SINGAPORE: All Early Years Centres (EYCs) - pre-schools run by anchor operators - will be situated within 1km of Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergartens.
This and more was revealed by PAP Community Foundation’s (PCF) CEO Victor Bay, in a discussion on the programme Talking Point which aired on Thursday (Aug 24) on Mediacorp Channel 5.
At his National Day Rally last Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said that more EYCs, on top of the first four announced in February, would be set up to address the shortage of pre-school places for children up to age four.
Mr Bay elaborated on these EYCs, and why the proximity to MOE kindergartens is important.
“One prime consideration is that they must be within 1km,” he said. “We wouldn’t go beyond that as parents would then see that it’s very inconvenient to move the little ones around, especially when some children are ferried to school by grandparents.”
Mr Bay said that unlike current infant care centres, EYCs will have resources dedicated to these younger children.
“They don’t share that centre with other older children, unlike in a typical childcare centre. So when you have a bigger space to play, you can incorporate many activities.
“There can be a bigger space for motor skills development and, if you want to create learning aids like a learning corner, we can make it more elaborate and more detailed.
“That I think will enhance the learning development of these young children,” he said.
Children at EYCs - run mostly by anchor operators PCF Sparkletots and NTUC My First Skool - will have a place reserved at an MOE kindergarten when they reach five to six years of age.
All MOE-run kindergartens will eventually be co-located in primary schools, after the ministry found that this improves the learning experiences of the pre-schoolers and students.
These children will have a two-year advantage in getting used to being in a large school with older children around, Mr Bay explained. “So when it’s their turn to enrol in Primary 1, whether it’s the same primary school or another primary school, they will have an easier time settling down. There will be perhaps less separation anxiety and fewer tears.”
Mr Bay also shared that the PCF Sparkletots curriculum for K1 and K2 is similar to MOE’s Nurturing Early Learners framework for their kindergartens, which will make it an easier transition for the child.
The first batch of children from the EYCs will enrol in their partner MOE kindergartens for K1 in 2019.
More on the discussion about pre-schools on Talking Point, Thursday (Aug 24), 9.30pm on Mediacorp Channel 5. Watch the catch-up episode here.