Frequently Asked Questions


ECDA provides resources and information that you may need regarding Early Childhood Development Centres (i.e. preschools).

We strive to ensure your children grow up healthy and holistically by improving the quality of preschools. We also monitor the demand for preschool places and conduct regular reviews on the affordability of preschool programmes for families.

ECDA does not control or regulate preschool fees. Preschools are private business entities with their own administrative policies on financial matters such as the collection of fees, deposits and procedures for refunds.

Preschools are required to explain to parents the rationale for the revision in fees (if any) and to attend to any queries.

ECDA ensures that fee revisions are carried out in a transparent manner with sufficient advance notice given to parents i.e. on or before 1 September of the preceding year. Preschools take into consideration changing financial circumstances in deciding their fees, and the Agency does not determine fees charged by preschools or approve any increase in fees. However, the Agency monitors the fee increases in the preschool sector to ensure that the various assistance measures available for parents help to defray some of the cost and the service remains affordable for families.

Yes, both parents are required to declare their employment details to the centre in order to claim subsidy.

For a parent who is a salaried employee, the average monthly household income will be based on the average monthly income received over the latest available 12-month period including bonuses, commissions, overtime pay and allowances. ECDA will determine your income by screening with the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board upon receiving your consent.

For a parent who is self-employed, please submit the latest Notice of Assessment (NOA) from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore and any other required supporting documents for our assessment.

Preschools such as infant care and child care centres operate services throughout the calendar year except on:

    • Sundays;

    • gazetted public holidays; and

    • 6 days of annual closure (which includes Teachers' Day and a minimum 2.5 days for staff training and development, to enable staff to improve their knowledge and skills in early childhood development as well as to enhance curriculum and operations of centres).

The 6 closure days do not include 3 half-days on the eve of any of the 5 stipulated public holidays. These are Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Deepavali.

ECDA requires the preschool to inform parents/guardians on their closure days at the beginning of each calendar year and remind parents one month prior to the closure day. Notice of closure days should also be displayed on the centre’s notice board for parents’ information.

For preschools such as kindergartens, they must operate during the school terms according to the Ministry of Education’s academic calendar for primary schools. However, some closure days in primary schools, e.g. the marking of PSLE examinations will not apply to these Kindergartens. Kindergartens which adopt an international curriculum must operate during the school terms according to the said academic year. Kindergartens are also given 3 days of annual closure, which must be used for preschool-based events.

You may use the Baby Bonus cash gift and the funds in the Child Development Account, where the government matches dollar-for-dollar contributions to defray preschool expenses.

For more details, please visit http://www.babybonus.msf.gov.sg/parent/index.html.

ECDA does not provide recommendations for preschools.

Preschools offer a wide variety of programmes, which brings forth diversity in the ethos and teaching methods of pre-school education. You are advised to identify and visit the preschools to determine if they best suit the needs of your children.

You may take note of the following when identifying the centre that best fits your children's needs:

i. Is the preschool licensed?

All preschools must be licensed before they begin operations. A licence is given to a preschool which adequately meets requirements on physical environment, safety, health, hygiene, nutrition, staff training, programme and curriculum, and administration.

The tenure of an Early Childhood Development Centre licence can range from 6 months to 36 months, depending on the standard of care and services provided. A longer licence indicates the preschool’s track records, and that they have met the key licensing requirements. Since the licence is subject to renewal, preschools’ standards and performance are regularly monitored to ensure that they meet the minimum standards.

ii. Does the preschool provide alternative care arrangements?

Families with no alternative care arrangements may require a full-day care programme to cater to the education and care aspects for their children. Others with their own care arrangements may find half-day programmes in a child care centre or kindergarten more suitable for their children's developmental needs.

The Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (SPARK) is a quality assurance framework for Early Childhood Development Centres.
A preschool that is SPARK-certified means it has been endorsed for the quality of its pre-school programmes.

For a list of SPARK-certified centres, please visit the ECDA website.

For infant care centres which operate under a Class A licence and child care centres under a Class B licence, their operating hours are typically as follows:.

• Mondays - Fridays: Open no later than 7 am and close no earlier than 7pm

• Saturdays: Open no later than 7 am and close no earlier than 2pm

Work place centres may follow the working hours of the respective organisations they are located in (e.g. open at 7.30am or 5-day work week), subjected to ECDA’s approval on a case by case basis.

For kindergartens operating under a Class C licence, their operating hours are as follows:

• Mondays – Fridays: Dependent on the timing and duration of each programme and session which may be 6 hours or less.

Parents can find out more about the operating hours of the preschool using the Preschool Search Portal.

ECDA has partnered non-profit organisations, kindergartens, child care centres, community groups, and the media to create materials on early childhood development.

You can get more information from our publications, seminars and workshops.

For more details, please visit https://www.ecda.gov.sg/growatbeanstalk/pages/home.aspx.

AOPs have standardised curriculum programme across their preschools. When the Anchor Operator Scheme was first introduced in 2009, its aim was to provide access to affordable and quality preschools.

As of 2014, ECDA has appointed 5 Pre-School Anchor Operators:

For more information on the ECDA Pre-School Anchor Operators, please refer to the ECDA website.

You may refer here for more information on Subsidies and Financial Assistance for preschools.

Enrolment and Withdrawal

Preschools are private business entities with their own administrative policies on financial matters such as the collection of programme fees, deposits, procedures for refunds and waiver of fees during the child’s hospitalization or prolonged medical leave.

Parents are advised to obtain a copy of the parents' handbook from preschools and read the rules and regulations at the point of enrolment to minimise any misunderstanding that may arise.

ECDA does not intervene in private contracts signed between a preschool and parents/guardians. Parents/Guardians should read and understand the terms and conditions stated in the preschool’s handbook at the point of enrolment, prior to signing and acknowledging the handbook. Parents/Guardians should abide by the preschool’s financial and administrative practices and approach the centre directly for any clarification.

You are advised to settle issues regarding monetary refunds directly with the preschool. However, should both parties fail to resolve the refund issues amicably, either party may seek assistance from the Small Claims Tribunal. For more information, you may refer to https://www.statecourts.gov.sg/SmallClaims/Pages/GeneralInformation.aspx.

Children Who Are Sick

Please take note of the following:

    • Any child who has fever or who is on medication shall not be admitted physically into or attend any class at any preschool.

    • A child who has no fever but is on medication may be admitted physically into or attend any class at any preschool if:

    • The period of unfitness stated in any medical certificate signed by any registered medical practitioner with respect to the child has expired and the child does not exhibit any symptom of illness; or

    • The child is certified by any registered medical practitioner to be medically fit to attend class at the preschool.


ECDA serves as a one-stop shop for all matters on centre-based early childhood care and education.

We support all operators by providing training support and curriculum resources.

Kindergartens are regulated under the Education Act.

Child care centres are licensed under the Child Care Centres Act and Regulations.

Spalling concrete is a common issue for older buildings. It is largely caused by carbonation, a natural deterioration process. This causes the steel bars embedded in the ceiling slab to corrode, which in turn causes the concrete cover to crack and bulge. Spalling concrete is a surface maintenance problem that occurs in reinforced concrete structures. If attended to immediately, the centre’s integrity will not be affected.

Spalling concrete if left unattended to over a long period, it will spread to a bigger area and in some cases may fall off and pose a hazard to the children and teachers in the premises.

Paint true ceilings regularly - Paint protects your ceiling and helps to prevent carbonation, hence it is advised to paint true ceiling of your centres regularly.
Seal cracks/ holes properly - Check your ceiling regularly for any holes or cracks. These should be sealed immediately to prevent moisture and carbon dioxide from entering the concrete.
Ensure sufficient ventilation - A humid environment will speed up carbonation. To reduce the humidity in moisture-prone areas such as the kitchen, toilet, and bathroom, open the windows, vents, or doors.

