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THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO MOVING TO SINGAPORE WITH YOUR CHILDREN

Introduction

Moving to Singapore with your child/ren is a unique opportunity to expose them to world-class education and a new and exciting lifestyle amongst other things. If you’re thinking of moving to Singapore with young children and are not sure what to expect, then this guide is for you. 

Get everything you need to know as you prepare for your move to one of the most vibrant cities in Southeast Asia, including information about Singapore’s education system, culture, lifestyle, entertainment and activities you can enjoy with the whole family. 

Tips for families moving to Singapore

Singapore is one of the most popular destinations for expats in the world and is considered a cultural heartland. The island climate, incredibly low crime rates and eclectic mix of cultures make it unmissable. Here are six tips to help you make a successful start in this education, commerce and technology hub

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Tip 1

Prepare for the hot, humid climate

Always carry a water bottle, wear light clothes & ensure kids wear sunblock when playing outside. An island climate may be quite a change from what you’re used to and preparing ahead of time will prevent any mishaps like heatstroke.

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Tip 2

Be open to meeting new people

Connecting with families who are familiar with your new environment can help make the transition easier. Locals and other expats are a support powerhouse. Consider joining clubs, Facebook groups or meeting parents at your children’s preschool.

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Tip 3

Research your school options

Embrace the world-class education on offer and research your options to find the perfect match. Read parent testimonials and book a tour of your shortlisted schools to get a firsthand experience of the campuses, classes and staff.

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Tip 4

Prioritise where you live

Where you live is one of the most important aspects to consider when moving to Singapore. Think about house prices, proximity to work and schools, and accessibility to supermarkets and other amenities.

 

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Tip 5

Embrace the local culture

Throw yourself headfirst into Singapore’s vibrant culture. Try the local cuisine at hawker centres, shop at the local markets, visit museums to discover Singapore’s history or explore the botanical gardens and parks and get to know its flora and fauna.

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Tip 6

Plan financially

Cost of living is relatively high in Singapore, so getting your finances in order must be a priority when you move. Do some financial planning before you relocate and plan ahead for opening bank accounts etc. and the first few months in your new home.

LEARN MORE IN OUR FREE GUIDE

Dive into the details at your leisure with our free ebook, Moving to Singapore with Children. Download your free PDF copy and get the facts and information you need before you move to the jewel of Southeast Asia. 

Get a practical overview of education in Singapore, family-friendly activities, transport links, weather and climate, national holidays and major events, the healthcare system, working and studying and expenses. 

Moving to Singapore with children doesn’t have to be difficult. Get the guide that helps make it a seamless transition for you and the whole family.

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THE WHITE LODGE CURRICULUM

The White Lodge curriculum is deeply rooted in modern theory and research on early childhood education practices. Most specifically, we create a blended curriculum based on the principals of HighScope and Reggio Emilia approaches, informed by Howard Gardner’s theories of child development. 

Careful consideration is given to our children’s shared interests, developmental needs and milestones. As such, we focus on activities and subjects that help them to grow and succeed, including: 

The White Lodge Mandarin curriculum is based on the Singapore Kindergarten and Primary School frameworks. Our fun-filled Mandarin programme aims to provide children with maximum exposure to the language, culture and history — it also includes twice-daily Mandarin lessons at all White Lodge centres. Classroom activities include storytelling, singing, play-acting, art projects, reading and writing and more. 

Find out more about our curriculum, and how it’s designed to foster key qualities like a love of learning and interest in the world, on our information page on The White Lodge Way.

Hear from our White Lodge families

Moving to Singapore with young children is a big decision, and their preschool or childcare will play a huge role in helping you all settle in. Learn what your child can expect with our video, A Day in the Life of a White Lodge Preschooler and discover What Parents love about White Lodge. 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WHITE LODGE PRESCHOOLER 

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT WHITE LODGE?

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FINDING THE RIGHT LOCATION IN SINGAPORE

White Lodge offers childcare and preschool in 10 locations across Singapore. You’re spoilt for choice with 5 preschools and 5 childcare centres in Bukit Timah, West Coast, Phoenix Park, East Coast, Loewen Gardens, Upper East Coast, Upper Bukit Timah, and River Valley and the 2 newest centres in Toa Payoh and Grandeur Park. 

When selecting your location, it pays to keep the following in mind:

  • How far is the centre from your home? 
  • How long is the commute from your child’s preschool to your work?
  • Will you have enough time to pick them up after preschool?
  • Are the roads around the campus child-friendly?
  • Are there outdoor spaces for my child to play safely?

