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Nursery in Singapore for my 16 mth old?

(67 Posts)
AmbiPambi Mon 25-Jan-10 12:38:09

We will be relocating to Singapore within the next 3-4 months and I have been searching for a good nursery for my little one but it is hard to judge from afar. I saw there are quite a few Singapore members and hope you can point me into the right direction.

I am looking for a Montessori nursery, with well-trained Western staff and mostly western expatriate children but possibly Mandarin lessons. Can anyone help?

I thought there is one opposite Tanglin Mall, up on a hill and then another one on Bukit Timah Road where the enclosure for Picotin (restaurant) is, but I'm not sure.

Where did you send your children and why? Help is very much appreciated.

springaporesling Mon 25-Jan-10 13:34:50

Hi - what exactly are you looking for in terms of time spent at nursery? Most won't take children for drop-off until 18 months (unless they are childcare centres too). Then you have to decide whether you want 5 days a week, mornings only or 2 or 3 mornings. I have a 17 month old DS who is about to start drop-off sessions (2 mornings a week) at Blue House Nursery on River Valley Road. We have been attending the parent & child accompanied programme for the last couple of months so he knows the setting and the teachers. All are western staff and mainly expat children.

I did look at quite a few but main reasons were proximity to where we live so that we can walk there, a lot of the nurseries that say they are Montessori seem to be a little more regimented (in true Singapore style).

I think the one you are referring to is White Lodge - I have friends who like the one at Dempsey very much. The one at Turf City (Picotin) is possibly Swallows and Amazons which is supposed to be good too.

AmbiPambi Mon 25-Jan-10 15:09:57

Hello springaporesling (love the name),

thank you for your input. My dd will be 18 mths when we relocate and I'd like her to go to nursery 3 mornings/week.

I lived in Singers a few times before but not with a toddler IYSWIM so that world is totally new to me grin

We'll probably live in Bukit Timah area, Holland Link but I don't mind driving her. I read about the lady that opened the Blue House. She seemed very lovely and it did cross my mind but I know nothing about it. Would you mind letting me know how your DS settled and how he's finding it, i.e. what his day is like and what the groups do, how many kids per group and carers? Sorry to bug you, just have to get more intel from far away and really urgently need to put her name down? Is the April group very full, would you mind asking when you next drop him off?

Having read a few Montessori websites in Singapore I am a bit hmm and you seem right re the 'order above anything else' aspect. Wonder if that's just me checking the wrong nurseries?

Thank you so much for the names of the other 2 nurseries. I will ring them tomorrow. Please stay in touch.

AmbiPambi Mon 25-Jan-10 15:27:14

Another one seems to be: Play Days nursery. Any thoughts?

AmbiPambi Mon 25-Jan-10 15:31:13

And one more, sorry:

It's from 2yrs but I like the creativity aspect.

tootsieroll Mon 25-Jan-10 23:38:56

Glad this thread's popped up! I've been looking at nurseries for my DS and DD who will be 4 and 2 by the time we go out. Lots of Montessori type establishments as you say AmbiPambi, but just too regimented for my rather free-spirited children (maybe not such a good thing in Singapore?!?!). I've not heard of any of the nurseries suggested, but will take a look right after this post Problem is that I'll be living in the non-expat area of Punggol.....any recommendations for good nurseries around the area?

AmbiPambi Tue 26-Jan-10 03:18:46

Hi tootsie, no info re Punggol I'm afraid, but do come and wait for more info with me.

There is a Montessori school somewhere along Grange Road, opposite Gleneagles hospital but I cannot recall the name. We are due to move out of London in a few weeks' time and I'm already stressed!!

All you other mums in Singapore, can you please give us some advice? The last thread re this is from early 2008..

AmbiPambi Tue 26-Jan-10 03:21:01

I've just called the Blue House nursery and they said 'Our style is not for everyone.' Really insistent? Do I have to be worried, is this baby bootcamp??

What does their day look like for the little ones? They couldn't/wouldn't go into detail and I'm too far away.

springaporesling Tue 26-Jan-10 03:44:35

Hi again Ambi.

DS doesn't start his drop off till middle of next month (so after he's turned 18 months) - I will let you know how it goes - he's incredibly clingy at the moment so am a bit unsure how it's going to go tbh! But class size is maximum 12 with 2 teachers. At the moment we are going once a week to the parent and child session for 1.5 hours. Basically all he does is play. They have a number of different stations set up, water play, sand play, painting which is in the small outside area then inside there is a climbing frame with slide and various other activities that are changed round according to what the children show an interest in and what the parents have written in their books on observation from the previous week.

There is another little boy at our condo who already attends the drop-off sessions and I spoke to his Dad at the weekend and he says that he loves it there.

