SINGAPORE - A second mega childcare centre, the size of four Olympic-size swimming pools, broke ground on Friday. The centre in Punggol can admit 500 children, well above the average of 100 for a typical centre in a Housing Board void deck.
Run by EtonHouse International's E-Bridge Pre-School, it is one of five large childcare centres - which can admit 300 to 500 children each - to open by the end of next year.
On Aug11, a large centre in Sengkang, run by NTUC First Campus' My First Skool, also broke ground. It can take in 500 children, but is half the size of the 5,000 sq m E-Bridge centre.
All five centres will be run by anchor operators, which get government grants and priority in securing sites in HDB estates, but must keep fees below $720 a month, among other conditions. They are part of the Government's efforts to ramp up childcare places to meet the high demand, especially in new estates with many young families.
Sited opposite Horizon Primary, the E-Bridge centre will have innovative design features, such as temperature measurement equipment for mass screenings - a first for pre-schools here. There are also plans to have a running and cycling track, a spacious rooftop garden, and dedicated areas for water play and sand play.
EtonHouse founder Ng Gim Choo said: "The centre is designed based on research, and focused on providing a creative, inspiring and effective learning environment to stimulate the development of young learners."
The Sengkang and Punggol centres will be open for registration next January, and are expected to be ready by mid-2016. Three more large childcare centres with a capacity of 300 each will be built in Jurong West, Woodlands and Yishun by the end of next year.