Frequently Asked Questions
A. Age Group Class Ratio
18 months – 2 years Pre-Nursery 1 : 3
2 years – 3 years Nursery One 1 : 5
3 years – 4 years Nursery Two 1 : 6
4 years – 5 years Kindergarten One 1 : 8
5 years – 6 years Kindergarten Two 1 : 8Q. Where are your teachers from and what are their qualifications?
A.Our teaching staff across all settings represent a sensitive blend of local and international educators in a multi-cultural context. Our teachers come from a range of countries and have trained in native speaking countries. All our class teachers have teaching diplomas and degrees in education. EH believes that qualified staff have a direct relationship with quality education.
Q. What curriculum do you follow?
A.In our preschool we work with an inquiry based curriculum which has been designed to integrate learning across all areas of the curriculum i.e. children develop mathematical understandings as they cook (measure and count); work outdoors (use spatial language as they climb up, over, through) or access blocks (height, measurement and geometry). Teachers are trained in observation of children engaged in play and work experiences. They access these observations of children’s ideas and interests to determine the next step in curriculum delivery. As such, the curriculum is individualized and highly in tune with children’s ideas and interests. The EH learning goals curriculum position children as active participants in their own learning. We value and support children’s curiosity and skills of observation as the basis of a curriculum which aims to build skills of exploration and discovery; investigation and research; collaboration and team membership abilities. Documentation of children’s learning is also a very vital component of our curriculum, ensuring that children’s learning and our teaching is made visible to others.
Q. Which countries are the children from?
A. Approximately 85% of the children are Indonesian and 15% are expat children from several different countries.
Q. How do you instill positive behaviour amongst children at EtonHouse?
A. At EtonHouse we use the term positive guidance, which aims to encourage and instill positive/socially acceptable behaviour and attitudes amongst children. Our teaching staff work with children to assist them in understanding the need for guidelines, boundaries and appropriate behaviour in our school/preschool community. ‘Punishment’ is not usually an effective way of guiding children’s behaviour. We prefer ‘pro-active’ and positive guidance approaches like:
– Having clear guidelines. Even very young children are able to develop a system of guidelines for their classroom e.g. blocks are for building. By being involved in the establishment of the guideline, children are highly likely to be accountable in maintaining that classroom rule i.e. it makes sense to them to follow their rule. They also accept responsibility for ensuring their peers respect the guidelines they have formulated together
– Anticipating a ‘problem’ or conflict situation. Teachers observe classroom events and interactions on a daily basis. When they anticipate a (potential) problem situation, they will make adjustments (to the environment, or grouping strategy) to minimize the potential for challenging behaviour to occur
– Talking to the child. Teachers seek to engage children in conflict resolution situations whereby children are supported to explain their perspective and to listen to the perspectives of others.
– Working with parents. Certain measures are more effective when there is open communication and strong cooperation between school and home so that the positive behaviour can be consistently encouraged and reinforced in both settings
– Changing the task. Children might need at times to be re-directed to another task to reduce the conflict situation
– Changing expectations. Sometimes the adult needs to evaluate whether the problem situation is caused by unrealistic expectations of the child
– Modeling positive behaviour. Children emulate and observe significant adults ALL THE TIME. It is therefore vital that teachers (and parents) model the actions, speech and behavior that we wish children to adopt
– Acknowledging positive behaviour and effort. Sometimes, children try very hard to make positive changes to their behaviour. These attempts should be noticed and encouraged.
– Examining class dynamics and the impact of the learning environment and making changes if necessary.
Q. What about the initial separation when I leave my child?
A. In our preschool parents are encouraged to leave their child to support the child bonding with the teaching staff and the children. This is especially recommended for the Pre-Nursery and Nursery children. We have a waiting area for the nannies should you wish them to stay for a few days to monitor your child’s progress. A teacher will only use the nanny if the child is very upset and cannot be comforted in any other way otherwise they must stay in this area. Our teaching staff are keen to help you with different strategies that reduce separation anxiety amongst children. It is essential that parent and teacher work together especially at this time to support the young children in transiting to preschool.
Q. How do parents communicate with the teachers if they do not come into school?
A. Each child is given a communication book. These are kept in the children’s school bags. These books are used for teachers and parents to write messages to one another. Parents and teachers must check the communication book everyday.
Q. How do parents get updates on their children’s progress?
A. We believe in working in collaboration with the families of the children to ensure that children pursue their learning that is sensitive to and in tune with their interests. We therefore have a range of communication platforms. The class teacher and the Centre Director/Principal distribute newsletters that document the children’s learning experiences and highlight the topics under investigation in class. This provides an opportunity for parents to extend the learning experiences at home, creating strong home-preschool/school connection. The newsletters also offer important information on school events, health and safety issues and polices that are of immediate relevance to parents and children.
The other forms of documenting children’s learning include portfolios and the documentation panels in the classroom. Documentation invites conversation between children, teachers and staff, hence makes learning a truly collaborative process where the child is seen to be the protagonist of his/her own learning. Portfolios containing
ongoing observations of young children’s learning and progress are maintained throughout the school year.
Portfolio sharing sessions between the staff parents and children are held twice per year and create opportunities for rich dialogue between parents and teachers
EtonHouse also communicates with teachers through a quarterly corporate e-newsletter that shares new developments and initiatives of the EtonHouse Group that enhances the quality of educational services and standards of practice at EtonHouse.
Q. Can parents contribute to the classroom experience in any way?
A. We welcome parent participation in all school experiences. Parents become involved in a variety of ways from visiting into the classrooms to share aspects of their job role, or culture, to assisting with various school events and charity initiatives. Parents are also encouraged to engage in story reading sessions with their children’s class, art and craft sessions or during school outings.
