Essential questions to ask on a preschool tour in Singapore
Blog - Education

Questions to Ask on a Preschool Tour: Guide for New Parents (SG)

Unsure of what questions to ask on a preschool tour? You’re in the right place. I know how the search for the right preschool can be both exciting and anxiety-provoking for new parents. As a first-time mom myself, I started looking at schools when my daughter was just 8 months old! While it might seem early, I wanted ample time to understand the Singaporean preschool system before my little one turned 3 – when I planned to send her to school.

Just like when I first started my search, I can imagine how many other new parents might feel equally overwhelmed by the process. But fret not! I’m here to help shed some insights based on my experience with the many preschool tours I’ve done so far (at least 10 so far).

Why preschool tours? To me, they are an excellent way to gather information and assess the environment where your child will spend a significant part of their day. If I’m sending my child to the care of complete strangers, I’m definitely going to want to know a lot more about the school, then just reading up about it on a website or listen to other parent’s reviews.

Not sure how to get started? Let me take you through the process step by step:

  1. Understanding the Difference between Infant Care & Preschools.
  2. How to Find & Shortlist Schools?
  3. Scheduling a Visit & Checklist of Essential Questions to Ask on a Preschool Tour!

Infant Care Vs Preschools in Singapore

Before diving into specific questions, let’s differentiate between infant care (for babies under 18 months) and preschools (for older toddlers and children).

Infant Care (IFC): Here, the focus is on providing a safe and nurturing environment for babies. Staff qualifications and daily routines are crucial aspects to consider. Less emphasis is on the curriculum if we want to be honest about it.

Preschools: These cater to older children, offering structured learning experiences alongside playtime and social interaction. Hence, curriculum and educational philosophy become central factors.

The reason for this distinction? As a parent, what you will be looking out for the school will differ simply because of the starkly different needs for your child at the different age groups.

Getting Started: Shortlisting IFCs & Preschools in SG

Not sure how to get started on finding where are the IFCs and Preschools near your home or workplace?Not to worry! Our government website, LifeSG provides a useful search for childcare options (both IFCs and preschools) via their website or app!

LifeSG Website

Search for preschools on LifeSG website (above) or app (below)

LifeSG App (iOS | Android)

Once you’ve entered your relevant search criteria (location, age level), a list of schools will be churned out. You can filter them according to vacancy, distance or fees. With that, there’s your main list that can you then start shortlisting potential schools that you might want to visit.

Now that you have your shortlist of schools, the next step is to schedule tours (call / email the schools) and prepare a list of questions to optimize your visit.

To help you get started, here’s a relatively comprehensive list of questions to ask on a preschool tour.

Essential Questions for Both IFCs & Preschool Tours:

Regardless whether you’re looking at an IFC or a preschool, these are some important questions to ask on a preschool tour.

Staff & Qualifications:

  • What is the typical class size and student-teacher ratio? How does this ratio impact the level of individual attention children receive?
  • What qualifications and certifications do the caregivers/teachers have?
  • Does the school engage part-time / trainee teachers? What is their level of involvement in taking care of the children?
  • What is the average tenure of caregivers/teachers in the school? (helps to gauge the turnover rate)

Curriculum & Philosophy:

  • Can you describe the school’s educational approach (e.g., play-based learning, Montessori method)
  • How does the school’s curriculum align with Singapore’s Early Childhood Curriculum Framework?
  • Can you walk me through a typical daily schedule, including naptime, playtime, and feeding schedules (for infant care) or learning activities (for preschools)?

Safety & Health:

  • What safety measures do you have in place to ensure the children’s safety in school?
  • How do you maintain hygiene and cleanliness throughout the day?
  • What is your policy regarding sick children? When will sick children be sent home? And when will they be allowed back to school? Is there a sick bay to separate healthy kids from sick kids?
  • How do you communicate outbreaks or potential health concerns?

Communication & Parental Involvement:

  • How often do you communicate with parents?
  • What methods do you use (e.g., daily reports, parent-teacher conferences)?

Additional Questions for Infant Care Tours (Under 18 Months):

If you’re looking to send your child to infant care, these additional questions may be more relevant to you.

Daily Routine & Care:

  • If I’m breastfeeding, do you have facilities for storing breast milk? How do you support breastfeeding mothers?
  • Can you describe your approach to bottle-feeding and introducing solid foods?
  • How often are diaper changes done, and what hygiene protocols do you follow? How do you handle diaper rash?
  • How do caregivers comfort crying babies and promote a sense of security?

