Parent: Raena Aihara Cheong-Hamamoto
Children’s name and age: Maki Charlotte Hamamoto & Sena Edward Hamamoto (twins!), 2+ years
School Location: Sunflower Babyhouse & Preschool, The Grandstand
How did you first hear about your school?
A good friend of mine recommended the school that his son had been attending since infant care. He gave me his reasons and encouraged me to visit the school and meet with the owner, Ms Angela Ng. It was also how satisfied and happy he had been with the school and knowing his personality and how particular he is about things, it didn’t take much to convince me to make a visit to the school.
What factors played into your decision to send your child to this school?
The fact that Angela who the owner, makes it a priority to be involved in the curriculum of each programme as well as being concerned with parents’ feedback – she’s always on site and available to speak to. This gave me assurance that as the leader of the team, the culture of the school is “child and parent first”.
Did you take a tour of the school before making your decision? What were your first impressions?
Yes we did. First impression was that it is understated, not overwhelmingly stimulating and it is homely. Very comfortable that it didn’t appear too “academic”.
How did your child adjust to the school? Did the school take any special measures to help with the settling in process?
As infants at 3.5 months old, the children didn’t seem to have an adjustment issue. Perhaps also because we took them out a lot, they were used to being in new environments. The transition between infant care and playgroup was seamless. The children were given opportunity a few weeks before they started playgroup to spend time with the class and get used to the different routine. Being given that time to familiarize seemed to help. The school in no way forced our children to be in playgroup, we were assured that if a child is not ready to join playgroup, they won’t be forced.
What in your opinion are the three greatest strengths of the school?
They are run by the founders who own the school, therefore there is a lot of heart involved. The supervisory team and teachers are both young or young at heart, who optimistically embrace new developments and changes in education. The school keeps their enrollment sizes small which helps maintain the values of the school ensuring it helps each parent and child work together in this small “community” to raise the child.
How does the school include parents in the community?
The daily conversational exchanges between teachers and parents at the drop-off and pick-up, frequent email conversations and the fact that Angela and her supervisory team of educarers are always on-hand to speak to. The school organizes special celebratory events at the school where parents are invited to participate with their child/children. Parents are also encouraged to participate in the external excursions that the school arranges.
There is also the annual large events such as Father’s Day Football challenge, Sports Day and Annual Concert where parents get involved with the staff to plan and run those events.
How does the school keep you informed about your child’s progress?
On a daily basis the teachers are available at the start of the day and end of the day to give feedback. On a quarterly basis there is a parent/teacher meeting where parents will share about the child’s progress in that semester and handover a “report book” as well as samples of the work they have done. If there is anything urgent, the teacher will call. Teachers also use email to provide feedback on the child.
What is the number one thing you’d miss if you transferred your child to another school?
The warm “family” like environment.
What kind of child (or family) would you say would be the best fit for this school?
I don’t think this can be defined. I would recommend the school to my friends because it is of a great quality. I would not recommend because my friend would be a fit. I believe the school caters to needs of all types of parents.
What extra-curricular activities or out of school programmes does the school offer that you have taken part in?
Class excursions and celebration moments like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day. The school also organizes sports day to encourage parents to be active with their children.