Singapore—Through 2022, the amount of S$2 million will be be added to the PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Headstart Fund each year for the purpose of providing additional support for low-income families who have Singaporean children enrolled in PCF Sparkletots. This will cover more than 40,000 youngsters in around 360 pre-schools.
This will be beneficial to around 10,000 families every year, according to a statement released by PCF on October 30, Wednesday.
The PCF, founded in 1986, is the charitable arm of ruling People’s Action Party that operates Sparkletots pre-schools. It is the largest pre-school operator in the country and is currently undergoing a revamp in its curriculum in order to include more units involving scientific concepts including technology, engineering, mathematics, and innovation, as well as others that involve entrepreneurship.
Over the last decade and a half, PCF has disbursed funds amounting to S$3 million. This translates to help extended to 6,600 families, as they’ve received support in addition to government pre-school subsidies.
The PCF said in its statement that from January of next year the eligibility criteria for support will also be expanded, with the ceiling for household income increasing from S$2,500 to S$4,500.
And from 2020 onwards as well, families with younger children from Infant Care to Nursery 1 levels will also be covered by the fund as well.
Twice the financial support will be given for families who have children with special needs such as Down syndrome, autism, or visual or hearing impairments. At present, these families are receiving amounts of S$100 monthly.
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo who was present at a recent PCF Sparkletots event at Goodman Arts Centre, said, “PCF’s mission has always been to give every child a good start in life through quality and affordable pre-school education.
This enhancement of the Headstart Fund reaffirms our commitment, and is our way to ensure that all young Singaporeans can make progress together regardless of family “This enhancement of the Headstart Fund reaffirms our commitment, and is our way to ensure that all young Singaporeans can make progress together regardless of family circumstances.”
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that in the next four years, the largest preschool operator in the county will turn 80 kindergartens into facilities that provide childcare on a full-day basis.
The Prime Minister made these remarks at the yearly PAP Community Foundation (PCF) family day event at the Victoria Theatre on October 6.
PM Lee said that this is part of the plan of the government to add more spaces that offer childcare, particularly in newer areas such as Choa Chu Kang, Punggol, and Sengkang, and also said that over 50 kindergartens of the PAP Community Foundation (PCF) were similarly turned into full-fledged childcare centers in 2018.
PM Lee also announced that the two Sparkletots centres which are located at Radin Mas and Joo Chiat are especially geared toward learning outdoors and that the center at Radin Mas also shares a site with a nursing home, mixing the different generations together.
He explained, ”This way, the young people can encourage the old ones and cheer them up, and the old people can keep an eye on the young ones and… engage with them.”/ TISG