Monday, February 27, 2012

My review: Carpe Diem MI Preschool at Hougang Blk 954

I enrolled my girl for this preschool last year, it was my second attempt to send her to preschool.
I sent her to Sparkletots Marsiling when she was 18 months old, but it was a disastrous as she was not ready and the school was newly set up. I withdrawn her from the school after a week and spent few months to amend the damage done to her.
What were the damages? She would cry badly when she's not seeing me, even just for seconds, she would even cry when we walked pass a school, it was not the usual cheerful her. Her character changed totally, it was heart pain to see her tearing silently, where you can see her fear in the eyes.
I then sent her to 1 hour weekend enrichment class at Zoophonics, where the parents could accompany the toddler in the class, from there she accepted the school environment again, and then she was promoted to the zoo kids program, where parents can no longer accompany the toddlers inside the class.
From Zoophonics, I realised the importance of teachers in a preschool, as they'll be the caretakers for your children in school. When I searched for the preschool for my girl in the second attempt, I emphasized more on the quality of teachers, instead of facilities.
I had been to Carpe Diem MI Preschool two times before I registered my girl there. On my first trip, I walked in to ask for details and the principal then (Grace, if I remember correctly) showed me the facilities of the school, which I did not expect it from her as I did not make appointment. I went during noon time, when she showed me around, I did not see any kids and I thought it was school holiday, but she then pointed to the floor where all the kids were sleeping on their mats. I was quite impressed to see so many children, different ages, sleeping at the same time without making noises. Of course, I was quite impressed by the principal too.
After I registered my girl, Grace left the school and Priscilla took on the role as principal. She was friendly and patient too, she called me on the registration update, the starting date for my girl, the collection of uniform, which I did not receive from Sparkletots.
My girl started the nursery school after Chinese New Year, as expected, she wanted us to accompany her in the school and would cry if we were leaving. I accompany her in the school for the first day, the school was a bit chaotic as many new students was crying for their parents. A student vomited on the floor, teachers quickly cleaned up the mess. Some children were having breakfast at the eating corner, some were doing exercise at the music corner. After around 930am, the students started to settle down and separated into groups, I met the Chinese teacher for my girl, she looked after around 8 children in the group.
I let my helper accompanied my girl in the school from the second days onwards, for roughly a week, and slowly reduce the time in the school. Till date, my girl adapted well in the school, without going through the dilemma which we had gone through in the first attempt. I would not blame Sparkletots for the failure in my first attempt totally, as she could be too young and was not ready yet. But frankly, I did not see the same level of care given towards my girl (or the rest of the children) by Carpe Diem, was given by Sparkletots.
In Carpe Diem, there are two teachers for each nursery group, one teaching Chinese while the other one teaching English. The Chinese teacher for my girl is Miss Liao, she is from China and of course she speaks better Chinese than the locals. I like her as my girl got a chance to speak better Chinese in the school. There are two Malay students in the class, who joined the school earlier than my girl, they could speak simple Chinese to the teacher, and this makes me feel confident that my girl can pick up Chinese from Miss Liao, haha!
The English teacher is Miss Mylene, she is from Philippines, she speaks very good English. I myself speaks Singlish, but I do not wish my children speak Singlish which foreigners could not understand, I try to speak proper English when I talk to my children, and luckily their English are not very "polluted". Thus, I hope they could learn from a better speaking teacher in the school.
The two teachers would update the parents by writing on a small booklets, where the parents would need to sign off after reading:

They do it about twice a week, or when there's something special to inform the parents, so each week you'll get to see around 4 remarks in the booklet.

Not all school practice this.
My girl will bring back two books each week, one Chinese and one English, as part of the efforts to encourage reading in young toddlers:

One more great feature provided by the school is the Ichild website:

The parents can log into this website and share the photos, videos of the children. The teachers will also upload pictures, updates, documents on this website that the parents can view. We can also feedback to the principal or admin staff through this website. I'm really impressed by the effort put in by the school :)

Carpe Diem MI Preschool has indeed many students and can be quite crowded. But so far the students were under control by the teachers, thus I'm not that worried about this issue.

Overall, I'm very satisfied with the school and the teachers.

Some pictures of the school:
The school:

The entrance, where the parents would need to sign in and out when they bring their children to the school and when they pick the children back home:

The eating corner, where the kids have their breakfast and lunch:

The corner for my girl's nursery group:

Activity room, where the kids read story books or play toys:

The music room where the kids exercise in the morning, and play the musical instruments on their music lessons:

Gym room, the teacher will arrange the cushion thingies before letting the kids play, and keep them after the lesson, so you see nothing in the room now :)

Website of the school:

I hope the above reviews do help you in your childcare selection :)


Anonymous said...

