Five Things to Look Out For When Choosing An Infant Care Centre

Five Things to Look Out For When Choosing An Infant Care Centre

Award-winning author Lish McBride once said that our infants are “like little bundles of hope. Like the future in a basket”. All parents would feel the weight of this statement, and understand that their precious little ones deserve the very best in the world in order to grow up happy, healthy, and successful.

This is why choosing the right infant care centre is of utmost importance. In your child’s formative years, a quality infant care centre and childcare programme is pivotal towards establishing firm foundations in the physical, social, and intellectual domains.

Here are five things to look out for when choosing an infant care centre.

Arrival

When your little ones arrive, they will be greeted with a hearty welcome by several of our centre staff, before temperature screening commences. After all, safety first! After which, they may choose to engage in free choice play, which is a less structured play time where children get to independently choose what they wish to do, from the range of activities provided. This is followed by a delicious breakfast and morning exercise.

Literacy and Numeracy

Literacy and numeracy skills are foundational skills necessary to survive and thrive in today’s modern world. Moreover, these skills need to be carefully established in a child’s formative years, which is why it is crucial that quality preschool programmes establish a structured and comprehensive curriculum designed to boost the child’s literacy and numeracy skills.

After arriving at Mulberry Learning Centre, your child will then participate in a variety of award-winning programmes designed to boost their literacy and numeracy skills. On any day, they will participate in programmes such as Literacy Fun, Chinese Fun or Math Quest.

Literacy Fun builds the student’s competency in English through contextual and hands-on experiential learning. In fact, it is designed to ensure children will acquire an expressive vocabulary of at least 4,500 words by the age of six years old. Through the established Rigby Star Phonics programme, preschoolers will learn phonetic sounds of each individual alphabet and how these sounds are combined to form words. Furthermore, we take this a step further by facilitating dynamic classroom discussions and exciting creative writing practices, such that children are able to confidently express their creative ideas whilst honing their early communication skills in English.

Students of Mulberry Learning developing their motor skills through gross motor activities.

We also recognise the need to mould children into effective bilingual users. In this day and age, it is important to master both English and Chinese, which is why we have the Chinese Master programme, where students will be placed under the expert guidance of native Chinese teachers. They will learn to recognise tonal sounds and character origins, while also understanding the moral values imparted through the Confucian teachers of Di Zi Gui. By the age of six years old, children under this programme will acquire an expressive vocabulary of over 2,000 words, master more than 80 Chinese idioms, and be able to recite 16 Chinese poems.

That’s not to say that we neglect their numeracy skills as well! Math Quest is a structured and carefully designed programme aimed towards using a range of activities, games, toys, and other materials to teach simple mathematical concepts that will further enrich your child’s logical thinking and spatial conceptualisation skills. With the use of concrete, pictorial or abstract learning materials, children will gradually develop an understanding of how to count, identify patterns, recognise relationships, take measurements, name shapes and spatial concepts, alongside essential mathematical concepts like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division by the age of six years old.

1. Qualifications, Accolades and Track Record

First, you need to establish whether the centre is a licensed infant care centre operator. Any credible infant care centre should be licensed and registered with the Early Childhood Development Agency. This is of utmost importance to ensure your child is in a safe and legally regulated environment.

You should also take the time to conduct your own research regarding the school’s track record. A good indicator of this would be the various awards it has received and how long it has been operating. Have a prowl around the school’s website to find out more about its track record. After all, you would only trust your little one to a credible and capable institution.

Mulberry Learning is a licensed infant care centre operator that has been active in the Singapore childcare scene since 2006. Not only are we accredited under the Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (SPARK), we have consistently been recognised by parents and educators, having achieved several awards over the past few years. This includes the Singapore Prestige Brand Award 2020/21 and the Best Early Learning Program (aged 0 – 6 years old) 2021.

2. Centre Environment

It is best to plan a visit to the centre to see first-hand the sort of environment your child will be exposed to daily. Take care to pick an establishment which provides safe, secure, and hygienic learning, play, and rest areas. At Mulberry Learning, we offer a quiet and peace nap area for rest and our sensorial play areas are not only colourful and fun, but also carefully padded to prevent any injuries.

Moreover, unique centres may also offer special facilities that sets them apart from the rest, such as infant spa and massage. Several Mulberry Learning centres feature a specially designed infant spa, where your little ones can enjoy spa sessions with bubbles, whirlpool jets, and soothing lights in specially imported spa pods.

Mulberry Learning’s Infant Care Room

Beyond the safety and security consideration, it is important to evaluate whether the environment is conducive for learning. At Mulberry Learning, we adopt the Reggio Emilia approach, which views the centre environment as the “third teacher”. In line with this philosophy, we expend great effort towards creating sensory-rich and carefully curated play areas that foster growth.

Mulberry Learning’s Infant Care Play Areas

3. Teachers

Exercise extra care to find out more about the teachers and educators at the infant care centre. In Singapore, all infant care teachers are required to possess an Advanced Certificate in Infant Care. If your chosen infant care centre does not engage certified teachers, it may be best to find out more or re-evaluate your choice.

At Mulberry Learning, our teachers are not just educators – they are also mentors and role models for children to learn from. Our teachers undergo a strict screening process to ensure that all educators at Mulberry Learning are passionate, dedicated, and knowledgeable in early childhood education. Once selected, they also undergo a rigorous 250 hours training programme to ensure they are best equipped with the tools and experience to guide your little ones.

4. Curriculum

Many parents often overlook the importance of a structured and carefully developed educational curriculum when choosing an infant care centre. This, however, is one of the most important factors that will distinguish quality infant care centres from mediocre preschools.

It is important to ensure that your selected centre adopts a curriculum that is aligned with your own perspective on education and learning. At Mulberry Learning, we promote experiential learning for infants through five domains:

1. Self-Exploration
2. Music & Stories
3. Muscle Development
4. Thematic Discovery
5. Multi-Sensory Experience

Moreover, your little ones can look forward to learning under our award-winning curriculum when they join the preschool programme. It is inspired by the Reggio Emilia and Habits of Mind teaching philosophy. In particular, the latter aims to develop intelligent and effective thinkers who thrive in the areas of autonomous learning, critical thinking, and effective inquiry.

Our curriculum has clinched multiple awards, such as the Best Holistic Curriculum from 2019 to 2020, the Best Holistic Learning Programme from 2016 to 209, and is the world’s first and only preschool network certified by the United States of America for the Habits of Mind approach.

5. Meals

Last but definitely not least, a healthy body makes for a healthy and happy child! Nutrition is of utmost importance to the development of a growing body which is why it is important to ensure that your selected infant care centre serves nutritious and healthy foods suitable for young infants and toddlers.

At Mulberry Learning, we understand that eating the right foods will improve cognitive functioning and motor development. We have a specialised in-house kitchen that prepares healthy food options, such as organic cereals, nutritious porridge, and fresh fruit puree. We also provide additional support for mothers who prefer breastfeeding, where your little ones can be fed either breastmilk or formula milk, depending on your preference.

Choosing The Best Centre For Your Little One

It is crucial to choose the best infant care centre that is suitable for both you and your little one, in order to ensure that your little one truly blossoms in their formative years.

To find out more about Mulberry Learning’s quality infant care programmes and centres, contact us today.

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