Infant care centres in Singapore cater to children between 2 months to 18 months – an integral period of development in their lives.
For parents who have to return to work after their maternity leave ends, it can feel heart-wrenching to entrust your child to a centre when it feels like your child was just born yesterday (so helpless and tiny!).
That is why, to get peace of mind, it is imperative that you feel confident in your choice of infant care in Singapore.
To help you choose the best infant care centre in Singapore that fits yours and your child’s needs, take a look at this comprehensive checklist of things to consider.
The Curriculum offered at the Infant Care Centre in Singapore
Is infant care merely a glorified babysitting service — a place that only offers basic routine care? Not so — although it is worth noting that infant curriculums vary across different care centres.
From the age of infancy, children are experiential learners. That is why an age-appropriate curriculum that stimulates the senses while promoting cognitive, linguistic, motor, and social-emotional development is the best for providing your infant with diverse opportunities to learn.
This, in addition to the nurturing day-to-day care process (e.g. feeding, changing diapers, putting a child to sleep, playing and reading), is paramount in preparing the infant brain for optimal growth).
Background, License and Awards of Infant Care Centres in Singapore
The Early Childhood Development Agency’s (ECDA) licensing requirement for childcare centres starts from 6 months up to 24 months.
Aim for a childcare centre that has received a 24-month licence as that is a sign of its high quality. In addition, find out how long your shortlisted childcare centre has been around and if it has received any quality assurance marks and awards, such as the Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (SPARK) mark.
Parent- Infant Care Centre Communication
Parents need to know how their kids are doing in the centre (e.g. their developmental progress, how much they ate, what is being covered in the infant curriculum, etc.)
Look for an infant care centre that allows open and frequent communication with the caregivers so that, as a parent, you feel reassured that any of your concerns are readily acknowledged.
In addition to face-to-face exchanges with the caregivers during drop-off and pick-up, some centres incorporate texting, communication books, newsletters, and school notification apps.
Parents of Current Preschoolers
Want to gain more insight into the infant care centre? Ask and read reviews and testimonials from the parents of children who are currently enrolled at the centre.
Having your questions answered by the principal and teachers is one thing, but hearing firsthand information from these parents can deepen your understanding of how the children feel about their educarer and what they like the most or least about the centre.
Location and Transportation
Shortlist infant care centres near your home or workplace for ease and convenience.
Infant care in Singapore: Educarer-Child Ratio
While the ECDA suggests a 1:5 infant care staff-to-child ratio, some centres may have a lower educarer-to-child ratio to promote more individual care and supervision. At MindChamps Infant Care, the ratio is 1:3.
According to ECDA, centres may employ either a State Registered Nurse (SRN) or a trained Infant Care Educarer, who must be certified in infant and toddler care, trained in first aid, and have a minimum of two years’ experience in a childcare or preschool environment. Always ask if any additional training at the centre has been conducted (and how frequently), in addition to how long the educarer has worked there.
Other than their qualifications, the educarers should exhibit a caring and joyful attitude toward the children. Observe how they interact with the children. Is it in a loving and patient manner? Do they have a gentle touch? How do they console a crying baby? You want your child to feel secure and comfortable in their hands at all times.
Safety and Classroom Setup
Does the day-to-day care for infants take place within a separate area at the preschool centre, away from the older children, to ensure the safety of all infants?
The classroom should be brightly lit and properly ventilated, in an inviting and colourful setting that is conducive for learning. Are the furniture, toys, educational equipment in good condition, and neatly stored?
Take a look at the sleeping area and cots, as well as the activity and food preparation areas. Check that the washing area for bath time is comfortable, safe and clean.
In addition, take note of the security on school grounds including parking lots and stairway lock gates.
There should be daily temperature checks and hand sanitisation upon entrance, as well as frequent hand washing (especially before meals) and diaper changing/toileting.
Many parents notice that their children fall ill frequently when starting infant care. What does the school do to prevent the spread of illnesses such as Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)? Are the play materials regularly sanitised?
If your child has started solids already, ask the centre for a sample menu to ensure that it meets your child’s health needs. Enquire about the portion size and any food allergy or diet restriction management policies.
Infant Care Fees in Singapore
Infant care fees in Singapore vary across different centres.
Your child’s education is one of the most worthwhile investments you can make to give them the best start in life.
Choose an infant care centre that meets yours and your child’s personal needs as well as your financial needs.
Infant care fees in Singapore can be offset by Government Infant Care Subsidies, which are available to Singaporean children attending licensed childcare centres.
The Basic Subsidy is up to $600, with Additional Subsidy available to Singaporean children whose mother/single father works 56 hours or more per month, with a gross monthly household income of $7,500, or Per Capita Income of $1,875 and below.
Book a Visit
One indication that an infant care centre is attentive, trustworthy and reliable is when they invite both you and the child to visit the centre and spend time with your child’s prospective educarer.
By going over the curriculum, facilities, and orienting you and your child to the teaching approaches from the get-go, the centre is going the extra mile to ensure that your child will fully benefit from the programme.