After the excitement of bringing a new life into the world sets in, there will be a point in time when working parents will need to start thinking about child care options for their little ones. Bringing up a child in Singapore is tough because parents will need to make plans way before their child is born, to secure a place for their child in infant care.
With so many options from anchor operators, partner operators, and private childcare operators available, how would parents know which to choose? And beyond the differences in prices, what are they paying the premium for?
What is the Anchor Operator Scheme (AOP)?
The Anchor Operator Scheme (AOP) started in 2009 to increase access to affordable early childhood learning centres. Selected preschool operators receive support by the government in the form of funding and by being in this scheme, these childcare providers will have to cap their monthly fees at $720 for full-day childcare, $1275 for full-day infant care, and $160 for kindergarten services, and ensure that any fee hikes remain affordable for all parents.
Beyond the school fee caps, these operators will also have to continually improve the quality of their early childhood care and education and support the career and professional development of early childhood personnel.
5 AOPs were selected in 2014 and they are:
|PCF Sparkletots Preschool||My First Skool||My World Preschool|
What is the Partner Operator Scheme (POP)?
The Partner Operator Scheme commenced in 2016 where early childhood care and education providers receive funding to cap their monthly school fees at $800 for full-day childcare and $1400 for full-day infant care programmes. Besides the funding support, they will also need to improve the quality of early childhood programmes through the Singapore Pre-School Accreditation Framework (SPARK), the capabilities of their headquarters, and support the career and professional development of early childhood personnel.
Some examples of POPs include:
|Ace @ Work||Agape Little Uni||Alliance First|
|Bright Juniors||Bright Kids||Busy Bees|
|Carpe Diem||Faith Educare||Ichiban Montessori|
|Just Kids||Kidz Meadow Childcare||Learning Kidz|
|Little Footprints||Presbyterian Community Services||Perdaus|
|Persatuan Permudi Islam Singapura||Safari House Preschool||Spring Brainy Kidz|
|Star Learners Childcare||Sunflower||Thye Hua Kuan Moral Society|
|The Little Skool-House||YWCA|
What are Private Childcare Centres?
Other preschools not under the AOP and POP schemes will fall under this category. Prices of most private childcare centres tend to be higher (generally from $1000 to $2000 a month) since they do not receive government funding, but there are also a few of them who offer competitive pricing to that of the AOPs and POPs.
Some examples of private childcare providers in Singapore include:
|Pat's Schoolhouse||House On The Hill||Odyssey|
|Alphabet Playhouse||Brighton Montessori||Learning Vision|
|Maple Bear||Kiddiewinkie Schoolhouse||White Lodge|
Although these preschools do not rely on funding support, there are several subsidies you can tap on to defray your childcare costs.
“We want to start earlier in a child’s life because these years make a big difference to his development. A good preschool education can make a crucial difference” – PM Lee, 2019 National Day Rally
AOPs vs POPs vs Private Childcare Centres, what are the differences?
Besides the differences in school fees as mentioned, here, we are examining the value private childcare centres provide and what goes into the higher fees you will be paying!
The early years are critical for the holistic development of children. It is a period of time where your little ones pick up numerous psycho motor, social, language, behavioural skills and gain knowledge about the world around them. Furthermore, it has been scientifically proven that attending preschool helps children level up when they enter their Primary years. Research also show that kids who attend quality early childhood programmes possess high-quality early education enter their primary years with greater literacy-related abilities such as pre-reading skills, wider vocabulary, and stronger mathematical competencies than those who do not.
With that, in Singapore’s competitive educational climate, childcare is certainly no child’s play. While AOPs and POPs do provide quality preschool education, parents who want more for their child, such as small class sizes, better facilities, and the choice of early childhood philosophies, pedagogies and curriculum should carefully consider the various AOP, POP, and private preschools options to find one that suits their child best!
About Mulberry Learning
Established in 2006, Mulberry Learning is an award-winning Reggio-inspired preschool with 11 locations around Singapore. Mulberry Learning is the world’s first and only preschool network certified by the USA for the Habits of MindTM framework, and its curriculum has been voted as “Singapore’s Best Holistic Learning Programme” for 3 years running by leading parenting publications.
Hear What Parents Say
Choa Chu KangI would like to show appreciation towards Teacher Karmela for going the extra miles to ensure the safety of the children. Thank you for your patience towards the children especially during assembly period when all the children gathered. – Parent, Jean Ng
Jurong EastI would like to show appreciation towards Zhang Lao Shi of N2 Creator. She has been with the class since she came, and has created her own style of nurturing the class. My child adores her and has shown great interest in mandarin. Zhang Lao Shi is always very prompt and responsive in feedback and requests. – Parent, Marilyn Chan
Shenton WayI would like to show appreciation towards Teacher Helina as she is caring and attentive, and look after my son well. – Parent, Doreen Woo
MarymountI would like to show appreciation towards Teacher Joanna for her patience in engaging my daughter and also keep pace with her learning style. – Parent, Amy
Tanjong PagarI would like to show appreciation towards Lingdi Lao Shi as she has really stepped up and done a good job for N1A. I observed that my daughter Ellie has learnt a lot more, singing more songs etc. Appreciate the frequent updates from Teacher Hajar even on a Saturday! – Parent, Peiling Tan
AlexandraI would like to show appreciation towards Daphenie, lead teacher at infant care for being caring and patient towards our child. – Parent, Sim See Kiat
Book a virtual tour with Mulberry Learning to find out how its award-winning curriculum can help prepare your child for his or her Primary years and beyond! Explore our beautifully crafted Reggio-inspired learning spaces from the comfort of your own home with our Virtual School Tours!