For every working parent, it is always a problem where you can leave your child after school. For those who can afford, they would hire nannies or caretakers to watch over their children.
Others would get the grandparents to keep an eye on the children. A few would just leave early for work or work from home to watch their kids because they do not know where they could leave their children.
But, in recent years, student care centres are growing in numbers and they offer before and after-school care for children.
What is Student Care Centre?
Student Care Centres or SCCs are childcare centres for children ages 7 to 14 years old. Like childcare centres for younger children, SCCs offer a conducive atmosphere for children to learn and rest after school.
They also help working parents with arrangements for their studying children with the centres open with later hours depending on the parents’ schedules.
SCCs also offer various programmes for kids enrolled in their program. Some examples include helping children do their homework, enrichment exercises and organize events.
Some centres even offer summer camps and day trips for children. They are also open during the holidays. I know this will provide much-needed relief for parents who have to work during the holiday season.
Considering these services, it does sound like a great idea to enrol children to these SCCs. But, how can you pick the right one for your child?
Consider the Options
SCCs help working parents with children studying in Primary 1 to Secondary 2 by watching over them after school. SCCs will be the ones to ensure the child is watched for and assisted with their school work while waiting for their parents to pick them up.
But, before you enrol them to one, learn what SCCs are out there.
SCCs are divided into two types:
1) School-based SCCs offer programmes that follow school curriculums. But, these centres can be hard to get into because of their popularity.
2) Community-based SCCs can be located on HDB decks or community centres, making them accessible to many working parents.
There are also SCCs that are run by charities and religious groups, as well as private groups.
For children with disabilities and special needs, there are Special SCCs that provides SPED classes and support.
Pinpoint the Location
When picking an SCCs, it has to be convenient for your child and yourself to travel to from home, school and work. If your child will go straight to the SCC after school, the SCC should have transportation options available.
If they do not offer transportation options, you will need to arrange transport for your child and that can be a safety issue.
It would be easier to pick an SCC which is close to your home for easier drop-off and fetch up. It will save you a lot of headaches later on.
Meeting Your Requirements
SCCs usually operate around the same time parents are at work. They start at 7:30 am to 6:30 pm, but special arrangements can be made by the parents with centre if it is needed. Some centres also open for half a day during Saturdays and in school holidays.
Each SCC also varies when it comes to their fees. Surcharges may also be applied during holidays. Some families who are eligible for Student Care Fees Assistance can avail the program to pay for SCCs.
Check each centre to see if they meet your schedule and budget before selecting an SCCs. If they are not open during holidays, you may need to look for another SCC or arrange something for your child for these schedules.
Ask For Recommendation
If you have relatives or friends who have children who are enrolled in SCCs, ask them about their recommendations.
Ask them about how SCCs work and know which SCCs to look out for. You can also take this time to ask about your concerns about these facilities. If you do not know anyone who has children in SCCs, check SCC pages or websites and parenting sites for reviews.
Any Extra Perks
Every SCC has their own unique selling highlights to get parents to enrol their children with them.
Some SCCs offer special classes like arts and crafts, drama and outdoor activities. Others offer value-added programs that parents can get for their kids if their budget allows it.
Some examples of value-added programs offered by SCCs include swimming lessons and field trips. I think these programs are value-added and fun for your children.
Learn About the Personnel
Before you enrol your child to the SCC that catches your attention, you should find out more about the people who will watch your child. SCC staff often include experienced teachers and tutors so they can help children with their homework and tasks.
SSCCs and SCCs offering specialized programs work alongside government and third-party providers to offer students’ needs.
If your child is going to be enrolled in SSCCs, the person must be trained to meet the special needs of your child. The facility must also be ideal for kids with special needs and have the right aids available for kids to use, like handrails or guides.
Make the visit
Once you see that the SCC that you are considering ticks all your requirements, make some time to visit the facility. When you visit, see if the environment is welcoming for your child and how the facility operates.
Will the children get a lot of opportunities to play, rest and learn? Do teachers have time to look at each student?
You should also take time to ask the staff about your lingering concerns about enrolling your child to the facility.
If you are happy about the things you see during your visit, bring your child along to see their reaction. Some SCCs offer trial sessions for prospective students to help them feel at home. So don’t be shy and ask for a trial session!
Your child must feel welcome in the facility because they will be spending a lot of time in the facility. If they do not feel welcome and relax in the facility, it would be counterproductive to enrol them there.
So, take time to do your research before you decide on enrolling your child to SCCs.
For additional curriculum for your child, you may wish to check out these articles: