National servicemen who pick up their children late from selected preschools due to their duties will have their late fees waived from July 1 until June 30 next year to thank them for their contributions to the country’s defence.
Ahead of SAF Day on July 1, more than 70,000 children from some 500 preschool centres will be taking part in art jamming sessions where they will decorate NSmen figurines in uniform and pen personalised thank-you messages.
Starting June 24, there will also be more than 120 SAF Day deals offered by more than 90 partnering merchants.
These include recreational facilities, to food and beverage and shopping offerings at more than 450 places islandwide.
Senior Minister of State for Defence and president of Safra Maliki Osman, who announced these initiatives on Friday (June 14), said that NSmen play vital roles in the defence and security of Singapore.
He said such initiatives to show appreciation to NSmen should continue.
“We know that it is not easy (to be an NSman), because you have your jobs and competing demands, but with dedication and support from the community we hope they are able to do what they set out to do,” he added.
He was speaking at the Safra Toa Payoh NurtureStars Preschool at the first such art jamming session as part of Safra’s We Thank NSmen initiatives this year.
The art jamming and surcharge waiver initiatives are a collaboration between Safra and the Association of Early Childhood and Training Services (Assets).
The four preschools that are currently offering the waiver are NurtureStars Preschool, Kinderland Preschool, ELFA Preschool and Skool4Kidz. They run a total of 48 centres.
Mr Robert Leong, president of Assets, which represents some 500 brands of childcare centres and kindergartens, said they are encouraging more pre-schools to get on board.
The director of KLC International Institute said: “It’s an extension of what we can do for fathers in recognition of their important roles.”
Families need only to submit NSmen’s call-up notification document, such as the SAF100, to participating centres to enjoy the waiver.
The Straits Times reported in February last year that at least 10 per cent of 1,400 childcare centres here have a late pick-up fine policy.
These fines, which are set by the centres, can be about $10 for every five minutes that a parent is late.
For NurtureStars Preschool, which has six centres, a late fee of $5.35 is charged for the first 15 minutes, and a dollar per minute subsequently.
The preschools involved bear the costs of the waiver.
Mr Daniel Yong Chin Han, 41, who runs his own interior design firm, said the idea was a brilliant one, but added that parents should not exploit this and cause teachers to stay back unnecessarily.
“There are parents who work pretty late, with irregular hours. With this initiative, we don’t need to beat the traffic light and rush just because of the time we need to meet (to pick up the children),” said Mr Yong, who served in the Naval Diving Unit and has two boys, both aged five.
The SAF Day promotions include deals meant for Safra members only, such as one-for-one weekend movie deals at Shaw Theatres cinemas.
Next month, Safra members can also look forward to giveaways at Burger King, Mr Bean, Polar Puffs & Cakes and Toast Box outlets.
Safra was formed in 1972 to provide for the social and recreational needs of NSmen and their families.
As of March this year, it has more than 450,000 members and six clubs islandwide.
SAF servicemen and Safra members can go to the Safra website at www.safra.sg/safday for full details on the SAF Day deals.
A version of this article first appeared in The Straits Times.
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