SINGAPORE: Come mid-2016, there will be 1,000 more child care places for residents of Punggol and Sengkang, said the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) in a media release issued on Tuesday (Aug 11). The ECDA said these centres, each with a student capacity of 500 will be run by an ECDA-appointed Anchor Operator.
Run by NTUC First Campus' My First Skool, the centre in Sengkang will be five times the size of an average childcare centre. My First Skool said its fees will be the same as its other centres, at S$715 a month. It will also offer more diverse learning opportunities.
"We will be able to look at nature for example, because of the outdoor learning environment. (We are) looking at how we (can) make use of the natural environment, the plants and the nature around us as a way to inspire an enquiry-based approach," said NTUC First Campus CEO Chan Tee Seng.
Based on its capacity, the centre will require 50 teachers. My First Skool said it has met one-third of its hiring needs and is confident it will be able to fully staff the branch by mid-2016.
The Sengkang centre will also hold an Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children run by the Asian Women’s Welfare Association. It will serve up to 300 children with special needs, who would typically visit the centre thrice a week to receive therapy, according ECDA. This is the first time such a centre is located next to a child care centre.
Speaking at its ground-breaking ceremony on Monday (Aug 11), Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said: "Co-locating it together with this is an important development. It allows the students to interact. Today, you will find that there are many of these places that allow students to interact with each other, to learn more about each other and I think it is a good opportunity to infuse values at a very early stage."
The large child care centre in Punggol will be run by E-bridge Pre-school. Both centres will be open for registration in January 2016 via ECDA’s online registration system at www.childcarelink.gov.sg.
Three more large child care centres, with a capacity of 300 child care places each, will be built in Jurong West, Woodlands and Yishun by end-2016. Operators for those centres will be announced at a later date. The building of larger child care centres was first announced earlier this year as part of the Government's efforts to meet growing demand for affordable child care in young estates.
Mr Tan Chuan-Jin at the ground-breaking ceremony of the new Sengkang child care centre (Photo: Chan Luo Er)
Said Mr Tan: “We understand the needs of parents with young children in these estates. We are working hard with local grassroots advisers and other government agencies to meet these needs. The two upcoming large child care centres in Sengkang and Punggol are the result of these partnerships."