When it comes to the subject of preschools, i have always felt that there was no need to send Charles for school before the age 5. Its a personal choice and every parent would feel differently about this. I guess in Singapore, most parents would be eager to register and enroll their little ones into preschools at 18 months in hopes of giving them an early head start into the very competitive education system. Of course, im sure, there are parents who send their little tots to preschool at a young age because they have work commitments and school would seem like a logical arrangement since they will be looked after by professionals and learn at the same time. Personally, i find that preschool (half or full day) is a total waste of time and money for any toddler below the age of 3. The only thing i can think of that might make me consider sending a toddler that young to school is for socializing purposes. But lucky for me, i have close friends who have kids the same age Charles is (its almost as if we planned it together HAHA) and so, Charles can socialize at play dates my friends and i would organize. Sooooooo i guess preschool for socializing is kinda redundant in my case? I do, however, encourage some once a week gym or language classes (will explain why in another post)! 😀
Firstly, lets look at the cost of Julia Gabriel for a term (11 weeks). This is only the cost for their Bilingual Play Club (18 months – 3 years old). Classes are held once a week, for 2 hours.
1 term = 11 weeks
1 lesson/week = 11 lessons
1 lesson = 2 hours
price = $660 (excluding GST and taxes)
* trial class at $64.20 (GST included)
My Julia Gabriel Trial Class Experience
When i was at the front desk finding out information on how their classes work, i spoke to a young lady and she recommended the Bilingual Play Club as i was actually interested to sign him up for some mandarin classes since no one in my house really speaks to him in mandarin much (he is half chinese afterall and i dont want him to be one of those chinese that cant speak chinese LOL). Below will be a little part of our converstaion at front desk.
Me: How many students in a class?
JG Lady: 18
Me: How many teachers?
JG Lady: 4
Me: Oh, so its 1 teacher to..
– she cut me off mid sentence-
JG Lady: Its 1 Adult to every student.
Me: Uhhhhh.. 4 teachers to 18 students, how can that be 1 Adult to every student?
JG Lady: Because the parent can accompany the child in class
Me: …… (
OKAY THANKS, no shit sherlock. I would be more interested to know its how many students per teacher.). -_-“
Anyway, I still decided to go for the trial class since we were already there and im about to give birth to Mikhail next tuesday so i wont have time to do so after this week.
The class was supposed to start at 2pm. BUT, it didnt start till 2:30pm. Basically from 2pm till 2:30pm we were just sitting in the classroom, waiting for more students to arrive while the students and parents already present just sat around around doing whatever they wanted (chatting, toddlers playing with toys in the middle of the mat etc). Upon entering, someone takes your toddler’s temperature and checks his/her hands. The usual. Nobody checked the adults though. I just feel like since you are checking the kids, you might as well be extra cautious and also check the adults, right? (sigh, maybe its just my germophobic bitch talking) Then i noticed that the toddlers are required to wear socks in the classroom (the teacher claims its for hygiene reasons) BUT i saw half the accompanying adults in class without socks, i was one of them! Soooooo, i dont understand what kind of hygiene reasons do they have? The toddlers all put their palms all over the floor and then put it in their mouth and half of us adults (probably dirtier feet than our child could have) are walking everywhere without socks on. Hmmm…? Also, the floors were slippery with socks, which means dangerous for our little ones. I know that why? Because Charles slipped and fell twice while skipping to give me a hug (or maybe he is just really clumsy, who knows).
At 2:30pm, the teachers finally started the class by doing an ice breaker song singing out names and getting hugs from the students when their names were sung. After which the teachers proceeded to demonstrate 3 arts and craft projects to a class of toddlers 3 years and below. So basically, they expected toddlers aged 18 months to 3 years old to just sit there and watch them do the craft project (painting a paper plate with glue paint, dotting on paper and tapping sprinkles etc) for a good 20 mins. I dont find it engaging at all. Once they were done demonstrating the crafts, the class then separates into 3 smaller groups do to the 3 different craft projects that was just demonstrated. Once you were done with one station, you can switch to the next station to do a different craft project. Charles LOVES crafts but honestly, for such a prestigious school, cant you use better art materials? I think the dotting paint stains the skin so much that even after 3 washes, Charles still had stains on his arms and hands. I do craft projects with him all the time and the paint i use goes off in 1 wash. ONE. Come on Julia Gabriel, im sure you can do better than that. And at the craft station with the glue, Charles got the glue paint all over his hands and attempted to put it in his mouth. Obviously i stopped him and told him no and that it was dangerous to put glue into his mouth. The teacher at the table immediately said,
” Its not dangerous, its safe and non toxic, just some kind of vegetable fats. Its okay for them to put it in their mouth.”
REALLY? Why do i not agree with you. Vegetable fats or not, i really dont think its advisable to say (especially to or infront of young children) that GLUE is safe to put in their mouth. Is it just me or is this just really really wrong? I mean im all for letting them explore but there are certain things, like putting glue paint in your mouth, that i would caution them to stop because its dangerous. Am i alone on this?
After crafts were done, more song singing in mandarin and english which i think were great but nothing special since i know of plenty other classes (even his gym lessons with The Little Gym has lots of singing) for toddlers also do this. :/
Soon it was snack time and they served biscuits. No thanks.
I left the class once they announced snack time and i saw the biscuits.
So basically for $65 bucks, this is what you get. Do you think its worth it? I dont. I could do alot more with Charles with $65 in my house. My play and learn sessions, arts and craft sessions, activity box set ups and way way way more interesting, fun and engaging (and most probably less costly) than this trial class at Julia Gabriel.
My verdict? Julia Gabriel, totally over-rated.
So parents who cant afford to send your kids to Julia Gabriel and hear fellow parents rave about how they have sent (or will be sending) their little tots to a such a prestigious private preschool, dont even feel bad and think that your little one is missing out. They arent. I truly think our little tots could learn more playing outside at the playground or at home with us. Maybe Julia Gabriel used to be really good back when i was a toddler, but now, i think their standards have dropped (alot). Prestigious name doesnt always mean, prestigious school.