Government vs Private Kindergartens in Singapore: What you should know before enrolling

If you’re the lucky parents of a hopping bundle of love then you know that you’ll eventually need to find a good kindergarten to send him/her to.

However, a quick search for a kindergarten in Singapore will reveal the availability of a myriad of different schools — and a rude introduction to the dilemma of choosing between sending your child to a government or private kindergarten.

Things get a little complicated from here as not only does each school charge wildly different rates but also claim to utilize specialised/alternative teaching methods that promise better results. With so much information flying around and the future of your child at stake, it’s not uncommon for anxiety to kick in a big way.

Sadly, even the coolest parents among us cave in to pressure and blindly opt to send our kids to an expensive kindergarten, hoping that it was the right choice. To avoid making unnecessary (costly) mistakes that will come back to haunt you years after your kids graduate from university, let’s take it slow and explore our options.

What you need to know about Kindergartens in Singapore


Government kindergarten Singapore (with child care subsidy)

With child care subsidy (a guaranteed $300 for Singapore Citizens/PRs and up to an additional $100 to $400 for low-income households) and lower rates, government kindergartens are almost always the more affordable option. Fees for the PAP Community Foundation Sparkletots range from $496.60 to $850.50 depending on location, with most centres charging about $600 to $700. MOE kindergartens are the most affordable, with some centres charging only $375.

Alternatively, Singaporeans can opt to send their child to NTUC My First Skool, which charges around $678.31 to $770.40. With over 120 centres around the country it’s easy to find a centre that’s close to home or your work place.

Private kindergarten Singapore (no child care subsidy)

The rates charged by a private kindergarten in Singapore can vary significantly from school to school, with the more prestigious ones charging in excess of $3,000. While there are private kindergartens that charge comparably to their government counterparts they are often more isolated and difficult to get to. Also, sending your child to a private kindergarten in Singapore also means that you’re not eligible for the child care subsidy.

Below is a short list of private kindergartens in Singapore and how much they cost, from the most inexpensive to the most expensive:

· St Andrew’s Cathedral Child Development Centre: $600

· Appleland Playhouse: $780

· Happy Talent Childcare Centre: $850

· Cherie Hearts: $880 to $1,498 (typically around $1,000)

· Kinderland Preschool: $876.30 to $1,470 (typically $1,400)

· Superland Montessori Pre-School: $1,551.50

· MindChamps Preschool: $1,797.60 to $1,861.80

· Chiltern House: $2,113.25 to $2,145.35

· Little Village on the Grange: $3,723.60

What is it worth?

It’s nearly impossible to tell which schools really offer the best deal as there’s no way to measure them objectively. But aside from the quality and style of education there are a number of important factors that should be taken into consideration when selecting the correct kindergarten, including:

- Distance of centre from your home and/or workplace

- Pricing

- Quality of teachers at specific centre

- Teacher to student ratio

- Hygiene practices

- Type of food on the menu

On a whole, a government kindergarten in Singapore is usually less oppressive and children are given more time to play and explore freely. With a higher student to teacher ratio, however, it is unavoidable that children receive less individual attention. Private kindergartens with their smaller classes per teacher means more attention can be afforded to each individual child.

Keep in mind, though, that the quality and experience provided by kindergartens are never ever the same even if the school operates under a certain brand name. At the end of the day, kindergartens are made up of the people who run it and not institutionalised promises and expectations, and it’s the quality of these people that ultimately counts.