Children's facilities top priority in Punggol West

Children enjoying the temporary library that opened in Punggol West this month. Among the children-centric plans for the estate are a toy library for toddlers and storytelling sessions run by stay-home mums.
Children enjoying the temporary library that opened in Punggol West this month. Among the children-centric plans for the estate are a toy library for toddlers and storytelling sessions run by stay-home mums.ST PHOT0: MARK CHEONG

A temporary library and a study room for children and teenagers opened in Punggol West this month. And Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Sun Xueling, who takes care of the new estate, is pushing for more amenities and activities for her constituents, most of whom are young parents, she said.

On the cards are a toy library for toddlers, as well as children-centric activities such as storytelling sessions run by stay-home mums.

Ms Sun was speaking to reporters yesterday about her plans for the estate, ahead of a community visit by Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu on Oct 23.

Ms Sun said education and children's matters are top concerns of residents, adding that this is "reasonable, given the age profile of Punggol West".

Of the 34,700 residents in the estate, 65 per cent are under 40 years old. About 14 per cent of the residents are below 14 years old. This is why her focus is on introducing initiatives for the young, said Ms Sun.

With the library and study room up and running, efforts are now under way to round up a group of "community mums" - housewives who have experience caring for children - to help look after children using the facilities and lead activities such as storytelling, she added.

The MP is also working with government agencies to ensure sufficient childcare and pre-school places when the number of residents in Punggol West hits the forecast number of 46,000 by 2020.

For a start, two childcare centres with a total of 360 places will open next year. "Given the demographics in Punggol West, this is something we have to work on," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2016, with the headline 'Children's facilities top priority in Punggol West'. Print Edition | Subscribe