Is a private childcarer necessary?

There are always a lot of concerns about primary schools and childcare centres amongst parents. These concerns are valid because the world is getting so competitive that parents are desperate to give their children a good head start in school.

Parents are well-known for sacrificing their time to do voluntary work for the primary school of their choice so that they can be assured that their children get a good start. We have even heard of parents buying condominiums near to the school of choice because they want to give their children a better chance of entering the said primary school.

That said, how about childcare? Is there a similar trend and is that necessary?

Private childcare is expensive to start with. It is not an attainable goal for many average Singaporean parents. However, some parents go through a lot of hardships to enrol their children in private childcare and struggle with the monthly fees because they feel that it is absolutely necessary. Is that really the case?

We found out that there are various differences between a government-run childcare centre and a private childcare centre. You can make your conclusion and see if you will agree with us.

Price
Price is always a contentious point for parents when it comes to choosing a childcare centre. Government-run childcare centres such as PAP Community Foundation Sparkletots are normally cheaper in the range of $600-$700 per month while private childcare centres range from $850 – $3000 per month. We can argue that expensive is always better, but in the case of childcare centres, it is not always true. The element of human intervention is strong here, as teachers play an important role in the determination of what is good or better.

Teacher-Student ratio
Government-run childcare centres have a higher teacher to student ratio as compared to private childcare centres. That said, it depends on the ability of the teacher to hold the attention of the students in the class. It is not true that just because the teacher has 20 students to handle means that she is going to do a bad job. After all, when your child enters primary school, he or she is likely to face a teacher who has a high teacher-student ratio as well.

Private childcare has better curriculum
It is true that some private childcare centres offer special methodology or a more comprehensive curriculum. Parents who fork out the money to send their children to a private preschool usually do that because they want their children to learn more and be prepared for primary school. They are also likely to believe that the special methodology taught at the preschool helps their children to learn faster and better. While government-run childcare is possibly not the best when it comes to any special methodology, it is not true that they are not teaching the students to the best of their capabilities. Learning capabilities also depend on the time parents are willing to spend in teaching their children at home.

Not every private childcare centre is the same
Quality differs from branch to branch in private childcare centres. Do not feel surprised if the branch that your friend’s child went to has better quality teachers than the branch that your child goes to. Every teacher hired has a different interaction with their students and the quality will show because of the differences. It does not mean that the teachers are bad; it just means that the teachers have a different way of imparting knowledge. Government-run childcare centres, on the other hand, has a fixed curriculum and teachers are trained to teach them well. The stricter control over the teaching materials may actually mean that the teachers are better equipped.

Ultimately, there is no absolute need to send your children to a private childcare centre because it is not always the best. The more important factors should be the distance from your house or workplace and whether you like the teachers at the branch or the school’s methodology. It helps that you, as a parent, sit in on classes and observe what goes on during the day. If you have a few choices, request to sit in on classes for the few choices before deciding on the best one.

Formal education is important but what goes on at home teaches your children more than what the teachers at school can do. Childcare centres are not the only places where foundation takes place. The home is, ultimately, more crucial for your children’s education.

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