Thursday, February 28, 2013

Finding an Aussie Pre-school

One of my main concerns in moving over to Sydney was Jayvon, and finding a pre-school for him.

One well-meaning friend asked if I was planning to homeschool the kids. And *coughcoughchokecough* while I adore my kids, I also cannot ignore the fact that having Jayvon enrolled in a preschool is good for me to have some time away, for him to make some new friends… it also happens to be a prerequisite for his visa approval.

I cannot believe how tough it has been.

I did some research on my own at first. But as we hadn’t tied down which part of Sydney we would be settling in, it was mainly my mini-introduction to the preschools in Australia. From my minimal (and not very thorough research), here’s what I gathered:

  • If you think preschool fees in Singapore in expensive, it sure ain’t cheap in Sydney! I pay about $1,000 for each of my kid for their current full-day childcare, and while that is a huge dent in our wallets, the payback in seeing them grow and enjoy school so much is a good trade off. In Sydney, Also, kindergarten is not a full-day affair, and even public pre-schools cost some A$10,000 a year. Oh gosh. And some of the preschools also offer after-school care, but at an additional of A$20 onwards. Per day. So am I going to working full-time in Sydney? I think not!
  • Flexible timetables. I am used to seeing a “rigid” timetable for the  boys’ school now. And I think most pre-schools have this in place in Singapore, right up to Secondary school – to have set meal times, set nap times, set curriculum times. I was therefore pretty blown away to read in one particular preschool write up that the school does not have any set or rigid lunch or snack times, as they encourage the kids to eat when they want to. WAAAT? I mean, yes it makes sense, but phew! Of course this same preschool also states it does not prep any meals for the kids, and so the parents got to pack lunch boxes for the children. Double WAAAAT? After paying so much money, I still got to cook lunch every day for him to bring to school? I am not sure if this is the standard for all Aussie preschools, but it would be interesting for sure.

Given my boy’s strong streak of independence, and general reluctance to “flow with the crowd”, preferring instead to do what he wants when he wants, I expect Aussie life will be a pretty much breath of fresh air for him.

And I am thankful preschool is only mandatory for kids aged five and above. So I am not spending this amount for Xav as well. Phew for my wallet. Haha!

I am also thankful for good friends who have went out of their way to contact friends and colleagues who are familiar with Sydney, and given me some useful information and even some recommended schools.

One particular preschool has pretty much confused me. I wrote to ask if there were any vacancies, stating that the hubs can pop over for a school visit when he arrives in Sydney. Only to get a reply that an interview is needed before the kid can be enrolled. Despite the fact that I explained I needed Jay enrolled in a school, and present the proof of the enrolment BEFORE his visa will be approved. So it’s a “stuck” situation. Sigh.

Now that the hubs is over there, it is his responsibility to get Jay enrolled before he returns to Singapore for the birth of our princess. All the best to him. Of the 5 preschools I emailed, I only got a response from 2 of them! After almost 10 days… Sigh. Efficient, much.

This post is part of my mini-series on preparing for our upcoming relocation to Sydney. Read more here!

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1 comment:

Shermeen said...

Hi Sandra.... looking forward to read more about your relocation to sydney. Always love to live in Australia... so I assume you will be delivering your girl in Sydney?

By the way... I have nominated you for the Beautiful Mama Blog Awards... You can accept the award here from my blog. :)