SINGAPORE: Five preschool anchor operators will be allotted 17 new sites to provide 1,700 more preschool places, the Early Childhood Development Agency said on Friday.
The allocated sites are in areas of high demand. Locations include Jurong West, Punggol and Woodlands.
The PAP Community Foundation has been allocated four sites -- two in the north, and one each in the east and central Singapore.
Similarly, NTUC's My First Skool will also have four new locations -- three in the east and another in the west.
The three newly-appointed anchor operators -- Metropolitan YMCA's MY World Preschool, Kinderland Consortium's Skool4Kidz and EtonHouse International's E-Bridge Pre-School -- were allocated three sites each.
Metropolitan YMCA's MY World Preschool will have two centres in the east and one in the west.
Kinderland's (Consortium) Skool4Kidz centres will be situated in the north, while EtonHouse International's E-Bridge Pre-School's centres will be in the east.
The addition of 1,700 more pre-school places is part of the government's plans to ramp up childcare services over the next five years.
Phyllis HS Tan, executive director and CEO of MY World Preschool, said: "In Jurong West area, we understand that there is great demand there, so as AOP (anchor operator), it is also our responsibility to serve families who are in need of childcare services in these areas."
Besides being sited in areas of high demand, the locations were chosen to provide proximity to existing centres.
The plan is to allow operators to collaborate and share resources with nearby centres, and also to begin operations quickly.
While operators will receive funding from the Social and Family Development Ministry, how the funding is allocated will differ.
Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said: "Funding for a particular centre depends on a variety of factors -- the number one factor of course depends on the size of the centre in terms of the infrastructure support and the kind of equipment that they need.
"The second factor will depend on the type of classes that they take because different class sizes will require different number of teachers, and because we fund the teachers based on a certain formula... they will receive different funding."
Allocation of future sites will be based on the operators' performance and expansion plans.
The 17 new sites are expected to commence operations in the third quarter of this year.
For more information, parents can call the operators directly: PAP Community Foundation at 6244 4780, My First Skool at 6509 7887, MY World Preschool at 6839 8348, Skool4Kidz at 6342 5600 and E-Bridge Pre-school at 6336 3322. - CNA/xq/al
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