SINGAPORE - Parents of young children living in Sengkang and Punggol can look forward to 2,600 more pre-school places by 2020, with five new large childcare centres being planned in the two estates.
Four of the five centres, with about 300 to 550 places each, will be located in Sengkang, and another centre with 650 places will be developed in Punggol.
These centres will be run by anchor operators appointed by the Early Childhood Development Agency (Ecda).
The news was announced by Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee at the official opening of Skool4Kidz's large childcare centre at Sengkang Riverside Park on Wednesday (July 25).
The childcare centre, which can take in about 460 pupils, is one of nine large childcare centres already operational here.
These centres have intakes three to five times larger than centres at Housing Board void decks.
They are set up in areas of high localised pre-school demand, such as estates with many young families, according to Ecda.
Checks by The Straits Times found that Sengkang and Punggol estates have the highest number of young residents aged four and below in Singapore.
According to Department of Statistics records, Sengkang has the most young children, with 17,660 of its residents aged four and below as of June last year. In second place is Punggol, with 15,970 young residents, followed by Jurong West, with 12,260 young residents.
Mr Lee said the large childcare centres are part of the Government's commitment to ensure that all parents who need pre-school places for their children will be able to get one.
"We do so in a way that is responsive to demand from parents, while at the same time ensuring that pre-schools remain affordable and are of good quality," he added.
Parents can expect 40,000 more pre-school places over the next five years, especially in new Build-to-Order estates with more young families, he added.
Other large childcare centres are located in Yishun, Woodlands, Jurong West and Bukit Panjang.
As with other types of childcare centres run by anchor operators, monthly fees at the one at Sengkang Riverside Park are capped at $720 for full-day childcare, $1,275 for full-day infant care and $160 for kindergartens.
Operators, which receive funding from Ecda under the Anchor Operator scheme that started in 2009 and was enhanced in 2014, also have to ensure any fee increases are kept affordable for parents.