Q. What are the school policies with respect to children with special needs?
A. Each policy on inclusive practice is currently under development and will be made available as soon as it has been endorsed via the EH policy reference group.
Q. Are the EH branches all the same or are they different from each other in terms of curriculum and staff?
A. Each branch has their own unique identity that is responsive to the immediate context and community within which the school/preschool is embedded. To ensure consistency in terms of standards of practice we have established:
– EH Policy statements on a wide range of heath and safety issues; curriculum and communication (Each policy statement establishes a consistent set of practices and procedures to be followed in each setting). These policy statements acknowledge and establish a higher standard than legislation
– Ongoing pedagogical support to our preschool in terms of practice and professional development which supports curriculum development and quality educational services
– Our preschool directors network which provides a forum for discussion amongst the management teams of each setting.
Q. If my child is mildly sick; can he be sent to school?
EtonHouse has established a wide range of policy statements which outline best practice and procedure in relation to health, safety and infection control. We also adhere to the requirements of the relevant government licensing authority as an additional measure to minimize the spread of infection amongst children. All policies and guidelines are available for parents to read.
Generally, if a child comes to preschool and it is determined by the teaching staff that he/she is not well enough to participate meaningfully in the day’s proposed learning experiences, he/she will be asked to return home. This is for the sake of the child who is not feeling well as all other children i.e. to minimize the spread of infection. We ask
parents co-operation in this matter. Similarly if a child becomes ill during the day, the centre will make every attempt to contact parents and the emergency contact numbers to ask that the child return home. For this reason, we ask that parents keep the school/preschool office well informed of current contact/emergency contact numbers.
Q. How does EtonHouse Pre-School differ from a Montessori school?
A. At EtonHouse, we believe that children are active-hands-on learners who need environments and learning experiences that both respond to and provoke their ideas and interests. Our teachers are skilled in observing children’s interactions with materials peers and adults and this research data forms the basis of ongoing curriculum development. From this research data, teachers design extension learning experiences which aim to challenge the child’s thinking and take them to a new level of understanding/skill.
Our curriculum is strongly influenced by the work of Vygotsky and socio-cultural/social constructivist thinking. We have also been inspired by the provocations offered by Reggio Emilia in Italy an example of exemplary practice.
The Montessori approach has influenced all early childhood settings to some extent. It is a teaching methodology whereby children, who are highly valued, are provided with a carefully planned environment and materials which have been designed to provide a logical sense of order for the child. Great attention is paid to the establishment of
an aesthetically pleasing environment in which everything has its one place and purpose.
Montessori equipment has been carefully designed to promote self-help literacy and numeracy – some of these materials are used at EH.
NOTE:WE DO NOT DENIGRADE OR PUT DOWN ANOTHER SCHOOL’S CURRICULUM OR PHILOSOPHY
Q. How do you ensure the consistency and high quality of the pre-school programme?
A. The program is closely monitored by the Principal / Pre-School Director. Small group teaching ensures an individualized approach and our child teacher ratios are kept excellent. Professional development of teaching staff and curriculum development ensure high quality teaching and learning.
Q. What makes EtonHouse pre-schools so special? How are you different from the other pre-schools?
A. Our differentiating factor is our curriculum which is child-responsive, where the curriculum goals are met through the child’s interest, thus making the learning more relevant and interesting to the child. We believe that children are co-constructors of their own knowledge and not passive recipients of knowledge transmitted by adults. Children express themselves through ‘a hundred languages’ that defines their individuality and uniqueness. Through careful observations, educators are able to gauge the interest area of children and therefore plan learning experiences that are based on their interests. The literacy, numeracy, social, communication goals are therefore met through these learning experiences that have been initiated by children.
Q. What can you tell us about your fee structure?
A. There are a number of factors that contribute to our fee structure at EtonHouse
– well-qualified staff (both class teacher and assisting teachers hold early childhood qualifications)
– facilities and equipment which allows staff to provide a wide range of learning experiences
– low child teacher ratios
– individualized support
– we have a continuous professional development program for teachers and teaching assistants and we offer ongoing pedagogical support (individual support to teachers in their classrooms) through the support role of the Director of Pedagogy who is based in Singapore.
Q. Can my child enrol in the school if he or she is not immunized?
A. We expect all children to be up to date with their immumizations if they wish to attend EtonHouse. We also rely on you to keep us informed of your child’s immunisations so that our records are correct.
Q. What if my child has a food allergy?
A. Children are provided with healthy lunches and snacks. During these times the childen are supervised by adults who will asssits those who need help. Should your child have any diet restrictions or food allegies, please advise us in writing and we will alert all those concerned. We have a weekly/monthly menu which you may look at to see what meals are being provided when. Our meals are cooked on the premises and product used is from a Halal source.
Q.What are your academic goals for my child once they leave Kindergarten Two having been at EtonHouse from the beginning?
A. At EtonHouse we have long term goals which reflect the “whole” child”. These relate to all children regardless of their age and acknowledge and support a child’s life long learning. When a child at age six leaves EtonHouse after expereincing our whole curriculum we believe that they will be prepared for any school they wish to enter – either an international or local primary school. We are confident that your child will demonstrate skills in reading, writing, maths and science appropriate for their age e.g. reading simple books, demonstrating writing for a purpose, counting to 20, recognising squencing, being able to use language to share processes and purpose of technology, showing an awareness of how systems work and how to contribute within a group situation either as a leader or having a turn as a group member.