Kids Guide 2015/16


Babies, Toddlers, Tweens & Teens For

Mums’ Panel Baby Essentials Health Advice School Reviews Family Holidays Fashion Tips Days Out


Nothing like it was back in “our day”!

O ne of the reasons I’ve stayed in Singapore for over 17 years is because I think it’s one of the easiest places in the world to raise children. Mine weren’t born here, but talking to mums who have had children here, it sounds like the whole hospital experience would have been much nicer – and we needn’t mention the readily available home help! Our panel of mums in this year’s Kids’ Guide have given their honest feedback on everything from being pregnant to having children and raising them here, to help you at whatever stage you’re at. Singapore has so much to offer and it’s difficult to cover it all but we’ve given it a good try.

Please do get in touch if you still have any questions or have anything to add; Singapore changes so rapidly that it can sometimes be hard to keep up. But the plus side of that is that it’s always improving. We didn’t have 10 percent of what’s out there now when we first arrived – I remember the beach at Sentosa only had a couple of shelters that we could use for changing nappies or for getting under cover when it rained! So, welcome to the wonderful world of being a parent in Singapore, whether you’ve recently moved to the island with little ones in tow, or you’ve been here some time and are just starting a family. We wish you lots of happiness on the journey with your children. Enjoy them – it doesn’t take long before they’re towering over you!




Kids’Guide 2015/16

Babies, Toddlers, Tweens & Teens For

Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET

Mums’ Panel Baby Essentials Health Advice School Reviews Family Holidays Fashion Tips Days Out

Group Editor SHAMUS SILLAR Executive Editor VERNE MAREE Kids’ Guide Editors



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Bumps To Babes 16 Meet Our Mums’ Panel 18 Doula: Do or Don’t? 21 Morning Sickness: How to Cope 25 Sleep: The Holy Grail 28 Breastfeeding Insights 34 When to Wean?



Little Learners 39 Preschools, Kindergartens, Learning Centres & More 75 Play Days 90 Arty Days 94 Party Days 97 Play Centres 99 Managing Screen Time 101 Daily Life 112 Insurance Advice 114 Expat Parenting: Pros & Cons 116 Getting Around 118 Losing the Baby Weight 120 Pre-made or Pureed Food? 123 Kids’ Restaurants & Classes 76 Sporty Days 86 Family Clubs 102 Family Health 106 Kids & Teeth








Shopping Around Getting Great Family Photos

Travel Focus

137 143

202 Regional Resorts 206 Villa Stays 207 Cruising Adventures 208 Family Holidays 211 Tips for Travelling with Kids 214 Important Numbers 215 Advertiser List 216 Subscribe to Expat Living

Pram & Product Recommendations


Retail Roundup


School Bells 162 International Schools, Specialist Education Services & More




Bumps to Babes


PANEL While maternal instincts can be a very useful thing for a new mum, it’s always great to have a bunch of advice on a wide range of topics at your fingertips. Which is why we’ve asked seven of our readers to provide recommendations on everything from coping with sleep deprivation to weaning to tips for travelling with little ones. Find out a bit about our contributors below. MEET THE

Aussie BRYNIE came to Singapore almost three years ago via a stint in London. She works two days a week for a wealth management company, and prior to becoming a mum worked in sales and marketing for a Digital Media company. Her children are Isabella (3) and William (1), with another one on the way!

French expat CYNTHIA lived in Australia for 15 years before following h u s b a n d To n y t o Singapore three years ago. She’sastay-at-home mum who previously worked in production andmarketing. Daughter Mirabelle is three and son Franco is 10months.

ANN is from Scotland and has a background in production and editorial work. She met hubby Greg 11 years ago while living in London; that’s where they had their two girls, Eilidh (5) andGrace (3); little brother Rory (14 months) was born after the move to Singapore in 2013.



SILVIA is from Portugal and is a professional counsellor specialising in maternal mental health; she’s also co-founder of the Mindful Mums support group and new mobile app MumRadar. This is her third year in Singapore, which follows 10 years in England. Daughter Matilda is four years old, and son Arthur four months.

This year we sourced our Mums’ P a n e l

DEBORAH is our Singaporean representative on the panel. Before having children sheworked at the National University Hospital Eye Centre. Her two boys (3 and sixmonths) enjoy living in Punggol and visiting the Waterway Park.

contributors from Stork’s Nest Singapore (SNS), a non- profit parenting support group offering information and perspectives for parents of young children. SNSstartedas aFacebook group in 2012 with a few hundred members and has grown to a network of over 7,000 parents who rely on community support when facing life with children away from immediate family. The SNS admin team, Stork’s Nest Angels, puts on two events each year to raise money for StarPALS, who provide much-needed paediatric palliative care in Singapore. You can join SNS at groups/StorksNestSingapore .