Explore each White Lodge campus in more detail. Click the button below for a closer look at each of our locations.

Find The Right Location
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How to find the right preschool for your child

Singapore has one of the best education systems in the world. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Singapore consistently ranks at the top of their programmes for International Student Assessment (PISA). By the time they sit this triennial test of 15-year-olds in dozens of countries, Singaporean pupils are — on average — already three years ahead of their American peers in maths!

This, and other achievements like their 97.5% literacy rate, is made possible because of the strong foundations laid down in preschool and kindergarten. While excellent ECD options lie at your fingertips, you’ll still need to perform due diligence when selecting a preschool or kindergarten.  

Key considerations for choosing a preschool would include:

  • Licensing. Is the kindergarten registered with the local authorities? Are the teachers certified in early childhood education?
  • Health and safety. Will your child be supervised at all times? What is their policy for sick children.
  • Class sizes. What is the student-teacher ratio? Is this ratio a considered choice?
  • Progress reports. Does the school keep parents informed about their child’s progress?
  • Play and learning areas. Is there plenty of natural outdoor space and access to equipment? Is the indoor temperature adequate?
  • Curriculum. What type of curriculum is offered?

When moving to Singapore with your children, consider which of these checks you can do before you arrive. This may help you to hit the ground running with some school tours and interviews and set up a new routine for your children as soon as possible. 

Related: Childcare or kindergarten — which is best for your child? The main difference between the two lies in their aims, their class schedule, observed holidays and government subsidies. Unpack the key differences between these options in our blog post, What Is the Difference Between Childcare and Kindergarten?.

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PRESCHOOL EDUCATION IN SINGAPORE

In Singapore, education for children younger than 7 years old is managed by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA). They oversee both kindergartens and childcare centres. 

Childcare centres typically cater to children from 4 months old, while kindergartens and preschools are geared towards meeting the developmental and educational needs of children from 3 to 6 years old. 

Key activities you can expect to find in any well-run, ECDA-approved centre are based on subjects such as Science, Numeracy, Reading and Literacy, Arts and Crafts, Music and Movement, and Languages. This is when children typically begin learning at least two languages: English and Mandarin, Malay or Tamil. For a quick, easy overview of what you can expect from preschool education in Singapore, check out our infographic for parents.  

Singapore kindergartens and childcare centres may use several different curricula. Typically, these are one of the following:

  • Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework
  • Montessori method
  • Reggio Emilia approach
  • Nurturing Early Learners (NEL) framework
  • HighScope active learning approach

Explore the main similarities and differences between these in our blog post on the types of international preschool curricula in Singapore.

"The play-based and enquiry-based approach to learning helped our son settle down in his new school. He was also well-versed in Mandarin (thanks to the Mandarin curriculum at White Lodge), when he joined the new school. We feel that the White Lodge curriculum is very good, very wholesome and prepares kids for the next phase very well."

Aparna Chakravarty and Vishal Arora

Activities for families with young children in Singapore

Kid-friendly places in Singapore are a dime-a-dozen and there are plenty of activities for families available all year round. Here are some of the most popular ways families with young children spend their time together:

  • Educational activities. Nothing beats learning through play and the Singapore Science Centre and Kiztopia play centre are just two local attractions that cater for this in bucketloads.   
  • Outdoor spaces. Singapore is an incredibly green city and is filled with nature reserves and parks. Check out the Botanic Gardens, MacRitchie Reservoir Park and the Nature Garden at HortPark and start exploring!
  • Cultural experiences. Singapore has a rich history and (multi)cultural heritage. Learn about your new home with a visit to Haw Par Villa to immerse in Chinese mythology, the National Gallery (check out the Gallery Kids! program) and the National Museum of Singapore
  • Entertainment. Music and theatre take centre-stage at The Esplanade, Singapore’s national performing arts centre. They regularly hold family weekends filled with exciting, kid-friendly activities, host parent-child workshops and stage sensory-friendly shows for young ones.

Related: These suggestions scratch the surface of what’s on offer when moving to Singapore with children. If you want to check out more activities, why not start your journey with a comprehensive list where to go in our blog post, 20 Kid-Friendly Places in Singapore? Or plan your annual calendar around our family-friendly festivals with the help of our post, Celebrating Major Events in Singapore With Your Child.

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