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14 Must-Follow Tips for Choosing the Right Infant Care Centre in Singapore – A Comprehensive Guide

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Finding a quality infant care centre arouses a range of emotions.

Many parents do not want to leave their little ones under the care of strangers.

However, as the maternity leave ends, a parent is left with no choice but to look for someone to assist in child upbringing.

Infant care centres in Singapore take in children as young as 2 months and as old as 18 months.

Apart from providing the usual routine care of feeding and changing diapers, an infant care centre should cater to a child’s overall needs, which encompass linguistic, motor, cognitive, and social-emotional development.

You may not know the exact needs of a baby.

Credit: Nurturestars

That is the reason why you will need to carefully plan and decide on an appropriate environment to transition your baby to.

This guide will empower you with the knowledge you need to help you choose the best infant care centre for you and your child:

1. Determine the type of infant care for your little one

There are four types of infant care programs in Singapore.

You could choose relationship-based, play-based, Montessori-based, or whole-brain learning.

Relationship-based care – helps a child to learn how to relate with adults and other children. The approach also teaches how to connect with the environment.

Play-based care – children are involved more in playing experiences. They explore the world around them through sensorial activities.

Montessori-based care – emphasizes on child’s individuality and independence. The child has limited freedom but is allowed to display their spontaneous thinking, and the teacher steps in when a child needs help. The idea is to model an independent and self-driven individual.

Whole-brain learning – maximizes every learning opportunity. Every child’s needs are met, and they get sufficient individual attention from the educarer. 

 

2. Is the centre licensed/ accredited?

Infant care centres should be licensed and registered with the relevant government agency.

The Early Childhood Development Agency licensing ranges from 6 months to 24 months.

Consider one that has a longer licensing period.

Moreover, consider how long it has been in operation. The longer the duration, the more trustworthy it is.

Has the centre passed the Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (SPARK) assessment?

Licensing and certification ensure that your infant is in a safe environment- one that operates within the law and regulations.

What is SPARK?

The Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (SPARK) is a quality assurance framework to assist preschools in Singapore in raising their quality. 

SPARK aims to provide recognition and support for preschool leaders in their efforts to improve teaching and learning, and administration and manage​ment processes to enhance the holistic development and well-being of young children.

It serves as a guide for preschools to understand what they should be striving to achieve. It also provides a benchmark for preschools to measure themselves against, and establish for themselves the extent of their achievement.

So always choose a centre that is SPARK certified!

 

3. Are the educarers qualified?

You want to leave your child with a person who knows what they are doing.

One who understands their development milestones, knows how to keep them safe, and how to bring out the best in them.

The ECDA stipulates that every school should employ either a certified infant care educarer or a State Registered Nurse (SRN). The person must have training in first aid course and have at least two years of experience.

Enquire how often the staff members get extra training from experts. You should seek to know their level of experience in dealing with children of your child’s age. 

It is also essential to establish how long they have been in that centre. You should only take your child to an infant care centre with qualified personnel.

 

4. Staff-Child ratio

You want your child to get the best attention available.

This is only possible when an educarer is assigned a small number of children to handle.

ECDA’s recommends a ratio of 1 educarer for every 5 children. Some infant care centres have more individualized care of a 1:3 ratio.

Having a smaller group means that the caregiver will have more time to attend to your child’s needs. The staff-child ratio should at least fall within the set government standards.

 

Credit: Today

5. Communication

Does the infant care centre regularly update parents?

Are they willing to listen to parents’ concerns?

Determine if the child care provider is approachable. You need to know your child’s growth milestones. Through regular communication, you will establish if your baby is thriving.

 

6. Explore the class setup

The class should be well ventilated and brightly lit.

See how the color scheme is done. Are the colors used appealing to children? Colors affect children’s moods and aid in children’s learning.

For example, blue creates a feeling of calmness; red inspires alertness and creativity, while yellow increases attention and instills positivity.

On the contrary, dull rooms make children gloomy and moody.

Infants should be in a separate area from older children.

The toys should be appropriate for their age and activities. There should be equipment that supports their movements, such as helping them to standing properly and having sufficient space for crawling around.

They should also be in good condition.

The safety and comfort of your child should always come first, and the class setup is the best way to gauge if that is attainable.

 

7. Curriculum offered

Every infant care centre in Singapore has a unique program to help in child development.

As early as the infancy stage, a child needs a standard senses-stimulating curriculum that will monitor all-round progress.

Explore thoroughly to learn what the curriculum entails and if it is aligned with Singapore Early Years Development Framework (EYDF).

If you have a child with special needs, ask if they have a program sensitive to children with learning disabilities.

 

8. Location

How far is the infant centre from your home or workplace?

Consider the most convenient place for you to drop and pick your child.

You can choose one near your workplace where you will be able to breastfeed during breakfast and lunch breaks.

You could also consider one near your home if you do not want the hassle of traveling long distances with the baby.

For example, if you live in Punggol, the infant care centre is at Holland Village and your workplace is at Pasir Ris, you will find it very tiring after a while.

 

9. Hygiene

A healthy child is a happy child, and there is no better way to ensure this than to ensure that their environment contributes to perfect health.