British expat TAMSYN has lived in the US, New Zealand, Australia and – for the past eight years, S i ngapo re . Be fo re becoming a stay-at- home mum she was regional director of a software company. Her three children are Leo (4), Tabitha (2.5) and Halle (9 months).

Kiwi JODIE works as an Executive Assistant. She’s been in Singapore for just over three years, andprior tomoving to this part of Asia, she lived in Dubai for six years. She has one seven-month-old son, Josh.



Singapore has many doulas of fering suppor t and guidance for expectant couples. Employing a doula can be a great benefit, especially for first-time parents. Doula: DOORDON’T?

Fact f ile The word doula is actually derived from the Greek word for “female slave”. Toda y, i t re f e r s t o a n independent caregiver who helps make a mother feel safe and comfortable before, during and after childbirth. This modern use of the word was coined in 1969. Among the first doula training and certifying organisations in the world was Doulas of North America (DONA). While a midwife is a trained medical professional, a doula’s role is to offer non- medical support to mothers. That said, most doulas will have knowledge of many aspects of labour and delivery. Part of a doula’s role is to assist a mother in following a birth plan. Some doulas are multilingual and can help break down a language barrier between mother and doctor.

Did you (or would you) use a doula?

I thought about it. I’m a big advocate of doulas after speaking to various friends. I think it’s good to have someone fully focused on you when

you’re unable to vocalise what you want and need; perhaps a family member or spouse is too emotionally fraught to do the same job objectively. –Ann

No, but I’m looking at using one for my third pregnancy

and am considering Tania Grose-Hodge.


I didn’t use a doula, as I already had my brilliant husband for support, and also a midwife from the Emma Care team from NUH. –Cynthia I didn’t, but I would highly recommend Tania Grose- Hodge and Johanna Wagner from my professional dealings with both. –Silvia I didn’t really know about them, and I didn’t have any complications so it wasn’t needed. But many of my friends would highly recommend them and had great experiences with them. –Tamsyn



N A U S E A ? No,Thanks! Unravelling the unwelcome mysteries of morning sickness in pregnancy.

Did you know?

It’s not known exactly why some women get morning sickness and others escape its curse. The hormone hCG is a suspect, as is a surge in oestrogen. While there is no definitive cure for morning sickness, certain remedies have better results than others. Try to eat little and often, as nausea is often aggravated by a drop in blood sugar levels; eating five or six small meals that combine complex carbohydrates, proteins and good fats can be effective. Avoid your specific trigger foods (often fatty or spicy foods) or smells. A handful of women are affected by nausea so severely that without proper management it can lead to chronic dehydration, weight loss and hospitalisation – a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum . Ginger is considered a great natural remedy, whether it’s fresh, or in crystallised or powdered form in sweets or tea. Mint tea and mint gum are also commonly used – the latter can be bought in Singapore for medicinal purposes at pharmacies. Vitamin B6 is thought to reduce nausea and vomiting, while some pregnant women use an acupressure band – a soft wristband that acts on your pressure points to ease nausea.




I only got it in taxis third time around – air-con, air freshener and cars turned out to be a bad combo! I drank a lot of water and took some pink Himalayan salt – I also drank a lot of mint tea, which often took the edge off.


I suffered awful nausea in the first trimester of my third pregnancy but, other than that, I’ve been very lucky to only experience the usual tiredness in previous pregnancies. My tip is ginger lollies – best things ever!


I got it badly; with my first pregnancy all I did for months was puke, eat and sleep! It got quite depressing. But for my second pregnancy, I got smart, so it was manageable. The best tip I can give is that any food is better than no food. Whatever your tummy will accept, eat it – even if it’s just chips and ginger beer all day long, it’s better than not eating or drinking at all.


Luckily, I didn’t have very bad morning sickness. I did feel quite ‘off’ and very tired during the first trimester. I think you can’t do much except rest as much as possible. Ginger tea and biscuits or plain crackers helped me a bit when nauseous.


My morning sickness wasn’t too severe. One good tip is to keep snacking on dry toast – it worked wonders for me.



I had slightly odd morning sickness: no nausea, but a very unhappy tummy. The best thing I could do was to eat little and often: crackers, cheese, veggie sticks – oh, okay, and some cake. I would get really sick if I didn’t eat and if I didn’t drink water. I came right at about Week 14.

I hardly had it all the first time, then had it a bit more with the second, and really badly with the third – 24 hours a day, up to about 24 weeks. What worked for me was lots of fresh juices and ginger, and eating constantly.



