Childcare in Singapore

Childcare in Singapore
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Updated 2020-05-08 13:36

The large expatriate population in Singapore has given rise to a multiple childcare options for a wide range of ages. Childcare is made more affordable thanks to the relatively cheap cost of labour in the neighbouring South East Asian countries and finding the right childcare services should not be an issue in Singapore.

Personalised childcare in Singapore

One of the most convenient options is to recruit a nanny or an au-pair. There are many agencies in Singapore which offer recruitment services for nannies but these agencies will charge a fee for their services. Another approach to finding a nanny involves joining a community group or forum where you can discuss with other parents and enquire about nannies. Singapore being a hub, many families come and go and many would be very happy to provide you with a recommendation.

Childcare services in Singapore

Alternatively, there are several types of collective childcare services, such as nurseries, kindergartens and pre-primary schools, depending on the age of your child, some of which have an international focus and cater almost exclusively to expatriate populations. Generally, institutions offer full-time as well as part-time services.

The country enforces a strict licencing policy and all institutions need to be licenced by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA). The agency ensures that sufficient standards are met and carries out regular checks. Daycare centres generally cater for children aged between two months and seven years. The minimum age for preschooling is 56 days but this varies from school to school.

In Singapore, children are enrolled in kindergarten at three years old and then start primary school when they are seven. Schools also need to abide by registration requirements set out by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, which ensures that staff respect regulations in place and provide an adequate environment for the children. Childcare centres generally operate from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm but it is often possible to negotiate flexible hours, sometimes until 8:00 pm. Working hours in Singapore tend to be quite long and it is common practice for Singaporeans to leave work quite late. Such schools are therefore very practical.

Finding childcare in Singapore

There are many ways of finding childcare in Singapore. In addition to word of mouth and the online forums discussed previously, the yellow pages hold many adverts and numbers for childcare services. The website of the ECDA has a very practical tool which allows you to search for childcare options using specific criteria, including hours of operation, location, fees and types of service. Once you have identified a list of potential providers, you can arrange a meeting to discuss the services and visit the centre. There are strict requirements involved in the registration of your child in the child care centre. This includes vaccinations, and you should seek information on mandatory vaccinations from a paediatrician.

During the registration process, you will be required to provide your child's health and immunization records as well as your basic identification documents, including your identity card, passport or residency permits. The prices charged by different schools vary from $800 to $1500, but these numbers are rough indications since the quality of service varies from institution to institution and the location of the child care centre is also a significant factor in the cost. Premium childcare centres can significantly cost more, from $1,000 to $3,300 per month.

Useful links:

Child Care Link
Ministry of Social Development and Family

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