I am going this afternoon - originally we were going to start DS in April as we're travelling a bit in March so wasn't sure whether it was worth starting this term and also he's not 18 months till February anyway so not eligible to start in January and was told it might be more difficult to start in the 3rd term as places already filled but I will ask anyway (which is why we were offered mid-term plus we got priority for attending the afternoon programme).

A friend of mine lives in Sunset Way and so her DS goes to Play Days which he seems to like. We also go to Bibinogs once a week as I was keen on him doing some Mandarin but I find he sometimes gets a bit bored and will wander around which is why I prefer Blue House and also it has some outside space (albeit very small and he loves Reggie the Rabbit!).

flimflammum Tue 26-Jan-10 06:37:25

Hi there, I've been looking at pre-schools for my DD (2.3) recently, but I can't be much help to you with specific recommendations as we live on the East Coast. However, some of the well-known ones have branches both sides of the city, and I know Eton House is highly thought of (despite the dodgy name wink ). Same goes for Odyssey and White Lodge. There is a list here. The system is a bit different here in that many kindergarten/pre-school/nurseries go from age 18m or 2 to age 6 (when Singaporeans have to start primary), so they're a bit more like schools than nurseries. Also many require you to do five half days (or if they let you do two or three, they charge only slightly less, which is a fortune - think iro $1200 per month for half days). I've found the best ones in this area have a waiting list of 3 to 6 months for my DD's age-group.

slim22 Tue 26-Jan-10 07:01:02

Playdays and white lodge are very popular.

Blue house has a very god following too. And western staff a plus.
Not quite sure what they meant by "not for everyone"?
I have some reservations about blue house's owner myself.
They advertise themselves as child led play/learn. A lady from my condo sends her son there and raves about it.
However, a friend of mine just left singapore and the owner happened to call her for references as she was interviewing her maid for a job.
She was very very particular about discipline. She wanted the maid to be a bit of a supernanny extension of herself, making sure she would implement impeccable table manners and very strict routines for her 18mths old twins.
So not sure how this ties in with the free play ethos they are advertising iykwim?
singaporesling would love to hear more.

Also about the bilingual thing:
Don't want to sound condescending but I've not registered my DD anywhere yet (she's 21 months) mainly because staff is a problem as english is not their first language. So they speak a sort of standard disney channel english.
As for mandarin, unless you will follow it up at home or stay here for the long run, don't expect them to do more than learn a few songs by rote.

Eaton house delivers, certainly but no registration under 2 1/2.

The childrens' place in Kay Siang Road (off tanglin/phoenix park) is also very popular and has mainly expat pupils but did not impress me exactly for the last bit discussed above.
And the owners main preoccupation was how lucrative my husband and my job where hmm.

The kidz station at the forum is lovely and very low key.

There is also a place in Alexandra park which is very low key and all about play. They are in a little black and white and seem very caring. Have not toured it myself. My friend has enrolled her last there. She know a thing or two about nurseries as she is a serial mover and that;'s her fourth. Of all the nursery experiences, she says it's one of the sweetest. Can find out the name if you like.

Really I think I'm being very precious and want to keep DD to myself grin

AmbiPambi Tue 26-Jan-10 11:25:51

Thank you for the update springaporesling, it sounds quite like other good nurseries so I wonder where the 'special bit' is that is not for everyone? I hope your afternoon goes well and please let me know how you guys got on!

AmbiPambi Tue 26-Jan-10 11:33:15

Thank you for the list flimflammum, I will go through this.

Thank you slim for the great insight. I am a bit hmm at table manners and various demands from her. Interesting, but not in a good way.

I am only thinking of putting my dd into nursery 3x a week as a prep for school (a bit of routine and early numbers, abc, etc) but not as an institution IYSWIM.

I'd love to hear more about how your serial mover friend picked that nursery and why this one. Would be much grateful for a name or website!!

Have to dash, chat later.

tootsieroll Tue 26-Jan-10 19:51:59

AmbiPambi: 'Not for everyone'...whatever does that mean?!?! I thought they'd be trying to sell their nursery/preschool to any prospective parent. Sorry, that's put me right off, just from that little comment (judgemental, I know ) When do you head off?

The nursery that my DS currently goes to also has table top games which change daily, amongst other things that they do. I like some sort of Montessori style, but not 100% strict Montessori, IYSWIM. Has anyone made contact with the Carpe Diem nurseries? Their website looks good (a few expat children), and I like the sound of the 'multiple intelligence' thing. For me, I want my children to go to a place where the staff take the time to talk to them, where communication and expression of oneself is paramount. Discipline is important too, of course. I'd expect my child to be told off firmly but fairly if he did something wrong, but more like if he pushed another kid maliciously, and not just for being boisterous. Outdoor space is a must. As for Mandarin, it wouldn't hurt to learn a few words. Some preparation for school e.g. numbers, writing, reading would also be good, but taught in a fun way rather than sitting in rows and staring at the whiteboard.

