2. OUR SPECIAL ATMOSPHERE
We’re not called The Garden House Preschool for nothing! We promote a thriving culture of eco-literacy, so environmental education is incorporated in all our lessons. All students take part in daily morning gardening sessions (sunhats and suncreen included, of course!), and even get to take charge of their own plots at school.
We also teach our students to respect our resident inhabitants like the various lizards, birds, frogs, butterflies, and grasshoppers. When our team of teacher gardeners say it’s harvest time, our entire school gets down and dirty together to harvest our own vegetables!
3. LOTS AND LOTS OF SUNSHINE
Never fear a Vitamin D shortage again! We advocate outdoor play because it keeps children healthy, stimulates their physical and mental development, and makes for an endlessly interesting classroom.
Our students spend a lot of their school day outdoors, even when it drizzles. And we’re never too far away from our green garden when we’re inside because each classroom comes with doors that lead to the great outdoors. Best of all, all our meals are enjoyed alfresco.
Q: What is the preschool’s vision?
A: We’re very focused on the environment, and aim to build strong partnerships between families, the children, school, and the community in order for each child to have with a positive, joyful, and nurturing experience.
Q: What ages do you serve?
A: Our core programmes cater to children from 18 months to 5 years old. We also provide parent accompanied programmes for babies from 6 months old. If your child is younger than 18 months old, consider enrolling them in our weekly Sproutling programmes, a primer to our core programme, that advocates environmental awareness through play to children from 15 months old.
Q: What will my child learn from the emergent curriculum?
A: While our curriculum is largely Reggio-inspired, our focus is on building a unique curriculum based on what the children’s interests are, their experiences with one another, and the world in which they live. Our approach is grounded in interest-based investigations, creating observational opportunities, and building understanding and respect for the natural environment. By allowing children to work on projects they find meaningful, they get to discover the world on their own terms. Children will achieve creative confidence, be articulate at self-expression, and most importantly, find the joy in learning.
Q: Will my child be ready for big school once they graduate?
A: Yes. We focus on equipping children with the skills of how to learn, which not only prepares them for big school but in all areas of their development. By working hands-on on projects that children take a personal interest to, we cement their foundation skills in literacy, mathematics, and science, as well as develop their creative, motor, and social skills that they will need in their later school years. Our programme is also supplemented by ecological and environmental advocacy, which instills a sense of responsibility and pride in a child from their formative years.
Q: What is the application process for new students?
A: Applications are done online. We highly recommend applying only after visiting the preschool.
Q: How are admissions decisions made?
A: Priority is determined by several factors like date of application and if the applicant has had an older sibling attend our school. While we do not publish waitlist numbers, we strive to be fair to all our applicants and upfront about your waitlist status.
Q: What are your fees like?
A: Good question! We’ve put a lot of thought into keeping quality education affordable, so we’ve prepared a whole host of information on the available programmes and tuition fees. Just drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can walk you through it!
Q: When is tuition due?
A: School fees are billed at the beginning of each term.
KNOW OUR SCHOOL
Q: What’s your academic year like?
A: We run 4 terms in a year. Term 1 begins in September.
Q: What are your operating hours?
A: Our flexible programme offers class from 8.30am-12.30pm with the option to stay till 3.30pm every weekday.
Q: Are you open on weekends too?
A: Family time is very important to our team, so we’re currently closed on weekends to let our teachers spend time with their families too.
Q: Do you offer holiday programmes?
A: Our holiday programme runs every other term and is open to children from other schools who are on holiday. They’re usually held during May/June and November/ December. Drop us a line at email@example.com to find out more or apply to our holiday programme.
Q: Do you provide transport?
A: Yes, we partner with transport companies, but the exact route will be worked out directly with them depending on where you live.
Q: How big are your classes and what is the ratio of children to teachers?
A: Our classes have a maximum enrollment of 12 children. We have 1 teacher for every 4 toddlers (that’s 3 teachers per class) and 1 teacher for every 6 older children (2 teachers per class).
Q: Does my child need to be potty-trained?
A: No. But if you feel your child is ready, talk to the teachers who will help with the process.
Q: What do I need to bring for my children?
A: Sun hat, water bottle and a change of clothes! Nappies if they’re not potty-trained.
Q: How will your vegetable plots feed all the children?
A: We supplement our home-grown organic veggies with locally sourced organic produce. With that said, you’d be surprised at how much produce we’re able to harvest from our garden!
Q: What will you do when it rains?
A: We believe a little rain never hurt anyone, so the children are free to play outdoors when it’s drizzling. In the event of heavy rain, exploratory play will continue indoors! We have a whole indoor world of experiences for children to discover.
Q: Do you use air-conditioning?
A: As The Garden House Preschool is an eco-literate school, we keep cool with large ceiling fans and open windows. While we have air-conditioning installed in our toddlers’ room, we do not use them daily. If the winds aren’t in our favour (e.g. when the haze comes to visit), we bring in standalone air-con units to use.
Q: What are the staff qualifications?
A: All our teachers have diplomas or degrees in Early Childhood Education. We’ve put together a team that not only believes in the foundation of an emergent curriculum, but also values and respects the rights of each child. You can meet our Principal here.
Q: Does the teaching team have ongoing training sessions?
A: Yes, our teachers undergo an intensive professional development course twice a year.
Q: Are you equipped to handle emergencies?
A: Yes, all our teachers have valid first aid licenses and we keep medical supplies on our site at all times. We also conduct emergency drills every term to keep on our toes!
Q: I want to get involved too! What can I do?
A: Parents are such a big part of our community and we welcome you to support the children’s learning in a variety of ways. We believe in having strong home-school connections and start by visiting each family before their child begins school with us to keep things personal. We invite parents to get involved by reading stories to the children, sharing a skill or interest with them, donating to our recycling centre, or getting down and dirty in the gardens with us. We always have extra gardening gloves!
