Preschool In Singapore

Singaporeans are spoiled for choice when it comes to Preschool education, with approximately 1,800 Preschool options, from full-day child care centres to kindergartens.

The Preschool Education Landscape Infographic is designed to provide a landscape perspective of Singapore Early Childhood Education which encompasses the following:

  • the difference between child care centres and kindergarten
  • number of infant care centres, child care centres and kindergarten
  • the statistical view of Singapore Preschool operators and education groups
  • top questions asked by parents when considering Preschool options in Singapore

Preschool Enrolment Statistics Singapore 2017

Year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Q4 2017
Total no. of child care centres 1,016 1,083 1,143 1,256 1,342 1,419
Total no. of child care centre places 92,779 101,597 109,694 123,327 137,278 149,803
Total Enrolment 75,530 73,852 83,928 95,414 103,221 110,826
Enrolment in full-day programme 65,826 65,650 75,518 86,898 95,357 103,404

Preschool Fees in Singapore For 2017

Year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Average full-day fees $850 $923 $953 $999 $1,014 $1,032
Median full-day fees $750 $830 $850 $900 $856 $856

Key Statistics For Preschool Education in Singapore

  • More than 99% of incoming primary one students aged 6 years attend at least 1 year of Preschool  in Singapore (Source: LIEN Foundation)
  • As of December 2017, there are 1,419 child care centres and 495 Kindergartens in Singapore (Source: ECDA/MSF)
  • Jurong West high the highest number of enrolment followed by Sengkang (Source: ECDA)
  • Sengkang has 90 Child Care Centres, the highest among all the areas, followed by Jurong West and Woodlands with 82 Child Care Centres respectatively (Source: ECDA)
  • S$360 million provided in subsidies to 79,000 children in infant and child care (Source: ECDA)
  • By 2017, one in two children aged 18 months to 6 years will have a child care place (Source: ECDA)
  • The average fees of a full-day Child Care Programme is about $1,033 [Q4 2017] (Source: ECDA)
  • Child care places increased by more than 40% since 2012 (Source: ECDA)
  • Five large child care centres with capacity of 300 to 500 developed by Anchor Operators (AOPs) in operation. (Source: ECDA)

Key Trends/Challenges in Singapore’s Preschool and Early Childhood Education Sector

  • Diverse sector• Diverse range of operators and centres
    • Quality in the sector is uneven
    • Affordability and social clustering issues
  • Rising demand and expectations
    • Changing demographics
    • Demand grown (full-day; younger ages)
    • Parents expect better quality
  • Strong manpower demand; challenges in attraction and attrition
    • About half of student graduates not joining the sector
    • High churn of teachers and challenges in hiring

Why Early Childhood Education is important

  • Early years are critical for brain development

    • 700 new neural connections are formed every second during first few years
    • 90% of the brain developed before 5 years old
    • Brain most “plastic” in the early years
  • Early experiences affect many aspects of children’s development and have lasting effects:

    • Physical / Health: Adults with adverse experiences in early childhood more likely to have chronic health problems
    • Social emotional (incl. behavioural / moral): Increased high school graduation rates; decreased crime and delinquency rates; likely to hold a job
    • Intellectual: Lesser grade retention; lesser placement in special education programmes; lasting IQ score gains
  • Relationships and rich learning experiences in the earliest years set the foundation for children’s lifelong development.

Different Types of Preschool Programmes In Singapore

Once you’ve decided to send your child to a preschool, a world of choice opens up to you! Singapore is home to a huge diversity of childcare centres, playgroups and kindergartens that suit a wide range of parent and child needs. 

Quality preschool will offer your child a stimulating, nurturing environment which should help prepare them for school and to reach his or her full potential.

Infant care
By and large, infant care services cater for infants from 2 months to 18 months. One of the things that new parents tend to stress over, is finding a trustworthy infant care centre for their precious bundle of joy.

Playgroup
Playgroups are exactly what they sound like – they consist of groups of children playing together, like a regular playdate. Less structured than childcare and preschool, playgroups are a good way of easing children into a foreign environment without their parents so they can work on their interaction and social skills before enrolling in preschool or kindergarten.

Childcare
Though there are distinctions between them in other countries, childcare centres and preschools are pretty much the same thing in Singapore. They take in children from the ages of 18 months to 6 years, their programmes are longer than kindergartens’, the curriculum is usually split between work and play, and they often provide full meals and baths as well. Therefore, childcare is a great option for parents with full-time jobs and who have no guardian or babysitter during the day.

Kindergarten
Kindergartens, on the other hand, offer shorter, structured curricula of about 3-4 hours per day, and take in older children (between 4-6 years old). Programmes are generally academia-focused, with the end goal of preparing children for the rigours of formal education.

Childcare Operators Programme

Anchor Operators (AOP)

According to ECDA, there are five childcare chains who receive government subsidies and offer discounted rates for children attending their child care and infant care programmes.

The anchor operators must provide affordable preschool places, with school fees capped at S$720 for a full-day childcare programme and S$160 for kindergartens.

  • NTUC First Campus’s My First Skool
  • PAP Community Foundation’s Sparkletots
  • Metropolitan YMCA’s MY World Preschool
  • CreStar’s Skool4kidz
  • EtonHouse’s E-bridge Pre-School

Partner Operators (POP)

There are 23 preschool partner operators which run 169 childcare centres and offer 16,500 places in total. Under the new partner operator (POP) scheme, participating centres have to cut fees – which must be capped at $800 a month (before GST) for full-day childcare.

  • Ace @ Work – 4 centres
  • Agape Little Uni – 8 centres
  • Alliance First – 7 centres
  • Bright Juniors Pte Ltd – 5 centres
  • Bright Kids – 4 centres
  • Busy Bees Singapore Pte Ltd – 3 centres
  • Carpe Diem Holdings – 16 centres
  • Faith Educare Centre – 4 centres
  • Ichiban Montessori – 7 centres
  • Just Kids – 8 centres
  • Learning Kidz – 5 centres
  • Kidz Meadow Childcare and Development Centre – 5 centres
  • Nurture Education Group – 11 centres
  • Perdaus – 3 centres
  • Persatuan Permudi Islam Singapura – 6 centres
  • Presbyterian Community Services – 11 centres
  • Safari House Preschool – 7 centres
  • Spring Brainy Kidz – 3 centres
  • Star Learners Child Care – 22 centres
  • Sunflower Childcare Group – 10 centres
  • The Little Skool-House International Pte Ltd – 6 centres
  • Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society – 4 centres
  • Young Women’s Christian Association of Singapore – 10 centres

Top Child Care Brands in Singapore 

Here are some of the top searches out of the over 200 child care brands available in Singapore.

Brands Monthly Google Search volume
My First Skool 8,100
MOE Kindergarten 2,400
pcf sparkletots 2,400
Learning Vision 1,600
Lorna Whiston 1,300
Kinderland 1,300
MindChamps Preschool 1,300
Cherie Hearts 1,000
Star Learners 880
MMI 880
E-Bridge 880
skool4kidz 880
Brighton montessori 880
Little Skool House 720
zoo phonics 720
Agape Little Uni 720
EtonHouse 590
Pat’s School House 590
Maplebear 480
Kiddiwinkie 390
Little Footprints 390
MY World 390
Carpe Diem Childcare 390
Mulberry Learning Centre 390
Alphabet Playhouse 390
Josiah Montessori 320
The Odyssey 260
Schoolhouse by the bay 260
ChildFirst 210
Ilham Childcare 210
Learning Kidz 210
Posso Preschool 210
Cambridge Preschool 170
Bright Juniors 170
sunflower childcare 140
Ace @ Work 110
our juniors schoolhouse 110
Safari House 70
Little Greenhouse 70
Stamford preschool 50
Nurture stars 40
Pibos 20

Top Questions Asked When Looking at Preschools In Singapore

Selecting a Preschool that is a good fit for your child can be exciting as well as overwhelming. As a parent, you want to be confident that you chose the best fit for your child, but how do you make the best choice? Here are some specific questions that parents would usually ask.

  • What is the teacher student ratio? Any assistant teacher? What is the maximum class size?
  • What are the operating hours?
  • What is a typical day like?
  • What is the fee structure?
  • How do you give progress report/updates to parents?
  • How frequent is the parent teacher meet up?
  • How long has the school been established?
  • How long have the class teacher been with the school?
  • What is the policy on running nose, cough?
  • What is the policy on biting/scratching/hitting?
  • Is it academic structured or play structured?What play structured is it based on?
  • What type of enrichment classes are offered?
  • Any outdoor activities/excursions? How often?
  • What values do you instil in the children?
  • How do you discovered special interest and talent of the child?
  • What is the meal plan like? Are meals and snacks provided?
  • Is potty training required?

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