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What Should Parents Think About When Looking For Quality Preschool Education For Their Child(ren)

Even in education, it’s important to remember that “price is what you pay, value is what you get”.

What Should Parents Think About When Looking For Quality Preschool Education For Their Child(ren) (MFS)

This article was written in collaboration with My First Skool. All views expressed in this article are the independent opinion of based on our research. is not liable for any financial losses that may arise from any transactions and readers are encouraged to do their own due diligence. You can view our full editorial policy here.

“It takes a village to raise a child” is a saying we would likely relate to as a parent (though not literally). When it comes to taking care of our child or children, there are many things to consider and worry about from the day they are born – especially with the rising cost of living and their education.

In a previous article I wrote, I estimated that the cost of raising a child in Singapore till age 18 (excluding university education) would be about $170,000 – and this is likely a conservative estimate.

While we cope with the rising cost of raising a child, or children, we can’t neglect their education as well.

For a country with no natural resources, Singapore’s most important asset is her people. That is why education plays a vital role not just for our country, but also in the life journey of every child growing up in Singapore.

Under the Compulsory Education Act, it’s stated that primary education is compulsory for all children who are Singapore citizens residing in Singapore. This commences once the child is above the age of 6.

Compulsory Education Act

Source: Compulsory Education Act

While preschool education isn’t compulsory for children who are 6 and below, this doesn’t mean it isn’t important. In fact, preschool education sets the learning foundation and character development for our children that eventually influence their abilities in life.

What Is A Quality Preschool Education?

Did you know studies have shown that 85% of brain development occurs before the age of 5? And with the increasing number of parents recognising the importance of early childhood education in their children’s development, this has given rise to the need for quality preschool education.

As a parent, one of the things that constantly impresses me is just how adaptable our children are. At home, our young children will constantly need our attention for almost everything they do, from feeding, reading, playing and going to the toilet. However, when they are in school, they naturally learn along with their friends how to be independent in doing these things on their own.

A preschool is like a launch pad for our children’s education. It’s where they learn to make their first friends on their own. Besides having the prerequisite training in early childhood education, preschool teachers are equally passionate and patient when immersing them in an environment that sparks their curiosity to learn.

In fact, a Harvard study explained that “relationships are the most important factor in building sturdy brain architecture. Think of building a house: The foundation establishes a base upon which everything else is built. The same is true with developing brains”.

Operating under the NTUC First Campus umbrella, My First Skool is an industry-leading preschool with experienced pedagogists and a strong curriculum. Rather than fixate on “absolute correctness, mechanics and memorisation”, a greater emphasis is placed on developing important positive relationships between children and the people around them and the education journey.

What Is A Quality Preschool Education (MFS)

Source: My First Skool

(for all images in the article)

My First Skool has the belief that every child can achieve their best potential through high-quality early childhood education and care. To underscore this point, it ensures preschoolers have access to early intervention professionals who are able to identify and support children with diverse needs to adapt well in school.

With more than 2,600 educators at over 140 pre-schools located islandwide serving over 20,000 young families, My First Skool is in a strong position to influence the quality of preschool education and how it is delivered.

In My First Skool, children are also exposed to a wide range of curriculum including language & literacy, numeracy and discovery of the world around them. They also develop their abilities in other areas such as motor skills, aesthetics & creative expression and social & emotional development. My First Skool identifies these as key learning domains to provide children with holistic development in their early years.

Thinking Ahead Financially For Subsequent Children

As a parent to three young children, I thought it’s imperative to share my perspective on how we can manage financial matters as parents.

Naturally, we want the best for our kids, whether it’s healthcare, experiences, or education. Of course, all these things will cost us.

Unless you have twins, or triplets, our children will be entering various phases of their lives at different times. This means when I decide for my oldest child, I am indirectly deciding for my younger children, who will join her later, as well.

Like it or not, we must think of the financial implications for the decisions we make as a family, and not just for an individual child.

Here’s a hypothetical example. Suppose there is a preschool that we really want to send our child to, which costs $2,000 a month. After calculating our budget, we reckon we can afford to send our child there while having enough to eat, save, invest and pay our mortgage and car loans. So, we opt for it.

Subsequently, child 2 and child 3 come along. Now, the question is no longer about whether we can afford to send one child to the preschool, but rather, whether we can afford to send all three children to the same preschool which could possibly cost us up to $6,000 a month (if all three children are attending the school concurrently).