Q: Can we speak to a family with their preschooler currently enrolled?
A: Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to connect you with one of our parents.
At The Garden House Preschool, we get to the root of our children’s education by heading to the great outdoors! Let your little explorer learn through playing outside, where they’ll discover everything from literacy to geography in their daily escapades. Bonus: your Indiana Jones will get their daily dose of Vitamin D too. Come learn more about what we do, or visit our garden for yourself!
Parent Accompanied Programmes
For children 15 months to 3 years of age. Want to learn more about how children play and meet other parents in the community? Need help filling out your little black book of playdates? Let your child branch out into the new territory of an emergent curriculum with the reassuring presence of mummy or daddy. This teaser programme allows children to explore something new each week by engaging their senses and honing their green thumbs.
The preschool advocates environmental awareness so even the little ones will get a go at this. Got the munchies? Make sure to try our complimentary healthy organic snack while the children explore their new world with their new friends.
For toddlers between 18 months to 3 years old, we offer the option of 2, 3, or 5 school mornings a week.
For 3 to 4 year olds, there is flexibility to choose between 3 or 5 days a week.
And for 4 to 5 year olds, classes run 5 days a week which help ease their transition into “big school” once they graduate from The Garden House Preschool.
Bilingualism is highly encouraged at The Garden House and Mandarin is included as part of our daily routine through art, dance, and music.
A musical experience for mums and bubs. For babies from 6 months old, we offer a mummy and baby 50 minutes play session held every Wednesday at 3pm. Expect songs, fascinating sounds, and a musical experience for you and your little one.
Our teaching team is passionate about the emergent curriculum, and sees children as strong, capable members of the community and as individuals with rights. All our teachers have diplomas or degrees in Early Childhood Education and are equipped with First Aid certification.
The key roles of our teachers (aka our green thumb experts) are to: observe a child’s interest, sustain their explorations with related materials, enrich the child’s experience by posing new challenges, and document all the wonderful growth and development.
As a firm believer in childhood play, Ms Nalini Sivaperumal is excited be part of The Garden House Preschool and work with a team of dedicated teachers. She has been a professional educator for the last 12 years – first teaching for seven years before heading a team of teachers for the next five years.
Mother to a three year old boy, she is a big proponent of giving children time to play both indoors and out. She love playing outdoors with children – in the sandpit, with water, with paint – I love watching them discover and learn new things through new sensory experiences.
Ms Nalini’s plans for The Garden House Preschool are simple: To focus on nurturing more teachers and improving the quality of education!
4. HOMEGROWN ORGANIC GRUB
With so much going on, of course our gardeners deserve a hearty meal! Together with a nutritionist, we plan an all organic, low G.I menu that not only meets the dietary needs of children, but also ensures nobody needs a nap due to too much sugar.
Our in-house cook prepares our meals (morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea) on-site daily, and wherever possible we use our freshly picked herbs and vegetables. Right now we’re chowing down on spelt pasta with peas and basil; a creamy pumpkin, sweet potato and carrot soup served with quinoa and grilled fish; frozen yogurt popsicles with fruit and dates, and muesli muffins.
Education, much like gardening, requires plenty of special care. Here’s how we keep our school in the green of health!
1. ROOM TO GROW
This is the part where we tell you what your child will learn at our school. We use the emergent curriculum, but hold the panic button! There’s no need for encyclopedias here. Most of us are familiar with the conventional approach to school: fixed lesson plans, specific class durations, homework assignments, and test models that measure a child’s level of competence by how straight a line they can cut.
Well, we’re not onboard with that. An emergent curriculum means that children are given the freedom to learn at their own pace and by what interests them. A lesson ends when the child has finished exploring, whether it takes 15 minutes or a whole week.
But what this really means is that besides all the educational takeaways your child will learn, they’ll also have the lifelong joy of learning instilled in them.
Their curiosity won’t just be satiated, it’ll be piqued! And because they’ll constantly be engaged with their teachers and friends, they’ll develop all-rounded social skills, communication skills, problem solving skills, and motor skills, as well as learn how to confidently express themselves in different types of ways, like drawing, movement, and acting.
Hop over to 20 Jalan Layang Layang, Singapore 598486 to pay us a visit! Or you can write to us at email@example.com and ring us at 6469 9556.
Finding us doesn’t have to be a hare-y affair! Reach us by bus 61, 66, 157, 174, 970, and 985. There’ll even be a train station (Beauty World MRT) come 2015!
Need more landmarks? We’re close to the German School, not too far from Dulwich College Singapore, and a stone’s throw from the Old Bukit Timah Fire Station.
Meet Ana! Ana Peckham-Cooper is our Founder & Managing Director of the school, which means this busy bee deals with everything from blueprints and application forms to school supplies and our vegetable garden.
Ana used to be a professional nanny to a high profile family in London, and has always championed many extremely important causes:
1. Outdoor play (even in gloomy London!)
2. Food that makes us feel happy and healthy
3. Celebrating our differences and individuality (because that’s what makes us special)
4. Freedom to explore and discover
So when Ana had two children of her own, she decided to build a school that would echo her beliefs… because what else do you do when you have two children under three, right?
Here’s how it all happened (and this is the short version!):
We renovated the old building to make it ultra child-friendly; knocked down walls so children could run around; went shopping for eco-friendly, child-safe furniture; built an outdoor playground; got dirty in the vegetable garden; found musical instruments from all over the region; planned a nutrition-packed children’s menu, and put together a team of super dedicated teachers.
The end result? Ana’s dream school that we now call our home. Come see for yourself!