Singapore has more than two hundred childcare centres, with some large enough to accommodate a thousand children. Finding and securing a spot in these childcare centres is a nightmare for most parents. Since a working mother has a minimum of twelve weeks maternity leave, she may be forced to look for a childcare centre that can adequately cater for the needs of a three-month-old baby.  

Some parents can afford to spend more time with their children, and so seek childcare services when the children are a little older. Whatever the age of the child, a childcare centre is entrusted with the care of a child in the period the parent is away, and all parents want to make sure their children are in the best care possible:

Does the Childcare Centre Have Ideal Facilities for Your Child?

When looking for a childcare centre, it is easier to identify one when you have a list of things your child needs. Children of different age group have different needs. For example, if you are a new mother who is going back to work after twelve weeks, you need a facility that has a clean, safe area for infants to rest, minders who understand and are patient with children, and one that meets your child’s dietary needs. If you have a toddler, you should also seek a centre with adequate facilities that your child will enjoy.

What is Your Budget?

In Singapore, childcare is not cheap. Even though the number of children in childcare centres doubled in the past decade, and the number of centres increased significantly, the cost remained relatively high.

The cost of childcare varies significantly, depending on the childcare centre. Some places charge as little as $300 a month, while others can go as high as $3000 monthly. Having a budget will help you decide where you can afford to take your child. Fortunately, the government of Singapore gives childcare subsidies if you enroll in a childcare centre licensed by Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA).

Where is it Located?

The location of the childcare centre matters a lot. The distance you have to cover every time you drop and pick your child has an impact on your expenses and schedule. Is it on your way to work? How quickly can you get to the centre in case of an emergency? These are critical questions you need to answer when looking for a childcare centre. A conveniently located centre is not just great for you, but your child too.

What is the Child to Staff Ratio?

This is critical, especially in the large childcare centres found in densely populated areas. Although the size of the facility matters, it is equally important to look at the number of caregivers against the number of children. The ECDA guidelines recommend a staff-to-child ration of 1:5. This essentially means there should be one caregiver for every five children. Some centres have a lower ratio, or less than five children per caregiver.  

Besides Childcare, What Other Services are Offered?

Childcare services have become quite competitive in Singapore. These facilities package their services differently to attract parents seeking more than childcare. For example, besides ensuring your child is safe when in the facility, some centres provide a curriculum to enhance your child’s linguistic, cognitive, and social development. Education in Singapore is quite competitive, even in children in kindergarten. This has made it necessary for parents to give their children basic training. Childcare centres offering a curriculum help to prepare your child for school.

Finding a childcare facility can be overwhelming, especially for first-time parents. However, when you have a list of what you expect from a childcare centre, it will be easier to narrow down your options.

Tips for Choosing a Child Care Centre in Singapore