How Much Do You Need To Pay For Preschool In Singapore?

How Much Do You Need To Pay For Preschool In Singapore?

A baby’s birth may be the miracle of life, but the subsequent financial headache of making preschool arrangements can feel like anything but.

Suddenly there are enrolment and deposit fees, not to mention the monthly tuition fees that can reach four-figure amounts. All these additional expenses can put a dent in your monthly budget if you are not prepared.

If you’re a new parent (or wondering if you can afford to be one), here’s how much you may need to fork out for preschool.

What’s the difference between a preschool, kindergarten and childcare centre?

First thing’s first – what is a preschool, and how is it different from a kindergarten or childcare centre?

  • Preschool. An umbrella term used to describe an institution that provides childhood care or education to children aged 6 and below.
  • Childcare centre. These centres provide half-day or full-day care for children aged 18 months to 6 years old. Kids will be provided meals and time to nap.
  • Kindergartens prepare children ages 3 to 6 for formal schooling. Kindergarten sessions generally range from 3 to 4 hours, and do not include meals for children.
Preschools in Singapore
Childcare centreKindergarten
For children aged 18 months to 6 yearsFor children aged 3 to 6 years
Half day and full day options available, open from 7am to 7pmSessions range from 3 to 4 hours
Includes mealsDoes not include meals
Can be private, government-funded or non-profitCan be private, government-funded or non-profit

How much do childcare and kindergarten fees cost?

As of 2018, the average full-day fees for childcare in Singapore were S$1,087 a month. The median fees were S$856 a month.

Fees can vary based on location, teaching methodology and whether or not the operator is government, government-funded or operated by private or international organisations.

The fees you pay may also differ depending on whether you are a Singaporean citizen, permanent resident or expat.

Cost of government or government-funded kindergartens and childcare centres

KCare

The Kindergarten Care (KCare) programme is a full-day service provided by MOE-appointed service providers. KCare operates from 7am – 7pm on Mondays to Fridays, including school holidays.

The monthly fee for KCare ranges from S$325 to S$386.

Children who are Singaporean citizens are eligible for a subsidy of S$150 a month – no application required. An Additional Subsidy is also available to households that meet the eligibility requirements.

MOE kindergartens

There are 24 Ministry of Education kindergartens in the country, with 7 more opening in 2021. The MOE kindergarten programme is a 4-hour programme for children aged 5 and 6 years old. Parents can choose to enrol children in the morning session (8am – 12pm) or afternoon session (1pm – 5pm).

The monthly fee for an MOE kindergarten programme is S$160 for children of Singaporean citizens, and S$320 for children of permanent residents.

If your child is a Singaporean citizen and your household meets certain income requirements, you may be able to receive subsidies up to S$128 a month.

Anchor Operator (AOP) and Partner Operator (POP) preschools

The AOP and POP government schemes provide support to childcare operators to keep fees affordable. AOP centres receive government grants that will offset costs such as staff wages, but must meet quality requirements and fee caps.

While the AOP scheme supports larger operators, the POP scheme supports small and mid-sized operators. POP operators are subject to less stringent requirements, but receive grants too.

AOP and POP centres are subject to the following monthly fee caps:

AOP centres monthly fee capPOP centres monthly fee cap
S$720 for full-day childcare

S$1,275 for full-day infant care

S$160 for kindergarten
S$800 for full-day childcare

S$1,400 for infant care

Cost of private or international kindergartens and childcare centres

Private and international preschools will cost a lot more than government or government-funded options – premium centres can even cost upwards of S$2,000. Here’s a sampling of prices you can expect to pay in these centres:

PreschoolApproximate monthly fee
Greentree Montessori Children HubS$820 (4 hour programme)

S$1,220 (8 hour programme)

S$1,550 (full day programme)
Superland Montessori Pre-school @ Ganges AvenueS$1,100 + GST (half day)

S$1,450 + GST (full day)
MindChamps preschoolS$1,685 + GST (half day)

S$1,885 + GST (full day)
Between Two TreesS$1,369.60 (half day)

S$1,904.60 (full day)
EtonHouse @ 215 Upper Bukit TimahS$1,966.08 (sessions end at 3pm)
Canadian International School @ Lakeside CampusS$1,594 (pre-kindergarten, half day programme)

S$2,611 (pre-kindergarten, full day programme)

S$2,611 (junior kindergarten to Grade 3)

Fee comparison

Here’s a comparison of fees at a glance:

 Childcare centre monthly feeKindergarten monthly fee
Government or government-fundedKCare (S$325 to S$386)

AOP centres (S$720 cap)
 
POP centres (S$800 cap)
AOP centres (S$160 cap)

MOE kindergartens (S$160)
Private or internationalFrom S$1,000+From S$800+

How much government subsidies for childcare are you entitled to?

Government subsidies can greatly ease the burden of childcare. Here are a few you may be entitled to:

1. Basic Subsidy

If your child is a Singapore citizen and enrolled in a centre that is licensed by the ECDA, you may receive the following subsidies:

 Infant careChild care
Working mothersS$600S$300
Non-working mothers (working less than 56 hours a month)S$150S$150

2. Additional Subsidy

You may also quality for an Additional Subsidy of up to S$540 for infant care and up to S$440 for childcare if you meet these requirements:

  • You are a mother working at least 56 hours a month
  • Your child is a Singapore citizen
  • Your child is enrolled in an ECDA-licensed centre
  • The total gross monthly income earned by you and your spouse is less than S$7,500

Fathers who are widowed, divorced or undergoing separation are also eligible for Basic and Additional Subsidies.

3. Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS)

If your child is attending an MOE or AOP kindergarten, you may receive monthly subsidies of up to S$128.00 if you meet these requirements:

  • Your child is a Singapore citizen
  • Your family’s gross monthly household income does not exceed S$6,000 or, for larger households (at least 5 family members), your gross monthly income per person does not exceed S$1,500
Gross Monthly Household IncomeGross Per Capita IncomeMonthly Kindergarten Fee after Subsidy
S$2,500 and belowS$625 and belowS$1.60
S$2,501 - S$3,000S$626 - S$750S$3.20
S$3,001 - S$3,500S$751 - S$875S$16.00
S$3,501 - S$4,000S$876 - S$1,000S$40.00
S$4,001 - S$4,500S$1,001 - S$1,125S$80.00
S$4,501 - S$5,000S$1,126 - S$1,250S$104.00
S$5,001 - S$6,000S$1,251 - S$1,500S$128.00

4. Start Up Grant (SUG)

Under SUG, families can redeem S$45 worth of uniforms (3 sets) per year. Households will qualify for SUG if the gross monthly household income does not exceed S$1,900 or household income per person does not exceed S$650.

Other factors you need to consider

Choosing the right preschool goes beyond the fees alone.

While cost is an important factor, other major considerations include location, transportation costs, the teacher-to-student ratio and teaching methodology.

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