Kids Guide 2017
EVERY PARENT’S ULTIMATE HANDBOOK!
Mums’ Tips Baby Essentials Health Advice Choosing Schools Awesome Activities ShoppingGuides Family Getaways ... andmore
Welcome to our eighth Kids’ Guide! The years are flying by, and looking back to when my children were little seems like aeons ago now. We know that Singapore is a safe place to bring up children, but it can also be an easy one. Not having to wrap them up in warm clothes every time they set foot outside is something I’ve always appreciated. And once you’ve worked out the “air-con or fan?” conundrum for sleeping, it’s plain sailing! Every year, we feature a great panel of mums in our Guide who give us their recommendations – and because Singapore changes constantly, being “in the know” is really important. We hope you enjoy reading about their experiences, along with all the other great features, from discovering some of the great free activities on the island to learning about what’s out there in the way of education, home décor, fashion and health – including info and advice from the relevant companies themselves. I doubt there’s anywhere else in the world with this much to offer in such a small area! If there’s anything else you’d like to share about pregnancy, childbirth or bringing up children in Singapore, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or let us know on Facebook. And lastly, a word of advice from someone who rushed through it a bit: make sure you enjoy every day with your kids, and be in the moment, no matter how slow or repetitive it may seem at times. You’ll miss them when they’re gone!
REBECCA BISSET Editor-in-Chief
Rebecca Bisset Shamus Sillar Susannah Jaffer
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Katie Roberts Anthia Chng Aimee Fordos Pip Harry Leanda Rathmell Liana Talib Nur Hanani Kamal Luddin Michael Bernabe Beatrice Ng Jeanne Wong Anna Tserlingas Valmai Dhir Grace Bantaran Katie Peace Susan Knudsen-Pickles Veena Gill
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EVERY PARENT’S ULTIMATE HANDBOOK!
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Mums’Tips BabyEssentials HealthAdvice ChoosingSchools AwesomeActivities ShoppingGuides FamilyGetaways andmore
Published by Expat Living Publications Pte Ltd 18 Howard Road, #08-10 Novelty BizCentre, Singapore 369585
Cover, Shutterstock (shutterstock.com, Luna Vandoome)
Picture this: perfect family photos
15 BUMPS & BEYOND 16 Introducing The Panel 18 Doula: Do or Don’t? 23 Morning Sickness: How to Cope
Meet our panel of six mums
39 BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS 40 Preschools, Kindergartens & Learning Centres 71 ACTIVE & INSPIRED
26 Sleep: The Holy Grail 28 Breastfeeding Insights 34 When to Wean?
73 Getting Creative 77 Dancing & Acting 83 Singapore’s Sporty Spectrum 91 Fun Camps for Kids 101 Managing Screen Time
Strollers, covers, car seats and more
107 HAPPY&HEALTHY 110 Doctor, Doctor! 114 Tooth Talk
121 Family-friendly Dining 128 Losing the Baby Weight 130 Getting Around Singapore 132 Expat Parenting: Pros & Cons
135 RETAIL THERAPY 136 Great Family Photos 141 Fab & Fun Items to Shop Now 148 Kids’ Shoes Reviewed 152 Car & Taxi Safety 154 Which Pram or Stroller?
201 Fancy a family escape?
79 All the world’s a stage
IN THE CLASSROOM
199 GETTING AWAY 201 Fabulous Regional Resorts 206 Easy Island Trips around Singapore 210 Travel Tips: Destination Recommendations
158 International Schools & Specialist Education Services
148 Find the right fit
214 Important Numbers 215 Advertiser List 216 Subscribe to Expat Living
expatliving.sg For all things kid-related, visit ourwebsite –we’re your number-oneparenting resource! Readmore on...
Keep them busy We feature plenty of fun activities and events happening across the island that your little ones are bound to enjoy.
Tips for super mums New mums will love our helpful posts, from shopping guides and advice on where to get those perfect first photos taken, to insurance talk and travel safety.
All ages covered We cover content for every age group, including educational courses, clubs, fashion, health, décor and much more.
Playing and learning With helpful tips from parents, make more informed decisions on everything fromchoosing the right schools to finding great extra-curricular camps.
