Is my child ready for preschool?

Is my child is ready for preschool?

shaws preschool learning play preschool

As parents, we are excited to give our children as many experiences as we can. One milestone experience is going to preschool!

However, when is your child ready for preschool?

There is no checklist to complete, and not all children develop at the same pace. So how do we know?

It is also important to note that preschool is different from one-hour enrichment programmes. The enrichment programmes are often crammed with stimulating activities. Preschool experiences on the other hand are about social and emotional experiences, developmentally appropriate activities to suit each individual child, providing a nurturing and safe environment to learn and to keep trying, and the introduction to the notion that learning is fun!

In Singapore, most preschools take in children from 18months to 6 years old. Most children start preschool between 18 months to 2 years old. To know when your child is ready, here are some questions to ask yourself…

Is your child able to express himself to unfamiliar peopleshaws preschool learning play preschool

As parents we can read out child’s needs without them having to express themselves. At preschool on the other
hand, it is important that your child is able to get his basic needs and feelings across to teachers. This expression need not be verbal. It can be by pointing, through baby talk, or even facial expressions. What is important is that he is willing to attempt to communicate.

Is your child able to walk?

For most preschools in Singapore, being able to walk is a requirement. In a preshool classroom there will be other children around. It is important that your child is able to walk and keep steady – bumping around etc. during music time, walking while carrying items.

Does your child attempt independent activities at home?

These could be simple things such as wanting to set the table, or wanting to put their shoes on. These are little signs that your child is ready to start preschool.

Is your child curious about the world?

For children who can talk, this would include asking lots of questions. For children who are not talking yet, it could be wanting to touch things around them, or they like trying new things.

Is your child healthy?

Starting school will mean being with other children. Children who start school usually will catch bugs as they build their immune system. So yes, your child will fall ill. For the health of your child as well as the other children in the class, your child should be fit and healthy when he starts preschool.

Does your child ask to go to school?

An obvious indication… for children who can talk, does your child ask to go to school? Or if you have an older child, does your child indicate that they want to go to school just like their older sister or brother.

shaws preschool learning play preschool

Mum and Dad – this one is for you! Are you ready for your child to attend preschool?

Your little baby is growing up and ready for school. It is important that you choose a preschool that is just right for you, somewhere you trust with your precious baby. It is also important that parents keep their anxieties in check when in front of their child, as children can pick up on this. You can find more on tips for starting preschool here.


shaws preschool learning play preschool


“I am in preschool! I am not build to keep still, keep my hands to myself, take turns, be patient, stand in line or keep quiet all of the time. I need motion, novelty, adventure, and to engage the world with may whole body. Let me PLAY! Trust me, I am learning!” – Author unknown.


Preparing your child for the first day of preschool

Starting preschool is a huge milestone for both children and parents. Here are some handy tips for preparing your child for their first day…

Heading to preschool with Dad!


Pick a preschool you trust

You are leaving your precious child under the care of a team of preschool teachers  – be sure you trust them!

Talk to your child about starting preschool

Talk your child through what the first day of preschool will be like, including the many fun things they will be doing at preschool, for example playing in the playground. Mentally prepare them for this new and exciting experience.

Take your child to visit the preschool

This will allow your child to become familiar with the surroundings, and maybe even a few faces around the preschool. At Shaws Preschool, we encourage new children to come and play in the playground to familiarise them with the environment.

at preschool with mum shaws preschool

Talk to the Principal and teachers about your child

Before your child starts preschool, or at least on the first day, talk to the Principal and teachers about your child. Don’t forget to include anything special about your child, for example the words your child uses to go to the toilet, or when they are hungry. Also include information about your child’s likes and dislikes.

Pack something familiar in your child’s bag

This will make the transition from home to school a little easier with something that can comfort them. It can be anything from a favourite toy, to a little pillow.

Two-way feedback

The preschool should provide you with feedback with how your child is doing. However don’t forget to give the school feedback too! It is a new experience so share how your child is at home in the first few days and how he or she is coping, be it positive or negative.

mum and child at preschool

Be prepared for tears

Separation anxiety is normal for children, so do be prepared for tears when you leave your child. At Shaws Preschool, parents usually leave two or three days after the child starts preschool (however this is not always the case as each child settles in differently).  What is important is that the teachers are able to settle your child within a few minutes after you leave.

Parents have to be prepared for the separation too!

A child starting preschool is a new experience for parents too! So don’t forget to prepare yourselves too. Do prepare yourselves for the separation anxiety, and remember to stay positive so your child does not pick up on your anxiety. Do reassure your child that you will be back to him or her up and the end of the day. When saying goodbye, do it quickly. Don’t linger or play peek-a-boo as this will only make the separation a lot harder for your child. Trust the Principal and teachers – they have years of experience settling in hundreds of children. If you have dropped off your child and are anxious about how they are doing, pick up the phone and call us anytime. We will give you an on-the-spot update of how your child is doing.

preschool with dad shaws

Starting preschool is a new and exciting experience. Talk to our Principals or teachers at any time if you are unsure. And don’t forget to enjoy the experience while you can… because in no time, it will be preschool graduation!

Shaws Preschool Graduation 2017


“You’re off to great places. Today is your first day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” – Dr Seuss

“I can do it!” – Raising an independent child

Shaws Preschool – Building independent and confident children!

