Currently, the Singaporean government invests a substantial amount of money into early childhood education. Annual spending on preschools in Singapore has been doubled from $360 million to $840 million from 2012 to 2017. In 2019, it already reaches $1 billion. It is estimated that in 2022, Singaporean government will nearly double current spending again, increasing it to $1.7 billion.
Parents are looking forward to sending their kids to government-supported preschools, especially when the subsidy is to be widened to include higher income household up to $12,000. The government is also planning to reduce preschool fees to only $300 per month, similar to the fee parents are paying for primary school education. Not only that, the government will also increase preschool facilities supported by them from just over 50% to 80%!
What determines a good preschool?
Of course, these are positive news for parents and a cause for celebration. They have more choices of preschools to choose from at reasonable and affordable fee. However, a good preschool must fulfil certain criteria or characteristics. Other than its established reputation, stimulating lesson plan, nutritious meals and qualified teachers, the parents are also concerned about safety, cleanliness and facilities.
A sign of a good preschool can be cued from the service providers’ confident about their facilities, because if they are really who they claim to be, they will have nothing to hide from parents. When parents visit their premise during open day, they usually allow parents to look around to evaluate the preschool environment.
This is an opportunity for parents who are considering to send their child there. They can see for themselves how clean is the preschool, and what are the safety precautions that the service provider takes to ensure children’s safety. Hence, it is important for parents to visit all shortlisted preschools for comparison.
Optimum facilities that a preschool should have
The parents must also gain some basic knowledge about optimum facilities that a preschool should provide. We want to avoid a preschool that is too small trying to accomodate high number of students, because if the space is too crammed it is not healthy for the well-being of the children who need to be there daily. Infection can also spread easily in that kind of environment. Other than that, adequate space must be provided for the children to make them feel comfortable and happy while learning.
Preschools that cater for full-day programmes should have outdoor areas so that the children can have access to nature and interact with natural environment. Some parents now choose a preschool based on their outdoor learning facilities, such as water area, playground, vegetable farm, and even outdoor culinary space.
Basically, all preschools must abide by certain guidelines provided by the government for preschool operators. Among other safety measures that parents must be aware of are availability of at least two doors, fire extinguishers, assembly point in case of fire, and emergency stairs.
In conclusion, the commitment shown by the government towards early childhood education is very apt and timely. With increasing demands of quality education, better facilities will definitely make good preschools.