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Bumps & Beyond PREGNANCY, BREASTFEEDING AND ADVICE FORMUMS
Dubova | Shutterstock.com
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PANEL While they say your maternal instincts kick in naturally, it’s always great to get handy tips and advice right from the source. That’s why we’ve gathered a panel of six readers to provide savvy, helpful content for you throughout this guide, on everything from morning sickness (sigh!) to weaning tips and travelling with the little ones. Find out more about these lovely ladies below (plus the three items they just can’t do without!) MEET THE
DESIREE is a full-time mum from Australia who has been living in sunny Singapore for nine years. She has three kids: Jack (9), and Zoe and Blake (twins, 22 months) who were both delivered here at Thomas Medical. #1 Time to myself #2 Catching up with friends #3 Exercise
AZIZAH was born in Saigon but grew up in France, and has been living in Singapore since 2009. She’s a former SAP consultant, but stopped full-time work to focus on mummy duties when her first son, Kenyan (3), was born. His little brother Jonas followed 20 months later (he’s now 1.5). She currently runs a baking business, Zizou Cake Boutique, and teaches French two nights a week. #1 My phone (it’s got everything I need!) #2 Nappies #3 My Ergobaby carrier
EMMA hails from the UK, but started her expat adventure at just 19 years of age, travelling to live in Sydney, where she ended up living and working for 18 years. She met her husband there and had their first child, Ethan (4). The family moved to Singapore two and a half years ago, where Ethan acquired a little brother, now six months. She currently works as a freelance hair and makeup artist. #1 My NutriBullet blender #2 A good pillow #3 Weekly training sessions
BUMPS & BEYOND
JOBETH is a secondary school teacher, and is born and bred Singaporean, having lived here all her life except for a few years in the US in her early childhood. She has one daughter (2.5), born at Mount Alvernia Hospital. #1 My iPhone
ZEINA hails from the UK, and works as a Senior Project Manager in the construction industry. She’s lived in Singapore for eight years, and has a stepson (21), and a second child (3), born at Parkway East. She’s now pregnant again with her next! #1 Exercise #2 Makeup to hide a tired face #3 Gin (for obvious reasons!)
KASIA is Polish and her expat journey has taken her to both London and Singapore, each for five years. She’s one of the co-founders of Chapter Zero Singapore, a social enterprise that supports parents of young children in respectful, mindful and evidence-based parenting. She is also a part-time information security consultant. She has two children, a boy (2) and a two-week-old daughter, both born at NUH. #1 Our amazing helper #2 My phone – I use it for everything #3 Coffee!
#2 A good pillow #3 Potato chips!
Most of the volunteers for our Mums’ Panel this year have come through Stork’s Nest Singapore (SNS), a non-profit parenting support group offering information and perspectives for parents of young children in Singapore.
family. The network includes nine groups that cover several areas of parenting, including groups for single mums, working mothers and parents with premature babies, to name but a few. The SNS admin team, Stork Angels, also puts on events every year including a very popular pre-loved sale in May to raise money for chosen charity, StarPALS, which provides much-needed paediatric palliative care. To join the Facebook group, visit fb.com/groups/ StorksNestSingapore.
SNS started out as a Facebook group in 2012 with a few hundred members and has grown to a network of over 15,000 parents who rely on the support provided by the community when facing parenting away from immediate
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Ask theDoctor CHOOSINGANOBSTETRICIAN
Choosing the right obstetrician to guide you through one of life’s most important events can be challenging. For expats in Singapore, maternity costs are often covered by corporate health insurance, so we give birth in private hospitals and see obstetricians for our prenatal checkups. Obstetricians usually only work at one hospital, occasionally two (one private, one public), so if your health insurance doesn’t cover all hospitals, then your choice of obstetrician will be limited to those who work with a particular hospital. Every woman has different preferences for childbirth, so you should do plenty of research and visit a number of obstetricians if possible. It’s important that you feel comfortable, because you will be sharing intimate and personal details with them. There’s a lot to think about, but to make the most of the short nine months of pregnancy and have a positive experience of labour, you need to feel confident that you are in the right hands.
BUMPS & BEYOND
What to Ask Here’s a list of useful questions you may want to ask before choosing your obstetrician: 1. Which hospitals do you attend? 2. Are you available around my estimated due date? 3. What are your philosophies and beliefs about birth? Is it a medical process that needs to be monitored continuously and controlled, or a natural process where nature should take its course before intervening? 4. How informed and involved will I be in the decision-making process during pregnancy and labour?
5. What are your thoughts on pain relief during labour? Do you assume that everyone will have medical pain relief, or do you support and encourage natural pain relief methods? 6. Will you and the hospital staff respect my birth plan but provide guidance if and when it needs to be changed? 7. What are your thoughts on electronic foetal monitoring during labour, and when do you think it should be used? 8. What is your induction rate, and at what point do you feel induction of labour should be considered? 9. What do you think about time limits for labouring? 10. What is your caesarean section rate, and in what situations will you recommend a C-section? 11. What is your episiotomy rate, and in what situations would you perform one? 12. How often do you use forceps or vacuum extraction to deliver a baby? 13. Will I be able to have skin-to-skin contact with my baby and start breastfeeding shortly after the birth? 14. Are you willing to let me have a vaginal birth for my second baby even though I had my first via caesarean? 15. How do you feel about breech birth? If you support it, what conditions do you have? 16. How do you manage the third stage of labour, the birth of the placenta? Do you allow it to happen naturally, or do you intervene and give an injection to expel the placenta?
