Intrigued by Reggio-Emilia but concerned it won’t prepare your child for the rigours of local primary school? Bucket House Preschool just might be the school for your family
For the last 10 years or so, the child-led, inquiry-driven Reggio-Emilia approach has grown increasingly popular in early years education in Singapore, with a number of well-regarded preschools and international schools incorporating Reggio-Emilia principles into their teaching. But many Singaporean parents, while intrigued by the positive research behind a more play-based approach, have been understandably concerned that this open-ended, emergent learning won’t adequately prepare their children for the rigours and structured approach of local primary school.
Enter Bucket House Preschool. It’s the first preschool in Singapore to seek and develop a teaching model that balances structured, academic learning with the more open-ended inquiry-based approach of Reggio-Emilia.
Children at Bucket House learn how to think outside the box and stretch their learning, understanding, and point of view beyond what is only visible before them. They are invited to be creative, to not be afraid of making mistakes, and to see the joy in the process of learning – rather than just the final outcome or result.
Where does the school’s unique name come from? Its has two cool influences: The school’s founders are inspired by the famous “Bucket List Family”, which travels the world with three children who gain knowledge and learn from the world around them (rather than attend conventional schools). They also love the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud, which teaches valuable and meaningful lessons about kindness, happiness and empathy. Bucket House strives to work like a family, and to learn and grow together as they continue to “fill buckets” every single day.
A Reggio-Emilia Foundation
A driving force behind this approach are Bucket Houses’s teachers, led by school founder Amber Koh, who is a huge proponent of Reggio-Emilia and, together with the in-house curriculum specialist, personally trains all educators in its core “100 languages of children” philosophy.
Observation, listening, and understanding are a huge part of the teaching approach, so as to recognise what interests children most and create strategies that in turn allow them to build upon their passions and interests.
Because Reggio-Emilia emphasises the environment as the third teacher (in addition to parents and actual teachers), Bucket House places great emphasis on beautiful, engaging spaces that truly excite the children. Classrooms are light-filled to bring some of the outside in, and it’s got a small sand play area by the window – affectionately named “Bucket Beach” by the children! – where they have ample opportunity to draw and create while quite literally feeling the sand between their toes.
Bucket House Preschool also has an Atelier (along with a Resident Atelierista!) that works directly with both the children and teachers on beautiful, hands-on projects including clay, paint, light and sounds that promote endless imagination and creativity. There’s also a loose parts recycling room that at once encourages creativity and sustainability.
Further stoking kiddos’ creative passions is a “bambini chef” corner where little ones take cookery lessons. The cooking island is adorably set at their eye level, and they even have a full view of the chef preparing their food!
A Local Perspective
While its facilities and teaching style clearly reflect core Reggio-Emilia principles, Bucket House also takes a more structured approach with its unique “6/4 model”; terms are divided into 10 weeks, with structured, academic learning taking place in weeks 1-6 and inquiry-based Reggio-Emilia learning happening in weeks 7-10.
This unique model allows children the time to gain knowledge for school readiness and hone important study skills, while in turn progressing to seek out their own interests and work on those specific interests with educators. Projects during the Reggio-Emilia period do not follow rigid timetables, however, but rather meander slowly at each child’s pace. During this period, educators serve as facilitators who can lend help, information, and experience when necessary.
A core tenet of this unique model of learning and teaching is the development of reciprocal relationships of love and trust between educator and child, and indeed between the children themselves.
Love, trust, and understanding…who wouldn’t want those things for their child in a preschool? With lots of space but a cosy feel thank to a teacher-child ratio of just 1:6, Bucket House ensures that its children feel valued for their uniqueness, and their voices are heard.
Flexible Timing Options
If you worry your little one isn’t ready for a full day of school yet, or you want to give school a try before fully committing, Bucket House’s flexible drop-in classes and season sessions are the perfect fit! The former give families the chance to drop by to play for an hour, while the 5-class season sessions provide a perfect one-hour taster for little ones before they start school full-time. We love that Bucket House offers both full-day and half-day options, too!
Keen to find out more? Visit Bucket House Preschool’s upcoming Open Day on Saturday 17 August!
All the details!
What: Open Day at Bucket House Preschool
When: Saturday 17 August, 9:30am to 3pm
Where: 39 Woodlands Close, #01-62 [email protected], Singapore 737856
RSVP: Call (+65) 6909 8373 to register or schedule a school tour, and visit www.buckethousepreschool.com for more details!
The first 20 readers to mention Sassy Mama will get an exclusive $545 registration fee waiver and a free extra set of morning/afternoon attire!