Too much to ask? grin

springaporesling Wed 27-Jan-10 02:20:36

Slim I know what you mean about keeping them close. I'm sending him 2 mornings a week whilst I'm at work so he doesn't become too attached to our helper as at some point either she'll leave or we will.

Slim is that Lorna Whiston? Might be worth a look for Ambi and Tootsie. We had a look round but we don't have a car and don't really want my maid to take him in a taxi. I will ask around about Carpe Diem though.

Blue House was good yesterday. There will only be 8 children in DS class when he starts next month - 1 to 4 ratio is pretty good so if you are still interested then there shouldn't be a problem with space. I am not sure what the comment meant either have had a pretty good experience with them so far. When my Mum and Dad were visiting they came along with me and both liked it (Mum used to be a teacher too) and could see that DS was happy there so I suppose for me that's the most important thing.

slim22 Wed 27-Jan-10 06:05:33

Hello ladies.

Its little bunnies in Alexandra park

I think I have now settled for Lock road kindergarten for DD. But that for next september (she'll be 2 1/2).

AmbiPambi Wed 27-Jan-10 11:25:01

Another day rifling through the house and checking out nurseries. Thank you for the feedback springaporesling, sounds like your DS is going to have a great time and be very well looked after.

I have focussed on Lorna Whiston which seems very good and as my Dh will be in SP he'll check it out next week.

Thank you slim, must have a look at little bunnies. May I ask why you ultimately settled for Lock Road? I agree with keeping your small one with you for a while to make sure they learn as much from you as possible. I know the Singlish and manners and lack of lateral thinking, so I am thinking the same. smile

AmbiPambi Wed 27-Jan-10 11:30:37

Another day rifling through the house and checking out nurseries. Thank you for the feedback springaporesling, sounds like your DS is going to have a great time and be very well looked after.

I have focussed on Lorna Whiston which seems very good and as my Dh will be in SP he'll check it out next week.

Thank you slim, must have a look at little bunnies. May I ask why you ultimately settled for Lock Road? I agree with keeping your small one with you for a while to make sure they learn as much from you as possible. I know the Singlish and manners and lack of lateral thinking, so I am thinking the same. smile

slim22 Wed 27-Jan-10 12:03:39

Many friends with children on the waitlist to UWCSEA go to lock road.
They are so happy with lock road that they do not hesitate to defer entry in UWC for a year or two. And that is telling considering many people would kill for a shortcut to long UWC waitlists.

It is also a very low key old fashioned sort of place where they don't try and show you how clever or avant garde or creative they are. There is no "we will make your child bilingual" etc etc....

The location is great. There are many other ones closer to us but all very near/on a main road. This is tucked away and vvery leafy.

Met the lady who runs the place at a birthday party and she just seemed to be a friend to all the mums.

It just feels right.

AmbiPambi Wed 27-Jan-10 17:04:13

Now back with more time. Just read your previous post again slim and I'm a bit surprised what the lady at Kay Siang Road thought to talk about your job and your Dhs position rather than your child. I mean that's nice but come on, it shouldn't really matter to her, should it.

I think I may go for Lorna Whiston but it will all depend on seeing it in person when we come over so my DD can see it and suss out the feel of the place. She does rather have a mind of her own.

Lock Road sounds very interesting though I must say their website is very scarce. Nothing beats a good look around in person so I shall check it out when I land. It's very interesting to hear about the waitlist/entry for UWC. My DD has been confirmed for UWC and as we are permanent residents I think we'll be back longtime-ish smile I know the school from my past in Singers and many of my friends have gone there and were very happy.

Thank you again for sharing your observations with me.

tootsieroll Wed 27-Jan-10 18:58:38

Hi gals,
Wow, choices choices! slim22 and ambipambi, I just had a look on Lorna Whiston's website, and it looks absolutely wonderful. No over-the-top marketing, just very down to earth and straightforward. Their timetable looks like something my DC will thoroughly enjoy. That's definitely going on my list of places to visit. Am still trying to see if there's anything in Punggol (doubt it), or at least on the NE MRT line.

springaporesling Thu 28-Jan-10 03:16:02

Hi ladies. Lorna Whiston is in a really lovely location and has loads of outside space so hope you won't be disappointed now I've mentioned it!

When are we on for the meet up?

tootsieroll Thu 28-Jan-10 20:08:30

springaporesling I think someone mentioned on another of the Sg threads about CNY (was it slim22?)....I won't be able to make it for then as I will only be in Singapore from 12 March, returning Easter.

slim22 Fri 29-Jan-10 00:22:19

Am away during CNY too and I suppose many others might be too.

We could do march then?

springaporesling Fri 29-Jan-10 03:55:47

Am also away CNY so afterwards would be good.

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