Children have a natural drive to be independent. As they grow, they want to do more tasks for themselves, and take responsibility for themselves whenever they can. As adults, we naturally want to help them where we can, protect them from making mistakes, and bail them out of sticky situations.  However we have to be careful that this does not hinder independence!

With independence comes confidence and self-esteem, the ability to problem solve, and them believing in themselves.

We’re not saying leave your child on their own and let them be completely independent! We want to  allow them to be independent within a safe environment. It is the little moments that occur day to day that provide these great learning experiences, that will lead them to become independent people we can be proud of.

Here are some of the things we do to nurture independence at Shaws Preschool, which start from our toddlers as young as 18 months old!

Nurturing self-help skills

Self-help skills are brilliant at nurturing independence and building confidence in even very young children.

There are generally four main types of self-help skills – Self feeding, independent dressing and grooming, hygiene and toileting, and helping with daily chores such as packing up toys and setting the table. The key is to give children age appropriate activities  to help children be successful and to provide sufficient time for children to master these skills. In a preschool classroom such as Shaws, these include children being  responsible for the activities they choose. From as young as 18 months all, children pick out their activity and take it to their table. After they complete the activity, they pack it up and return it to the shelf.  When they arrive at school, the take out their water bottles, snack boxes and communication books, and places them in the appropriate baskets, and pop their bags into the cubby holes. <strong>When children practice self-help skills, they gain confidence in trying new things, and build great self esteem and pride when they are able to complete a task.

Giving children choices

Choices allow children to have some control in a world where adults usually make all the decisions. Giving children choices is a good way to give children independence. However giving choice is the easy part –  the trickier part is having your child understand that they need to live with their choices.

Learning to fail – It’s ok to make mistakes!

“To learn to succeed, you must learn to fail” –  Michael Jordan.

What is the important is the ability to try again.  When children have a problem, don’t be too quick to step in and give them a solution. These may be problems in work such as trying to work out how to complete a puzzle, or how to negotiate with a group of friends in the playground. It could also include letting them try and solve a problem when they come to you for help.  When children are working on a task, step back and let them figure it out. The outcome may not be perfect, and even if it isn’t they would have learnt a tremendous amount. Our job is to encourage them to try again. And most times, they will surprise us or even themselves!


Accepting the outcome

When we allow children the independence to take charge, we have to remember that the outcome may not be the same as what we envisioned. They may choose to build their tower in a particular way, or paint their tunnel in a particular way. It is their way and they are proud of it!  And we should accept their end product if that is what they worked towards.

Encourage independent play

Children need time to be by themselves and engage in independent play. At school, these are usually activities designed to be done only by one child from start to finish, giving children time and space to explore and experiment on their own. This is very important not only to encouraging independence, but also for all-round development.  Children do not need to be entertained all the time. They should not need an adult next to them at all times. They need periods of self-directed, uninterrupted play to learn to problem solve using their own ideas.  And when children are in this “space” of independent play, the teacher’s or parent’s hardest job is really sitting back and watching the magic happen!

We want our children to grow up independent, with confidence and ready to take on the world!

“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence” – Dennis Waitley.


Help my picky eater eat!

Help, my child is a picky eater!

How can I encourage my child to be more adventurous and try different foods? Why does my child eat at preschool and not at home?

no picky eaters here at shaws preschool

Lunchtime at Shaws Preschool

“Picky” eating is actually part of normal development, and most of us will have something we don’t like to eat.  In our experience, the language we use, and the attitude we take towards food refusal are really important. Instead of calling attention to the picky eating, make meals an enjoyable experience. At preschool, mealtime is a wonderful social experience for the children. We involve the children in the routine, and we steer conversations towards what goes into their meals and how the various foods are good for them.

We encourage, but not dwell. Instead of insisting for individual children to finish their food, we encourage them to decide how much they want to eat by saying things like “Let’s make sure you have enough in your tummies, because the next meal won’t be until tea time!” You can also try to get your child excited about trying something new by saying “This is really good, it tastes a lot like (insert another food item) that you really like.”

Be a role-model. Children watch what grown-ups eat, and if you visibly enjoy it, he might be more likely to try

Involve your child in the process. This could mean shopping for food ingredients together,  or even setting the dinner table.

 shopping for groceries - supermarket - at shaws preschool we love veggies shaws preschool

Or even let your child be involved in the cooking process. This is a great way to encourage children to try different foods.

cooking our own food shaws preschool

Making our own delicious snack!

Sometimes (just sometimes!) you might want to allow him to make a (controlled) choice, ie. choosing one out of two possible foods. Children like making choices for themselves so this could be one way to make them try a particular food or dish.

At Shaws Preschool, we adopt the project approach, and one benefit (out of many) we have seen is how our children develop a love for fruits and vegetables after going through 10 weeks learning about them and growing them in our garden, like carrots, for example.

 yummy watermelon shaws preschool

These are a few of the things we do at preschool to encourage our children to eat. Of course, by the time it is lunch time, after a day of “child’s work” and play, the children are ready for a good meal!


I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am – Dr Seuss

Let your child play with mud!

Mud – dirt and water… two basic ingredients that can conjure up the most terrific feelings and make learning fun. What is it about this magnificent substance that just draws children (and adults!) to it? And it is more than fun as research shows that there are a multitude of benefits of playing with mud!

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