We’ve always been fans of how Blue House Nursery & International Preschool involves parents in their child’s learning experience. Not only do parents feel part of a warm, caring community, they also feel deeply connected to the school in many ways – just ask parent Kylie Thévenau. HoneyKids had a chat with Kylie about why she believes Blue House is the best fit for her family.
Tell us about the child you have attending the school
We moved to Singapore just over a year ago with our then two year-old son Orly. He first started with drop-in sessions at the Blue House Atelier in River Valley, then moved up to Play Group at the Atelier in Bukit Timah. He is now three years old and attends the Nursery program at Blue House, where we’ve really seen him really flourish.
What were the most important factors for you in selecting a school?
We wanted a truly nurturing environment for Orly’s transition away from us, especially given his young age. Being surrounded by and playing in as much greenery and nature as possible (the real jungle rather than concrete jungle side of Singapore or a playground full of plastic) was also very important to us, having both grown up playing outdoors in Australia and Mauritius. We also wanted to be reassured that he would have access to engaged and committed adults. Above all, I wanted my sensitive child to be respected for who he is and for me to have a strong and open relationship with the school.
How has the school lived up to your expectations?
We had quite high expectations of the school and personally feel that Blue House as absolutely lived up to and often exceeded them.
What does your child like most about attending this school?
As Orly tells me, he loves everything about school! We had no tears or problems adjusting when he started Nursery without me. He adores all his teachers and the nature of the school means that all the staff from groundskeepers to admin are very familiar with the children and parents. It is truly a community. He also loves going to the school café or ‘The Pantry’ after class and having a debrief and snack with me before hopping into a taxi to go home.
What sort of curriculum does this school offer?
The school follows a Reggio Emilia approach. The educators observe the natural interests of the children and facilitate deeper exploration, collaboration and experimentation, guiding them into real life applications of science, math, literacy and creativity.
The curriculum ‘emerges’ over the year by following the interests of the children. This makes the learning aspect inspiring and empowering for them. Emphasis on creativity occurs with specialist educators in the areas of art, music and Mandarin contributing separately and holistically. After taking a great interest in the brain development during the early years of childhood, I find this to be a very progressive understanding of the connection between play, learning and innovative thinking, which is evident in Orly’s experience at Blue House.
What advice would you give other parents trying to choose a school?
Really take the time to make sure the school is the right fit for your child and will support your child’s personality. If it is a good fit, as Blue House has been for us, your school can be a fantastic way to quickly integrate into the Singapore community (if you have newly arrived like us), make great friends and build a rich life on this amazing island.
What do you value most about the school?
We value the multicultural community, the connection to nature, the collaborative approach and, the focus on creativity. The staff are very engaged in all aspects of the school and parents are given the opportunity to be as involved as much or as little as they like without judgment. There are wonderful school community events run through the year and the café offers opportunities for connection and reflection. I’ve made some great friendships with parents from other classes there and it has certainly deepened the bond between the school and the children.
Are you satisfied with the level of communication you receive from the school and how they engage parents?
Blue House communicates exceptionally well and this was one of the clear reasons we decided to enroll Orly there. I talk to the class educators daily and love reading the Community Update emails and the class journals. The current head of school, Sarah Woon, is very approachable, excellent in her role and communicates with vision and thoughtfulness.