Enrolling your child into the best childcare facility in Singapore is a challenging venture because there are a lot of options you can choose from. Each child care center varies on how they will assist child development and how large their classes are in every session.
In recent years, large childcare centers are becoming popular as the government aims to help young families get access to preschool for their children. This is on top of the childcare subsidies that government are providing here.
But, what exactly are these large childcare centers and should I enrol my child in one?
What are large childcare centres
Large childcare centres cater to a large volume of students from 300 to 1000. They have larger facilities to cater to all these students, stimulating all types of learning environments to fit every student.
They are also located in areas where there is a high demand for preschools, such as in areas where young families are located like Seng Kang and Punggol.
How are they different from regular-sized preschools
Regular-sized preschools have limited space, as a result, they cannot provide the specific facilities for certain students.
As mentioned above, larger childcare is in areas where they can create various facilities for their students like a playground or a vegetable garden.
Both childcare facilities follow the same guidelines set by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and the programmes they offer are the same for students.
Pros and Cons of Large Childcare
If you are considering large childcare centres for your child, here are the pros and cons to help you decide for the best childcare centre for your child.
Made to support the high demand
Currently, there are nine large childcare centers in Singapore that are located in major estates where preschool is a high demand. These areas include Bukit Panjang, Sengkang, Woodlands, Yishun, Jurong West and Punggol.
The government will be opening additional large childcare centres in new estates like Punggol and Sengkang this year to support the preschool shortage in these areas.
Many vacancies and low waiting list
Since they can accommodate around 1,000 students, parents can easily get a slot for their children in these large childcare facilities.
Families with more than one child will also benefit from these large childcare facilities since they don’t have to worry about fighting a slot for their siblings.
Similarly, they also have a low waiting list, which is good if you want to enrol your children in large childcare facilities that are near your home or workplace. One of the key factors in providing your child a positive childcare experience.
Large childcare centers are becoming popular for many parents because of the facilities they offer to students. The facilities are created with these different learning styles in mind and support the lesson plan for these students.
They also have outdoor facilities like a mini plantation where children can learn more about nature and where the foods come from. There are also water theme zones, butterfly lodge and even a rock climbing area in some schools.
Thanks to the unique facilities large childcare centres have, students can have a well-rounded development.
Since large childcare centres are made to support a larger student population, they have more learning space.
Each learning space is customised based on the age group of students and provides the enriching learning environment these students need.
Since they have more space, your child will be able to explore the world around them and even learn about them, especially if you do not live in areas close to outdoor or nature parks.
Noise and Distraction
The most notable problem with large childcare centres are the distractions and noise around your toddlers. Since toddlers are very curious, they will definitely get distracted by the happenings around them and not listen to their classes. Distractions like these will make them lose attention in their lessons.
The large childcare centre must be able to handle large classes and make sure your child will be able to focus despite the distractions.
A major concern for many parents in childcare centres is the possibility of a disease outbreak in the community like hand, foot and mouth disease, flu or chickenpox. This fear is increased because toddlers are more susceptible to such illnesses and the risk is higher in larger populations.
Large child care centres do have medical and hygiene protocols available to protect students from outbreaks. However, it can be difficult to watch all the students in the facility to make sure they are following these protocols which is why such outbreaks are possible.
Large populations prevent high quality of care
Another problem for large childcare centres is the amount of care they can provide to students. Because of their large population, teachers may not be able to provide the right amount of care for your child because they also have to deal with their other students.
The ECDA has guidelines set to sort out this issue, but it can be a challenge if the childcare centre doesn’t have enough manpower to assist in this endeavour.
With every child is unique, sometimes lessons have to be tailored made to suit different learning behaviours like what our tutors do. Hence, the smaller the teacher student ratio, the better it is.
Problems in fetching and dropping off kids
Finally, it can be hard for some parents to leave and fetch their children in large childcare centres.
You will have to compete with other parents to get the best location for your child to see your car or even get to the school safely because other cars are blocking the way.
Getting out of the drop-off/pick-up area will also be a challenge because of the cars in the area also trying to get out of the centre as fast as possible.
It is undeniable that large childcare centers are here to stay, especially as they allow families to get access to schooling which is near their home. However, it is important that you consider your child’s needs to see if they will benefit from large childcare centers or not. This is important because the right preschool can help your child to transit easier to primary school.
Do your research to see if you will be ok with the childcare centre’s programmes and how they will help your child’s development. Take the time to visit the preschool with your child and check their response so you know if they will enjoy their time in the facility.
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