Three new Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergartens will open in Punggol in 2018 to cater to the high demand for pre-school services in the area, bringing the total number of such kindergartens to 18.
In a new move, all eligible Singaporean Nursery Two children enrolled at four upcoming My First Skool and PAP Community Foundation (PCF) “early years centres” in Punggol will also be guaranteed a Kindergarten One place in a nearby partner MOE kindergarten, in the year that they turn five. This will take effect from 2019.
These early years centres will admit children up to the age of four. After which, the children may be placed in one of the three new MOE kindergartens or an existing one co-located with Punggol View Primary.
The new MOE kindergartens will be co-located with Oasis Primary, Punggol Cove Primary and Waterway Primary. They will offer about 120 places each, a four-hour kindergarten programme, as well as before- and after-school care, up to 7pm.
Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said on Feb 8: “Over the past three years, our MOE Kindergartens (MKs) have provided quality curriculum that is both enriching and affordable… The opening of these three new MKs, as an extension of our MK pilot, will help meet the rising demand of pre-school places of families with young children in growing estates like Punggol.”
Regarding the new collaboration among MOE, My First Skool and PCF, the ministry’s divisional director for education services Loke-Yeo Teck Yong said this model will enable the early years centres to take in more children aged two months to four years. Mrs Loke said: “This collaboration will help increase the number of pre-school places in Punggol at all ages, hence better meeting the needs of families with young children in the area.”
Their remarks come three weeks after the Government announced that four more mega childcare centres will be built by mid-next year.
Two of these will be in Punggol, each with 1,000 places, believed to be the largest ever for a childcare centre here. Among all the towns in Singapore, Punggol has the highest proportion of residents aged below five, at 11 per cent.
At the start of the Nursery Two year, parents of eligible children in the early years centres can choose whether to accept an offered place at a partner MOE kindergarten. There will also be places available for children who are not from these centres.
PCF chief executive Victor Bay said: “With this collaboration, PCF Sparkletots can focus all its resources in providing affordable, quality and accessible pre-school education of children till they complete N2.”
Said Mr Chan Tee Seng, chief executive of NTUC First Campus which manages My First Skool: “Our expertise in early years development puts us in a good position to partner MOE in this initiative.”
Registration for Kindergarten One admission for 10 of the MOE kindergartens will be held on April 1 and 3. For the remaining eight kindergartens, registration takes place on April 8 and 10. Open houses at those pre-schools will be held on April 1 and 8. For more information, go to www.moe.gov.sg/moekindergarten.
A version of this article first appeared in The Straits Times.
(File photo: ST)