This is a financial consideration that parents need to think about, not just for preschool but every other essential spending such as insurance and travel. Once we have multiple children, the cost adds up quickly. So, for bigger families, it’s always important to consider the amount we will be spending for all our children, and not just on one child.

Read Also: 4 Things That I Have Done To Teach My Children The Value Of Money

Focus On The Value Of The Education, Not The Price You Pay

There is a famous Warren Buffet quote in the investment world that says, “price is what you pay, value is what you get”.

The quote is used to bring across the point that, in the investment world, stock prices change all the time depending on investors’ sentiment. However, this doesn’t necessarily imply that the value of these companies that we invest in is changing.

Here’s a simple way to think about it. Suppose we want to buy the iPhone 13 Pro Max. If we opt for the most expensive 1TB model, this will cost us S$2,629. A month later, for some reason, the price goes down to S$1,629. Though we might be paying less now, this doesn’t change the value of the product that we get.

The same concept can be applied to other areas of our lives including education. A more expensive education doesn’t necessarily mean a better one. Paying more to study for an overseas degree doesn’t mean you are getting a superior education compared to studying in Singapore for a local university degree. This also applies to preschool education.

Instead, what we should focus on as parents is the education our children are actually getting in their preschools.

In Preschools, Playing & Learning Go Hand-In-Hand

One very popular approach to learning is the STEM-based education, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. For My First Skool, STEM-based learning forms an important part of education for children, enabling them to explore, understand and develop problem-solving skills.

STEM-based learning not only helps our children better understand their curriculum but also provides them with an understanding of how our world works. This could be using engineering concepts to explain how structures like bridges and roller coasters are built, teaching children how they can use the internet to find answers to questions they have, or teaching them how to use coding to play with Bee-Bot – a robot bee that buzzes across the floor and navigates through obstacles based on the directional inputs that are planned by the children.

In Preschools - playing & learning go hand-in-hand (MFS)My First Skool values a learning philosophy that empowers children to learn through a pedagogical approach called PETAL – Playing, Exploring, Thinking, and Applying Learning. This approach focuses on utilising play experiences to help children with their learning and development. After all, as my older child always says, kids should “always have fun in everything they do!”

For example, by playing with simple objects like wheels, children can learn more about the properties of wheels such as why it has a circular shape, the material that is used and the concept of acceleration and deceleration. They can also think about how wheels are used in cars and what can be done to the wheels to adjust the performance of the car.

For me personally, I think it’s important for children to learn and have fun in school. At that young age, a child who finds learning fun is more likely to enjoy going to school, and will naturally enjoy the process of learning better. When they excitedly talk to their friends about what they learn, or bring home ideas from school such as wanting to grow a plant on their own, we as parents can do our part in supporting their interest. For example, when my kids got interested in soldiers, tanks and planes during National Day, I brought them to a nearby shop to buy some toy soldiers.

Helping Children Transit To Primary School

For children who are already attending preschool prior to primary school, getting used to a classroom setting that facilitates fun learning would help them to develop intellectually, emotionally and socially so that they have an easier transition.

Example of activities that My First Skool provides is the Dramatic Learning Corner – a place where children’s learning is enhanced through dramatic play.

Such activities would include a cashier area for children to learn about money, as well as to teach them to buy their own food at the stall to understand the concept of buying and paying for their meal in the canteen once they reach primary school.

Helping Children Transit to Primary School (MFS)The inquiry project encourages children to explore their topics of interest and to get them to ask questions, and to investigate further to find their own answers. This allows children to better understand the questions that they previously did not know, and to get them to participate in storytelling at the show-and-tell stage to help build self-confidence, expression and social skills through the process of presenting to their friends.

Let Children Enjoy Their Learning Journey

Besides just their curriculum, My First Skool helps kids develop important soft skills such as being socially confident, an independent learner and taking responsibility for their own belongings. For example, social skills are taught through role-playing, as well as during well-facilitated storytelling sessions and working together on their project works.

Let Children Enjoy Their Learning Journey (MFS)For those with more than one child, preschools are also going to be a shared experience among our children growing up. Without compromising on affordability, preschools like My First Skool can be the ideal choice, where more than 2,600 early childhood educators have a single focus – to help our child be the best that he or she can be.

Find out more about how My First Skool can partner with you as a parent in helping your child in this important phase in life where our children will learn and develop resilience and social skills, allowing them to thrive later in their lives.