PCF Sparkletots centre with infant and child care services opens in Ang Mo Kio

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong interacts with children at the official opening of PCF Sparkletots @ Teck Ghee Blk 227. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - For Ms Jocelyn Ow, 29, the walk from her home to her 11-month-old daughter's pre-school takes just three to five minutes.

The proximity of the PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Sparkletots to her home not only means less hassle for the customer service representative, but also makes things easier for her mother, who picks up the child in the evenings.

Ms Ow is among parents who have enrolled their children at the new PCF Sparkletots centre at Block 227 Ang Mo Kio Street 23, which was officially opened on Saturday (July 23).

It is one of 44 Early Years Centres operated by PCF and the first such centre in Teck Ghee. These centres provide full day infant and child care services for those aged two months to four years old.

There are around 360 PCF Sparkletots centres across the island.

The opening event on Saturday was attended by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is an MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC.

Ms Ow noted that there are not that many infant care options in the area, so the newly opened PCF centre is her "first choice" given that it sits within the cluster of Housing Board blocks where she resides.

"(At the same time), sending her to pre-school also means that she gets to play (and socialise) with other kids," she added.

The Teck Ghee facility, which accommodates 17 infants and 106 children at full occupancy, started operations in January this year.

Under the Early Years Centre model, Singaporean and Singapore permanent resident Nursery 2 children will be guaranteed a place in a nearby Ministry of Education kindergarten when they turn five.

The Teck Ghee centre is located next to MOE Kindergarten @ Ang Mo Kio, which provides children with a smooth transition as they progress to Kindergarten 1 at the age of five.

Ms Tan Lee Jee, assistant chief executive at PCF, said the Teck Ghee centre has drawn strong demand, especially from young working parents.

"Generally, we have witnessed a growing demand for Early Years pre-schools especially in newer estates or areas with new BTO (Build-To-Order) flats where there are more families with young children," she said.

The new PCF Sparkletots centre at Block 227 Ang Mo Kio Street 23 officially opened on July 23, 2022. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

PCF has increased its total infant care and childcare capacity by more than 10,000 places over the past five years, noted Ms Tan.

It aims to open four more Early Years Centres by the end of this year to meet growing demand, she said.

"We will continue to monitor trends to meet the changing needs of parents and their children in order to fulfil our commitment to ensure every child has access to quality pre-school education."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.