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You can find many qualified doulas in Singapore offering fantastic support and guidance for expectant couples. It can be a great option, especially if you’re a first-time parent! About doulas The word doula derives from the Greek word for “female slave”. From around 50 years ago, it gained a new definition, referring to an independent caregiver who helps make an expectant mum feel safe and comfortable before, during and after childbirth. The role of doulas differs from midwives in that they offer non-medical support to mothers. That being said, most doulas will have a lot of experience and knowledge about labour and delivery. Doulas can help expectant mums follow a birth plan, and assist with advice on pregnancy issues, particularly when it comes to pain management. There are quite a few multilingual doulas around, should you need one – this can help if there’s a language barrier between mother and doctor.
Did you (or would you) use a doula?
With my first delivery, I didn’t use a doula, but I hired the Emma Care midwives from NUH – they were excellent! With my second, I’m workingwith a friend, Karyn Aurelia Suwito, who is training to become a post-partum doula. She’s been great in helping me get my breastfeeding on track, plus it’s so good to have somebody to talk to. Even though this is my second baby, I still have quite a few questions!.
I didn’t see any necessity for it. Ultimately, I think all pregnancies are very personal and you know what’s best for you.
I didn’t, but I really wished I had, as I did a hypno-birth course at the end of my pregnancy and met a lovely lady called Red. I would have loved her to have been there.
I did have one lined up, until I was told
I had to have a C-section.
I didn’t use one as I already hadmy brilliant husband for support, as well as a midwife from the Emma Care team at NUH.
Monkey Business Images | Shutterstock
BUMPS & BEYOND
Feeling No one likes morning sickness, but it’s one of the most common side effects of early pregnancy. Here are some helpful facts, tips and advice on getting through it in one piece. Queasy?
Did you know?
Ginger is considered a great natural remedy, whether it’s in crystallised or powdered form in sweets or tea. Mint tea and mint gum are also used frequently – the latter can be bought in Singapore for medicinal purposes at pharmacies. Vitamin B6 is thought to help reduce nausea and vomiting. Some women find success using an acupressure band (a soft wristband that acts on your pressure points to ease nausea).
Medically, the exact cause of morning sickness isn’t known, and the reason why some women suffer horribly from it and a lucky few escape its curse, no one knows. The growth hormone hCG is a suspected culprit, as is a surge in oestrogen. There’s no one-size-fits-all cure, but certain remedies have better results than others, and finding out what works for you is really a trial-and- error process. Eating little and often is said to help, 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. Many have specific trigger foods (often fatty or spicy foods) or smells, which can change throughout the pregnancy. A handful of women are a f f e c t e d b y n a u s e a s o severely that without proper management it can lead to chronic dehydration, weight loss and hospitalisation – a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum.
Valua Vitaly | Shutterstock
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Did you have morning sickness? If so, what are your tips for avoiding it?
I got bad nausea for both my pregnancies during the first trimester, but I was never physically sick. I’ve tried methods like drinking ginger tea and eating crackers, but unfortunately nothing really worked for me. Again, all women will have a different experience and your pregnancy will be different from one baby to another too. You just have to try things out.
“Just when you think you’ve found something that works for the nausea, it can switch and become a cause!”
I had general nausea. For one thing, I couldn’t stand the smell of any sort of fish! I could smell if my neighbours two floors down had brought a packet of fish soup home from the coffee shop and it made my stomach roll.
Yes, I did, with both of my pregnancies. Sadly,
the only thing that helped was time.
Yes, and ginger tea workedwell forme!
Yes, for 16 weeks! Eating carbs was the only way to settle my stomach, and not allowing myself to go hungry between meals. The problem for me was that, just when I thought I’d found something that works, it switched and became a cause, and I had to find something else. From my experience, variety is also good; it stops youmaking associations between sickness and a particular food.
I had a little nausea at the start and was lucky it disappeared after the first 12 weeks. I found that eating lots of small snacks throughout the day really helped; once I had something inmy tummy, the feeling would ease off.
g-stockstudio | Shuttertsock.com
BUMBS & BABES
Let’s TalkAbout Sleep Regular shut-eye becomes a thing of the past for most parents during their babies’ first few months. Luckily, your body produces hormones to help you get through it. Your precious bundle will generally become a better sleeper as they get older, needing fewer night feeds, but if you’re finding the opposite is true and you’re feeling stuck in a rut, the following information and insights might help!
Nighty-night? Nope! Nine sleeping issues that babies and toddlers can experience #1 Not falling asleep unless rocked, patted, bounced, pushed in a pushchair or driven in a car #2 Not falling asleep for up to an hour or more #3 Waking at the same time every night and not going back to sleep again for an hour or more #4 Waking several times during the night #5 Only sleeping if co-sleeping with a parent #6 Waking at the crack of dawn or earlier #7 Still waking for a night feed when older than nine months #8 Continually getting out of bed #9 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. Plus, not all sleep training involves leaving them to wail the night away, which can tug at the heartstrings! There’s a range of books out there too, which outline various sleep-training methods. Here are a handful of the more popular ones: Gina Ford, The Contented Little Baby Book Harvey Karp, The Happiest Baby on the Block Sheyne Rowley, Dream Baby Guide Richard Ferber, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems Robin Barker, Baby Love Tracey Hogg, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer
Photographee.eu | Shutterstock.com
How have you managed with sleep deprivation?