THE HOLY GRAIL: SLEEP Some parents get lucky and have a dreambaby. For others, it’s a case of “things that go ‘wah!’ in the night”. Sleep deprivation is to be expected during your baby’s first three or four months, but luckily your body produces the hormones you need to help you survive it. Generally, babies become better sleepers as they get older, needing fewer night- feeds, but if you find the opposite is true, there is help at hand. Babies and toddlers can experience a range of sleep problems, including: Not falling asleep unless rocked, patted, bounced, pushed in a pushchair or driven in a car Not falling asleep for up to an hour or more Waking at the same time every night and not going back to sleep again for an hour or more Waking several times during the night Only sleeping if co-sleeping with a parent Waking at the crack of dawn or earlier Still waking for a night feed after the age of nine months Continually getting out of bed Only napping in a pushchair or baby sling, not in the cot

Some parents prefer not to subject their babies and toddlers to sleep training, especially if they think it involves leaving them to “cry it out”. However, sleep training has been shown to improve the lives of many parents and little ones within a very short time. And not all sleep training involves crying it out! A range of books are available that outline various sleep training methods. Below are just a handful of the popular ones – keep in mind though, that what works for one new parent may not necessarily work for another.

The Happiest Baby on the Block , Harvey Karp The Contented Little Baby Book , Gina Ford, Dream Baby Guide , Sheyne Rowley Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems , Richard Ferber Baby Love , Robin Barker Secrets of the Baby Whisperer , Tracey Hogg




Singapore has been a very easy place for me to deal with sleep deprivation, as we have a wonderful helper, Eralyn, who is very ‘hands on’ with the girls. I found it intensely difficult in London, and ended up getting ill all the time. Rory has ended up co-sleeping with us, and we’re still working on getting him to self-settle. I’m still breastfeeding him as it means he goes straight back to sleep, but it doesn’t help us in the long term! That said, I have loved having the time to enjoy him as a baby and am as attached to him as he is to me. So I’m in no hurry to get him sleeping on his own. (I think my husband would disagree!) It’s very up and down in our household when it comes to sleep; right now, both kids are waking up all the time. In terms of survival, I’m blessed to be able to rely on my helper to allow me to catch up on some rest but, other than that, it’s coffee and just getting out of the house – or sometimes slouching on the couch in PJs, watching some awful reality show! Funnily enough, with my first, I didn’t necessarily follow any rules or structures and just did whatever kept us both happy; we were on the move quite a bit that year, so having a structure was difficult. This meant nursing to sleep, co-sleeping, napping at home, in the car or in the pram. I always assumed she wasn’t the best sleeper. However, I then introduced the ‘perfect’ structure for my second: naps, meals, bath and bedtime all had to be done at a very specific time. And guess what? He friggin’ wakes up too!! Brynie:


I think the key to surviving the early days is to have as much help as possible in order to be able to just focus on the baby and have breaks and rest as often as needed. I had a very hard time when my daughter was born, as I had very little help; I was very tired and so in shock from the reality of having a baby! It was rough for a while. For my second, I made sure I took care of my state of mind while pregnant, so I’d be ready for the first tough weeks after birth. I also organised a ‘dream team’ of our helper, my mum – who was able to stay for the first two months – and my husband. This allowed me to focus on feeding and cuddling baby and resting a lot. It made a world of difference in those tough early days compared to my first experience. It also meant I could still spend time with my daughter, so she wouldn’t feel neglected.




I co-sleep with my youngest and mostly get a good night’s sleep. I practise mindfulness, knowing that acceptance of the challenges that are part of motherhood is more helpful than struggling with them. Instead of giving attention to thoughts such as ‘Why is my baby waking up again?’ or ‘How will I cope tomorrow?’ I breathe deeply and slowly, bring my attention to the present and remind myself that I am coping okay right now. One moment at a time.


I am still in it right now! Accept help, get a dishwasher, get a part-time helper to come in, buy frozen veggies so you don’t have to wash and cut them up. Always sleep first – the mess and the mountain of laundry can wait! One foot in front of the other and you will survive this! I avoided books as I was of the frame of mind that I was better not to know and to ‘go with the flow’ – which worked for most things! What I didn’t know wouldn’t kill me. Sleep deprivation, however, is a form of torture, and nobody could prepare me for the effects. I was a hormonal monster after I gave birth (ask my husband!). Our little guy was a month early, so we were far from prepared for his arrival. I had him right next to me in our room, and I was breastfeeding, so it was really easy just to pick him up and feed. I did, however, have to turn on a light or something as I had a really bad habit of falling asleep while feeding. So I would sometimes stick music on in my ears, or even go to the lounge and watch some TV. People told me to sleep when the baby slept, but I just didn’t (and couldn’t); there was always something to do when he was asleep. Jodie:


My babies all inherited my insomnia to various degrees – the first being the worst. He could be awake for 22 hours out of 24, which was exhausting. But luckily (!), being an insomniac myself, I’m used to not having much sleep. We rode it out with the knowledge that our baby was otherwise happy and healthy, and this phase wouldn’t last forever.




Singapore is surprisingly more Mother’s Milk S ome new mums take to breastfeeding like a duck to water. Others experience a range of problems like cracked, sore nipples, blocked milk ducts, inverted nipples, mastitis, thrush, a baby who won’t latch on properly, low milk supply, a baby who feeds continually, a baby who falls asleep at the breast or a sleepy baby who doesn’t wake to feed.

