At a median cost of over $1,000 a month, childcare is definitely not cheap in Singapore. But with more mothers going back into the workplace after giving birth, finding suitable childcare is increasingly becoming a necessity.
The number of children enrolled in childcare centres has doubled in the last decade, with the number of available places increasing as well. This also means parents now have a greater variety of childcare centres to choose from. Here, we take a look at the different childcare options you have and the average amount you would need to budget for monthly childcare school fees.
What are the different options?
Pre-school or childcare centres allow parents to opt for half-day or full-day programmes. Some also offer infant care programmes for babies as young as 2-months old with the average fees of a full-day infant care programme costing about $1,500 per month.
Premium childcare centres
Many centres focus their curriculum around a certain early childhood approach or a mix of them. For example, a name that is pretty familiar to parents, the Montessori approach calls for free activity within an educational environment tailored to characteristics of children at different ages and to the individual personalities of each child. Children enrolled in a Montessori-based school will also gain access to specialised training materials appropriate to their age.
For premium childcare centres, be prepared to fork out between $12,000 to $40,000 a year. This works out to be around $1,000 to $3,333 per month.
Other premium childcare centres include those operated by international schools which could be an ideal choice for expats who want their child to have an easier time easing back to the school system in their home country in the future.
More affordable childcare centres
NTUC First Campus:
With the social mission of providing quality and affordable early childcare and education services to working parents, this is an option for parents who are more price-sensitive. Be assured though that cheaper childcare does not equate to a lack of quality, in fact they have even set up a training institution for early childhood operators and provides a proper curriculum framework for infants and toddlers.
NTUC First Campus runs a number of programmes depending on the child's age. Skool-Educare is for infants between 2 months to 3 years old, Skool-Ace is for those from 18 months to 6 years, and Skool-Ready is designed for kids of 4 to 6 years. Fees typically range from $707.81 to $1,112.27 while infant care fees are from $1,342.85 to $2,014.28 before government subsidies.
The Anchor Operator (AOP) scheme provides funding support to selected preschool operators to increase access to good quality and affordable early childcare and education. Operators receive funding to keep to a monthly fee cap of $720 and $1,275 for full-day childcare and full-day infant care respectively.
One of the largest of these anchor operators is Skool4kidz, which has 13 branches around the island and will also operate the first childcare campus to be built in a park. Monthly fees for full-day childcare is $770, excluding all fees and insurance.
Partner operators: The Partner Operator (POP) scheme which commenced in 2016 supports childcare operators to keep fees affordable and to build capabilities to raise quality. Similar to the AOP scheme, operators receive funding to keep monthly fees to a max of $800 and $1,400 for full-day childcare and full-day infant care respectively. A list of these operators can be found at the ECDA website.
If you happen to have a workplace that offers you flexi-work arrangement and only need ad-hoc babysitting or childcare services, getting a nanny or babysitter could be a better option. There are a variety of options to choose from as well, such as dropping your child off at the nanny's place or having the nanny over at your place, childcare tutors, as well as part-time babysitting for times when you just need some time-out.
Prices start at $16 per hour for part-time babysitters, and here are a number of sites you can check out:
Taking into consideration that childcare services can cost a family approximately $1,500 per month or $18,000 per year, it could make up quite a big percentage of one's household expenses.
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