updated 27 Apr 2012, 10:14
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Thu, Nov 24, 2011
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How to spot good childcare centres

With more than 930 childcare centres in Singapore, choosing the right one for your child can be mind-boggling.

The centre is a place which offers the child an early venture outside his or her comfort zone. So, it must be a safe, comforting and nurturing place for the child to experience positivity.

Here are 10 pointers that parents can tap on to help them pick the right childcare centre.


It is important to pick a centre that is professionally run, imparts the right values and offers a quality curriculum.

Check out the centre's info- kit and website for its values and philosophy. Then ask: Are they in line with your value system? Is the centre up to the task of imparting the right values while shaping and enriching young minds? Is it keeping up with informed practices in early childcare and education?


Cutting down on travelling time is important, especially if you have a full-time job. Consider the distance, mode of public transport available, and time needed to travel to the centre from your workplace or home.


Work out your monthly budget for childcare fees and then select a centre whose charges fall within that budget. Government subsidies and Centre-based Financial Assistance for Child Care schemes are available. Check if you are eligible.


All childcare centres are licensed by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS). Those operating on 24-month licence have shown a higher standard of care, and those with a 12- month licence have met acceptable standards.

Centres are assessed on five areas: physical environment, curriculum and pedagogy, staffing, safety (health and hygiene), and centre administration.

Those with the Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework certification have quality kindergarten programmes.


Read the centre's handbook to see if you agree with its terms and conditions with regard to administrative policies.

The centre should provide at least two weeks' trial for full-day and half-day care, which will help you assess if your child can adapt to the environment. Do visit the centre with your child to familiarise him or her with the environment and teachers.


Some popular centres often operate at full capacity. Plan early to avoid learning that the centre of your choice cannot take care of your child.

You may have to be put on a waiting list while you search for alternatives.


As a rule, centres should adopt positive reinforcement, such as giving encouragement, praise and recognition to a child who shows positive behaviour.

Discuss with the centre or teacher at the point of enrolment if there are specific approaches or methods you prefer.


Centres are advised to follow nutritional guidelines set by the Health Promotion Board.

Those which have received the Healthy Eating in Child Care Centres award provide food that meet the requirements of the board.


Parents should alert staff to any health conditions upon enrolment and work with the centre to manage the child's health.

They should also exercise social responsibility by working with the centre to reinforce positive hygiene habits at home.


Most centres operate from around 7am to 7pm daily to cater to full-time working parents. But if your job requires you to work irregular hours or clock in extra hours on some days, check with your centre to find out if they can accommodate you.


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