Interested in a Montessori education for your child? We explain the Montessori method’s core principles and round up Montessori preschools in Singapore to consider!
If you are looking into Montessori preschools in Singapore for your tot and have a million questions about what the Montessori method entails, we’ve got your back! Wondering whether a Montessori education in Singapore offers mixed-age classes and which kindergartens adhere to Montessori principles? We’ve found the answers you need and have even shortlisted several Montessori preschools in Singapore to get you started. Keep scrolling to learn more about Montessori education in Singapore.
What is the Montessori Method?
With schools around the world and a slew of famous alumni, the Montessori method has a reputation for encouraging curiosity and “outside the box” thinking in children. It’s a child-centred educational approach developed over 100 years ago by Maria Montessori – Italy’s first female doctor. According to The American Montessori Society, the Montessori method “is a view of the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child – physical, social, emotional and cognitive.”
In short, kids are sponges, and given the freedom to explore and learn at their own pace, their minds will flourish. A “true” Montessori school possesses the following core traits:
- Mixed-age classrooms that facilitate peer learning (younger kids learn from older kids, and the older kids reinforce their own learning by teaching the younger kids)
- Uninterrupted blocks of work time (typically in three-hour intervals)
- Children can choose their own activities (with guidance and encouragement from teachers)
- Specially designed learning materials that aren’t toys
- A deliberately arranged classroom environment (nary a desk in sight!)
- Teachers trained at official Montessori training centres certified by Association Montessori Internationale (AMI)
- No grades or tests
- Focus on four key areas: Practical life, Sensorial, Language and Mathematics
With children in many ways left to their own devices, Montessori is thought to foster independence, leadership skills and self-control. A 2006 study by Science Magazine found that by the end of kindergarten, Montessori children “performed better on standardised tests of reading and math, engaged in more positive interaction on the playground, and showed more advanced social cognition and executive control. They also showed more concern for fairness and justice.”
For a more in-depth look at core Montessori traits, be sure to check out this great article by two parents in Singapore who are Montessori-trained educators.
How Montessori Education Works in Singapore
Because Montessori is more of a philosophy than a rigid curriculum, any school can call itself Montessori, even if it barely adheres to the core principles. They would certainly seem to be at odds with Singapore, where testing, grades and a strict classroom environment play a huge role in the educational system (and rules and parameters tend to guide daily life in general!). Parents who fret about how their child will perform in P1 are understandably nervous about a system without grades or testing – how can I ensure my child is on the right track?
All that said, there are many satisfied parents out there who feel Montessori instilled critical thinking skills and independence in their kids as well a strong foundation in reading, writing and math. Some children might struggle to adapt to the rigidity of desks and homework after being at a Montessori school at first, but kids are highly adaptable, and often, the strong foundation and educational curiosity seem to win out. Make sure to reach out to any school you’re investigating to speak with current and former parents. Montessori schools in Singapore typically encourage parents and prospective parents to observe classrooms to get a feel for the programme and how it might work for their child.
Montessori Preschools & Kindergartens in Singapore
While we’ve listed out some of the most established Montessori preschools in Singapore, our list is hardly exhaustive and is certainly not an official list of endorsed schools. As you’ll see, hardly any Singapore Montessori schools meet all of the core Montessori criteria listed above. The tradeoff is that many Montessori schools have created an environment thought to help kids more easily transition into Singapore’s traditional educational system – many have fantastic Mandarin immersion programmes, while still incorporating the flexible style and unique materials of the Montessori method. When you are looking for a Montessori school you can ask if they adhere to the Montessori school core traits listed above to see for yourself which schools best suit what you are looking for.
↓ Keep scrolling to discover Montessori preschools in Singapore!
