When my child had come of age to join a child care, my wife got excited and started doing a lot of research on child centres in Singapore. She started by checking for child care centres near her work place. She is holding a more nine to six job so it will be easier for her to send and fetch our children from the child care.
Consideration 1: Timing
Timing is one consideration when choosing a child care. Most full day child care will open from 7am to 7pm. So it will be safer for the child care to be near your work place so you will not miss the 7pm timeline to pick up your child. It can be quite sad for a child if he/she is always the last one to leave the child care centre.
Consideration 2: Organisation or scale of operations
Another consideration is the brand name of the child care centres. Established child care centres have a more systematic way of management and even though some child care centres are run with the franchise model, these will still follow the standards set by the franchisee. Established child care centres also have more joined resources so they were able to organise bigger scale events. My children were all in Learning Vision and Learning Vision was able to organise a big scale graduation concert for the graduating K2 students. The same may not apply for smaller scale child care centres. Being able to perform in a big scale concert may be a once in a lifetime experience for the children.
Consideration 3: Enrichment programmes
Established child care centres are also able to link up with other training centres to provide enrichment programmes for the children. Of course, all these will come at an extra cost but it may be worthwhile if you do not want to fill your children weekend with enrichment programmes. Learning Vision provided a variety of enrichment programmes and those varied from centre to centre. They have English and Mandarin speech and drama, Young Scientists, Junior Gym, KinderMusic. These courses may cost more if you take them up individually outside of the child care. I think the importance here is variety, giving children exposure to different things when they are young will be good for them.
Consideration 4: Balanced curriculum
Another thing that my wife looked out for when choosing a child care centre is the curriculum. We want our children to have a happy childhood so their childhood should have an equal mix of play and learning. If you looked through the timetable of the child care and found that they have very little play time, it may be wise to look around some more. Your child will have all the time to study when they start primary school so there is no need to let them study too hard in their pre-school years. Also, the child care centre must have toys. If the child care centre has their own playground, that will be the most ideal.
Consideration 5: Excursions
It is also good to understand how frequent the child care centre will organise excursions for the children. A field trip will always be more memorable to a child than their days in the child care centre itself. As a norm, Learning Vision organise at least one excursion per term. The places they brought the children to were also quite interesting. My youngest son went on a historical tour of Singapore and even got to ride in a trishaw.
Consideration 6: Teachers
I think the final and most important thing to look out for is the attitude of the teachers. I had visited many child care centres before selecting Learning Vision and when I compared the passion of the teachers, I think very few can compare to the teachers in Learning Vision. The teachers can be the reason your child enjoy or resist going back to the centre. For child care centres, your children will stay with the teachers for the larger part of their days so it is very important that your children can relate to at least one of the teachers in the centre. All my three children had a teacher they liked from their centre and they will always come home telling us what their favourite teachers told them.
Consideration 7: Cost
Choosing a child care centre is not an easy task and for me, once I like the brand, I stick with it. My children went to different branches of Learning Vision and we were happy to say that our children had been happy and they had also learnt a lot from their teachers. The cost for child care varies but no child care centre can charge a high cost if it is not good and continue to stay in business so the cost will come with a certain value. You will have consider for yourself how much you are willing to stretch your budget for a better child care.