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Question:

Can I replace Nursery 1 with various enrichment classes for my child?

Asked by: IC_PRIS
Words from the Expert:

Question:

I'm intending to skip Nursery 1 for my son. Just wondering if that is ok. By skipping, i will enrol him to at least 3 enrichments classes a week - that will include an English Enrichment, Speech and Drama and continuing his Right Brain Training class.

Answer:

Unlike primary schools, there is currently no stipulated mandate in early childhood that children must attend preschool. That said, the developmental years before the age of 5 are the most critical to a child in terms of building “brain architecture” and hence it is important to still ensure that adequate and appropriate learning curves are provided  to children have what it takes to be  socially, emotively and cognitively ready for the learning chapters to come.

Enrichment classes can be a means to achieving specific learning objectives and at the same time be complementary to the need to springboard self-help skills. The usually smaller class sizes for enrichment classes can also help to ease the transition to school better especially for shy children.

However, the value of starting preschool and beginning that learning chapter early does have its merits especially in the following aspects:

1) Nurturing Cognitive Development

One key observation for children placed in a school setting early is that the exposure to a variety of content that preschools are able to put the child through deepens the knowledge base of learning. The other observation is that the child’s natural ability to code-switch is better refined. This is especially in terms of abilities to manage bilingualism.

2) Socio-Emotional Development

Whilst being in the presence of good modeling from an environment primarily with adults can help to contribute in the areas of development for a child but children also need to learn to function out of family relationships and bonding. Being in a preschool also helps to prepare children to understand better the organizational relationships in a community.

3) Self Help and Soft skills

Whilst in a school setting, children also learn how to self-feed, satisfy survival skills of thirst and hunger and learn how to ask for assistance. Other soft skills like focusing, turn taking, taking an open mind and learning self- control are just as important. 

Ultimately when the exposure to structured learning starts also depends much on the child’s readiness. There is no right or wrong approach as to whether a child should dive straight into a preschool or to only focus on play dates and bite-sized learning.

This article was contributed by Mrs Esther Lim - Founder of LEAP Schoolhouse and the Curriculum Director of LEAP Education Group

LEAP Schoolhouse website: www.leapeducation.sg

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