I started to look for a playgroup for my daughter when she was close to two years old. The reason was simple, my daughter was looked after by my parents and they were not really able to teach her, they just knew how to dote on her as my daughter was their first grand child.
Consideration 1: Communication
The first consideration before putting your children in a playgroup is their communication abilities. My wife said this was an important consideration before putting our child in school because if she was not happy in school, she must be able to tell us. That was why my second child started school a few months later than his sister, he was still not able to communicate properly when he was two years old.
Consideration 2: Distance and Budget
At that time, for the convenience of my parents, we chose the playgroup nearest to their place that fit into our budget. So that was two considerations, distance and budget. You would not want your young children to travel a long distance to go to their playgroup. You would also not want to burst your budget just to let your young children enjoy a few hours of play time.
Consideration 3: Social skills, new skills and happiness
The first playgroup I chose for my daughter was not really a child care so she was only in school for two hours. I saw the main benefit of this type of pre-school was to expose my child to other children of her age and to make her more sociable. Another important benefit was that she was able to learn some new things, she learnt to sing songs and kept her own toys after playing. The child will also be happier to mix with people of their same age. If your child likes the playgroup, you can see them eager to prepare to go to school.
Consideration 4: Note the Side Effects
A side effect of this was to take away my daughter from her over doting grandparents. It was hard to tell your parents not to pamper your child too much so an easier way would be to shorten the number of hours of pampering. I was thankful I made the decision so my child was not so spoilt. Another side effect was my daughter would be tired after her school so she would take afternoon nap and that allowed my parents to have some rest time also.
Starting your child in playgroup early is a good idea, choosing a playgroup is not as involved as choosing a child care so don’t be too stressed over it. All playgroup in Singapore should be licensed and the teachers qualified. Just request to observe the teachers in one lesson and you should know whether you are comfortable to leave your child with the teachers.