Which Singapore International Schools Have a Pre-school?

Many of Singapore’s most popular international schools offer nursery and kindergarten classes in a self-contained early-years’ centre with its own community of classrooms, learning pods and recreational areas. Here is our round-up of more than 20 international schools in Singapore with a pre-school on campus...
Which Singapore International Schools Have a Pre-school?
By Carli Allan
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Singapore Central

Nexus


The new Nexus campus opened in January 2020

  • Age range: 3-5 years, Nursery and Kindergarten
  • Curriculum: Reggio Emilia, IB PYP
  • Specialist subjects: French or Mandarin, swimming, music, art
  • Teacher:student ratio: 1:6
  • Early years facilities: Outdoor spaces with mud kitchen, tyres, scooters, teepees, sand and water play areas, learning pods, swimming pool, music and art rooms
  • 2020-21 tuition fees: $23,500-31,300
  • Sibling discount: 3% off tuition fees for 2nd child, 15% for 3rd child, 25% for fourth child
  • Meal plans: Pre-ordered meals can be delivered to the classroom
  • Dedicated entrance: Yes
  • Location: Aljunied 

The curriculum is based on the IB PYP, and follows Singapore standards for maths, UK and New Zealand standards for English, and the Australian Science curriculum. All children have the opportunity to learn French or Mandarin through intensive and immersive daily language lessons from specialist teachers. The key focus at Nexus, though, is play-based learning – and this is made possible in a dedicated nursery and kindergarten pod that is separate from the rest of the school.

In 2020, Nexus moved to a new campus where facilities include a double storey treehouse.

Click here to read our review of Nexus.

GESS


A pre-school learning pod at GESS

  • Age range: 18 months to 5 years; Toddler, Pre-K, KG1 and KG2
  • Curriculum: Bilingual (English and German), IB PYP (KG)
  • Specialist subjects: Music, sport, library, the arts, cooking
  • Teacher:student ratio: 1:4 (Toddler) to 1:9 (KG)
  • Class size: 16 (Toddler) to 18 (KG)
  • Early years facilities: Pre-school library, playground, makerspace, learner pool
  • Length of day: Two, three or five half day options from 8am -12.30pm (Toddler); half and full day options (Pre-K and KG)
  • 2020-21 tuition fees: $5,410-26,230
  • Sibling discount: For third child onwards
  • Meal plans: Pre-ordered meals can be delivered to the classroom
  • Dedicated entrance: Yes
  • Location: Bukit Timah

All early years’ children (18 months to five years) enter the same pre-school curriculum, which is built on the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), at this dual-stream European school; instruction is in both English and German. The pre-school is a self-contained centre within a new, green campus that’s next to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Children then have the option of joining the European IB stream or the German stream from Grade 1.

Click here to read our review of GESS.

Dover Court International School


The early years outdoor area at Dover Court

  • Age range: 3-5 years (Nursery and Reception)
    Curriculum: UK’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
    Specialist subjects: Mandarin, library, music, PE, swimming
    Class size: 22-24
    Early years facilities: Learner swimming pool, large outdoor learning areas, playground
    Length of day: Full week; 9am-1.50pm (Nursery), 7.55am-1.50pm (Reception)
    2020-21 tuition fees: $21,810-26,235
    Meal plans: Pre-ordered meals can be delivered to the classroom
    Dedicated entrance: No
    Location: Queenstown

This well-established British all-through school is home to a self-contained early years section with its own outdoor canteen, play area, and outside learning spaces. Set within 12 acres of grass fields, Dover Court is a cosy and intimate campus where all facilities are shared and well-used by its 1,400 students.

A standout feature here is music, which is delivered through the Juilliard Nord Anglia Performing Arts Programme by specialist teachers. Dover Court is also well-known for its support for children with special needs, and offers provision for pupils that require small class size instruction.

Click here to read our review of Dover Court.

Tanglin Trust School


Tanglin takes The Curiosity Approach to early years learning

  • Age range: 3-5 years (Nursery and Reception)
  • Curriculum: The Curiosity Approach
  • Specialist subjects: Mandarin, library, the arts, PE, swimming
  • Teacher:student ratio: 1:7 (Nursery) to 1:8 (Reception)
  • Class size: 20-24
  • Early years facilities: Infant library, Creation Station where children can develop STEAM skills, indoor climbing wall, learner swimming pool
  • Length of day: Full week; 9am-1.50pm (Nursery), 7.55am-1.50pm (Reception)
  • 2020-21 tuition fees: $22,953-29,184 
  • Sibling discount: No
  • Meal plans: Students are required to bring their own snacks and lunches
  • Dedicated entrance: Yes
  • Location: Queenstown

While Tanglin is a huge all-through campus with around 2,300 students, it does attempt to create that ‘small school feel’ for all students. The early years has its own community within the campus, its own uniform and Harry Potter-style house system, and dedicated facilities such as a library, sports hall and play areas. We really liked the library’s Creation Station, where children can develop STEAM skills, and outdoor facilities such as mud kitchen and music shed.

