Kindergartens are defined as education centres with 10 or more children, offering structured, comprehensive and holistic pre-school education programmes for children 18 months to under 7 years.
These centres must offer at least Kindergarten-1 and Kindergarten-2 programmes, and can also offer Playgroup, Pre-Nursery (or Nursery 1) and Nursery (or Nursery 2) programmes.
These programmes are about 40 weeks per year and are run five days a week from Monday to Friday. Most kindergartens sessions are 3-4 hours long and there are two of these sessions in a day.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) presides over kindergartens but the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) has taken over since 1st April 2013.
Kindergartens must be registered with ECDA.
Under Singapore’s Education Act, kindergartens are subject to the following regulatory requirements:
- Statutory Approvals
- Staff Provision and Quality
- Space, Facilities and Resources
- Safety, Health and Hygiene
- School Experience
Selecting a kindergarten
Every parent wants the best kindergarten for their child.
The following are some considerations to take when deciding:
Learn about the curriculum offered with considerations to:
- How holistic the curriculum is?
- What the curriculum structure is?
- What the content/skills/values taught are?
- The age-appropriateness for learning outcomes
- The kind of lesson delivery approach the centre has
Learning should be exciting to your child, particularly if the strengths and love for learning are built up.
The diversity of our current kindergarten landscape caters to the varied needs of children. Many kindergartens have different education philosophies and beliefs, and they adopt a wide array of teaching and learning and child development approaches. For a start, you may wish to decide if the kindergarten’s philosophy is aligned with yours. And more importantly, you should know your child well to identify the kind of school experience that will benefit him/her most.
Knowing the kindergarten
At the top of parents’ mind is always the question – Can I entrust my child to the kindergarten? Here are some guidelines on what to look out for:
- Speak to parents of the kindergarten. Do they have positive feedback about the kindergarten?
- Observe the teachers in action. Do they exhibit professionalism and competence in their work?
- Do they show warmth and patience towards the children?
- Observe the children. Do they look happy?
- Look at the learning environment. Is it age-appropriate and inviting for the children?
It is always good to speak to the Principal of the kindergarten to find out more about the centre. Alternatively, you may want to find out if you can visit the centre to get a sense of what it is like at the centre.
Knowing the programme fee structure is important. In addition, it is useful to find out if any other costs such as transport cost (school bus), material cost or other miscellaneous costs for learning journeys, additional programmes, year-end concert and so on are involved. Such financial considerations will help you determine if your preferred kindergarten falls within your budget.
The kindergarten registration form usually contains clauses pertaining to the policies for centre’s operation matters such as fee revision, withdrawal from the kindergarten, lateness in picking up your child at dismissal and so on. You should examine the clauses carefully to understand the underlying financial implications.
Finding a kindergarten
Kindergartens conduct their own admission/mass registration exercise. For placement matters, please contact the kindergarten of your choice directly.
- How to select a child care centre or kindergarten
- Preschool: how it works and why it's good
- Starting preschool
Early Childhood Development Agency