For the first three months, I found it difficult as the baby needed feeding every three hours. During the week, I woke up to feed my boys and I tried to sleep during the day while they were napping (and at that age they were having a couple of naps). On weekends, my husband would help so I could rest a bit. My first son was bottle-fed and slept in a cot in his room, while my second slept in a bed next to us, so as soon as he cried I took him in the bed to nurse him – the proximity helped. When they both reached three months, we practiced sleep training to encourage them to sleep independently in their rooms. It was hard at first but it paid off, as they started to sleep through the night from around five or six months of age. I managed with a grin-and-bear-it attitude. I don’t think I’ve slept more than three hours without being woken up in 2.5 years! We are still nursing and co-sleeping (which is the best thing ever, to snuggle up to a warm, relaxed child) and my little one still hasn’t mastered the art of sleeping through the night. We’ll get there someday. JoBeth
In the early days, I tried to have a good nap a minimum of every other day. Anything less than that and I was liable to meltdowns!
Keeping the baby close at night definitely makes things easier, but at the end of the day what helps the most is reminding myself that it will pass!
For me, exercise really helped. It’s not what you fancy on most days but getting out for a walk became a real pick- me-up. The second time around, I did do a bit of co-sleeping as I was breastfeeding, and it was much easier to have him close by. Sleep deprivation was one of the hardest things in the beginning. Trying to have a small nap when the baby sleeps can also help.
Co-sleeping and nursing was inevitable in the
kryzhov | Shutterstock
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BUMPS & BEYOND
S ome new mums take to breastfeeding easily, while others experience a range of irritating issues such as cracked or sore nipples, blocked milk ducts, inverted nipples, mastitis, thrush, a baby who won’t latch on properly, low milk supply, continually feeding, a baby falling asleep at the breast or a sleepy bub who doesn’t wake to feed – the list goes on! However, it’s worth persevering with breastfeeding because, once you and baby get the hang of it, it can make life so much easier. For one, you can feed anywhere and don’t have to worry about sterilising bottles, trying to find hot water and carrying around enough formula for the day. Also, there’s a good body of research that suggests that breastfeeding has many benefits for mum and bub alike. Potential benefits for mother: increased chance of postnatal weight loss a better bond with the baby a reduced risk of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer it can provide a degree of natural contraception Potential benefits for baby: an improved immune health and fewer infections a reduced risk of diabetes a reduced likelihood of childhood obesity a reduced risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) S i n g a p o r e i s a c t u a l l y mo r e breastfeeding-friendly than you’d expect, and much more so than many European and Australian cities. Most shopping
malls here have at least one nursing room where you can breastfeed, bottle feed and change nappies. Some even have sterilisers, hot water dispensers for making formula and high chairs for feeding solids. These areas can really help when you’re on the go! If you’re having trouble with feeding, most hospitals hold classes every morning for new mums, and many run free breastfeeding clinics for former patients. Alternatively, you can seek help from one of the following organisations: BreastfeedingMothers’SupportGroup: Breastfeeding workshops for mums-to- be, new mums and mums returning to work. 6337 0508 | breastfeeding.org.sg 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 | motherandchild.com.sg Parentlink: Breastfeeding counselling at your home. 6536 4626 | parentlink. com.sg FREEZE FOR EASE! If you’ve mastered the knack of pumping breast milk and you have some extra time, you can actually freeze milk for up to threemonths in a regular freezer, so long as it’s in a freezer-safe container. Avoid thawing it in themicrowave, though, since the milk can heat unevenly and be too hot in one area.
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Did you breastfeed? If so, did you seek help from experts?
BUMPS & BEYOND
I couldn’t breastfeed my first son as he was born with a cleft palate, so for the first six months I had to express mymilk to feed him through a bottle. Jani Combrink from Mother & Child was very helpful during this challenging journey. I breastfed Jonas for the first five months only as it just wasn’t manageable for me to breastfeed himwhile looking after two kids; I was too tired and didn’t eat well, so I didn’t have much milk and had no energy to express anything.
To my own surprise, I managed to breastfeed my first for 15 months. The first few weeks were tough, but I was lucky to have been given some excellent advice at NUH (they are extremely pro- breastfeeding). I have found breast shells to be a great way to keep sore nipples protected in between feedings.