Hi mummy,

love reading your blog and that your girl enjoying her stay at the cc. sounds so much better than the other HG branch @946. make me feel like transfering my kid to your gal's branch.

Learnthefunway on July 7, 2012 at 9:54 AM said...

Ya, I think this branch is bigger. I really like the school and teachers, the staff there are all very caring.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your review, it's helpful! Would like to check if this branch is with or without aircon?

learnthefunway on August 2, 2012 at 9:03 AM said...

Hi, it is without aircon :)

ah_kum on October 17, 2012 at 3:06 PM said...

do u have to pay for the afternoon enrichment? I read somewhere that the afternn activities or enrichment u have to pay separately. thks

learnthefunway on October 17, 2012 at 5:49 PM said...

Hi ah Kum,
Yes, the enrichment classes in the afternoon are payable, they get the trainer from outside to teach the kids. If you do not want to let your kid joins, you can opt not to. My girl did not join any enrichment lessons by the school, when other kids have enrichment lessons, the teacher will read books to her.

Anonymous said...


I just registered my boy for N2 at Blk 954 CD starting Jan 2013, your review is helpful coz I'm worried for my boy too. They seem to be expanding.


learnthefunway on December 14, 2012 at 5:18 PM said...

Hi Flo,
N2 will be in the same class as my girl, my girl is in Sunflower class, what yours?

mummyng on September 12, 2014 at 6:27 PM said...


Is the school now as good as you shared 2 years ago? I just went to the sch this afternoon when all the kids were sleeping. And I think the principal changed? Now is an Indian lady. And there is a director named Mr Ng.

learnthefunway on September 15, 2014 at 1:51 PM said...

Yes, the principal changed, she's the previous teacher and now promoted to principal. She's the 4th principal since my girl joined in 2010, but I think it is a norm for the teachers and principal to job hop in preschool. So far I still like the school but I do hear negative comments from the parents of my girl's classmates. Generally I think each parent has each requirements so really depends on your preference. Some parents commented their kids didn't pick up English (there're quite many Chinese teachers there), but for me my kids speak English at home so I don't mind them speaking Chinese in School, btw they have alternate day on English and Chinese teachers. Some claims the school is money minded as they collect money for all extra activities, and it is quite often the school having activities, but to me is this is your choice, I prefer a school with extra activities than no activities, my kids enjoying going for the activities too. How old is your kid?

mummyng on September 15, 2014 at 6:56 PM said...

She is going 4 next year so shd b in N2.. what kind of extra activities do they have?

mummyng on September 15, 2014 at 6:58 PM said...

And do you know what kind of negatives comments those parents commented? I don't really mind my girl speak Chinese in school Anyway coz she speaks English at home too..

Anonymous said...

why keep changing principal. Is there problem with those teachers. I researched alot review about this centre. All parents say teachers are uncaring and shouting at those kids. aren't the principal doing something about the situation and let the teachers to behave in such a manner.

Anonymous said...

seems like quite alot of negative comments through review of the new malay principal. Not recommended to put my kid in.

Anonymous said...

I went to ask some parents about this centre. They told me that many teachers resign and their kid learn nothing. I am so worried if I place my kid in is a good choice?
Those parent also commented on the current principal is not doing her work. compare to previous principal, she is the worst.

MomOf4 said...

Hi, I am planning to enrol my kids to Carpe Diem Mi Schoolhouse (Blk 954 Hougang Ave 9). Would like to hear feedback from anyone whose child is there?

Unknown on November 29, 2016 at 7:32 AM said...

Feedback at 954 is ok. Just dont send to 946,it sucks!

Unknown on December 9, 2016 at 1:30 PM said...

Hi Unknown, why 946 sucks?

WorkingMom said...


I would like to seek advise from anyone who is sending or has previously sent their kids to Carpe Diem Hougang Blk 954.. do you have kids that do not join in any of the optional enrichment programs? If yes, what do the teachers usually do with non participating students during those sessions?

learn the fun way on March 9, 2017 at 9:16 PM said...

If the kids not joining enrichment lessons, they'll be reading book at a corner :)

Saraswathi Mahesvaran on August 15, 2018 at 9:14 AM said...

Carpe Diem Hougang Blk 954 was a terribly bad experience fo rmy kids. My 2 twin girls got abused by the Chinese teacher & was reported to Neighbourhood Police post & as well to MP. The teacher teachers throws the kids water bottles out of the windows. Put scotch tapes on kids. Their charges a very heavy & not worth cos the service/ patience & care was not there. A better school recommended Wesley my kids went there & much better place.. A true experience...

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