An Emerging Social Problem
As a country with limited manpower, very high employment and a diverse population, Singapore’s parents face some unique challenges when it comes to ensuring their children’s safety, happiness and enhanced education when they can’t be home. There is currently an acute shortage of available childcare in Singapore at virtually any price, which negatively affects productivity, family life and the early development of children. Waiting lists of six months up to a year are not uncommon. Minister for Social and Family, Development Tan Chuan-Jin, has recently assured the public that the government is “on track” to help resolve the problem. In a uniquely Singaporean way, one prong of the chosen approach is remarkably bold, ambitious and innovative.
High Quality Child Care on a Large Scale
One solution tried to this problem is the concept of mega childcare centers, of which five are currently in operation from 2016 onward. Construction of four more is scheduled to start this year for opening near the middle of 2018, providing no fewer than 2,700 additional vacancies for children. Large, non-mega facilities are usually limited to around 100 children, and are located on reserved floors of Housing and Development Board blocks.
The administrating companies of these new centers, all of who possess a proven track record in the field of providing high standards of child care in large facilities, are appointed by government, and can count on support in the form of subsidies and assistance in obtaining building sites. As a quid pro quo, they are expected to follow various rules, the most important of which is a maximum fee of $720 per month. The new centers will be located in or close to housing neighborhoods where their services are most needed.
Integrating Large Centers With Their Environment
The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), a key driver of the expanded project, states that the goals of the program include close harmony with communities and the environment generally, as well as improved learning and development opportunities for the attending children. As one example of this philosophy in action, one of the centers will be located within Sengkang Riverside Park, and enjoys the support of the National Parks Board. One of the fruits of this partnership comes in the form of easy availability of physical and outdoor activities, while the children will also be able to learn more about nature as they play.
This center features an innovative architectural design, reminiscent of a low hill, in order to fit into the surroundings unobtrusively. Covering 4,000 square meters, it will look to admit children between two months and six years of age. It will feature nature trails, a butterfly house and a functional vegetable garden, which is intended not only as a teaching tool but will help provide food for the center’s children.
Interested parents should consult www.childcarelink.gov.sg from the end of March onward, as this is when registration is expected to open. Aside from the Sengkang Park facility, two will be opening in Punggol and another in Bukit Panjang.
About Morris Edwards
Morris Edwards is a content writer at companyregistrationinsingapore.com.sg, he writes different topics like The Most Innovative Economy In Asia: Singapore, Build a safe and healthy workplace and all topics related to Business, Health and Company Incorporation in Singapore.