parents

FAQ for Parents

Enrolment and Financial Matters

When choosing a preschool for your child, it is important that you find one that has an  environment and programme that best meets the needs of your child. Read more about choosing a preschool here.

If your child has a Dependent’s Pass or Immigration Exemption Order, you may indicate interest for your preferred preschools via the Preschool Search Portal (PSP) via the link http://go.gov.sg/psp. The preschools will contact you to offer a place for your child, subject to availability. You may contact the preschools directly if you would like to know more about their enrolment and waitlist policies.

Foreign children who do not already have a Dependent’s Pass or Immigration Exemption Order would need a Student’s Pass to attend an ECDA-licensed preschool. For more information, you may refer to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority’s (ICA) website at https://www.ica.gov.sg/pass/studentpass/msf.

There are no preschools that provide overnight care. Parents who require overnight care for their child may wish to source for caregivers (eg. relatives, friends) through private arrangements.

Infant care and child care centres operate services throughout the year except on the following days:

  • Sundays;
  • gazetted public holidays;
  • up to 6 days of annual closure (including Teacher’s Day); and
  • 3 half-days on the eve of any of the 5 stipulated public holidays. These are New Year, Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali, Christmas.

The preschool must inform parents/guardians of their closure days at the beginning of each calendar year and remind parents one month prior to the closure day.

Kindergartens operate during the school term according to the Ministry of Education’s academic calendar for primary schools. In addition, kindergartens are given 3 days of annual closure which must be used for preschool-based events (e.g. staff training, parent-teacher meetings).

ECDA provides guidelines to preschools to ensure that they carry out any fee revision in a transparent manner. These include:

  • providing advance notice, on or before 1 September of the preceding year, for any fee revisions in a particular calendar year;
  • explaining the rationale behind the revision; and
  • assisting parents with queries regarding the fee increase.

We understand that there may be instances when parents wish to withdraw their child and consider other caregiving arrangements. As preschools are private business entities, they have their own policies on financial matters. Parents/Guardians are advised to understand the preschool’s terms and conditions for fees, deposits, programmes etc, before making payment. Parents/ Guardians should discuss matters regarding monetary refunds directly with the preschool.

ECDA is unable to intervene in private contracts signed between a preschool and parents/guardians. Should both parties fail to resolve the matter amicably, either party may seek assistance from the Small Claims Tribunal. For more information, you may refer to the link: http://www.judiciary.gov.sg/civil/cases-eligible-small-claim

Kindergartens may collect fees on a termly basis. For infant care and childcare service, preschools must provide parents with an option to pay fees on a monthly basis.

Preschools generally strive to provide the best services for the children under their care. However, if the preschool is not able to meet the needs of a child, they may ask the parents/guardians to look for an alternative preschool. Parents/Guardians are advised to check if the withdrawal process is aligned with what was set out in the Parents’ handbook and provided to parents during enrolment.

Safety, Health & Hygiene

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) takes a serious view of child mismanagement in preschools. Where there are grounds to suspect child mismanagement in a preschool, ECDA conducts thorough investigations, which includes checking records, watching CCTV footage, interviewing staff and conducting classroom observations. Preschools found to have inadequate child management measures in place may be issued with a warning, subjected to financial penalties, have their licence tenure shortened or licence revoked.

We recognise that parents/guardians will be naturally concerned when they notice marks or a bruise on their child.  Parents/guardians are advised to take note of the date and time that the bruise was found, and reach out to your child’s teacher or principal to find out how the bruise may have come about.  You may also wish to discuss with your child’s teacher or principal the actions to be taken to minimise similar  accidents/incidents (if any).

Biting is a behaviour that is often seen in children under the age of three. There are many reasons why some children resort to biting.  For example, toddlers may lack the language skills to communicate how they are feeling.

If your child has been bitten by another child, raise your concerns with your child’s teacher or the preschool principal.  Allow them some time to work with the other child and their family to manage the biting behaviour.

For more information on understanding biting behaviours in young children, you may refer to https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/understanding-and-responding-children-who-bite.

Children in preschools spend prolonged periods of time in close contact with one another. An unwell child will likely infect other children and staff in the preschool.

Children who become unwell during the school day will be brought to a designated area which serves as a sick bay to rest, while parents make arrangements to pick up their child and seek medical attention as needed.

Children, who have recovered from an illness (i.e. show no more symptoms of illness), are not required to produce a doctor’s letter/certificate to return to the preschool after the expiry of their Medical Certificate (MC), if they are well. 

However, if your child is still displaying symptoms of the illness, the preschool may ask you to bring the child to a medical practitioner for further assessment before the child can return to the preschool. This is to ensure the health and well-being of the other children in the preschool. It is also for the benefit of your child, as children who are unwell may be more susceptible to contracting a secondary infection.

All requirements for health matters in preschools are made in consultation with the Ministry of Health (MOH).

MOH has observed that closure of preschools affected by HFMD has a limited effect on containing the spread of HFMD.  This is because the virus is in the community spreading among children and adults, and it can be reintroduced once the preschool reopens. To control the spread of HFMD in preschools, it is important to identify the symptoms early and quickly isolate cases.  Parents can play their part to monitor their child’s health for symptoms of HFMD and keep their child at home until the child has fully recovered.

Additionally, to contain the spread of HFMD, preschools are required to maintain high standards of personal and environmental hygiene in accordance with MOH’s “Infection Control Guidelines for Schools and Child Care Centres”.

Staffing Matters

The minimum qualified staff-child ratios during programme hours based on the children’s ages are as follows:

Class level (Age of Children)

Staff to Children Ratio 

Staff to Children Ratio (with an additional Assistant  Educarer/Teacher)

Infant (18 months and below)

1:5

Not Applicable

Playgroup (Above 18 – to below 3 years old)

1:8

1 + 1 : 12

Pre-Nursery (Children who turn 3 years old during the year enrolled)

1:12

1 + 1 : 18

Nursery (Children who turn 4 years old during the year enrolled)

1:15

1 + 1 : 20

Kindergarten 1 (Children who turn 5 years old during the year enrolled)

1:20

1 + 1 : 25

Kindergarten 2 (Children who turn 6 years old during the year enrolled)

1:25

1 + 1 : 30

 

ECDA advocates strong preschool-parent partnerships, with open and respectful communication between preschool staff and parents. If you have concerns, we encourage you to approach your child’s teachers or principal to clarify matters and work together with the preschool towards an amicable solution in the interest of your child.

Programme & Curriculum

ECDA does not mandate the use of a specific teaching or curriculum approach.  However, preschools must ensure that their curriculum is developmentally appropriate and provides for the holistic development of the children. ECDA requires preschools to ensure that their programme goals and outcomes are guided by the “Nurturing Early Learners: A Curriculum Framework for Kindergartens in Singapore” and “Early Years Development Framework”.

Infant care programmes should have a daily schedule to help your child form regular patterns of feeding, toileting, and napping. The daily schedule should be flexible enough to accommodate each child’s changing needs.

Infant care programmes are to support and facilitate the learning and developmental needs of all infants. They primarily focus on routine care tasks and play. Routine care is an important part of the curriculum where the interactions and communication between the caregiver and child will foster learning, build relationships and stimulate your infant’s development. 

For children aged 18 months and below, the key areas of learning and development are outlined in the “ Early Years Development Framework” adopted by all preschools. The programme should facilitate integrated learning across the following domains:

  • Physical development
  • Social-emotional development
  • Language and communication development
  • Cognitive development