Preschool Education- Foreigners VS Singaporeans
Choosing the most suitable preschool for your child helps to lay the foundation to learning and personal development. In the right learning environment, your child will be able to pick up beneficial skills and satisfy their curiosity in their early age. Preschool education is not necessary in Singapore, but the majority of the parents will enroll their kids into preschool to give them a chance to have a head start in education. From as young as 18 months old, kids can be enrolled into preschools. Upon reaching the year where the kids turn 3, they will be attending ‘Nursery 1’ classes. In the following years, they will be allocated to ‘Nursery 2’, ‘Kindergarten 1’, and ‘Kindergarten 2’, up till 6 years old. After which, they will formally start their primary school education when they are turning 7.
Things to consider when choosing a preschool for your child
The top few factors to consider when choosing a preschool are: school hours, accessibility, curriculum plan, and the language(s) which the activities are conducted in.
The preschool’s operating hours are important if you and your partner are both working full-time and require someone to care for your child. Some preschools offer daycare timings, from 7am to 7pm, while others work on a half-day basis (e.g. 9am to 3pm). Additionally, picking up a second language during preschool education can be beneficial for your kid as they will eventually be learning a second language in their primary to secondary education journey. By exposing them to new languages, it stimulates their brain and makes them curious about the different cultures in Singapore. Certain preschools offer bilingual programs, Mandarin-immersion programs, or few activities conducted in a second language; be sure to check with the school before applying!
Best preschools in Singapore
Source: Maple Bear Singapore
Started in January 2014, Maple Bear Singapore now has more than 40 centers in Singapore. Not only that, it is also an international educational school which offers Canadian and Singaporean bilingual education to their students. Its preschool core curriculum includes (but not limited to) English Language Arts, personal and social development, creative activities, and Mathematics. Their centers are also conveniently located around Bukit Timah, Redhill, Holland, and more.
2. Little Shepherds’ Schoolhouse
Source: Little Shepherds’ Schoolhouse
Little Shepherds’ Schoolhouse is a trusted preschool among new parents, with more than 45 years of Catholic preschool education. They focus on sustainable education and learning, close engagement with communities, and education in virtues. Their centers are located in Commonwealth, Hougang, Yishun, Woodlands, Jurong, Serangoon Gardens, Katong, Tampines, Sengkang, and Bukit Timah.
Source: My First Skool
With over 140 preschools in Singapore, My First Skool is the preschool education arm of National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) First Campus Co-operative. The school encourages young children to not be fearful of making mistakes and encourages them to be confident and creative. Their holistic education complements their preschool curriculum by providing opportunities for students to learn through valuable experiences in literacy, social skills, numeracy, and more.
The school fees are generally affordable in Singapore, but this is dependent on your residency status. Despite that said, the following items are generally calculated into the preschool education fee for most centers.
1. Registration fee
The registration fee differs from each center, but it ranges from $15 to $80. This is typically non-refundable and non-transferrable.
Similar to the registration fee, the deposit amount varies from each preschool.
3. Monthly fee
Depending on your residency status and how long your child will be left in the kindergarten, the monthly fee will start from around $180 for Singapore citizens (session lasts from 2 to 4 hours) to around $2,000 for foreigners (full day infant care).
4. Annual insurance
The annual insurance fee might be included in the monthly fee, but centers such as My First Skool and PCF Sparkletots charges annual insurance separately. In most centers, the insurance will fall around $3 to $6.
5. School uniform
The price of a school uniform set ranges from $15 to $25. Some schools might sell it as a set of 4 for a bundled pricing. Additionally, there is also the PE attire which costs around $10, and it is worn during physical activity sessions.
6. Study materials
Books and art materials which the students will be using will need to be paid for before the school year starts.
7. Miscellaneous fee
This fee varies from each school, and it includes miscellaneous items such as mattress covers.
8. Enrichment programs
Enrichment programs are optional, but if you wish to enroll your child in such a program, there will be an additional fee to pay. This program is only for students who have shown that they are learning at a quicker rate than their peers.
Types of subsidies available for preschool education
Basic Subsidy and Additional Subsidy
As long as your child is a Singaporean and is enrolled in an Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) licensed childcare center, you will be eligible for a Basic Subsidy of $150. Additional Subsidy amount will be awarded if you are a working mother or single father who is currently working at least 56 hours per month. You will also be eligible for the Additional Subsidy if your gross monthly household income falls below $12,000 or per capita income is $3,000 and below for families with more than 5 members living together (with at least 3 who are not earning an income). The table below summarises the basic subsidy for infant care and childcare.
Childcare Financial Assistance and Start-Up Grant
Families who require additional financial assistance after receiving the Basic Subsidy and Additional Subsidy may apply for a one-time Start-Up Grant. The amount will cover the enrollment cost into the school. Similar to the Basic and Additional Subsidy, the Start-Up Grant will be automatically disbursed to the school. Parents will only need to pay the net fees after the subsidy.
Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS)
KiFAS was introduced to ensure that children from the low- and middle-income families will have access to kindergarten programs. To be eligible for KiFAS, the child must be a Singaporean who is enrolled in a Ministry of Education (MOE) or Anchor Operator (AOP) kindergarten. Additionally, the family’s gross monthly household income must be $12,000 and below, or the per capita income is $3,000 and below for families with more than 5 members living in the same household (with at least 3 who are not earning an income). Those eligible for KiFAS will have their payable school fees deducted; ranging from $21 to $170.
Non-parent caregivers, i.e. grandparents, children’s homes, foster parents, and legal guardians, may be granted a one-time KiFAS subsidy under the Special Approval. However, this is only approved on a case-by-case basis. Families under Housing Development Board’s (HDB) Public Rental Scheme or Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) Comcare Short-to-Medium-Term Assistance (SMTA) or Long-Term Assistance (LTA) will also be granted the maximum KiFAS subsidy.
KiFAS Start-Up Grant (SUG)
Families with monthly gross household income of up to $1,900 or a gross per capita income of up to $650 will be eligible for KiFAS SUG. The subsidy of $240 (per year) will be used to cover the initial costs of enrollment, and this is only approved on a case-by-case basis.
(Only applicable to PCF Sparkletots) Enhanced Headstart Fund (EHSF)
EHSF was introduced by the PAP Community Foundation to provide financial assistance to children from lower income families. Unlike other subsidies where parents or guardians have to apply for the subsidy, EHSF will be automatically awarded based on the income information provided from ECDA to PCF Sparkletots. The criteria below must be met before the subsidy will be granted:
· Child is enrolled in a PCF Sparkletot preschool.
· Child is a Singaporean who is aged between 2 months to 7 years old.
· Gross monthly household income is $4,500 and below, or per capita income is $1,125 and below for families with more than 5 members living together (with 3 not earning any income).
· Child is an existing recipient of ECDA Basic or Additional Subsidy or KiFAS.
Under this scheme, eligible families will pay a lower amount for kindergarten, childcare, and infant care, which will likely be below $5, $10, and $100 respectively.
Families who wish to immigrate to Singapore with their child(ren) but are hesitant due to the different education system in Singapore may wish to consult a professional in the field to assist with the immigration and settling process.
At Fergus Consultancy Group, we are kept up to date with immigration policies and offer professional cover letter writing services to showcase your portfolio to increase your success rate of being awarded a residency status in Singapore. Not only that, our top-tier services have also been highly raved by many. Contact us via our contact form, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) , or WhatsApp (+65 8792 2664) today for a consultation now!