazardous.

Stay away from noisy toys

You need to also make sure that the toys being used by your kid are not too loud. Noises like the squeaking of toys, rattling toys and even some electronic or medical toys could make so much noise that is at times louder than car horns. If your kid continues holding such toys close to her ears, it can eventually lead to hearing impairment.

Building a Firm Foundation for Your Children

Kindergarten is that time in a child’s life when development is so rapid that channelling it correctly becomes crucial for a bright future. This includes physical, emotional and intellectual development. Parents need to provide a conducive environment at home, encouraging and guiding the child to learn new skills and concepts, including social skills. At school, the child will further strengthen those skills and concepts, building a strong foundation upon which his or her future will be built.

At the ripe age of five, children are most open to learning. Their inquisitiveness and curiosity gives them the ability to grasp new concepts and skills with ease. Their gross motor skills and fine motor skills begin to truly develop at this age. Moreover, learning language beyond the elementary level also begins at this stage. In kindergarten, through various activities like playing, interacting with other children, singing, drawing and learning how to write and how to count, children become learners. They only require the right support.

Being the first year of formal education for a child, the focus will be on all-round development. Anything that they learn in school will need to be supplemented at home by engaging with the child and helping them apply their learning. However, care must be exercised while interacting with them.

Children’s imaginations are powerful at this stage, so dealing with them requires creativity on the parts of parents as well as teachers, taking care not to diffuse their innocent wonderment while providing them with appropriate explanations for things that they are curious about. Kindergarten is also the time when children start learning how to organise themselves and the spaces around them. Sorting out their books and colour pencils, keeping themselves clean, learning to ask the teacher when they need to use the bathroom, eating without their parents around, and all of those things that help them become independent.

The best kindergartens in Singapore will have programmes that are designed to encourage and reinforce the development of a child in the following areas:

Literacy and numeracy skills such as learning the alphabet, reading and counting objects

Communication skills such as development of language and interacting with other children

Social and emotional skills such as learning to cooperatively play with other children and being aware of feelings, both self and others’.

Learning new concepts

Learning self-care

A good kindergarten programme will cover all the areas of development for a child — social, behavioural, emotional and intellectual.

How to Help Your Child Settle into a Nursery?

Like every new beginning, getting adjusted to a new nursery is a major change for the child as well as parents. Fortunately, the best nursery in Singapore gives some tried and tested tips to parents to help their little one settle down in a nursery. The tips below can make the transition from home to nursery as smooth as possible both for kids and parents. Read on!

Go for a nursery visit with your child

It’s inevitable even for adults to be shy with new people around in new places. So, you can imagine how overwhelming it’s likely to be for a child to be in a new nursery. This is why parents should arrange for a nursery visit with the child and familiarise them with the surroundings they would be hanging out in soon.

Talk to the child about starting nursery

Discuss openly with your little one about starting nursery soon and the new change that would come into their routine. Get them ready by talking about the new nursery and offering them some useful reference points. Tell them what it is all about – meeting new friends, new toys to play with, and other such points. This can create excitement in them. If your child has concerns or questions, address them calmly.

Allow a comforter if needed

Any comforter that your child loves to take along – may be a favourite toy or blankie – something to help them settle down. Such familiar reference taken from home can assure your young one during the beginning days at a nursery.

Maintain a brief goodbye

Bidding goodbye to your child at the nursery door can test the determination of even the most practical-minded parent. Remember to handle the departure rightly as this is what will help your child, to a great extent, settle down in the nursery. According to experts, parents should tell the child clearly that they are leaving, kiss them goodbye and leave, while ensuring that they understand that you will be back to pick them up. Even if your kid cries, you should stay firm and leave.

Hopefully, the above mentioned tips can help you make your child settle down in the nursery easily. Of course, the assistance of the nursery staff also plays an important role here. So, choose the best nursery in Singapore or any other country to get the best care for your child.