We visited between 2 trees during lunch today and was shown around by a pleasant lady Hui Hua who’s the resident artist. The preschool did not feel much like a school at all and felt more like a very open concept home. The philosophy was one of project based learning and the idea is that school is like an ongoing conversation with the students. When something new is mentioned in class, the teachers think whether they can incorporate it into the curriculum and make a learning experience out of it. For example, currently the nursery children are doing shoes and there was a row of different shoes laid out for them to put on and role play. There was also a kitchen area where they pretend to cook. Eg one can put on heels and pretend to be mummy preparing food in the kitchen. I thought it was a little dangerous to have kids put on those adult sized shoes but thought one can’t always be over protective. It was a quiet afternoon so not many children were around. The biggest group a group of 4 x 2-3 year olds playing with clay. An almost equal number of adults was around but there doesn’t seem to be much talking. They were just playing with the clay. In fact, the auntie in charge of cooking did more talking than the teachers, which was bad because auntie said things like “bisket nie nie (biscuit nice nice)”, not the type of linguistic environment I want to create for Sophia.
Overall I stepped out of the school feeling very sleepy. Hui Hua claimed that all their teachers have degrees in early childhood education but Kenny claimed that he saw one’s profile saying just diploma. In any case, they all seemed like the Hui Hua kind – really nice and gentle but not very lively or animated. Not sure they will be that good in sustaining children’s interest.
So the conclusion is: I’m not so sure. I probably will end up going with The Children’s Place.