PCF to add 15,000 pre-school places over next five years

Children performing at the PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Family Day yesterday. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that providing affordable and high-quality pre-school education is an important way that the Government and the PCF are helping young
Children performing at the PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Family Day yesterday. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that providing affordable and high-quality pre-school education is an important way that the Government and the PCF are helping young families to cope with the cost of living. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Children performing at the PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Family Day yesterday. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that providing affordable and high-quality pre-school education is an important way that the Government and the PCF are helping young
Mr Mohammad Zulkiffli Abu Bakar (fourth from left) and his wife Nor Asyikin Mohamed Naim (next to PM Lee), 44, and their children with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Senior Minister of State Amy Khor (left) at the PCF Family Day yesterday at the Gardens by the Bay.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

It will also boost staff development and initiatives to support needy pupils

The PAP Community Foundation (PCF) will add 15,000 more places for pre-schoolers in the next five years, by building larger pre-schools and upgrading existing ones.

The PCF - the People's Action Party's charitable arm which runs the Sparkletots pre-schools - will also enhance the learning and development of its educators and staff, and push out more initiatives to support needy pupils.

Announcing this yesterday at PCF's annual Family Day, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that providing affordable and high-quality pre-school education is an important way that the Government and the PCF are helping young families to cope with the cost of living.

PCF also runs Sparkle Care senior care centres to help families with elderly parents, and through Sparkletots and Sparkle Care, both young and old can have opportunities to interact with one another, he said.

"Dual-income families can be particularly confident that their children will be well taken care of when both parents are at work," added Mr Lee, who is the PAP's secretary-general.

"And I hope with less to worry about, parents will consider having a few more kids and enjoy more family time together," he said.

The PCF is the largest pre-school operator with 360 Sparkletots centres in Singapore, with 40,000 places. Close to 10,000 of these places were created in the last three years.

The PCF plans to open two more Sparkle Care centres by the middle of next year, bringing the total number of senior care centres to five.

Mr Victor Bay, PCF's chief executive, said: "We are also creating more opportunities for the young to build stronger bonds with our seniors by organising inter-generational activities at both PCF Sparkletots and PCF Sparkle Care."

 
 
 

Madam Leong Ah Nooi, 94, who visits Sparkle Care @ Yew Tee once a week, said she enjoys the time spent with the Sparkletots children, as they take part in singalongs and art-and-craft sessions together. "I'm happy and I'm reminded of my son and grandson when they were children," she said.

Parents like Mr Mohammad Zulkiffli Abu Bakar, 46, a teacher, said they appreciate the well-rounded education that the PCF Sparkletots pre-schools provide, and the convenience of having centres near their homes. His two older daughters, 16 and 11, and two sons, 14 and eight, have all attended PCF Sparkletots.

His youngest daughter, six, is currently attending PCF Sparkletots @ Kembangan-Chai Chee Block 326. "My kids are academically OK, but some of them are artistically inclined, and there's an avenue for them to grow their talent."

As part of yesterday's event held at Gardens by the Bay, $666,000 was raised by the PAP's Members of Parliament, and the funds will benefit 21 charities and causes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2018, with the headline 'PCF to add 15,000 pre-school places over next five years'. Print Edition | Subscribe