What should I know before deciding on full-day childcare

What should I know before deciding on full-day childcare?

There are certainly a lot of options for childcare available now. You can choose programs that are full-day or half-day. The Singapore Government has helped subsidized childcare through the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA). Parents can now take advantage of subsidies for their child’s early childhood education. The subsidies are often funneled through childcare centers. For you to make the right choice, it is important to get a comprehensive view of why governments have started funding childcare, what costs for childcare you should expect in Singapore, and what program would work best for your child. Different governments all over the world have seen the value of investing into childcare programs.

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Kelly Pedro for childcarecanada.org writes about how the province of Ontario subsidized full-day childcare.  

Governments have invested in full-day childcare

When Ontario gambled on full-day kindergarten in 2010, critics called it costly babysitting the deficit-plagued province couldn’t afford. Advocates – and many parents, freed of daycare costs – cheered. Read more here!

Educational psychologists and linguists have determined that the first three years of a child’s life affect them profoundly. Governments have responded to these findings by including childcare in their budget. Ontario, for example, has spent billions in subsidizing childcare. There are a lot of critics of the Ontario plan, especially from those who think it can put the government into crippling debt. Advocates see it as an investment especially for disadvantaged children. Return of investment for every dollar spent is at $1.5 to $3 and it doubles for the disadvantaged ones. Cognitively and emotionally, children who go through childcare do well in their early years and later in life. The key difference here is how these childcare programs are implemented. Strategies laid out for the program must encompass all aspects of childcare from the facilities up to teachers. It should take into consideration the parent, the children, and everyone else involved. How will this work in a nation like Singapore? An article in Straits Times written by Priscilla Goy provides a snapshot of the childcare industry in Singapore.  

Singapore has ECDA to govern childcare centers

Both types of operators get government grants, but have to cap fees – at $720 a month for full-day childcare at AOP centres, and $800 for similar programmes at POP centres. Lower fees do not mean lower quality. Read more here!

The Singapore government has a lot of programs to support childcare. ECDA’s mission is to make sure all children grow up in a positive environment. They oversee everything that pertains to childhood education like licensing of childcare centers, subsidies, professional development of childcare providers, etc. The agency is also a good resource when choosing a childcare center because they have licensing information of the centers. The government has recently set aside a $5 million fund for childcare for the sole purpose of fulfilling ECDA’s mission. With the government subsidizing childcare, you will have a lot more options and centers to choose from. When you check a center, you will see different programs like full-day or half-day. The team in theasianparent.com writes about the differences among the different programs and what you should consider when making a choice.

The best childcare program is the one that meets your child’s needs

Look through the class timetable, and understand what the children will be doing in school. Most childcare centres provide the core programme during the morning session. The afternoon session is usually occupied with routine care, such as shower, lunch, and naptime. Read more here!

Full-day childcare programs put core curriculums in the morning and routine care or some developmental activities in the afternoon. It is great for parents who are both working and no other caregiver is available for the child. Half-day programs may benefit younger children who may become apprehensive when away from home. Childcare fees are important to consider too. Most full-day childcare fees only slightly differ from half-day fees. If you are qualified for an ECDA subsidy, ECDA will directly give it to the childcare center and you will only need to pay the remaining amount. Full-day programs have more activities embedded in them but half-day programs may work too especially for younger kids. Everything depends on the needs of your child.

To conclude, governments stepping in to shoulder some of the costs for childcare may temporarily increase the deficit but if a well-built childcare plan is in place, the government will see returns for their investment. Singapore has ECDA to oversee all aspects of childcare, from licenses to teacher’s professional development. Overall, the country has a robust childcare plan that parents should take advantage of. There is definitely a lot of advantages if parents enroll their children to early childcare. Whether a child is enrolled on a full-day or half-day program, it all depends on their needs.