Friday 20 February 2015

Five new MOE kindergartens to begin registration in April 2015

By Pearl Lee, The Straits Times, 18 Feb 2015

THE next five Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergartens will be situated in Sengkang, Punggol, Sembawang, Woodlands and Jurong West.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat announced the locations yesterday, saying they were selected as MOE wants to have "a broad spread of pupils from different parts of Singapore".

Four of them will be within primary schools: Northoaks Primary in Sembawang, Riverside Primary in Woodlands, Springdale Primary in Punggol and Westwood Primary in Jurong. The fifth will be located at the void deck of Block 470A, Fernvale Link.

The centres in Fernvale Link and Northoaks Primary will have 60 spaces each, while the rest will take in 120 children each. Registration begins in April.

"The five new kindergartens will give us a good sample of the profile of students, and how they are learning at the various MOE kindergartens," Mr Heng said during a visit to the MOE kindergarten in Punggol View Primary.

The five kindergartens will open next year, bringing the number of MOE-run kindergartens to 15. MOE said in 2013 that it would set up 15 pre-schools over three years to raise the standards of early childhood education. There are currently about 1,000 K1 and K2 children enrolled in the MOE pre-schools.

Mr Heng said the ministry is in the midst of collecting data on the kindergartens' teaching approaches, curricula and resource development. "Our aim is to provide a distinctive form of education that will complement what MOE is doing in our primary schools," he said.

Singaporeans will pay $150 a month for the pre-schools, while permanent residents will pay $300. The new centres will offer childcare services, with fees to be determined. Childcare services at the other MOE kindergartens range from $360 to $370.

The existing MOE kindergartens will conduct workshops from the middle of this year for parents whose children are enrolled there. MOE specialists and kindergarten teachers will cover topics such as a child's development and transiting to Primary 1.

Auditor Sean Kwan, 32, who lives across the road from the new Fernvale pre-school, said he will check out the new kindergarten when it is ready. His three-year-old son currently attends a two-hour playgroup.

"I am hoping to put him in a PCF (PAP Community Foundation) kindergarten nearby, but it is full and we have to go through balloting in May," he said.

"It will be good if there are more pre-schools here because most of the existing ones have no vacancies."

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