Did you know?

breastfeeding-friendly than many European and Australian cities. Most shopping centres have at least one nursing room where you can nappies. Some rooms even have sterilisers, hot water dispensers for making formula and high chairs for feeding solids. breastfeed, bottle feed and change

However, it’s worth persevering with breastfeeding because once you and baby get the hang of it, it makes life so much easier. You can feed your baby anywhere, and you don’t have to worry about sterilising bottles, trying to find hot water and carrying around enough formula for the day. Also, research suggests that breastfeeding has many benefits, for mum and baby alike: Potential benefits for mother: greater postnatal weight loss better bond with the baby reduced risk of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer a degree of natural contraception

Potential benefits for baby: improved immune health and fewer infections reduced risk of diabetes reduced likelihood of childhood obesity reduced risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)






I’m still breastfeeding Rory. I had real issues with him latching in the first week – he was tongue-tied – so we got his tongue snipped after a week and he was fine after that. That was done at NUH, and they were very reassuring.


I breastfed my first till 16 months and my second till seven months – it was so easy with my first, and everything came naturally and easily. My second was a completely different story: I hardly produced milk, which made the experience difficult. I sought help from Jani Combrink from Mother & Child, the guru of all lactation consultants. Looking back now, I could have managed my time better with my second and I wasn’t eating very well, which is really essential for breastfeeding to do its thing properly!

If you’re having trouble with feeding,mosthospitalsholdclasses every morning for new mums, and many run free breastfeeding clinics for former patients. Alternatively, seek help fromone of the following organisations: Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group: Breastfeeding workshops for mums-to-be, new mums andmums returning towork. 6337 0508 | Mother & Child: Lactation consultations in the hospital or at your home, and a Baby Café drop-in centre on Monday afternoons with a support network for mothers in a relaxed setting. 6836 0063 Parentlink: Breastfeeding counselling at your home. 6536 4626 |


Yes, I breastfed my first till I got pregnant again, and I’m doing it again with my second. I didn’t know that there was so much help out there; it was only after joining the Facebook group Stork’s Nest Singapore that I learnt so much from other mums and from Jani. I have to say this about breastfeeding: it was quite painful! At times I don’t enjoy it, but I want to give the best to my kids, that’s why I do it.




I breastfed both my babies, and I loved it. In fact, I’m still breastfeeding my son, and hope to be able to continue for as long as he wants and needs it. When I was pregnant with my daughter, if someone had told me that she would breastfeed until she was 23 months old, I would been shocked! The bond and closeness one gets from breastfeeding is really special and wonderful. I did find breastfeeding very difficult initially with my first baby. It hurt physically, as my baby didn’t quite know how to latch on at first, and I didn’t know how to make it happen either. As a first-time mum, I stressed a lot about not seeing how much milk my baby was drinking and worrying whether I had enough to feed her. I’m so much more relaxed about it with my second. Consequently, I think I have much more milk, and also I figure if I don’t, baby will cry and let me know it’s not enough. My experience with breastfeeding is that once you’re past the first few hard weeks, it can be such an easy and convenient way to feed and soothe a baby. I did breastfeed, and I can’t recommend Jani Combrink and the team at Mother & Child enough. I wish I’d asked them to help me when I was in hospital, but I thought I had it sorted – sadly I didn’t, and I ended up filling my baby mainly with air and not milk; as a result, I had a very unhappy baby! Jani kept me calm, assuring me that everything was going to be ok. Breastfeeding was a lot harder than I thought and having support made a big difference; having people touch my boobs didn’t weird me out as much as I thought it would – I was in survival mode at that point! Jodie:

I had no idea how painful breastfeeding could be. The first time, I was all but ready to give up but I pushed through and ended up feeding all three for at least nine months. (I’m still going with Number Three.) The pain eventually subsided after a few weeks, but it was excruciating. I saw lactation specialists who confirmed there was nothing wrong with my baby’s latch; it’s simply just painful for some women. I came to love feeding, and only gave up the first two times when I wanted to get pregnant again.


Uma at Mother & Child helped me with fast- flow issues by suggesting more comfortable positions for my baby to breastfeed.




I supplemented from about five months

– we’ve used Avent bottles for all of the children; I used Hipp formula for Rory.


I never used formula for my first, but I did with my second: Bellamy’s Stage 1 up until 12 months. I used Avent Classic bottles.



I started to supplement when I returned to work. I had a very underweight baby for a long time, and I struggled to get him to get those gorgeous little roly-poly legs that babies have. My supply wasn’t great to start, and it reduced pretty quickly when I was working; I started off giving Josh a bottle at night-time and he slept through the night (hoorah!), and then I slowly phased out my breast feeds to formula. I officially stopping pumping when he was six months; I had been pumping only once a day at work with not a lot of output, so it was a very phased wean! I use the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles; they’re small and dinky and are supposed to be boob-shaped – you can also get little formula containers that fit into the bottles, which is handy when you’re out and about.

