Updated: 04/05/2014 02:11

17 new AOP sites to provide 1,700 more pre-school places

17 new AOP sites to provide 1,700 more pre-school places

An additional 1,700 childcare places will be offered by the third quarter of this year. 

They will be spread across 17 sites in estates which lack these facilities. 

The Early Childhood Development Agency awarded these sites to the five anchor operators today. 

Four of the 17 sites are in Punggol and Sengkang which has a larger number of families with young children and where demand for child care facilities is high. 

MY World Preschool's Executive Director Phyllis Tan says this especially so for children aged between two and 18 months.

Two of its three new childcare centres will be equipped to also care for infants and toddlers. 

The operator says each of its 11 existing centres, which will also come under the Anchor Operator Scheme, has a long waiting list. 

Another anchor, E-Bridge Preschool, a subsidiary of EtonHouse, has been allocated three sites in the Rivervale area. 

Its Deputy Chief Ang Cheng Eng says E-Bridge will follow the same enquiry-based pedagogy of the EtonHouse preschools. 

But the make-up of E-Bridge's student population will be slightly different and attended by more Singaporean children. 

"E-Bridge centres will be located near HDB estates. In fact the first three are under HDB void decks so as to offer greater convenience and greater accessibility to the local community. Some E-Bridge centres may not have exclusive outdoor spaces and will use public facilities for outdoor play."
"We have encouraged the anchor operators to synergise their operations in a local town because this allows them to cross deploy their resources when the need arises. We know that teachers will need to go for training and sometimes teachers fall sick and have other commitments. If the centres by the AOPs are located generally in the same area it will allow them to cross-deploy the manpower and that will help them to enhance operational efficiencies."

28 more centres are expected to be announced later this year. 

The anchor operators are expected to provide 16,000 pre-school places by 2017. 

-By Fann Sim.

For big boy operators like MyFirstSkool, its four new sites will enhance its 103 child care centre network by providing better accessibility. 

A MyFirstSkool spokesperson told 938LIVE that when parents apply to a childcare centre that's full, the school has the option of redirecting parents to other MyFirstSkool centre in the area. 

The Early Childhood Development Agency says the 17 sites are allocated to allow for synergies so that they can kick start operations quickly. 

A point which Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing elaborated on. 

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