PICTURES

Bukit Panjang to get at least 5 new childcare centres

Twenty-month-old Frederick Toh exploring the new Nap Room during the opening of a PAP Community Foundation Sparkletots infant- and child-care centre at Senja Road in Bukit Panjang on Saturday, Dec 28, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FO
Twenty-month-old Frederick Toh exploring the new Nap Room during the opening of a PAP Community Foundation Sparkletots infant- and child-care centre at Senja Road in Bukit Panjang on Saturday, Dec 28, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
A play group being conducted inside one of few nurseries during the opening of a PAP Community Foundation Sparkletots infant- and child-care centre at Senja Road in Bukit Panjang on Saturday, Dec 28, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
A play group being conducted inside one of few nurseries during the opening of a PAP Community Foundation Sparkletots infant- and child-care centre at Senja Road in Bukit Panjang on Saturday, Dec 28, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Mr Liang Eng Hwa (in white), MP for the Zhenghua district, and Dr Vivian Balakrishnan (second from left), Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah and Environment and Water Resources Minister, interact with some of the children dur
Mr Liang Eng Hwa (in white), MP for the Zhenghua district, and Dr Vivian Balakrishnan (second from left), Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah and Environment and Water Resources Minister, interact with some of the children during the opening of a PAP Community Foundation Sparkletots infant- and child-care centre at Senja Road in Bukit Panjang on Saturday, Dec 28, 2013. At least five new childcare centres will be built at Bukit Panjang in the next three years, said Dr Balakrishnan. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

At least five new childcare centres will be built at Bukit Panjang in the next three years, said Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah and Environment and Water Resources Minister on Saturday.

He was speaking at the official opening of a PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Sparkletots infant- and child-care centre at Senja Road in Bukit Panjang.

Residents had been asking for more childcare spaces, he said.

Bukit Panjang, a relatively young town, has some 6,600 children under four years old, according to figures from the Department of Statistics. The centres will be at void decks and run by various operators, said Mr Liang Eng Hwa, MP for the Zhenghua district, who was also present at the event.

"They need to be built under HDB blocks, so we will have to communicate to the residents and seek their understanding," he said.

The new PCF Sparkletots Zhenghua centre, for instance, is at the void deck of Block 632A. It started taking pupils in June (2013) and by 2014 will serve 75 children aged between two months and six years.

Bukit Panjang will also benefit from other services announced recently, such as the first of 10 new hawker centres around the island, and new bus services such as service 972 to the city.