I gave her a bottle of Karicare goat’s milk formula every night as a ‘dream feed’. I chose that one as it’s supposed to be closer to breast milk and gentler on the stomach. My son is very fussy.


My daughter was a big Avent fan, but my baby boy would only drink from NUK or Dr Brown’s bottles. I’ve been supplementing with goat’s milk formula when I haven’t had a chance to pump before going to work.


During the brief period between finishing breast feeding and moving them on to cows’ milk at 12 months, I used Nan formula and Tommee Tippee bottles.



f Weaning? Leaning towards

T heWorldHealthOrganisation provides guidelines for the introduction of solid food to infants. Their current recommendation is that infants be breastfed exclusively for the first six months (180 days). From then onwards, solids should be introduced in small amounts. The quantity and frequency of meals should be increased gradually as the baby gets older. However, many parents find that their babies want to experiment with food a little earlier – at around five months, sometimes even four months – so many begin weaning before the six-month mark. Some of the signs that a baby is ready to start solids are when he or she is: no longer satisfied by a full milk feed demanding frequent milk feeds waking in the night for a feed despite having previously slept through the night interested in watching others eat able to support his or her head and neck well when seated




Rory was about five months old. The girls started to feed him random things so I just went with it – I guess I did baby-led weaning with all of them and wasn’t aware it had a name – it just made things easier! He loves watermelon. I’ve definitely been more relaxed with him than with the girls – he ate cake at about eight months!

I weaned my first at five months and my second at six months. I followed a more spoon-to-mouth approach with my first, and baby-led weaning with my second. I think my tip would be not to get too hung up on whether they are eating enough before age one; as I always say, ‘Food before one is for fun’. One thing I did do is use spices in my food – I love introducing flavour and I’m from a Turkish background, so I was inventive with things like cumin and other common ingredients.



The traditional method of weaning is to start by feeding babies puréed vegetables and fruit such as sweet potato, potato, carrot, pumpkin, apple and pear. Eggs, meat, fish and food with more texture are gradually introduced; babies start wanting finger food at around nine months. Another increasingly popular method of weaning is baby-led weaning (BLW), which involves babies feeding themselves from six months, when they can sit upright. There are no purées or spoon-feeding, and babies sit with the rest of the family at mealtimes. Foods are offered in sizes and shapes that babies can handle with their fingers and feed themselves. Weaning is an important time in babies’ lives, and it is best to introduce them to the widest variety of foods possible in their first year. Many parents use the traditional method of weaning with puréed food for their first child and baby-led weaning for subsequent children, simply because it’s easier and less time-consuming for the whole family to eat similar food. Whichever route you choose, the goal is to have a contented baby who is not a fussy eater.


I tried both traditional weaning and baby-led weaning. It really depends on your baby; some babies are all about exploring food, textures and tastes, while others are just happy to have purées – there’s no ‘one size fits all’ method. Observe your baby and see what works for you.


I started to wean at about 18 weeks just with some tastes of fruit purées (apples and pears) and puréed veggies for dinner – not a lot, and keeping milk as the main food supply. I also gave Josh pieces of food to play with when he was having his purées – carrot sticks, apple chunks and so on.


I never intended to follow baby-led weaning. I was of the opinion that nothing much was actually consumed this way, and that babies need the nutrients in meat, fish, fruit and vegetables delivered as purées, with some finger foods on the side. But they were all so much more interested in feeding themselves right from the off, and seemed to consume incredible amounts this way. I was able to give up the purées after a few weeks.


For both my babies, I waited until they had enough head and neck control and showed clear interest in food. In both cases, I started just before they were six months old and followed a mix of traditional purées and a version of baby-led weaning, giving chunks of soft food for them to play with and taste. They loved it!


I like to do a mixture of feeding mashed foods and allowing my baby to explore with her own hands.


Little Learners


A word from the school:

We embrace influences of the Reggio Emilia Philosophy in support of our unique culture in our nursery, preschool, junior and senior kindergarten programmes. Resident artists, drama specialists, and music, Mandarin and creative pedagogistas extend and complete the range of services. Infant & Toddler Ateliers offer parent-accompanied classes, playgroups and specialist programmes. Our school is set in lush surroundings at Turf Club Road and in a new urban space at UE Square, River Valley.