Jani fromMother & Child was my saviour on this. As a first-timer it’s easy to get stressed and freak out about it, but ultimately you’re someone who’s never tried to breastfeed, trying to teach breastfeeding to a baby who’s never breastfed! That’s how I try to see it. I set myself a goal of six weeks to see how I got on, which I think was quite realistic. It’s worth seeking some support from a lactation consultant on this, as they’re great for recommending positions, and just helping you feel more relaxed about the whole thing. “It’s easy to get stressed about it, but ultimately you’re someone who’s never tried to breastfeed, trying to teach breastfeeding to a baby who’s never breastfed!”
I had a number of sessions at Mother & Child in Siglap. My son had a tongue-tie, which made it difficult at the start. I also supplementedwith formula and in hindsight I think it contributed to many of the issues I had with the twins.
Yes, and I’m still going strong! Thankfully, we’ve never had any major issues apart from flat nipples, but I left Mount Alvernia having had the best experience with the lactation consultants there. They taught me to latch my baby properly, despite my flat nipples, and we never looked back. I think it also helped that I had a C-section and so I spent three nights in the hospital, which meant I got two ot three more free personal sessions than mothers who have a natural birth would have. I also got loads of good advice and information off the Stork’s Nest Facebook group, which is headed by Jani Combrink. I’m a glutton for information and all the posts and articles she put up really helped me cement my certainty that I was doing the right thing the right way – and still am.
Oksana Kuzmina | Shutterstock.com
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If you supplemented with formula, which did you use, and which bottles worked best?
I used Nan HA after six months. My little one didn’t show any sign of allergies, and respondedwell to this when we transitioned frombreast milk.
I used Bellamy’s Organic Infant Formula and Dr Browns bottles, and they have worked really well for us.
For my first son, we used Enfamil AR, as he had bad reflux from his cleft palate. He had to take it in a special cleft palate bottle by Pigeon. For my second son, I have used many different brands because some milk made him very constipated, such as Bellamy’s organic milk. He would also only drink from Medela bottles.
Most infant formula is made from cow’s milk, though soy-based varieties are also common, along with those made frombroken-down (hydrolysed) proteins. Theprotein level in cow’smilk is toohigh for babies, so formula is modified to reduce this, and vitamins, minerals and fats are added so that the final product more closely resembles breast milk. The first rubber nipple for baby bottles was patented by Elijah Pratt in New York in 1845.
We used S26 Gold and Avent bottles.
Not a drop!
Lena May | Shutterstock.com
Maria Sbytova | Shutterstock.com
BUMPS & BEYOND
When it comes to introducing solid food to infants, the World Health Organisation has some pretty, erm, solid guidelines. Its current recommendation is that infants should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months (180 days). From then onwards, solids should be introduced in small amounts, and the quantity and frequency of meals should be increased gradually as the baby gets older.
I f only it was always so neat, right? Many parents find that their babies want to experiment with food a little earlier – at around five months, sometimes even four months – so it’s common for weaning to begin before the six-month mark. 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 introduced here and there; babies tend to 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. This involves no purées or spoon-feeding, and babies sit with the rest of the family at mealtimes. Food is offered in sizes and shapes that babies can handle with their fingers and feed themselves. Some like to use this method simply because
5 SIGNSTHATBABIES COULDBE READY TO START ON SOLIDS #1 They no longer seem satisfied by a full milk feed #2 They demand frequent milk feeds #3 They wake in the night for a feed despite having previously slept through the night #4 They’re interested in watching others eat #5 They’re able to support their head and neck well when seated
it’s easier and less time-consuming for the whole family to sit and eat similar food. Weaning is an important time in babies’ lives, and it’s best to introduce them to the widest variety of food possible in their first year. Whichever route you choose, the goal is to have a contented baby who is not a fussy eater.
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When did you decide to wean your child? Did you follow baby-led weaning? If so, any tips?
FamVeld | Shutterstock.com
BUMPS & BEYOND
“She was much more interested in finger painting with her food than consuming it!”
My son wasn’t really interested in solid food until he turned seven months. As he wasn’t sitting independently at that time, we decided against baby- ledweaning and did spoon-feeding with the baby on our lap instead.
I used baby-led weaning from six months. I tried to focus on a variety of flavours rather than just fruit, because she didn’t always want something sweet. Pouches were great for outings but on the whole I find even the savoury ones have fruit in them, which makes them sweet. Making food at home in batches and freezing the portions was easy enough. I involved my helper heavily in this process, so she understood what I was trying to acheive, and didn’t just opt for sugary snacks as soon as my back was turned! I started trying my toddler on solids at just past six months, but she absolutely hated food (and still merely tolerates most of what she eats). We did baby-led weaning for almost seven months, which resulted in just about nothing going into her, as she was much more interested in finger painting with her food than consuming it! We sort of gave up eventually and spoon-fed her a little here and there, and she finally started taking a tiny amount of solids at 14 months (she was exclusively breastfed till then!). She still needs quite a bit of persuasion to eat sometimes, and it’s been a difficult journey, but it was a moment of triumph when she finally started feeding herself!. JoBeth
Because of my son’s condition, I could only start to wean him after his operation and healing time, which was at around eight months. The doctor didn’t want him to start solid foods before his operation because he wouldn’t be able to eat during the healing period, and may have gotten very frustrated and hard to manage. Keyan followed baby-led weaning. For Jonas, I started spoon-feeding him solids at six months. My tip for baby-led weaning is to start slowly and remember to let your baby have fun. Before one year, food is more of an introduction to your baby. Don’t stress too much if they don’t eat or throw the food on the floor, and don’t place too many expectations on the process. I went through that and it wasn’t a productive time. Keep it simple. I decided to wean just after six months as my baby started not being interested in milk and was really taking an interest in us eating, so we slowly started with solid food at around five months. At six months, we’ve started to offer finger food, and once he can sit up by himself I’m keen on starting the baby-led weaning. There are some great Facebook pages out there with good advice. Emma
I went home to Australia when the twins were nine months old; I felt as though my milk supply was waning and I decided to swap to formula.
