In Singapore, there are two types of preschool education establishments - kindergartens and childcare centers.
Before April 1, 2013, all kindergartens in Singapore are managed by the Ministry of Education while the Ministry of Social and Family Development manages all childcare centers. Starting from April 1, 2013, a new government agency Early Childhood Development Agency will oversee the regulation of both kindergarten and childcare centers in Singapore.
In this article, we will give readers a detail description of the difference between the childcare centers and kindergartens in Singapore.
Childcare center: Childcare centers are usually for children that are more than 18 months old. Some childcare centers also provide services for infants that are just more than 2 months old.
Kindergarten: Kindergartens can only accept children that are between 3 years old and 6 years old.
Childcare center: Types of services offered by childcare centers are very diverse. There is full day program that is from 7am to 7pm. There is also half day program which is from 7am to 1pm or from 1pm to 7pm. There are also other flexible programs available in childcare centers.
Kindergarten: It is usually three hours a day which may be from 8am to 11am or 12pm to 15pm. Details of timing may vary from kindergarten to kindergarten.
Childcare center: Childcare centers only close on Sunday, gazetted public holiday and a maximum of 7 days of annual closure. Childcare centers may close for staff training and other events.
Kindergarten: Kindergarten will have the same school holiday as the primary school.
Childcare center: if the child is a Singapore citizen, the government will subsidize part of the childcare fees. Amount of allowances will depends on the type of the service and whether the mother is working or not. You can refer to child care subsidy for more information.
Kindergarten: School fee is not subsided. However, you can apply for financial assistance if the household income does not exceed certain limit.
Other Service details
Childcare center: Childcare center will provide two meals and snacks.
Kindergarten: Only some kindergarten will provide some light refreshment.
Childcare centers: Different childcare centers will charge different fee.
Kindergarten: Different kindergartens will charge different rate and other miscellaneous fee.