Individual Needs:

  • Can you accommodate individual sleep schedules for babies?
  • How do you cater to babies with allergies or special dietary needs?
  • How will you communicate with me about my baby’s day, including feeding intake, sleep patterns, and any concerns you may have?
  • Do the caregivers have experience with specific infant milestones and development stages?

Additional Questions to Ask On a Preschool Tour (18 Months – 6 Years Old):

Curriculum & Philosophy:

  • Can you elaborate on your educational approach (e.g., play-based learning, Montessori method)? How does this approach benefit the children in their development compared to others?

Learning & Development

  • Can you show me examples of activities and resources you use to promote social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development?
  • How does your school support children with slower, faster, or special needs? What resources or specialists do you have available?
  • How do you assess children’s progress throughout the year? And how are parents updated on the progress?
  • Can you describe your approach to discipline? How do you encourage positive behaviour and handle challenging behaviours?
  • How do you prepare children for the transition to primary school? What skills and knowledge do you focus on to ensure their success?
  • What is your school’s take on homework? At this age, do children receive homework, and if so, what does it typically entail?
  • How often do children participate in field trips? Where have you been in the past year? Are parents allowed to accompany their child on field trips?

Facilities & Resources:

  • Does the school have access to an outdoor space/ water play area? If so, how often do children get to use it?
  • How often are the indoor and outdoor play areas sanitized? What cleaning methods do you use to ensure a healthy environment? Can you show me how the equipment is sanitized?
  • Can you show me some examples of the age-appropriate learning materials and equipment available to the children?
  • How do you incorporate nature or outdoor exploration into the curriculum?

Logistics & Practicalities:

  • Can you explain your fee structure and payment options?
  • Are there any government subsidies available that I might be eligible for?
  • Do you offer door to door transportation options? If so, how does it work and what are the associated costs?
  • Besides public holidays, how many additional days does the school close throughout the year?

Transition & Adjustment:

  • What strategies do you have in place to help children adjust to a new environment? How do you ease the transition process for both children and parents?
  • Can parents observe their child’s initial days at school, and if so, what is the process?

Parental Involvement:

  • What level of parental involvement is expected in terms of my child’s schoolwork? Will there be daily assignments or homework that requires parental assistance?
  • Are there opportunities for parents to participate in school activities, such as volunteering or attending events?

Tips When Going For IFC or Preschool Tour

Preparation is Key:

  • Prioritize Your Questions: Before each tour, create a list of questions tailored to the specific school and your child’s needs. This helps you focus on the most important aspects for your family.
  • Take Notes: Take notes during the tour to capture key information and revisit them later when comparing different preschools.

Beyond the Tour:

  • Observe the Environment: Try to ask for tours during normal operating hours instead of after closing or on weekends. Pay close attention to the overall atmosphere, cleanliness, and safety of the facilities. How do the staff interact with the children? Is there a sense of joy and engagement?
  • Ask Follow-Up Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask clarifying questions based on what you observe during the tour. This shows your genuine interest and helps you gather a complete picture.

Trust Your Instincts:

  • Go with Your Gut Feeling: Ultimately, the best preschool is the one that feels right for your family. Consider the overall vibe, your child’s personality, and your teaching philosophy preferences.
  • Get your Partner Involved: Involve your partner (if applicable) in the preschool search process. Discussing your observations and priorities together can strengthen your decision-making.

Are You Prepared With Your Questions to Ask on a Preschool Tour?

Finding the perfect preschool for your child can feel like a daunting task, but with thorough research and the right questions to ask on a preschool tour, you can confidently navigate this important decision.

Remember, there’s no single “best” preschool; the ideal match will cater to your child’s unique needs and your family’s values. Embrace the tours, ask the right questions, and trust your gut feeling. You’ll find the nurturing environment that sparks your child’s curiosity and sets them on a path of lifelong learning.

Bonus Tip: Don’t be afraid to revisit schools you loved! After touring several options, return to your top contenders for a second look. This can solidify your feelings and ensure you make the best choice for your child’s future.

Interested in learning about other milestones in motherhood? Don’t forget to check out our Ultimate Motherhood Guide (with milestones in months)

Guide to Motherhood (SG Edition) Feature Image

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