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Friday, April 28, 2006

Kindergarden 101

One of the things which I find useful about my blog is the fact that it is like a personal forum :)

Today, I'm going to put the "forum" to use. I have a few questions for all parents who have sent their children to kindergarden. I was told that I had better register early (as early as one year before???), I have to choose the kindy carefully and a there is a host of other things to consider too, amongst them food, transport, safety aspects, teaching methods, teacher to student ratio etc etc (which gave me quite a scare.)

So, parents of children attending/who attended kindergarden, could you help me out here? Could you share with me......

  1. When did you register? (ie how many months in advance?)
  2. How old was your kid?
  3. How did you choose the kindy?
  4. What is your child's personality and how long did he/she take to settle down?
  5. Are you happy with your choice?
  6. Any horror/happy stories to share?
  7. Questions regarding kindergarden school term. See below:

I just thought of some more questions after reading through some of the comments so I shall add it here.

  • When does the kindergarden term start?
  • Can one send one's child mid-term?
  • Would the child which starts mid-term have more difficulty adjusting since the other kids and the teachers are already familiar with each other?

Please feel free (don't be shy) to leave a long comment as it will be very useful information to me and other parents who have yet to send their child to kindergarden. My list of questions is non-exhaustive. Do share anything else that comes to your mind that I haven't listed. Thank you in advance for sharing your experience.

Or you can leave your link to your old blog post (like Elaine just did) on the subject. I will post it here for those of us which missed it. Thanks.

Related links:

Pre-School - Clumsy Wife, Careless Mum
Pre-School Experiences - Our Magic Tree
Pre-School Experiences
- Happy Family
My Boy First Day In Nursery - MyBabybay.Com
Pre-School - II - Clumsy Wife, Careless Mum


  1. Hello MG
    I didn't register my girl a year ahead. Registered her in Oct 05 for 06 new school year. Registered early instead of Dec because the registration fees is waived if not need to pay another RM200. But I did scout around for about 1 year for a suitable school and I must say that this is not my first choice, but at the place we stay, I really don't have much option.
    I suppose you have read my post on preschool http://dragonmummy.blogspot.com/2006/03/pre-school.html there is a list of criteria listed there as well. I must say that it's not 100% met, but still at least 85%.

  2. Oh, good, I can borrow your post for info ;).

  3. I love to know too as I am also sourcing for a nursery cum kindy for bb.

  4. Well, I'm not familiar with the situation in Malaysia but I think it shouldn't be that far off from Singapore?

    My boy is 3 and in nursery. When he was 2, I started him at a tots school to get him used to the schooling environment. However, I pulled him out after 2 terms cos he was falling ill too frequently.

    I wanted to enroll him in a better school for nursery and kindy. My criteras were these:
    - child friendly
    - clean
    - how they handle outbreaks in the past
    - teacher-to-children ratio in each class should be right
    - two languages offered

    I only enrolled him a week before the term started because I wasn't sure which school to go for.

    My boy took about 2 weeks to fully grow out of the separation anxiety. After which he was fine. But during this 2nd term, for some reasons he is still reluctant to go to school sometimes. I'm guessing cos one of his teachers is fierce looking. My boy is a bit timid and introverted.

    His class size is manageable like 2 teachers to 14-5 students. They also have teacher assistants. Something else I like is that they have a large space and they also have outdoor facilities like a waterpool and mini garden.

    I think this is about all I can share for now. I'm not mentioning which school since it's in Singapore. Hope this is useful for you and others.


  5. elaine,
    Thanks for the link. I've put it in my post. :)

    maria, allyfeel,
    I do all the homework for you eh? Must charge you gals!

    Thank you soooo much for sharing. :)

  6. 1. When did you register?
    {November the year before you decide to send your child to school. Normally, school opens for registration that time}

    2. How old was your kid?
    {No1 - 4 years old. No2 - 2.5 - on his 3rd year. I was told that 3 years old are non academic i.e no homework nor books}

    3. How did you choose the kindy?
    {Word of mouth...from neighbours who says that the school is good and that their children are really happy. Or course when I visited the school, pretty impressed to see all the little ones sitting down listening to their teachers. Teacher to child ratio 2:24)}

    4. What is your child's personality and how long did he/she take to settle down?
    { Fierce at home, timid in school. Took 2 weeks to settle down but half a year to be himself}

    5. Are you happy with your choice?
    { Okaylah...to me the most important is that my child enjoys it}

    6. Any horror/happy stories to share?

    I also blogged the pre-school experiences here ( warning - a bit length though) :

    Feel free to ask me questions. Oh ya, they attend 'Powerkids' in Sri Petaling...a christian based school. So they are taught to say grace before their meals.