Further insights: Director, Michelle Hatfield, UK

Student population: 170 Year established: 2007 Curriculum: Reggio Emilia-inspired emergent curriculum School hours: 9am to 12pm and 9am to 3pm Ages taught: 18 months to six years; parent-accompanied programme for children six to 36 months

Our community approach to education, initiated between a balance of a child’s emerging interests, scaffolded by educators and secured through strong partnerships with parents, each year brings new projects, creations and initiatives, driven by the visions of each and every child in our classrooms. Collaboratively, we anticipate the mutual excitement as interests show their identity and evolve into bespoke projects and journeys that we explore. We’ve just opened our second Infant & Toddler Atelier – in River Valley. This extends our footprint further to captivate the wider community. Our Turf City Infant & Toddler Atelier underwent a renovation over the 2015 summer. Both Ateliers offer unique experiences and scientific experimentation through a range of dynamic apparatus and open-ended materials, as well as new Playgroup sessions that focus on connection, community and partnership.

2 Turf Club Road, Bukit Timah 6734 0824 |

83 Clemenceau Avenue #-01-35/36 UE Square, Office Tower 6235 2126 |

Describe the school in three words: Authentic, Collaborative, Enriching

Brighton Montessori

A word from the school:

Student population: 725 capacity across six locations Year established: 1995 Curriculum: Montessori approach School hours: half-day 8.30am to 12.30pm; full-day

With the belief that every child learns at his or her own pace, Brighton Montessori’s curriculum is designed to cater to each individual child’s needs. It follows the philosophy of Maria Montessori, while adapting a hands- on learning approach and one-to-one teaching approach with concrete to abstract methods for both phonics and mathematics. Our environment and classrooms are designed to complement the activities and encourage participation, allowing children to explore and express themselves freely. With an open-door communication practice, strong parent-and-school partnership and a team of dedicated principals and teachers, Brighton Montessori stands firm in preparing each individual child with learning and life skills for their next stage of formal education and beyond.

8.30am to 5pm; flexi-hours available Ages taught: 18 months to six years

Further insights:

Principal of Brighton Montessori Fort Road, Raudziah Hamid, Singaporean

Our excursions focus on different themes during the holidays. We go to places like the theatre, Botanic Gardens and the Zoo, and also run indoor activities such as arts and crafts and baking classes. This is also the first year that the Fort Road branch is having a Halloween Party. We enjoy these events because parents are also involved and parent engagement and participation is something that we value at Brighton. We also believe that it’s important for children to enjoy new experiences and explore new places during their developing years, as they begin to discover the world around them. We’re currently introducing new enrichment programmes such as speech and drama, and gym class.

Describe the school in three words: Cosy, Experienced, Homely

Six locations: Fort Road, Frankel Avenue, Mountbatten Road, Great World City, Sunset Way, The Grassroots’ Club. 6588 3883 |


A word from the school:

Further insights: Janice Ong, Head of Pre-School Programmes, Singaporean

A premium daycare

and preschool that aspires to pave the way for life-long learning. Qualified and loving teachers engage children in classroom discussions and learning through the inquiry approach with low child-teacher ratio. Events are planned throughout the year to encourage and engage parents in partnership with their children’s education. Camberley’s renowned learning environment is carefully designed with the use of natural colours and materials to enhance learning and interactions. A well-structured and holistic programme aims to develop children not only to their fullest potential, but also as confident and determined individuals.

For me, growing up here, Racial Harmony Day was always a day where students and teachers would

come to school in their most dressy and impressive costumes as a representation of their ethnic backgrounds. This year, in conjunction with SG50 celebrations, everyone at Camberley, children and teaching staff included, dressed in ethnic costumes taken from ‘kampong’ history. All the teachers were proud of their costumes and each passionately created a rich authentic learning atmosphere for the children who were intrigued by the outfits and the background stories. The children had already learnt of Singapore’s progress and they compared the kampong past with the metropolitan present day, while appreciating the sense of unity among ethnic groups.

Describe the school in three words: Love, Family, Champions

Kovan: 16 Flower Road 6383 5025 Balmoral: 271 Bukit Timah Road, #02-16, Balmoral Plaza 6235 7555 Mountbatten: 865 Mountbatten Road #04-01, Katong Shopping Centre 6383 5025

Student population: 250 Year established: 2011 Curriculum: Inquiry approach School hours: Half-day programme (7am to 1pm); Full- day programme (7am to 7pm) Years taught: 18 months to six years

A word from the school: Hollandse School Limited (HSL) is a Dutch preschool and primary school offering a combined Dutch and international curriculum that embraces openness, respect and passion, and where learning is fun. The focus is on providing a safe environment with individual attention, and student-appropriate ‘results-oriented working’, allowing students to live up to their full potential. In addition to the basic subjects of language, reading, Mathematics and English, HSL works with the International Primary Curriculum (taught in Dutch) and specialist teachers in physical education, music and English. The Learning Support Centre includes a full-time special educational needs coordinator, remedial teachers and a speech therapist. Hollandse School Limited

Further insights: Principal, Meino Meines, Dutch

Highlights of the

year at HSL include the Dutch traditional celebration of Sinterklaas, and the weekly assemblies when children have the opportunity to show and tell what they have learned. The musical for Grade 7 pupils is also a special event. Upcoming at the school is the Bukit Tinggi Friendship Day, a collaboration with schools located in the area, the German European School, Korean School and Swiss School. We’re also eagerly looking forward to the visit of the former Dutch Prime Minister.