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Bright Young Things PRESCHOOLS, KINDERGARTENS AND LEARNING CENTRES
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Arts Kidz International Pre-School
A word from parents: Sam and Nicola Hardy, Australian; Julia (4), Nursery 2
A word from the school:
On our first visit, we immediately liked the ambience of the school. My Mum, a retired early childhood teacher, came with us and was instantly impressed by how happy and engaged the children were with their classroom activities. The staff are very caring and Julia has thrived in the time she has been there. She particularly loves science and numeracy classes, and her Mandarin skills have steadily developed over time; she now enjoys counting and singing at home! Tiong Bahru Campus: 67A Eu Chin Street (Level 2), Tiong Bahru Community Centre 6456 8003 I firstname.lastname@example.org Bukit Timah Campus: 262 Upper Bukit Timah Road, #01-03/04 Old Fire Station 6469 1739 I email@example.com
Arts Kidz International Pre-School combines internationally renowned IPC and Singapore curriculum with an extensive specialist arts and language programme to provide a well-rounded, enquiry-driven and unique education for children 18 months to six years of age.
School hours: 9am to 3.30pm (Tiong Bahru); 9.30am to 3.45pm (Bukit Timah) School year dates: January-December (Tiong Bahru), August-June (Bukit Timah) Years taught: Pre-Nursery to Kindergarten 2 Application procedures: Open for enrolments year round Year established: 2008
Preschool & Early Learning School A word from the school: Between Two Trees
A word from parents: Sapna & Rishi Malhotra, British; Diya (2) We love the homely and friendly environment, the Reggio curriculum that focuses on project learning, and having Mandarin as part of the curriculum. Diya loves painting, water play, and making friends. I’ve gotten to know the teachers through dropping off and picking her up. There’s always a chance to ask questions and have a quick chat about Diya’s day! There are email updates every few weeks with photos, which we always look forward to receiving.
Our holistic programmes focus on children’s creative expression to discover his or her immense potential for acquiring new knowledge and life skills, as well as to develop physical, social and personal competencies.
School hours: 8.30am to 12.30pm or 4.30pm (Holland); 8.30am to 12.30pm, with afternoon enrichment programmes (Dempsey) Years taught: Six months to six years Student population: 100 across both campuses Year established: 2009
Holland Road Campus: 7 Ming Teck Park | 6733 9768 Dempsey Campus: 73 Loewen Road | 6509 8296 betweentwotrees.sg
Nursery & International Preschool BLUE HOUSE School hours: 9am to 12pm and 9am to 3pm, depending on age and programme School year dates: September to June Years taught: Six months to six years
A word from parents: Karin and Daniel Schoenfelder, German; Maia (now at UWCSEA), Magnus (5) and Moritz (3) The environment at Blue House is inspiring and provides a wide range of opportunities for learning through experiences. Moreover, the school has a strong focus on outdoor time, which is essential for us. We also appreciate that the Reggio approach supports the idea of lifelong learning and independent thinking. At Blue House, the children lead their own learning, mostly through projects. There are parent evenings, when we can meet with the respective teachers, and parent mornings when we can spend a morning at school. 2 Turf Club Road, Bukit Timah 6734 0824 | bluehouseinternational.com
Student population: 150 Year established: 2008
A word from the school:
Children from six months to six years of age will benefit from the highly acclaimed Reggio Emilia inspired pedagogy, starting with a parent-accompanied programme, through to an unaccompanied Nursery, Preschool and Kindergarten programme.
A word from parents: Nicole Plumez and Bryce Kelly, American; Jackson Patrick (JP) Kelly-Plumez (4), Nursery 2 We believe in the Montessori method of teaching. We wanted JP’s creativity, confidence and independence to be nurtured and valued. A programme that had an extensive Mandarin component was also important to us. JP is a typical four-year-old boy: he has tons of energy and loves outdoor play and laughing with his friends. At Brighton, he loves the Kidz Fun Discovery Program (English enrichment) and especially the cookery lessons. Brighton also offers lots of extra activities such as excursions to cultural events and plays. The school is excellent at communicating with parents. I’ve known each of JP’s teachers very well. They call home, send reports and have several meetings throughout the year to discuss curriculum and your child’s progress. Parents also get to know the teachers and administration through the multitude of events held throughout the year such as the Halloween party and cultural appreciation day.
