Anchor Operator (AOP) vs Partner Operator (POP) vs Private Childcare: What is the Difference?

Choosing the right childcare for your child is complicated enough without having the additional stress to navigate confusing terminologies like Anchor Operator (AOP), Partner Operator (POP) and Private childcare.  

Let us shed some light on these terms and what they mean to you. 

Anchor Operator, Partner Operator and Private Childcare – An Overview

childcare singapore

A strong partnership between parents and the childcare centre is essential to positive engagement in your child’s development. With this in mind, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) was set up to champion and foster this relationship. 

To offer variety in childcare methodologies and cater to the different family needs, childcare centres and preschools in Singapore are categorised under 3 different schemes: Anchor operators, partner operators and private childcare. 

Other than education, ECDA also regulates practical means like childcare subsidy and operational matters including safety, health and hygiene, illnesses and administrative matters such as refund of deposits. 

What is an Anchor Operator (AOP) Childcare?

Parents looking for affordable childcare that provides quality education support might want to consider childcare centres under the Anchor Operator Scheme (AOP).

Under this scheme, the monthly fees are capped at $720 for full-day childcare, $1,275 for full-day infant care and $160 for kindergarten. This is to ensure that children from lower income or disadvantaged backgrounds can enjoy access to early childhood education. 

You might be interested in childcare centres which operate under AOP schemes if you want:

-    Affordable monthly fees that are capped
-    Guaranteed quality improvements of the facilities and programmes
-    Early Childhood Educators with access to continuous professional development support 

Examples of anchor operators are NTUC’s My First Skool and PAP Community Foundation, MY World Preschool operated by voluntary welfare organisation Metropolitan YMCA, Skool4Kidz, run by a consortium led by Kinderland, and EtonHouse International’s E-bridge Pre-school.

What is a Partner Operator (POP) Childcare?

childcare singapore little footprints preschool

The Partner Operator (POP) Scheme is a similar programme to the AOP scheme in that it also aims to improve the quality, affordability, and accessibility of childcare and infant care services.

Where it differs is that the Partner Operator Scheme is directed towards larger childcare providers with at least 1,000 childcare slots to qualify.

Under the POP scheme, fees are capped at $760 for childcare and $1,330 for infant care. Some examples of partner operators include Carpe Diem, Star Learners, Small Wonder by Busy Bees and Little Footprints Preschool. 

Parents can be assured of quality early childhood education for their little ones. At Little Footprints Preschool, for example, you can choose to enrol in their infant care (2 to 17 months), and let your child graduate into their childcare (18 months to 6 years) when they are ready.

Your child will also benefit from our quality curriculum that offers active, progressive and experiential learning based on an integrated theme-based approach.  

What is Private Childcare?

Private childcare does not have to adhere to government standards and offer services that are as basic or as “atas” as they want. Private childcare centre fees can range from $600 per month to over $2,000 per month. 

childcare singapore

Some examples of private childcare include St. Andrew’s Cathedral Child Development Centre, Raffles Kidz International, MindChamps Preschool, Chiltern House and Superland Montessori Pre-school.

Private childcare centres have lower teacher/child ratios, which means that your child gets more attention from the educator.

Parents who place their child in private childcare often are leaning toward a more specific learning methodology like Montessori. Private childcare centres also offer more premium options like an indoor playground or computer lab for preschoolers.

Book a tour with Us! 

Now that you have gone through the differences between an AOP, POP and private childcare operator, the next step would be to learn more about your shortlisted preschool brands and the programmes they offer.

little footprints preschool

Find out more about our learning approaches and curriculum framework at Little Footprints Preschool. Come visit us at your preferred centre and check out our learning and care environment for your little one. 

Book a tour at the centre most convenient for you and let us be a part of your child’s early childhood education journey.


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