Student population: Preschool: 100; Primary: 420 Year established: 1920 Curriculum: Dutch, British National and International Primary Curriculum School hours: 8.30am to 3.30pm; 8.30am to 1.30pm (Friday) Years taught: Two to 12 years

65 Bukit Tinggi Road 6466 0662

A word from the school: Besides providing children with essential custodial care, Kinderland offers a comprehensive preschool curriculum integrated with a music-infused programme that enhances the development of language literacy in their early years. As well as Chinese language and music, Kinderland offers a Literacy Through I.T. programme which creates a literacy-rich environment with numerous opportunities for writing, reading, speaking and listening. EDUCARE SERVICES Kinderland

Further insights: Principal, Crystal Lim, Singaporean

The Little Entrepreneur Programme – Family Carnival 2015, which involved our K1 and K2 children, was a recent highlight in which they were given first-hand

experience and knowledge on how to think, work and manage a business like an entrepreneur. Imparting the basic concepts of business at an early stage using simple activities like manning stalls helped to reinforce concepts learnt in class. They learnt skills such as teamwork, self- expression and independence. The children also learnt about social responsibility and the importance of helping the less fortunate as the funds raised during this project were donated to Kinderland’s adopted charity.

Year established: 1995 Curriculum: music, language and literacy focus School hours: 7am to 7pm Ages taught: 18 months to six years

Describe the school in three words: Fun, Lively, Engaging

3 Pandan Valley #01-316 6468 4776 |

Learning Vision@Alpha

A word from the school:

Further insights: Principal, Fatimah Bte Auyop, Singaporean

Located within Science Park II, the newly renovated Learning Vision @ Alpha offers a safe and spacious learning environment and attractive outdoor playground for infants and children aged two months to six years. With an award-winning curriculum grounded in international best practices, our highly qualified educarers and educators empower children to become critical thinkers and confident learners, building academic skills and a positive learning attitude essential for formal schooling and life. The processes of learning, rather than the end product, are the key focus in our teaching and learning process. Experience-centred, hands-on learning encourages our children to explore, experiment, inquire, investigate, interact and discover ideas and concepts.

At Learning Vision @ Alpha, we believe that art helps to instil a love of creative expression, and so our children are regularly exposed to theatre plays, such as the wonderful Dr Seuss, as part of our art-awareness programme. Collaboration between parents and our preschool is important to us and parents are invited to speak about their speciality; one parent presented a fun and informative session, promoting oral hygiene and proper tooth brushing techniques among the children. We also offer various enrichment programmes such as multi-sport, young gymnasts, young Einsteins, junior art and Hanyu Pinyin, conducted in our centre by qualified trainers.

Describe the school in three words: Fun, Creative, Lively

Student population: 130 Year established: January 2010 Curriculum: Focus on life skills and life-long learning; emphasis on learning rather than teaching School hours: 7am to 7pm (weekdays); 7am to 2pm (Saturday) Ages taught: Infant care (two months to 17 months) and childcare (18 months to six years)

10 Science Park Road 6781 0888 |

A word from the school: At LeClare Preschool, children use their innate sense of curiosity and creativity to learn about the world around them. Respecting the beauty of childhood, LeClare combines foundation in Reggio Emilia methods with an inquiry-based approach to develop an engaging and meaningful curriculum that is responsive and flexible to the children’s interests, ideas and questions. A close-knit and experienced team delivers a collection of pre-planned and spontaneous activities and experiences in both English and Mandarin, with a low child-teacher ratio to make sure each child gets the attention they deserve. LeClare Preschool’s curriculum is designed with strong emphasis on the arts, and jam-packed with amazing learning opportunities through programmes such as cooking, messy play, Jolly Phonics and National Geographic Science. LeClare Preschool

Further insights: Centre Manager, Clarissa Ng, Singaporean

Every day, LeClare children have music lessons in

the studio, which is equipped with a collection of musical instruments, and led by our full-time music specialist. The team is looking forward to the annual concert, when the children will have fun showcasing their musical skills in front of their parents. Our Roof Top Adventure Park is about 14,000 square feet, and one of the largest and most elaborate rooftop outdoor play spaces in Singapore, incorporating playgrounds, a cycling arena, a water-play area and a community garden where our children gain responsibility looking after their own plants. We have plans for an outdoor art studio and music garage.

