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 criteria listed above. The tradeoff is that many 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.
↓ Keep scrolling to discover Montessori preschools in Singapore!
Founded in 1996, Brighton Montessori prides itself on preparing students aged 18 months to 6 years to excel in formal education. Children get a holistic learning experience, so that they actually enjoy learning. Some schools may ask you to choose between fun and academics, but there’s no such thing at Brighton, where fun and academics go hand in hand. This Montessori preschool practises individualised learning, so every child gets the attention they need and learns at their own pace. With a great teacher-child ratio – this varies by age group, but goes as low as 1:6! – you can rest assured that your little one will receive personalised guidance to ensure they are progressing and meeting learning goals. 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. Brighton Montessori also has six centres across the island – including their newest, 10,000-sq-ft Harbourfront Centre campus – so you can easily find a quality Montessori school near you!
Brighton Montessori, multiple locations, www.brightonmontessori.com.sg
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. With the unique blend of the Montessori curriculum and Musical Arts Programme (MAP), their students are empowered to express themselves creatively, build positive mindsets and healthy relationships to navigate social situations around them. The environment at this preschool from the tables, to chairs, toilets and washbasin are easily reached by tots so they can become independent in their interaction with the classroom.
Josiah Montessori, multiple locations, Tel: (+65) 6634 1780, www.josiah.com.sg
Little Woods Montessori Preschool
Little Woods Montessori offers a 5-year programme giving children aged 18 months to 6 years old, an authentic Montessori foundation for entry into Grade 1, Year 1, or Primary 1. The unique Montessori framework comprises five core components: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, Music & Art, and Discovery of the World. These help children develop cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally. In addition to this bespoke curriculum, Little Woods Montessori Preschool also offers Extra-Curricular Activities to increase exposure and promote holistic development. Guided by their AMI certified Directress, Little Woods Montessori aims to nurture independent thinkers and self-directed leaders to give them an exceptional start to their journey in education and life. Parents can look forward to special parent workshops and one-on-one sessions to help them adopt the Montessori method at home.
Little Woods Montessori, 45 Gentle Road, Singapore 309166, Tel: (+65) 6251 6317, www.littlewoodsmontessori.com
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, Cultural. 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. At this Montessori preschool in Singapore, children can also choose to learn Mandarin and Japanese. There is a good mix of local and international students and teachers ensuring diversity in the classroom. Teachers are nurturing, supportive, and trained in the Montesssori method. Brainy Child offers weekend Montessori Phonics and Math classes for children who come from non-Montessori schools, which gives your child exposure to a systematic way of learning to read with Phonics and learning Math.
Brainy Child Montessori Learning Centre, 150 Orchard Road, Orchard Plaza #05-38/43, Singapore 238841, Tel: (+65) 67337669, www.brainychildmontessori.sg
House on the Hill
A family-run group of Montessori preschools 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 kindergarten’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. Children from nursery level and up follow the classic Montessori three-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.
House on the Hill, multiple locations, www.houseonthehill.com.sg
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.
Use promo code SASSYMAMA to get a registration fee waiver!
Masterminds Montessori, 68 Namly Place, Singapore 267214, Tel: (+65) 6235 0983, www.masterminds.sg
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.
Greentree Montessori, www.greentreemontessori.com
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.
Inno Montessori, www.innomontessori.com
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.
Les Oliviers, www.oliviers-french-montessori.com
Little Hands Montessori Kindergarten
Teachers at this Montessori school in Singapore have formal Montessori training (though not necessarily AMI), but classes are not mixed age – they do accept students up to the age of 9, however. Little Hands makes use of traditional Montessori materials, with extra support around reading to prepare students for local and international school curriculums.
Little Hands Montessori Kindergarten, www.littlehandsmontessori.com.sg
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.
The Little House Montessori, www.thelittlehousemontessori.com
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.
Lodestar Montessori, www.lodestarmontessori.com
Little Sparks Montessori
The LittleSparks Montessori programme is 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.
Little Sparks Montessori, www.littlesparks.com.sg
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.
Modern Montessori International Preschools, www.modern-montessori.com
Montessori for Children
Montessori purists consider this preschool the only “true” school 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 for Children, www.montessori.edu.sg
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.
Montessori Place of Learning, www.montessoriplace.com.sg
P&J Montessori Kindergarten
Adhering 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.
P&J Montessori Kindergarten, www.pnjmontessorikindergarten.com
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.
Pink Tower Montessori, www.pinktower.edu.sg
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.
Raffles Montessori Kindergarten, www.rafflesmontessorikindergarten.com
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.
Rain Tree Montessori Schoolhouse, www.rtmschool.com
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.
Wharton Preschool, www.whartonpreschool.com
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