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 foster 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 $680 for full-day childcare, $1,235 for full-day infant care and $150 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.

Under the POP scheme, fees are capped at $720 for childcare and $1,290 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 children in private childcare often are leaning toward a more specific learning methodology like Montessori. Private childcare centres also offer 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.

Frequently Asked Questions about Little Footprints Childcare

  • Which level will my child be enrolled in?

The level that your child will be enrolled in is based on his/her age in the year of enrolment.
2 to 17 months – Infant Care
18 months to 3 years old – Playgroup
3 years old – Pre-Nursery
4 years old – Nursery
5 years old – Kindergarten 1
6 years old – Kindergarten 2

For children born on 1 January of a given year, they will join the level from the previous year. E.g. Children born between 2 January 2020  to 1 January 2021 will be enrolled in Kindergarten 1 in the 2025 academic year. This is in line with MOE’s age requirement for Primary One registration.


  • What are the types of programmes available at Little Footprints Preschool?

We offer half day (7am to 1pm) and full day programmes (7am to 7pm). Please note that half day programmes are unavailable at some centres. 


  • Are there any subsidies or discounts on school fees?

Subsidies on school fees are available for Singaporean working mothers – refer to the info here.

We also offer preferential rates on fees at our Non-POP centres for employees of our corporate partners. To get the organisation that you are working for to be a part of our corporate partnership programme, feel free to get in touch with us and our representatives will follow up shortly.

Kindly note that once a centre goes under the POP scheme, the corporate discount privileges will be discontinued.


  • Are school bus services available?

School bus services are available at selected centres. You may check in with the centre of your choice on the availability of school bus services to and from your home and the centre.

For more information, refer to our FAQs here

Follow us on social media to stay updated on our latest updates and happenings:

Facebook | Instagram | TikTok


Subscribe with your email to receive
our latest news and updates.

subscribe mail
Haut de page