  7. aiyoh this was like so long time ago since my 12 and 13 yr olds went to kindy!

    but maybe i could share some points ok.

    my kids adapted very well with preschool. how would u know? when they start talking about their friends, u know that they had made friends. when they start talking about their school and what they have learned, means that they love school too.

    experiences, hmmm, my son cried when he first went to pre school and kindy. not loud cries but huge sobs...so kesian. but only for a few days then he was ok after that. my daughter was the tough one, she adapted since day 1.

    good luck in ur daughter ok. u know she will be fine!

  8. Oops, I think if I'm not mistaken, those criterias were written by me, and I admit that it's strict. Pls realise that not all kindy will fulfil them, and I wrote them because I ran a kindy before. That's my expectation.
    BTW, I'm not sure if those kindy operators will kick my butt or not if I say this... Parents can actually request for trial class first before enrolment, which means you don't have to pay anything first. Some kindy do that, unless it's a well established and popular one, most kindy allow children to warm up first before enrolment. But you have to ask the kindy's management... Got to be thick face lah...

  9. I sent Ally the year she turned 3. No problems, except for the usual separation anxiety which lasted only a couple of days.
    Tried to do the same for Sam, but she just wasn't ready and refused to go. I had to postpone a year. She started when she was 4.

    I guess when you register would depend on the kindy. Some kindys still accept enrolment in the middle of term. The more popular it is, the earlier you need to register. For the simple reason that you want to secure a place.

    How I chose a kindy was recommendation from friends and of course, ultimately the child has to be comfortable.

  10. I had write the answer at my blog :P

  11. 1. I took a week trial on day rate basis, no deposit required. After 1 week, I was happy and sign him in dec(when term starts).
    2.He was 2.5 yrs then.
    3.Nearest to my home, easy for pickup. Small, not too many children and proper teaching system.
    4.He liked it the first week. He is a shy boy.
    5.Yes I am very happy because the principal is very responsible.
    6.No horror story but I find that the teacher turn over is very high. Maybe the pay is not that good.

  12. Sorry, I forgot to leave my link: http://mybabybay.com/blog/index.php/2004/12/11/my-boy-first-day-in-nursery/

  13. magictree,
    Thank you. A bit lengthy? Not at all. The more info, all the better to learn from your experiences. :)

    Thank you for digging deep into the recesses of your mind for those pre-school memories to share with me. Hahaha.

    Thank you for the tips. I'm sure we will all benefit from your insight as a mum and a kindy operator before.

    king's wife,
    You mentioned some kindy's still accept enrolment in the middle of the term. Just wondering aloud. Does a child who enters kindergarden midterm find it harder to adjust since the other kids and teachers are familiar with each other already?

    Thank you for sharing on your blog. :)I've added your link in my post. Like shoppingmum, I'm sure we will benefit from your insight as a mum and a kindergarden teacher. :)

    Oh, the terms starts in Dec and not January?

  14. If you teach your children at home they should be no problem if start mid-term. I think most of the kiddy will repeat the lesson again and again. Like us, we still let them revision after a team over.
    Like my son, he already know all the alphabert and number but just need learn to write it out.

  15. 1+2mom,
    My girl will be turning 4 this month. I'm not worried about the "education" part as she can write the alphabets from A-Z and her numbers 1-10 and further. She can read simple words and write her own name. I'm more concerned about the socialising part as she's quite shy. She even goes and hides under the table when my sister comes to visit! And everytime I see my paed, a neighbour etc, they will ask me "She's not in kindergarden yet?" as though I'm committing a big crime. I'm not worried about what other ppl say about me as a mum (who cares?) but I am worried that she's not learning enough social skills by just being at home.

  16. Hmm..can't really share much here, cos we didn't really do any 'homework' leh..we have decided on sending him to that particular school since it's near my mum's place and hubby had a few colleagues who's kids are there, and all have positive feedbacks on the school and teachers.

    So far, no complain yet (keeping my fingers crossed)..like you i worried more on Damien's social skills than his academic.

    I get that kind of looks too when i told pple Damien did not attend any playgroup/enrichment class prior to his nursery..i don't give a damn too..;p

  17. this an interesting topic but i'm afraid i can't contribute much.

    i enrolled my elder son to a playschool near my current office and have to pull him out now cause' i'm moving office soon...as a matter of fact, i'm in a dilemma too.

  18. blurblur,
    I read some of your previous post about sending Damien off to school. I think I might cry too! Hahaha.

    two little fellas,
    Aarrgh.. that must be tough on you and your son ie. having to change. (probably tougher on you - as I think our kids adapt better than we give them credit for with our non-stop worrying.

  19. no lah, I dont think it matters so much at that age. It's not as if they missed out on any syllabus and children make friends so easily.

  20. king's wife,
    I'm not worried about the syllabus part but was advised against sending mid-term because of the argument that the child will feel left out since the teachers already know the children by name and the other kids have settled in and made friends with each other and knows what to do/where to go to toilet etc etc., things like that.


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