It is the tenant /sub-tenants responsibility to maintain and preserve the premises and all fixtures and fittings therein and belongings thereto in a clean proper good tenantable repair and condition. (TA clause 7.4 and Sub- TA clause 8.6)

7.4 At all times during the continuance of this tenancy to maintain and preserve the premises and all fixtures and fittings therein and belongings thereto in a clean proper good tenantable repair and condition

8.6 At all times during the continuance of this tenancy, the Tenant shall maintain and preserve the Premises and all fixtures and fittings therein and belongings thereto in a clean, proper, good and tenantable condition.

However on goodwill basis, HDB will carry out inspection on the true ceiling in all preschool operating from HD B void decks. If spalling concrete is spotted, repair works will be carried out immediately.

Thereafter, centres have to conduct check for spalling concrete and to carry out the repair works if necessary and paint the ceiling slab of your centres to prevent spalling concrete.

Under Child Care Centres Act - Regulation clause 31. All preschools are required to maintain premises and equipment in a clean and sanitary condition and are kept in a good state of repair. Hence Operators are required to:
i) regularly check/repaint true ceilings;
ii) maintain records of such checks, maintenance works. and painting of true ceiling for verification purposes;
iii) produce records to ECDA for verification purposes during licensing checks.

As part of the preschool’s cyclical maintenance process, it is mandatory for operators to check the true ceiling of the entire preschool premises to ensure that there are no signs of spalling. Should there be spalling concrete with your centre, repair works have to be carried out and the true ceiling has to be painted. These works can be claimed as part of Cyclical Maintenance grants.

ECDA Innovation Projects Grant / Practitioner Inquiry Grant

Innovation Projects Grant:

Pre-schools can submit proposals and completed application forms to INNOVATION_GRANT@ecda.gov.sg to participate in Innovation Grant Project or Innovation Guidance Project.

Click here for more information regarding Innovation Projects Grant.

Practitioner Inquiry (PI) Grant:

All ECDA-registered teachers/educarers who are currently employed in ECDA-registered pre-schools can apply for the PI Grant by submitting the completed application form to ECRF@ecda.gov.sg Click here for more information regarding the PI Grant.


As an ECE / training provider, you may come to us for assistance on matters pertaining to qualification and training requirements, applications for registration and certification, scholarship opportunities, and training courses.

The Early Childhood (EC) sector offers a range of career opportunities. There are structured competency-based pathways to develop and recognise each EC professional at every stage of their career. If you are interested in joining the EC sector, you may visit the Careers page.

The qualifications and training requirements for both kindergartens and child care centres are matched according to age group. For example, teachers teaching kindergarten-level children should have the same training requirements.

For details on the approved early childhood training courses and requirements for educators, please refer to Early Childhood Teacher Training Courses.

ECDA offers a range of scholarships and awards that support you in your pursuit of an exciting and rewarding journey as an educator in the early childhood sector.

Training Aw​ards

  • What are the ECDA Training Awards about?

    The ECDA Training Awards are for students undergoing the full-time Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) courses at either ITE, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, or Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) [formerly known as UniSIM].​

    The Training Awards are meant to support students who are passionate about working with children and who wish to have a career in the early childhood sector. Through the Training Awards, ECDA would be able to facilitate students journey from the ITE/Polytechnics/SUSS to the sector to realise their aspirations and potential. ​

  • What are the eligibility criteria for the ECDA Training Awards?​

    Interested applicants should: ​

    • Be a full-time student pursuing Higher NITEC in Early Childhood Education at ITE, one of the ECCE diploma courses at either Ngee Ann Polytechnic or Temasek Polytechnic, or ECCE degree course at SUSS
    • Be a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident at point of application
    • Not concurrently hold or be serving out their bond for any scholarship, bursary or funding
    • Have a keen interest to start their career in the pre-school sector immediately after graduation
  • How do I apply for the ECDA Training Awards?​
    ITE Polytechnic University
    ECDA Training Award recipients will be selected via nominations by ITE lecturers in August/September. Application opens at the beginning of each academic year. All students in their first year need not apply for the Training Award as their lecturers will facilitate the application together with their course admission. Year 2 and 3 students may apply through their lecturers. Application opens at the beginning of each academic year. Students who have been offered course enrolment at SUSS will also receive an application form in their offer letter package. Year 2 to 4 students may apply through their lecturers.
  • What kind of professional development programmes will be supported under the Training Award?​

    Students will be eligible for funding support of up to $1,000 per annum for professional development (PD) to attend Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and other professional learning courses conducted locally and supported by ECDA. They may select any of the courses, conferences or workshops offered by pre-approved Training Agencies listed in the PD prospectus. These include courses which are not directly Early Childhood (EC) related, as long as they meet their personal learning needs and can help them become a better EC educator eventually. This funding support aims to better support students to deepen their knowledge and interest in the selected areas and apply the relevant expertise in the course of their work with children in future.




