lists you should paste on your fridge, Truett goes to school

School Shopping 2.0

Speaking of learning, we’re on the hunt for schools again. The last time we did it was stressful to say the least. I called up every childcare centre near my place and visited quite a few until we finally found Emmanuel Playgroup, where Tru is attending now.

It fit everything we were looking for. They took Tru in at 18 months, which is admittedly a little young to start going to school (most places start at 24 months), but the great thing is that it doesn’t feel like an institution. The classes are small and cosy. The teachers are friendly and warm and awesome with kids. Plus, they really adore the kids, which in my books, is the most important thing I’m looking for.

Tru’s loving going to school, and he comes home with stories about his raisin adventure with Aunty Shirley. It would also be the perfect place to start Kirsten, who turns 18 months next Jan.

Thing is, they’re not going to continue the playgroup next year, so we’re back to school shopping again. This time, I’m starting early because some places have a waiting list for almost an entire year. It’s not fun to be desperately knocking on doors in December.

First off, here’s what we’re looking for.

1. Something for the 18-month old

Lots of the places I called only take in kids who are at least 2. Kirsten now looks on longingly as we drop Tru off at school every morning, wondering about all the fun that goes on beyond the bright red door and colorful walkway. And how incredible would it be to finally have 3 hours ALL TO MYSELF every morning? I’m already making a list of all the things I could do, like roller blading at East Coast, spa sessions, morning movies where I’ll be the only one in the whole cinema, real shopping…

2. Teachers that care

During the orientation tour, it’s hard to tell if the teachers are just doing it as job. Most of them will at least try to look like they care. So I get Tru to have a complete meltdown halfway through the tour just to see how they react. Some look genuinely appalled, others make a hasty getaway and then we find those that remain unfazed as they whip out a raisin to calm him down while proceeding with the tour. Also, I like to drop by when a class is in session to see how they interact with the other kids.

3. Decent enough environment

Ambience counts for a lot, actually. Kids seem to have an instinct for nicely decorated places. Ideally, there should be bright colors everywhere, with a place for water play and sand play. Tru’s only criteria is a nice playground (generally, the bigger, the better). He sees a playground and he goes ballistic because it’s his happy place. Which means I will make sure I find him a very happy place, if it’s the last thing I do.

4. Reasonable distance from my place

I don’t need to find a place at my doorstep but I’d prefer not to travel halfway across town just to drop them off at school. I’ve found some really great places but they are a good 30 minute drive away and coupled with morning traffic, I’d end up spending a lot of time in the car. I could perhaps go for somewhere near the husband’s office since I do drop him off in the morning so that would probably give me more options.

5. Not too pricey

If I just had one kid, I might even consider selling a kidney to fund his education (that’s how awesome of a mom I am), but with two kids, I can’t possibly sell both my kidneys. I hear that you need at least one to survive. And if I eventually have another two kids like I plan to do, I’d have no more organs left by the time I’m 35. Not a good plan at all.

There are several other things on our list but they’re not dealbreakers. Like how it would be nice to find a Christian place so that they learn to say grace and sing Jesus loves me. But we can teach them all that at home so it’s not that big a deal.

If you have any places to recommend, I would be much obliged. Then I can also buy you a cup of coffee and we can chill out while waiting for our kids to finish school. You can also drop me an email if you’re shy.

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  • Reply Chrystal May 1, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Oh no, now I’m panicking. Lauralynn turns 18 months in another 6 months, when I’ll also be due to pop the twins. *Starts going ballistic*

    • Reply Daphne Ling May 2, 2010 at 3:59 pm

      @Chrystal, Hey Chrystal, I think its really fine even if she starts later on, you’ll have more than your hands full trying to settle the twins. You must be excited! And a little anxious too, I suppose, honestly if I had twins after Truett, I probably would be freaking out too right now.

      Oops, didn’t mean to make you feel worse!

      • Reply Chrystal May 3, 2010 at 11:14 am

        @Daphne Ling, I was considering to put her in 18-months child care or playgroup as a back-up cause I’m quite sure I only have 2 hands & we all know our legs don’t work as well as hands.

        Moral of the story: better check your family history properly first else you’ll end up with twins and not know why until some far far away relative tells you somewhere up the family tree someone related quite closely to you by blood has had twins.

        • Reply Daphne May 3, 2010 at 5:02 pm

          @Chrystal, um, actually I AM hoping someone closely related to me has twins. That’ll be the time I close shop for good!

  • Reply Jacqueline yeo May 2, 2010 at 9:55 am

    I totally understand how you feel. Design snobs that we are, it was a nightmare finding a place that didn’t charge an arm and leg, and also had good (non floor to floor laminate! Eeks!) facilities. What I found most aesthetically pleasing has to be the church run kindies. Ours r going to one called Bethany, along upper paya laber. It’s fantastic and the girls LOVE their school to bits :) happy hunting!

    • Reply Anonymous May 2, 2010 at 4:01 pm

      @Jacqueline yeo, Ok that is going to my shortlist, anywhere in the east is worth a shot. Thanks Jac!

  • Reply San May 3, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Haha! I had a headache searching for one for Jay… Coupled with the fact I couldn’t decide whether to move back to my Tamp flat or get a new one nearer my mom’s place at Marine Parade meant that… it was all pretty “last-minute” too. If you are still open for that kidney to be sold, Mindchamps is pretty nice. I decided to keep mine, and Jay is now happily settled at Little Big, which is off East Coast Road. :)
    .-= San´s last blog ..Two Years & 3 Months Later… =-.

    • Reply Daphne May 3, 2010 at 5:05 pm

      @San, Little Big is definitely on the shortlist, in fact I’m heading there this Friday to check out the place.

      As for Mindchamps, I think we’re talking about TWO kidneys here!

  • Reply Rachel May 7, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Check out Shaw’s preschool. Heard that the environment is great and it has a learn through play curriculum. Forget about those more popular ones like eton, chiltern house or mindchamps. They may be good but all come with a hefty price tag. What matters is that your little ones will be happy there.
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..Progression and regression =-.

  • Reply Rachel May 7, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Oops forgot to ask which area u are residing in. Cos Shaw’s has only 2, one in Braddell and the other along East Coast Road. When I read about the part about u planning to go cycling in East Coast, I assume u stay in the East.
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..Progression and regression =-.

    • Reply Daphne May 7, 2010 at 10:35 pm

      @Rachel, You know what? I actually saw your message when leaving Little Big and wanted to make a detour to the one near East Coast/Katong since I was so near the area – except that I got lost and ended up somewhere in Kallang!

      Will drop by likely on Monday though. Thanks for the heads up!

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