Singapore—Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Sunday, October 6, 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.
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.
PCF is the party’s charitable arm that operates Sparkletots pre-schools. It is the largest pre-school operator in the county 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.
The new curriculum has been introduced in 12 pre-schools, and others are set to follow in 2020.
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.”
Over 10,000 PCF students, staff and their families, as well as MPs and different Cabinet ministers, were present at the family day activities.
At Victoria Theatre and the Asian Civilisations Museum, 200 pieces of art from the students of PCF Sparkletots were displayed, showing the theme of Singapore’s past, present and future.
Also present at the family day was Dr Amy Khor, chairman of the organizing committee for the event and Senior Minister of State for Health and the Environment and Water Resources. She said,”This is an area that is rich in history, and even as we take stock of our past… this is an area where you can catch a glimpse of the skyline of modern Singapore and what is to come in the future.”
In last year’s family day event, the CPF said it would be adding 15,000 additional places for pre-schoolers over the succeeding five years through upgrading present pre-school facilities and building even bigger ones.
PM Lee said at last year’s family day event that this is one way that the PCF and the government are aiding young families as they deal with the cost of living, through offering high-quality education for preschoolers that they can afford.
He said, “Dual-income families can be particularly confident that their children will be well taken care of when both parents are at work. And I hope, with less to worry about, parents will consider having a few more kids and enjoy more family time together.”
As of 2018, there were 360 Sparkletots centres all across the country, which provide pre-school education to 40,000 children./ TISG