  • What is the ECDA Scholarship?

    The ECDA Scholarships are offered to outstanding and deserving early childhood educators who wish to pursue a part-time Bachelor or Master Degree in Early Childhood Education.

    The Scholarship is designed to support in-service educators who have demonstrated the competency level of at least a Senior Pre-school Teacher, possess strong leadership qualities and are committed to taking on larger roles in the organisation or Early Childhood sector.

    As part of the support given to the Scholarship recipients, ECDA and the nominating centre will work closely with the recipients e.g. by providing paid study leave to complete assignments and/or prepare for/sit for examinations, and further professional development and networking opportunities.

  • ​What is the eligibility criteria for the ECDA Scholarship?​

    Please refer to the respective programmes here for information on the eligibility criteria.

  • When is the application period for ECDA Scholarship?

    There are two application periods in a year.

    Course Intake ECDA Scholarship Application Period
    1 January

    1 Aug - 30 Sep of the preceding year

    (E.g. For Jan 2019 course intake, the ECDA Scholarships application will be from 1 Aug - 30 Sep 2018)

    2 July/August

    1 Feb - 31 Mar of the same year

    (E.g. For Jul/Aug 2019 course intake, the ECDA Scholarships application will be from 1 Feb - 31 Mar 2019)

  • How do I apply for the ECDA Scholarship?

    Interested applicants can download and complete the application form​ and submit it together with the necessary supporting documents.

  • How do I know if I have demonstrated the competency level of at least a Senior Pre-school Teacher?

    Please refer to the Skills Map for Senior Pre-School Teacher under the Skills Framework for Early Childhood. In your application for the ECDA Scholarship, your nominating centre will need to rate and describe your competency level for each sub-domain, together with documentary evidences. Please refer to the application form for details on the rubrics and information required.

  • If I apply for the ECDA Scholarship, do I need to apply directly to the Programme Provider for entry into the Programme?

    Yes. Applicants are advised to apply for both the Scholarship and the programme at the same time. Apart from meeting all Scholarship application and interview requirements, applicants are required to secure a place in the Programme before they can be offered the Scholarship.​

  • What is the selection process for the ECDA Scholarship application?

    Shortlisted applicants will be required to complete a written essay and attend an interview at ECDA (conducted in English). ECDA will make the final decision with regard to the selection of recipients, and no further appeals will be considered.

  • I have started on the programme. Can I still apply for the ECDA Scholarship?

    Applicants are required to apply for the Scholarship prior to commencement of the programme. Please refer to the application period stated above.

  • Are all in-service educators eligible to apply for the ECDA Scholarship?

    Yes, all educators currently employed in an ECDA-registered/licensed preschool or MOE Kindergarten can apply for the ECDA Scholarship. Please send your applications directly to ECDA. ​

  • The programme fees for Singaporeans are different from the programme fees for Permanent Residents. Will the sponsored programme fees for the Scholarship also be different?

    Yes. The sponsored programme fees for Permanent Residents are capped at the fees payable by Singapore Citizens.

    The sponsored programme fees would be after MOE subsidies and SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy for Singapore Citizens aged ≥ 40 years old (if applicable).

  • How are the liquidated damages calculated?

    The liquidated damages are calculated based on the total amount of benefits disbursed by ECDA plus compound interest per annum. The liquidated damages will be reduced proportionately if the award recipient has served part of the bond.

    Should there be a breach of the agreement, the Scholarship recipient and the sureties will be liable for the liquidated damages.

Information updated as at October 2020

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