PCF Sparkletots‘ Early Years Centre in Punggol North is one amazing preschool.
For starters, it is huge, covering a land area of 10,000 sq m in Edgefield Plains. It has a built-up area of 8,400 sq m – that’s almost seven Olympic-sized swimming pools!
The preschool can take in 1,060 children aged two months to four years old.
Check out the videos below to see more of the preschool.
What are Early Years Centres?
Early Years Centres are different from regular childcare centres, in that they take in kids only up to four years old. First announced in 2017, these Early Years Centres are part of the Government’s efforts to raise the quality of pre-school standards in children’s early years and meet the growing demand for full-day childcare places.
Under the Early Years Centres scheme, eligible Singaporeans and permanent residents with children in Nursery 2 in these centres will have a guaranteed place in an Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergarten nearby.
Kids from this Punggol North Early Years Centres, for instance, can choose from three MOE kindergartens in Punggol when they turn five years old.
This centre is one of 12 Early Years Centres run by PCF Sparkletots.
Designed for young kids
The Punggol North Early Years Centre focuses on outdoor play and learning and is designed with the needs of young children in mind.
For instance, there are three separate play areas for three different age groups: infants from two months to 18 months, toddlers from 18 months to 24 months, and children in Nursery 1 and Nursery 2.
Ms Michelle Lee, senior principal of the centre, says the activities, facilities and environment cater to children’s developmental stages. For example, the playground for toddlers has real grass while the infant play area uses artificial turf.
The toddler playground also has steps, benches, a balancing beam and an outdoor cooking set-up, while the infant play area has gentler slopes for crawling.
Besides 131 teachers and assistant teachers, the preschool also has two state-registered nurses to look after the infants. The nurses also advise teachers and parents on infant well-being, hygiene, allergy issues and what types of food are suitable for weaning.
Ms Dawn Sin, 37, whose 25-month-old son started attending the centre in January, likes the facilities and the learning environment.
“We see a lot of preschools at void decks, so this (pre-school) is quite impressive because the facilities are open, spacious and self-contained. It felt very safe, and a lot of thought has gone into the architecture and designing the spaces.”
More Early Years Centres coming up
By 2021, PCF will have 38 centres that admit younger children aged up to four. Each centre will have about 30 to 180 children, and will be located mainly in new towns like Sengkang and Punggol. Another two more centres in Toa Payoh will open by the end of 2019.
NTUC’s My First Skool also opened two Early Years Centres in the middle of last year, and is starting another one later this year.
A version of this article first appeared in The Straits Times; additional reporting by Young Parents.
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