Popular Singapore Preschool Curriculum Types

Parents in Singapore are not just overwhelmed when deciding where to take their child for preschool, but they also must determine the curriculum to use. The Ministry of Education recognizes several curriculums that are used to give preschoolers the necessary foundation for formal education. They include Montessori, play-based, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf Steiner, and The Theory of Multiple Intelligence.

Every childcare centre and kindergarten gets to decide the approach they prefer in ensuring the holistic development of children who seek Singapore preschool education at their facility.

The most recognized preschool curriculums are:


The Montessori approach to preschool education covers several areas of a child’s development, including sensory, language, math, art, music, culture and science. Montessori-specific materials are used to help a child to refine the use of his senses. For example, metric system formulas help a child recognize size, colour, sound, form, texture, shape, and dimension.

The sensory materials used also help children to develop other skills, such as doing math, creative art, and playing music. Moveable alphabets help children recognize words and come up with simple sentences.

The Montessori system of education involves spontaneous learning, where the teacher gets children to do new tasks whenever necessary. Since it is a holistic approach, children are always exposed to new learning techniques to reduce monotony.

Although the teacher remains the guide, the Montessori curriculum also encourages children to take the lead whenever necessary. This helps the teacher to assess a child’s development. The teacher sets up a self-driven environment that encourages children to learn from one another. The teacher is also open to learn from the children.

Reggio Emilia

This curriculum is more involving since children learn through hands-on experience. This approach requires preschoolers to use all their senses., Since this system focuses on what children see, hear, touch, smell and taste, every item in the classroom has a purpose. Schools that use this curriculum avoid clutter in the learning environment.

In this system, teachers educate using music, puppetry, drama, shadow play, and print. In this case, children are active participants and don’t just rely on the teacher as the instructor. For example, children say what they see or hear when they are shown drawings, sculpture, written content, and dramatic plays.

Schools that teach using the Reggio Emilia approach puts emphasis on the child’s environment. The classes are homelike to make children comfortable. They can also learn concepts they are familiar with. This way, even when they are at home, they can continue learning by observing the same things they did in school.

While other systems of education place the focus on the teacher as the educator, the Reggio Emilia approach has the teacher as the observer. The children take the lead by telling the teacher stories and asking questions. It is through this exchange that the teacher can tell what the preschoolers are interested in and how to further those interests. In this case, the projects are not static. They keep evolving as the child’s focus changes.

Waldorf Steiner

Although this approach is used in several schools, it is not a very popular curriculum in Singapore. Even the schools that use it don’t rely on it exclusively. Most of these schools combine this approach with another curriculum, for example, Montessori and Waldorf Steiner.

The Waldorf Steiner has little or no academic inclination. This is probably why it is not so popular in Singapore, a country where education is quite competitive. This approach focuses on a child’s imagination, rather than traditional math, reading, writing and science lessons. This system of schooling frowns upon electronic devices, such as televisions, which distort a child’s imagination and creativity.

You are probably wondering why this system of education even exists if it goes against the conventional education system. The Waldorf Steiner approach purports to be age-sensitive. The assumption is preschool children cannot process words or mathematical concepts. They are, however, quite imaginative. The zero-tolerance to media keeps children from undesirable content and helps them to become creative beings independently.

Play-Based Curriculum

This curriculum acknowledges that children are more likely to understand what they learn if it is delivered in play form, rather than in a serious classroom setting. A play-based curriculum doesn’t necessarily involve children running all over the place. It is a structured environment where the teacher supervises the children and converts their experiences and interests into learning opportunities.  

The Theory of Multiple Intelligences

This approach looks at a child’s intelligence at more than academic. Various aspects of a child’s performance are checked when assessing knowledge. A child’s ability to learn different languages, logical arguments, musical interests, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, and Body Kinaesthetic are considered when measuring intelligence.

Some of these curriculums have more similarities than differences. However, before choosing a school for your preschooler, it is best to analyze your child’s behaviour to determine which approach is most suitable.

Preparing Your Child for Preschool in Singapore

What is the right age of enrolling for child pre school in Singapore? This is a challenge for many parents since kindergartens and childcare centres are flexible when it comes to the age of admission. Some kindergartens admit children who are three years old and above, while others enroll younger children.

The decision to take a child to pre school ultimately rests with you. However, even as you decide when your child should go for pre school, you need to prepare him or her for this period, especially if this is the first time, he or she will be away from you for a few hours a day. 

Boost Your Child’s Immunity

Pre school will be the first time your child meets many children at the same time. Whether you take your child to a small kindergarten or one of the large childcare centres, he or she will be exposed to communicable diseases, like flu, which is common in early learning institutions.

While it usually takes an adult a day to spread flu, children have a longer window if they have low immunity. This is one of the reasons children in pre school almost always have the flu.  It is important to start boosting your little one’s immunity early.

Start by feeding your child a balanced diet, with emphasis on vegetables and fruits. Boost his vitamin C intake before, and during the period he is in school. If you have a fussy eater and have trouble getting him or her to eat his fruits and vegetables, get multivitamin supplements ideal for his or her age. You can also find out if your child can get a flu shot.

Prepare Your Child for the Separation

Children, like adults, get separation anxiety. Only theirs is worse because they have never been away from their parents for several hours. Some children cope for the few hours they are away, but some don’t. To ensure your child doesn’t spend so many hours crying for you, prepare him for that moment when you have to leave him at the pre school.

Discuss what he should expect on his first day, and even let him know when he should expect you. If he is gone for half the day, let him know you’ll pick him for lunch or after his meal. This way, he’ll know when to expect you. You should also find out his fears and give him the assurance he needs.

Involve Him When Choosing a Preschool

Some children get anxious about going to preschool because the environment is new to them. Dressing children in the morning and leaving them in a place they have never been to is a recipe for disaster. They will cry and probably remain inconsolable for the rest of the day. This is not just tough on the children, but the teachers as well.

To avoid all the distraction and distress, get at least three childcare centres or kindergartens you are comfortable with then visit each one with your child. Let him know why he needs to go to pre school, and that he will go to the school he likes best.  

If you agree with his choice, he will look forward to his first day and will be happy because he chose the pre school. This gesture will give him the confidence to discuss his adventures and tell you more about the school. Your child will not be the only excited one, but you will also have peace of mind knowing your child is in a school he likes. It would help if you also encouraged him to discuss the things he doesn’t like. This way, he’ll know he can tell you anything, even when he chose the school.

Preparing your child for preschool is one of the critical steps to take when he gets to school-going age. Ensure he is up to date will all his vaccinations and has all his school supplies. Please encourage your child to enjoy school since the foundation he gets will influence his attitude towards education.