A catholic mum from my parish told me about Cherrybrook when we were doing a barter trade for some household items (I gave her a happycall pan in exchange for a book on applying Montessori at home).
I thought, how could it be that I hadn’t heard about this Montessori, as I felt I had obsessively done all my research online and was happy with it. Thankfully, I googled.
Turns out they run on word of mouth, don’t spend too much on advertising, and rightly so as they cater to parents who are primed and understand their methodology. Yet, they’re a professionally run set up, and do not scrimp on anything within their staffing and school.
I’d imagine they would attract mostly Catholic, Montessori-keen parents.
They began with a group of parents who were inspired by the spirit and teachings of Saint Josemaria Escrivá, who encouraged parents to be first proponents of their children’s education, and schools should be partners in this. When the school opened its doors in 2001, they had 7 students and 7 teachers! What a beautiful story, stemming from pure love of children, and a deep concern for our brothers and sisters on earth.
It is far easier to create strong and whole children than to fix broken adults.
This school is after my own heart. It not only ticked my boxes…
- Montessori with at least 2h work cycle
- Strong mandarin syllabus
- Strong virtues, and a very catholic flavour
- Small student teacher ratio of 1:8
…it offered much more than I was expecting of a preschool. At OK prices! In fact, the Thomson branch has got childcare status, and they may be considering the same for Queen’s road, for parents to be able to claim subsidies, and for the flexibility for children to stay on for extended hours.
Email correspondence with Ann, the admin staff, was swift, informative and warm, which led to visiting time!
I met Magdalene, who was their business lady. Turns out, we had met once before during Father Greg’s prayer group, at Sts Peter and Paul! What a tiny and beautiful planet we live on!
She ushered me and another parent (and our respective bubs) into a tiny room where she ran a presentation on the philosophies and uniqueness of the school. It was very professional, and I can see how it was built from the ground up without swaying from its original beliefs, in that character building came first, through academic excellence.
What struck me was the emphasis on virtues, not by just word, but in deed as well, along with teaching parents how to instil those 100 over virtues, at home, through a tutor system. This tutor is assigned to each family and creates observations and formulates achievable goals in light of the child’s progression and character formation. The tutors do separate jobs from teachers, although some of them might be teachers too.
There is a true warmth, and a community spirit.
There are frequent parent meetings, parent continuing education talks and chance for involvement.
The reviews on their facebook page is stellar.
When I visited, it was break time, and children could choose what they wanted to do, and so it was free play. This meant there was quite abit of screaming and active play, which I was assured wasn’t the usual atmosphere during a work cycle. One of the teachers was facilitating a game where the children were loud, and she assured us walking by, that they’re supposed to be loud.
I’m in love with the school.
See how Cherrybrook ranks with the other top preschools in Singapore, here.