A word from the school:
Designed to meet every child’s individual learning, Brighton Montessori has adapted a hands-on learning approach and a one-to-one teaching approach with concrete to abstract methods for teaching both phonics and mathematics, and the environment encourages children to explore and express themselves.
School hours: 7am-7pm (full day), 7am-1pm or 1pm-7pm (half day), 7am-3pm (three- quarter day) School year dates: From January Ages taught: 18 months to six years Student population: Almost 700 across all centres Year established: 1995
Seven centres islandwide 6588 3883 | brightonmontessori.com.sg
BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS
The Garden House Preschool
A word from a student: Nadrah Jane (5), Singaporean
I’m in Kindergarten. I like to play outdoors, meet my friends and cook. I really like cooking with Ms Nurul. It’s my favourite thing to do. I like it when we bake something and I get to crack the eggs. School hours: 8am to 5pm, but there are earlier options and extended days School year dates: From September Ages taught: Toddlers to Pre-K Application procedure: Waiting lists depend on age group, but enrolments are taken all year
A word from the school:
The Garden House is an international preschool with an enriched child-initiated curriculum, inspired by the Reggio Emilia principles. It provides authentic learning journeys for young children in the natural environment. The curriculum supports every child’s innate curiosity and group learning investigations, especially in the areas of gardening, food and nutrition.
Student population: 50 Year established: 2013
20 Jln Layang Layang 6469 9556 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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A word from the school: School hours: 7am to 7pm School year dates: January to December Ages taught: 18 months to six years Year established: 1978 Kinderland Kinderland offers a comprehensive bilingual preschool curriculum integrated with a music-infused programme that enhances the development of language literacy in children’s early years. Kinderland also offers a Literacy Through IT programme, which creates a literacy-rich environment with numerous opportunities for writing, reading, speaking and listening. EducareServices
A word from parents: Raelee & Damien Bankovsky, Australian; Thomas (4) and Natasha (3)
I chose Kinderland for several reasons: good reputation, proximity to where we live, reasonable fees, clean premises,
large outdoor and indoor play areas, friendly staff, and excellent lesson plans. My kids love Kinderfit, art and music. They really enjoy learning about the world around them and what makes up a community. They especially love dramatic play and the many festival days that are celebrated at school. Kinderland Pandan Valley sends out regular newsletters with information on what the kids are learning and they always include loads of photos. We get detailed portfolios and reports every term of the children’s work and progress. While there are parent-teacher meetings, I also get to speak to both their teachers when I drop off and pick up my children every day. There is a real sense of community at Kinderland and my children are excited to go to school each day.
Multiple locations islandwide 6881 8818 | kinderland.com.sg
BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS
A word from the school:
Learning Vision offers an award-winning preschool curriculum for children from two months of age to six years. The SPARK-accredited centre offers a low child-teacher ratio, a technology- centric learning environment and outdoor playground. School hours: 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday, 7am to 2pm Saturday Ages taught: Two months to six years (varies from location to location) Application procedure: Make an appointment to view a centre prior to enlisting on the waiting list; after confirmation of enrolment date, parents confirm placement by paying a deposit and registration fee Student population: Approximately
A word from a student: Anna Pyrohova (5), Ukrainian
I’m at Learning Vision Kent Ridge and my teacher is Teacher Yani. I like to read books and play toys with my friends. I also like to spend time with Teacher Yani and do learning corner activities by myself. I really enjoyed the farm fish excursion to Qian Hu Fish Farm. We caught fish with our parents and teachers. Justin’s and Ryan’s Daddies bought fish for us, and everyone took home a fish and a tank.
2,422 across 22 locations Year established: 1989
22 locations islandwide 6781 0888 | learningvision.com
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A word from the Chief Executive: Patricia Koh, Singaporean
MapleBear offers an immersive English-
Mandarin bilingual learning experience, where each class gets two co-teachers – one speaking in English and the other inMandarin – interacting with them everyday. Apart from that, we have an enriching and creative environment with learning resources in both languages. This is an effective way for children to pick up both languages right from the first day of school, and build up strong language foundations over time. Our centres also offer FasTracKids, an amazing programme that changes the way in which children experience information as well as interact and learn with the aid of technology. We are like a big family where children across different age groups become friends, and educators across our centres are generous with their time, skills and expertise. Not to forget our parents too, who support each other in their journey of parenthood and work hand-in-hand with our teachers to create a happy and meaningful early learning experience for their little ones.