Tanglin has adopted The Curiosity Approach to learning, and is the first international school in Asia to offer this unique child-led early years’ approach. Ot takes parts from the Reggio Emilia, Steiner, Te Whariki and Montessori programmes and focuses on a child’s natural curiosity. 

Click here to read our review of Tanglin.

NLCS (Singapore) 



Opening August 2020

  • Age range: Three to five years (pre-KG to KG2)
  • Curriculum: IB PYP
  • Specialist lessons: Music, swimming, PE
  • Facilities: Dedicated library, art room, music room and multipurpose hall
  • 2020-21 tuition fees: $30,925
  • Dedicated entrance: Yes
  • Location: Queenstown

NLCS (Singapore) plans to be an International Baccalaureate continuum school, which will offer the Primary Years Programme (PYP) to children as young as three. With its central location in Queenstown, purpose-built campus, strong links to its UK mother school, and a very experienced and convincing founding head, there is no doubt NLCS enters the competitive Singapore schools market with a unique offering. Another one of NLCS' strengths is keeping class sizes small; the teacher to student ratio will be 1:20 in Pre-KG to Grade.

The school has a modern campus with a small footprint but a big wow factor. This includes a kindergarten block with dedicated library, art room, music room and multipurpose hall, as well as a separate drop-off area.

Click here to read our review of NLCS Singapore.

Swiss School in Singapore


Swiss School in Singapore is open to children from two years old

  • Age range: 2-5 years
  • Curriculum: Play-based learning
  • Specialist subjects: Sport, music, German and swimming
  • Teacher:student ratio: 4:1 (Little Tots); 9:1 (Playgroup)
  • Early years facilities: Swimming pool
  • Length of day: Three or five days, 8.30am-12.50pm; there is the option of a full day week, 8.30am-3.20pm
  • 2020-21 tuition fees: $8,030-22,642
  • Meal plans: Students are required to bring their own snacks and lunches; lunch can be ordered for full day students
  • Dedicated entrance: No
  • Location: Bukit Timah

Popular with the Swiss and German speaking expat community, this small primary school is located in the grounds of the Swiss Club. Its youngest students begin their school education in Little Tots, and up to age five (Playgroup II) they are primarily instructed in English with German being introduced gradually. There are plans to interoduce a French-speaking Kindergarten class for the 2020/2021 academic year.

Click here to read our review of Swiss School in Singapore.

Chatsworth International School (Bukit Timah)


Library for Chatsworth's kindergarten students

  • Age range: 3-5 years
  • Curriculum: IB PYP
  • Specialist subjects: Mandarin, French, PE, music
  • Early years facilities: Playground
  • Length of day: Full and half day options
  • 2020-21 tuition fees: $23,819
  • Sibling discount:20% discount on school fees for third child
  • Meal plans: Pre-ordered meals can be delivered to the classroom
  • Dedicated entrance: No
  • Location: Bukit Timah and Orchard

When the school's Orchard campus closes in June 2020 (when its lease with the Singapore Land Authority expires), all students will move to the Bukit Timah campus. This site is currently being renovated to include new play structures, an early years space for a Perceptual Motor Programme (PMP), and a dedicated Discovery Centre that will be equipped with stoves, ovens, workbenches, tools and a laboratory. The Bukit Timah campus has capacity for 850 students from kindergarten through to Year 13.

Click here to read our reviews of Chatsworth (Bukit Timah) 

Hollandse School


Hollandse School

  • Age range: 2-4 years (Jip & Janneke)
  • Curriculum: Dutch, learning by play
  • Class size: 20
  • Early years facilities: Library with Dutch and English books
  • Length of day: 8.30am-12noon
  • 2020-21 tuition fees: $8,242-23,150
  • Meal plans: Students are required to bring their own snacks and lunches
  • Dedicated entrance: No
  • Location: Bukit Timah

Popular with Dutch expats in Singapore, Hollandse School is a small but well-established, centrally located primary school that balances a truly Dutch education with an international curriculum where English is taught as a second language. Children in the early years Jip & Janneke classes have both a Dutch and English-speaking teacher for the full school day.

Click here to read our review of Hollandse School.

UWC South East Asia (Dover)


UWCSEA's dedicated facility for the KG1’s perceptual motor programme

  • Age range: 4-6 years (KG1-2)
  • Curriculum: UWCSEA concept-based curriculum
  • Specialist subjects: Music, Mandarin, art and PE
  • Early years facilities: Learner swimming pool, playground, music room, and gym for Perceptual Motor Programme
  • Length of day: Five full days
  • 2020-21 tuition fees: $31,500
  • Sibling discount: No
  • Meal plans: Students can bring their own snacks and lunches, or lunches can be ordered from the canteen
  • Dedicated entrance: No
  • Location: Clementi

While the large Dover campus may not be for families who prefer a cosy, close-knit atmosphere, it does offer specialist classrooms, play areas and sports facilities for its youngest students, as well as access to whole-school facilities including a swimming pool, theatres and sports halls. As a school that’s 40 years old, UWCSEA has a lived-in, familiar feel and well-established gardens where children can climb ropes, explore, see birds nesting or simply dig in the dirt with sticks.

Click here to read our review of UWCSEA (Dover).

Next: Which international schools offer a pre-school education in Singapore East?

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