4 more mega childcare centres on the way

Artist impression of the upcoming Skool4Kidz large childcare centre at Sengkang Riverside Park.
Artist impression of the upcoming Skool4Kidz large childcare centre at Sengkang Riverside Park. PHOTO: SKOOL4KIDZ
An artist's impression of the Sengkang childcare centre in Sengkang Riverside Park. The two-storey campus, said to be the first centre to be built in a park, has a built-up area of 3,600 sq m, almost four times the size of an average childcare centre
An artist's impression of the Sengkang childcare centre in Sengkang Riverside Park. The two-storey campus, said to be the first centre to be built in a park, has a built-up area of 3,600 sq m, almost four times the size of an average childcare centre.PHOTO: SKOOL4KIDZ

There will be some relief for young parents worried about a shortage of spaces in childcare centres.

Four more mega childcare centres will open by the middle of next year, offering a total of 2,700 places.

This brings the total number of mega childcare centres here to nine, with 4,700 places in all.

The push for more such centres, which can admit more than 300 children each, comes as the Government said it wants to ramp up numbers to create a more supportive environment for young families. Currently, there is one childcare spot for every two children in Singapore.

Two of the new childcare centres will be in Punggol and have 1,000 places each - believed to be the largest ever for a childcare centre here.

The other two will be in Sengkang (400 places) and Bukit Panjang (300 places). A centre in a Housing Board void deck usually takes in about 100 children.

There could be more to come. Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said yesterday: "I am personally keen to see more of these (mega childcare centres)."

Pre-schools of such scale, he said, provide space to encourage children to be outdoors and have more physical activities. Other childcare centres may be allowed to let their own young charges "make full use" of such environments.

The Sengkang centre, which broke ground yesterday, is in Sengkang Riverside Park. It is said to be the first centre built in a park. The two-storey campus has a built-up area of 3,600 sq m, almost four times that of an average childcare centre.

Registration for the four new childcare centres will open in the second quarter of this year.

Priscilla Goy

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2017, with the headline '4 more mega childcare centres on the way'. Print Edition | Subscribe