PICTURES

Two new schemes unveiled to offer support for pre-schools with a social mission

Acting MSF minister Chan Chun Sing interacting with the kids at Far Eastern Kindergarten on Aug 14 2013. A suite of support schemes will be rolled out for non-anchor operator pre-schools which receive little or no government grant. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN
Acting MSF minister Chan Chun Sing interacting with the kids at Far Eastern Kindergarten on Aug 14 2013. A suite of support schemes will be rolled out for non-anchor operator pre-schools which receive little or no government grant. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Acting MSF minister Chan Chun Sing joins five-year-old Ryan Tan in making an ice-cream with plasticine during his interaction with the kids at Far Eastern Kindergarten on Aug 14 2013. A suite of support schemes will be rolled out for non-anchor opera
Acting MSF minister Chan Chun Sing joins five-year-old Ryan Tan in making an ice-cream with plasticine during his interaction with the kids at Far Eastern Kindergarten on Aug 14 2013. A suite of support schemes will be rolled out for non-anchor operator pre-schools which receive little or no government grant. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Acting MSF minister Chan Chun Sing speaks to the media at Far Eastern Kindergarten on Aug 14 2013. A suite of support schemes will be rolled out for non-anchor operator pre-schools which receive little or no government grant. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Acting MSF minister Chan Chun Sing speaks to the media at Far Eastern Kindergarten on Aug 14 2013. A suite of support schemes will be rolled out for non-anchor operator pre-schools which receive little or no government grant. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Acting MSF minister Chan Chun Sing interacting with the kids playing in a fun pool at Far Eastern Kindergarten on Aug 14 2013. A suite of support schemes will be rolled out for non-anchor operator pre-schools which receive little or no government gra
Acting MSF minister Chan Chun Sing interacting with the kids playing in a fun pool at Far Eastern Kindergarten on Aug 14 2013. A suite of support schemes will be rolled out for non-anchor operator pre-schools which receive little or no government grant. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Kids role-play a supermarket experience in the classroom at Far Eastern Kindergarten on Aug 14 2013. A suite of support schemes will be rolled out for non-anchor operator pre-schools which receive little or no government grant. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Kids role-play a supermarket experience in the classroom at Far Eastern Kindergarten on Aug 14 2013. A suite of support schemes will be rolled out for non-anchor operator pre-schools which receive little or no government grant. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Playtime for kids after a class at Far Eastern Kindergarten on Aug 14 2013. A suite of support schemes will be rolled out for non-anchor operator pre-schools which receive little or no government grant. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM 
Playtime for kids after a class at Far Eastern Kindergarten on Aug 14 2013. A suite of support schemes will be rolled out for non-anchor operator pre-schools which receive little or no government grant. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM 

A suite of support schemes will be rolled out for non-anchor operator pre-schools which receive little or no government grant.

These aim to help the centres raise quality while remaining affordable, and provide services in accessible locations, said Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing on Wednesday.

He gave details of the two schemes to support operators with a social mission. First, voluntary welfare organisations awarded childcare centre sites in HDB premises will receive a development grant which is equivalent to 50 per cent of the start-up costs, up from 20 per cent. The first sites eligible are in Tampines and Jurong West, and application opens on Wednesday.

A new Pre-School Opportunity Fund has also been introduced, to support projects which promote the development of disadvantaged children. Successful applicants can be given a grant of up to $1,300 per qualifying child per project. Application for the grant opens on Thursday.

Some $25 million has been set aside over the next five years for the two initiatives. More schemes will be rolled over the coming months.

Some smaller pre-schools were concerned that they may be squeezed out of the market after the Government expanded in June its Anchor Operator Scheme to include for-profit kindergartens and childcare centres. The Early Childhood Development Agency, which oversees the pre-school sector, had said then that it would support non-anchor operators with grants to improve programmes and to set up new centres.