Describe the school in three words: Individuality, Creativity, Holistic

Student population: 40 Year established: 2015

School hours: Full-day (7am-7pm or 7am-5.30pm); half-day (7am-12.30pm); flexi (three half-day, three full-day) Years taught: 18 months to six years

100 Beach Road, Shaw Towers, #02-07/18 6969 9479 |

Little Mandarins

A word from the school:

Further insights: Student, Maddy Pull, British

Little Mandarins has been providing fun, effective and relevant Mandarin classes for nine years. Hands-on, fun coaching from our passionate teachers has led to our classes being nicknamed ‘Mandarin without tears’! Lessons are interactive and stimulating, based on a curriculum that draws from both Eastern and Western teaching methods. Our five learning platforms of Play, Grow, Make, Care and Share make up the foundation of all our programmes. Real-life experience is integrated into learning, to make Mandarin come to life for your child. We’ve found that when children experience success (even small successes) during their learning journey with Little Mandarins, they feel empowered and are motivated to achieve more success. Little Mandarins is where today’s students find tomorrow’s most important language.

I’m 15 years old and I’m currently studying for my Mandarin GCSEs with Little Mandarins. I’ve been with them since I was eight. I really enjoy the classes there; what I learn is often very relevant in real life. For example, it really helps when I have phone

conversations with my extended family in Mandarin and I’m able to hold my own! I often see vocabulary popping up in an everyday setting and it’s really cool that I can identify the words; sometimes I don’t even realise that I know them till I see them!

Describe Little Mandarins in three words: Friendly, Educational, Enjoyable

Student population: 100+ Year established: 2006 Curriculum: In-house developed curriculum, drawing from Eastern and Western teaching methods School hours: Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 6.30pm; Saturday 9.30am to 1.30pm; holiday camps available June-August and October-December Ages taught: 18 months and up; classes are available for students of different ages and proficiency levels

Block 71, Loewen Road #01-03/04 6473 8377 |

Maple Bear Singapore

A word from the school:

Further insights: Chief Executive, Patricia Koh, Singaporean

Maple Bear offers an immersive English-Mandarin bilingual experience backed by a rigorous curriculum delivered in 200 schools worldwide. Maple Bear aims to deliver a child-focused learning system in a safe, secure and stimulating environment that prepares children for success and instils a passion for lifelong learning. Its sound approach to education and focus on holistic development from early language acquisition and creative thinking, to numeracy skills and physical wellbeing ensures a good foundation for children. Maple Bear Global Schools is headquartered in Canada and is supported by a strong team of experienced and respected Canadian leaders in education who continuously review and conduct quality assurance visits to Maple Bear schools around the world.

One very exciting project we have introduced is D.E.A.R., or Drop Everything And Read. Our goal is to help parents understand the power of reading in developing children’s love for knowledge, expand their world and open their minds. Reading is also an

avenue for parents and teachers to engage children on issues and ideas, encouraging empathy and critical thinking. As more and more preschools are starting to encourage the use of smart phones and tablets for young children, Maple Bear parents will instead see children immersed in the world of books, if they are not busy interacting with their teachers or friends.

Describe the school in three words: Safe, Secure, Stimulating

Year established: 1997 in Canada; 2014 in Singapore Curriculum: Developed by Canadian experts and refined for Singapore by Mrs Patricia Koh (founder of Pat’s Schoolhouse), based on the bilingual experience and dedicated educational practices that make the education systems of Canada and Singapore two of the best worldwide School hours: 7am to 7pm Ages taught: Two months to six years

Eight locations: Bukit Timah, Bishan, Orchard, Pasir Panjang, Paya Lebar, Hillview, Alexandra, Havelock. 9631 8496 |



Further insights: MindChamps Dean of Research and Program Development, Brian Caswell, Australian

The joy that emanates from

the children every time you walk through the doors at MindChamps is exhilarating. If you want a sense

of that joy, go onto YouTube and watch the MindChamps ‘Smile’ video. In the course of my job, I’m privileged to work with some of the best minds in education, science and the arts, and it’s immensely satisfying to collaborate with Dr Larry Scripp, an internationally renowned music educator, to develop MindChamps Music; this is a revolutionary way to teach music and music integration to boost all areas of learning. Describe the school in three words: Learning, Creativity, Championship


Student population: 2,200 Year established: Since 2008

Curriculum: The curriculum nurtures all aspects of development and includes broad-ranging academic and enrichment programmes. Available in Chinese from 2016. School hours: 7am to 7pm (Monday to Friday); 7am to 2pm (Saturday) Ages taught: 18 months to six years

A word from the school:

An award-winning education institute dedicated to developing the learning capacity of all young people. Students are trained in the art of learning how to learn, and the development of a ‘Champion Mindset’. MindChamps has a unique approach to literacy development in children from three to nine years, and is the only early childhood institute in Singapore to produce its own reading and phonics eBooks for use in preschool and both the reading and writing programmes.

30 centres islandwide (recent openings: Biopolis, Holland Village, West Coast Plaza, Yishun, Chinese PreSchool @ Tampines Central)


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