Observe and enquire about the hygiene procedures put in place for people entering the infants’ rooms.

There should be a point of sanitization for washing hands before meals and after changing diapers.

 

10. Food

It is essential to know the type of food offered by the centre.

Find out if they have substitutes for children with allergies.

If possible, explore their menu to see the kind of food they serve the infants to ascertain whether it’s properly balanced.

 

11. Government Subsidy

The Singapore government has committed to making preschools more affordable with the slogan, “A Good Start for Every Child”. 

Even so, with these subsidies, you should choose an infant care that matches your budget. 

What are the government subsidies available for infant care in Singapore?

a. Basic Subsidy

  • Higher amount if the applicant is working

b. Additional Subsidy

  • For Singapore children with:
    • A working applicant
    • Gross monthly household income of S$12,000 and below or Per Capita income of $3000 and below for larger families 

Dual income household with monthly income of:

Family A
$3000

Family B
$5000

Family C
$8000

Family D
$12000

Basic Subsidy

$600

Maximum Additional Subsidy

$710

$500

$240

$40

The good thing about these subsidies is that it will be directly disbursed to the infant care centre.

You will only need to pay the nett fee after the subsidy.

The fee can also be paid from your child’s Child Development Account (CDA) balance.

 

Credit: Camelot

12. Fees & Cost

Fees vary in different infant care centres in Singapore, depending on location and services.

Some are more affordable than others.

Ultimately, choose the cost that best suits your financial ability.

What is the cost of infant care in Singapore?

The ECDA provides funding support to selected preschools under the Anchor Operators Scheme (AOP) to increase access to good quality and affordable early childhood  care and education.

Cost of infant care at an Anchor Operator

The five are:

  1. PCF Sparkletots Preschool (PAP Community Foundation)
  2. My First Skool (NTUC First Campus)
  3. My World Preschool (Metropolitan YMCA)
  4. School4kidz (Kinderland Educare Services Pte Ltd)
  5. E-Bridge Preschool (Etonhouse International)

The cost of infant care in Singapore at these anchor operators is subject to a cap of $1275 before GST, and $1364 after GST (before subsidies).

Here is what you can expect to pay for infant care (after subsidies) with these anchor operators:

Dual income household with monthly income of:

Family A
$3000

Family B
$5000

Family C
$8000

Family D
$12000

Full day infant care services by an ANCHOR Operator - $1364 a month after GST

Basic Subsidy

$600

Maximum Additional Subsidy

$710

$500

$240

$40

After enhanced subsidy, family pays:

$54

$264

$524

$724

Cost of infant care at a Partner Operator

There is also another scheme called the Partner Operator scheme (POP).

Should you wish to put your child in infant care at any of the following infant care centres, the cost is $1400 before GST and $1498 after GST (before subsidies).

  1. Ace @ Work
  2. Agape Little Uni
  3. Alliance First
  4. Bright Junior 
  5. Bright Kids
  6. Busy Bees Singapore
  7. Carpe Diem Holdings
  8. Ichiban Montessori
  9. Just Kids
  10. Kidz Meadow Childcare and Development Centre
  11. Learning Kidz
  12. Nurture Education Group
  13. Presbyterian Community Services
  14. Perdaus
  15. Persatuan Permudi Islam Singapura
  16. Safari House Preschool
  17. Spring Brainy Kidz
  18. Star Learners Childcare
  19. Sunflower Childcare Group
  20. Thye Hwa Kwan Moral Society
  21. The Little Skool House International
  22. YWCA

Here is what you can expect to pay for infant care (after subsidies) with these partner operators:

Dual income household with monthly income of:

Family A
$3000

Family B
$5000

Family C
$8000

Family D
$12000

Full day infant care services by a PARTNER Operator - $1498 a month after GST

Basic Subsidy

$600

Maximum Additional Subsidy

$710

$500

$240

$40

After enhanced subsidy, family pays:

$188

$398

$658

$858

 

Credit: myfirstskool

13. Centre’s reputation

Reputation and reviews will help you to gauge if the centre delivers what it promises.

Enquire from parents who’ve been in the centre for a while.

Their thoughts and experiences will help you make the best decision.

You can also engage the school’s principal or educarer to tell you more about their school.

If they have received any awards in the past, that is a good sign.

 

14. How do they ensure the safety of children?

Safety is paramount, especially when you are leaving your child under the care of a stranger.

Ask about their security measures.

Do they have CCTVs in place to monitor the infants?

What other steps have they taken to ensure that your child’s safety comes first?

 

Choosing the Right Infant Care is Choosing Your Child’s Happiness

Separating with your child at the infancy stage is traumatizing enough.

It is worse when you have to trust strangers to take care of them.

However, as life has its demands, infant care may be your best alternative as you juggle work and motherhood.

As such, it is imperative that you do your research when it comes to choosing the right and best infant care for your baby.

There is no such thing as asking too many questions and finding out as much information would be your best guide.

Start researching for infant care early in your pregnancy so that you will be equipped with the relevant information even before you deliver.

 
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