Families in Singapore and other developed countries around the world often have both parents working to support their households. In such instances, it is imperative for parents to find good childcare support. With many options available on the market, we have drawn up a couple of options and great subsidies to help these parents make an informed choice.
Infant care services (2 to 18 months)
Infant care services often apply to children aged two to eighteen months. Most services will have either the half-day or full-day package, which is of great assistance to many parents. Regardless of their work schedules.
One reason why you should consider infant care service is that your social, physical and even cognitive needs of your child are met. These centers will ensure that your children are not only catered for in a safe but also structured environment. Furthermore, these infant care centers employ competent staff that is specially trained to handle infants. For example, it is not uncommon to find state-registered nurses or even qualified infant care teachers working in these care centers.
The average ratio of one to five infants in care centers ensures your infants get more attention as opposed to the one teacher to 25 kindergarten going children. Exposure to other children will also be beneficial to your infants while also preparing them for school life later on.
Preschool or Childcare Facilities (18 months to 6 years)
Preschool or childcare facilities cater for children aged between 18 months to 6 years. You can also choose from half-day and full-day programs. Meals for the children are included in the program and often consist of two meals (breakfast and lunch) and some snacks.
Children get to benefit from opportunities to socialize with their peers in a safe and regulated environment, like in infant care. With proficient staff trained in childhood care and early education, parents can rest assured that their kids receive the best care.
Kindergarten programs (3 to 6 years)
Unlike preschool or childcare programs, kindergarten mostly focuses on academics. This is mainly because one of the primary purposes of kindergarten is to prepare children for the subsequent primary school education. Moreover, these programs align their schedules with primary schools, which means they last for about 3 hours on weekdays. Due to the short hours that the programs take, children in Kindergarten do not receive meals except for light snacks.
Competent Nannies or babysitters (no age restrictions)
Parents who want more dedicated and specialized care for their child often hire nannies or babysitters. This is because such agencies offer flexible care arrangements to parents such as home-based care while others even offer overnight babysitting.
Another reason why parents prefer using nannies and babysitters is due to their experience in handling children. These professionals usually have years of experience in nurturing and caring for children, which means they can offer invaluable assistance and even advice. With nannies and babysitters, parents have little to worry about.
Available Subsidies and Financial Help
Childcare center operators help parents with applications and any paperwork that will be required upon enrolment. They also give parents some incentives to reduce the overall cost of child care. Regardless of the program, childcare or kindergarten, fees charged by the professionals are not always cheap. In Singapore, however, there are various subsidies and financial assistance schemes to help out low-income families get formal childcare.
There exists a basic subsidy for all Children that are Singapore citizens and those who enroll in a childcare center that is licensed by the Early Childhood Development Agency. This, however, depends on the working status of the mother and the specific program that the child is admitted to.
Families with mothers or even single fathers who work for more than 56 hours every month and whose household income is less than $7,500 can get additional subsidies.
Parents can also apply for the Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS). To qualify for this, your child needs to be a Singapore citizen and should be in a program that is approved by the scheme. Furthermore, the gross income from your household should be less than $6,000. For larger families, the per capita income needs to be $1,500 or less.
One-time start-up grant
The initial costs of placing a child in a center may also be high for low-income parents. This is why the government offers a one-time start-up grant of about $1,000 to assist in the process. This grant covers a couple of expenses including the deposit, registration fee, insurance charges and even the purchase of uniforms.
To get more information, you can visit ECDA’s Child Care Link Portal