Little Woods Montessori
Since Little Woods Montessori opened its doors to little ones in 1998, its highly experienced and passionate teachers have been guiding children to be independent thinkers by giving them a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment to become independent thinkers and self-directed leaders. The bespoke curriculum and specially designed classrooms provide plenty of opportunities for experiential learning, including activities from everyday life and sensorial activities, all of which will help little ones develop a deeper understanding of Language, Mathematics, Science, Music, Social Interactions and many other subjects. To ensure a holistic education, little ones also get to step outside of the classroom to get active with sports, express themselves in creative and performing arts, and many other activities that help kids discover who they are and who they want to be. Its highly experienced and passionate teaching staff are trained by its AMI-certified principal, Mrs Hafsa Fathah, who ensures that the teachers adopt the Montessori philosophy in the classroom. Little Woods is an exclusive and boutique preschool in the heart of Singapore with a diverse community of international and local families, so kids will learn to celebrate diversity, practice inclusivity and cultivate a deep sense of belonging.
House on the Hill
A family-run group of preschools specialising in Montessori in Singapore, House on the Hill is a passionate advocate for the Montessori method and aims to always stay true to the pedagogy’s values and educational excellence. This Montessori preschool’s teaching approach includes mixed-age groupings and a structured learning curriculum that comprises Montessori subjects and Mandarin alongside thematic and experiential learning experiences. The teachers work to hone children’s skills and equip them with values such as independence, responsibility, freedom of choice and more. Children from nursery level and up follow the classic Montessori 3-hour work cycle with uninterrupted blocks of time to focus and immerse in learning. Teachers serve as guides who offer personalised instruction and help each child develop a love for learning.
Brainy Child Montessori Learning Centre
Brainy Child is a boutique Montessori preschool in Singapore with a small teacher-student ratio that accepts children from 18 months to 7 years old. Their curriculum follows the well-established Montessori method, covering the five areas of Montessori – Language, Math, Sensorial, Practical Life, and Culture. Children learn according to their pace and level in a personalised learning programme, which allows them to quickly master abstract concepts using hands-on concrete materials in the classroom.
Children get a holistic learning experience at Brighton Montessori, where fun and academics go hand in hand. This Montessori preschool practices individualised learning with a great teacher-child ratio as low as 1:6. Every child gets the attention they need and can learn at their own pace. The team at Brighton believe that the environment is also an effective teacher, which is why their Montessori schools are purposefully designed to encourage discovery and learning at every level.
Considered one of Singapore’s few “true blue” Montessori schools in Singapore, Greentree Montessori was founded more than two decades ago by a directress with both AMI and AMS certifications – in fact, she’s an AMS trainer herself. Classes feature mixed-age groups with a focus on all core areas with the full range of traditional Montessori materials. There’s also a strong language component and an Infant programme for babies from 2 to 18 months.
As the only school in Singapore recognised by The American Montessori Society, Inno Montessori’s commitment to the fundamentals of the methods offers parents an authentic Montessori environment. Children aged 18 months to 6 years old are welcome for half- and full-day sessions.
This Montessori school in Singapore embraces and celebrates every child’s uniqueness and individuality by nurturing their innate curiosity for self-discovery and growth within a safe, secure and loving environment. Students are empowered to express themselves creatively, build positive mindsets and healthy relationships. The environment at this preschool from the tables, to chairs, toilets and washbasins are easily reached by tots so they can become independent in their interaction with the classroom.
The first and only French/English bilingual Montessori preschool in Singapore, Les Oliviers welcomes children from 2.5 to age 6 on a half-day basis, with additional activities available in the afternoon, as well as parent-accompanied classes for younger children. The school employs traditional Montessori materials and pedagogy, relying on a sensorial approach to help children with the French language and mathematics. Educators are also AMI-certified.
Little Hands Montessori Kindergarten
Little Hands Montessori is a Montessori school with an amazing outdoor playground and a full performing arts programme in the heart of Orchard Road. You can tell how passionate the school is about the children and their Montessori education through their everyday practices – every child has an individual learning plan with a well-rounded approach to education that combines academics with the arts to produce happy and confident children. Little Hands offers an incredible parent-supported reading programme as well as daily performing arts programmes such as Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop, Mixed Sports, Musical Theatre, Martial Arts and much more. They also conduct holiday programmes and often get kids involved in an annual year-end concert.