A word from the school:
MapleBear Singapore has grown fromthree centres in 2014 to over 20 centres in 2017. First developed by Canadian education leaders, there are now over 240 MapleBear schools in 12 countries including the US, Brazil and South Korea. School hours: 7am to 7pm School year dates: January to December Years taught: Two months to six years Application procedure: Email enquiry@ maplebear.sg or call 9777 4866 to register or schedule a personal school tour Year established: 1997 in Canada, 2014 in Singapore
20 locations islandwide 9777 4866 | maplebear.sg
School hours: 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday; 7am to 2pm, Saturday School year dates: January to December Ages taught: 18 months to six years Application procedure: Book a personal tour online and enrol at the centre Student population: More than 2,800 across 32 preschools and one Chinese preschool Apart from the well-rounded, bilingual curriculum and enrichment programmes, MindChamps PreSchool also places emphasis on the value of embracing setbacks, as well as having compassion and integrity. This school prepares children for their future, and to be the best that they can be. MindChamps PreSchool A word from the school:
A word from a student: Sophia Nesterenko (K2), Russian
I like going to school and playing with my friends. I also like to draw with them; sometimes I make a card for Mummy. I like playing games during lessons, and I am good at making sentences now. For Chinese, I like to write; when I get full marks, I make Mummy happy. When we were in K1, we went to the River Safari; I saw my favourite animal, the jaguar, on my boat ride.
Multiple locations islandwide mindchamps.org/preschool
ODYSSEY PRESCHOOL A word from the school:
A word from a student: Callum James Killingsworth (3), Nursery 1 (Odyssey @ Wilkinson), Australian I have three teachers: Ms Faeizah, Ms Ann Chee and Ms Grace Lin. I love seeing my good friends every day. We get to play together and my teachers are really
Developed to exceed international standards of early childhood education, Odyssey offers an award-winning Reggio- Emilia inspired curriculum specially aimed at exploratory and self-guided learning. Together, learning is enriched through a child’s inquisitivity and our unrelenting focus on the world as our classroom. School hours: 7am to 7pm School year dates: From January Ages taught: Six months to six years Application procedure: Enquire online Student population: Over 500 children across four campuses Year established: 2008
nice! I got to go to Ms Faeizah’s house to play, Lin Laoshi drew a picture of me andMs Ann gaveme a green egg. Oh, and I love the stories they tell about the birds too, it’s very interesting! I really enjoyed the trip to the Bird Park. All my friends went with me on a school bus. I got to feed the birds up close and I ran around the park with Mummy, trying to find all the birds that Ms Ann wanted us to find. The toucan is my favourite!
Four centres islandwide 6781 8800 | theodyssey.sg
BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS
A word from the school: At Pat’s Schoolhouse, we recognise creativity as
A word from a student: Lika Kondo (5), Japanese
I’m from the K1 class and my teachers are Ms Sheree and Yu Laoshi. I love listening to
stories and playing with my friends. I like to play with games and toys at the learning corners. I also like painting, cutting and pasting with my friends. A trip I really enjoyed was when we went to a butterfly and insect park on Sentosa. I liked it because I got to see so many butterflies and flowers. I also saw many other interesting insects and learnt about them.
an important characteristic we can nurture in children as a strong foundation for their future. This is through exposure to a specially curated curriculum, and immersing children in a print- and language-rich environment.
School hours: 7am to 7pm (varies from location to location) School year dates: January to December Ages taught: Two months to six years Application procedure: Parents are encouraged to submit enquiries online Student population: Approximately 2,150 at August 2016 Year established: 1988
18 preschools and two infant cares islandwide patschoolhouse.com
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Preparatory School Quayside Isle
A word from the school:
Quayside Isle Preparatory School (QuIPS) at Sentosa Cove nurtures the resilience and strengths of children in a natural learning environment. The emphasis is on thoughtful and innovative activities to help children make their own connections with what they learn. QuIPS is an International Primary Curriculum-based (IPC) school with a comprehensive language, mathematics and literacy programme underlining the academic curriculum.
A word from parents: Bryan & Cynthia Spear, American; Caden (5) and Carsten (3)
Before enrolling, I spoke with numerous friends, all of whom highly recommended QuIPS; it has a strong reputation in the community. After visiting, I realised the teachers really use their creativity to tailor the learning to the needs of the class and capture the attention of the students. QuIPS focuses on getting children out of the classroom – for nature walks and all types of field trips – and bringing subjects to life in the classroom. My children are excited to go to school and they are learning so much! The small class size makes it easy to have quick and easy conversations with the teachers at drop-off or pick-up. Each teacher sends home a newsletter every week with pictures and information about the week’s learning and the following week’s plan. The teachers also know how to communicate with my children to get them excited about what they are learning.
School hours: 9am to 3.15pm School year dates: August to June Ages taught: Two to seven years
Student population: 60 Year established: 2013
#01-17, 31 Ocean Way, Sentosa Cove 6235 7527 | quips.edu.sg
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