Since 2016, mega-sized childcare centres have been sprouting in areas where many young families live. These centres can accommodate between 300 to 1000 children. Considering how difficult it is to get childcare centres, this was a welcome project for most parents. Singapore currently has a population of 5.8million. This population is expected to grow to 6.3million by 2030. With the number of expatriates also increasing in this region, there is undoubtedly a need to provide quality early child care centres for working families. These large centres are designed to do just that.
Flexibility in Designing Learning Spaces and Play Areas
From the onset, large childcare centres were designed to meet basic child care to preschool educational needs of children between two months and six years of age. Childcare centres are the same size as some of the regular schools but offer several essential services in the same facility.
Before the introduction of these facilities, parents had to keep changing centres as their children grew. For example, a working parent had to find an infant care facility and later a kindergarten. This was a cause of anxiety, not just for the parents but children as well. Progressing in the same environment over several years gives children the emotional stability necessary for early learning.
The different age groups have made it necessary for operators of the large facilities to create an ideal environment for all the children, irrespective of age. Some schools have used themes, such as water, mountain, land, and forests, to combine play with learning.
Scheduled Learning and Play Times
How does a large childcare Centre manage a large number of children, especially in play and learning areas? This is one of the questions many parents ask, especially when they are considering the dangers of overcrowding. There is also the possibility of a child getting lost or forgotten in one of the rooms or playgrounds. How prepared are the large childcare centres to ensure these situations do not arise?
For most of these childcare centres, the answer is in scheduling. Since children have different interests, and the younger ones may not be free to play comfortably when using the same play area with older children. Each age group and class has a program that teachers and caregivers have to follow to limit conflicts. This way, a teacher with 25 children in her class will ensure all the children are accounted for at every given time.
Does the Size of the Centre Influence Performance?
Since these centres have a preschool curriculum, some parents may worry that having many children can affect their child’s concentration and performance. Some of the large centres use sound-proof materials between rooms to reduce the noise from outside and the nearby rooms. Some of the materials used include solid doors, rubber floors and ceiling cardboards. This helps to reduce distraction and create a suitable learning environment for children in preschools. The same structures are available for infants who need a quiet environment to rest.
How Does a Large Facility Manage Emergencies?
Like all preschools, large childcare facilities are not immune to disease breakouts and emergencies. Fortunately, all these childcare facilities, irrespective of size, are supposed to adhere to ECDA’s regulations and are expected to have contingency plans in case of an emergency. Some of the measures taken to limit disease spread include health screening, usually done twice a day. The child’s vision and temperature are closely monitored so that any changes are detected immediately.
In case of a disease outbreak, parents are usually informed. Affected children are then isolated, and authorities are informed of the situations. The school will then scale up the daily cleaning by disinfecting toys, equipment and materials that the children use.
There is no reason for you to avoid large childcare centres, especially if they are in your neighbourhood. The benefits far outweigh the costs. Fortunately, these facilities are under the Anchor Operators Scheme, so with the government’s support, the monthly rates are affordable.