The Little House Montessori
This bilingual Montessori kindergarten in Singapore is staffed by teachers trained either in-house or at various international Montessori organisations (not necessarily AMI). Besides a garden for plenty of outdoor play, Little House offers fun features like weekly science experiments, lots of field trips, and more.
Lodestar Montessori Preschool
Lodestar Montessori is said to be the first-ever elementary school offering Montessori in Singapore. Run by AMI-trained Montessori educators, it caters to children aged 2.5 to 12 and is open to both Singapore PRs and DP holders. Children are educated in a loving, cosy and mistake-friendly environment. Freedom of choice is very much encouraged so as to nurture each child’s inner guide and independence.
Little Sparks Montessori
The LittleSparks Montessori programme aims to be true to the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori, and children are exposed to a range of carefully selected materials designed to engage all their senses. Their Montessori curriculum is tailored to meet each child’s needs via a one-on-one teaching approach, and children are encouraged to explore and express themselves freely.
This Montessori kindergarten in Singapore has a curriculum specially curated by its founders, who have more than 30 years of combined experience, to maximise your child’s learning potential and provide a learning experience unlike any other. Prenursery and nursery children have the option to attend a full Chinese immersion program for the first three hours each day – this helps develop their love for the language in an organic and holistic manner and enhances their experience further with additional Montessori time. Masterminds also runs a Critical Thinking Programme with The Gifted Lab that’s paired with their proprietary Montessori-based curriculum to help children hone effective critical thinking skills, life skills and learn personal responsibility.
Modern Montessori International Preschools (MMI)
MMI is in no way affiliated with AMI, though they do have a training centre in Singapore, so many teachers are trained there. There are more than 20 MMI preschools across the island incorporating traditional Montessori materials and adhering to the four core values of practical life, sensorial, language and mathematics, but the consensus seems to be that it’s very different from a traditional Montessori environment. Classes are not mixed-age.
Montessori for Children
Montessori purists consider this preschool one of the only true schools for Montessori in Singapore. Teachers at Montessori for Children are AMI-trained, classes adhere to the mixed-age structure, and classrooms feature the traditional “prepared environment” with classic Montessori materials. There’s also strong Mandarin immersion in all classes.
Montessori Place of Learning
This Montessori preschool in Singapore was established in 1997, and offers a mixed-class and Montessori environment to help children develop social, emotional and learning skills the Montessori way.
P&J Montessori Kindergarten
Aiming to adhere to the requirements of a true Montessori environment, P&J Montessori Kindergarten caters to children from ages 2.5 to 6.5. In 2009, it won an Innovation Award from Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE) and covers subjects such as English, Mandarin, Math Science, Geography, Art and Music.
Pink Tower Montessori
Pink Tower Montessori has a full Montessori curriculum and bilingual immersion programme, earning raves from parents for its warm and caring teachers (not necessarily AMI-trained, though). Classes are semi-mixed age, with a separate Kindergarten class geared toward preparation for local primary school.
Raffles Montessori Kindergarten
This Montessori kindergarten in Singapore has a full Montessori programme that’s headed by a qualified directress. Their mixed-age group programmes use specialised Montessori materials and classrooms – all approved by AMI – and children also have access to English and Mandarin supplemental programmes with a strong focus on the arts and music.
Raintree Montessori Schoolhouse
This Montessori kindergarten in Singapore believes children have ‘sensitive periods for learning’, and they adopt the pedagogical nature of Montessori materials to further each child’s holistic development. While they offer predominantly Montessori education, they also embrace both the Early Years Developmental Framework (EYDF) and Nurturing Early Learners Framework (NEL) in their curriculum. Their mixed-age classes are divided into three groups for kids aged 18 months to 6 years.
This kindergarten offers a holistic, learner-focused Montessori approach with an integrated thematic curriculum for children aged 18 months to 6 years. In addition to a low teacher-child ratio, children work in the traditional uninterrupted blocks of time and have the ability to choose their own activities, as is customary in a Montessori classroom. Teachers are not AMI-certified, however.
Want to learn more about Singapore’s educational landscape? Check out these easy reads!