One of the reasons why parents enrol or switch their kids to MOE Kindergarten (MK) is to improve their chances during the Primary 1 (P1) registration.
Registering for P1 can be an anxious time for those living in estates with young families such as Sengkang and Punggol. Likewise, for areas where popular primary schools are located.
The benefit of attending MOE Kindergarten means they get priority admission at Phase 2A for the co-located primary school; this applies to Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs) too.
On the other hand, parents are also wondering if children will be well-prepared for primary school since the schooling hours are shorter at MK.
Planning to enrol in MOE Kindergarten (MK)? Here are some questions to think about:
1. Planning to send your toddler to preschool?
MOE Kindergarten caters to 5- and 6-year-olds with K1 and K2 classes. For kids 4 and below, only infant care and childcare centres in Singapore will accept them, as these institutions take kids from 2 months old to 6 years.
Some parents prefer to enrol their children in a childcare centre first. Subsequently, they register their children on the MK waitlist to switch over to MOE Kindergarten, if the application is successful. Some kids need more time to adapt and cope with changes that come with school transfers, so parents will need to manage their emotional needs.
You can also consider enrolling your child in selected PCF Sparkletots or NTUC First Campus' My First Skool before K1, as these centres are under the MK – Early Years Centre (EYC) partnership. Thereafter, your child will transit to K1 at MK, the year he turns 5.
2. Need child caring support during regular working hours (i.e. 9am to 6pm)?
At MK, lessons run for 4 hours in the morning (8am to 12pm) or afternoon (1pm to 5pm). Thereafter, an adult caregiver will have to pick up the child.
Alternatively, families with no caregiving alternatives after MK school hours may send their child to Kindergarten Care (KCare) before or after class, located within all MOE Kindergartens. This full-day service operates from 7am to 7pm.
3. Can I put my child on the waiting list for MOE Kindergarten when I’m pregnant?
Unfortunately, registration for MOE Kindergarten is only open the year before your child turns 5 for K1. Admission for K2 programmes is subject to the availability at your preferred centre.
4. What is the MOE Kindergarten curriculum and programme? Will it adequately prepare my child for primary school?
MK is a public preschool that offers affordable education to local citizens and Singapore PRs. This kindergarten programme would be fundamentally adequate for transiting to primary one.
Its curriculum is developed upon the Nurturing Early Learners (NEL) Framework. MK aims to give children a good head start, nurture their love for learning and develop character and life skills to prepare them for P1.
The curriculum also includes 2 flagship programmes - the HI-Light Programme and Starlight Literacy Programme for English and Mother Tongue Language.
The HI-Light programme is crafted to instil values, social and emotional skills, as well as learning skills across 5 key areas. The integrated approach engages children in multiple ways, setting a positive learning attitude.
The Starlight Literacy programme builds on bilingualism. Through Big Books, games, songs and rhymes, language acquisition and early childhood literacy skills are sharpened. With activities and content set in our local context, children learn to appreciate our diverse culture, values and identities.
To encourage self-motivated learning, MK students work on a Weeks of Wonder project every term. Working in groups, they learn how to collaborate, communicate ideas and problem-solve.
To find out more about the MK curriculum, attend the next Open House.
5. What does being ready for primary school mean to you?
Does primary school readiness only refer to academics? Is your child able to take on the demands of primary school life which includes spelling, homework and being able to buy food independently?
For many parents, being able to read and write independently is a must before entering P1, along with other must-know skills to adapt to the new journey.
6. 4 hours at kindergarten is too short and I want my child to be more than just ready for primary school. What are my options?
Some parents may feel that 4 hours at MOE Kindergarten is insufficient, preferring to supplement or enhance their child’s learning. This means setting aside extra budget for classes and more parental involvement.
Besides life skills that can be taught and acquired through school and home, you have the choice to send them for enrichment classes. To support literacy, consider phonics or speech and drama courses. You might also like to set simple spelling lists for your child to test them – giving them a taste of primary school life.
Based on our checks with current MK parents, MOE Kindergarten does not run spelling or ting xie tests with the children. However, you can do this at home or include some Chinese enrichment classes in your child’s schedule too.
Apart from the 3 main subjects taught at the primary level, children can also be exposed to sports, arts creativity and leadership courses, among others.
7. How much are the MOE Kindergarten school fees? Any subsidies for working mothers akin to childcare subsidies?
With reference to the 2023/2024 MK fees, it’s a pocket-friendly $160/month for Singapore Citizens and $320 for PRs. Fees cover June and December holidays, with no additional costs for extra programmes like field trips.
Childcare subsidies do not apply to MK since they are not childcare centres. However, families who require financial assistance can check if they qualify for the Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS).
8. What is the Kindergarten Care programme, monthly fees and how to register?
The Kindergarten Care (KCare) programme encompasses indoor and outdoor activities to keep kids engaged while learning through play. Activities such as cookery, sand play, tinkering, gardening and water play are lined up. Meals are provided so kids enjoy balanced meals. The programme runs through June and December holidays – even when kids do not need to attend MOE Kindergarten during the school holidays, parents can drop them off.
For 2023, the maximum KCare monthly fee is $415. Fees are also payable during the June and December holidays. All Singapore Citizen children are eligible for a basic KCare subsidy of $150 per month. To qualify for KCare, the child must be a student of MK, or already enrolled.
If your child enrols at both MK and KCare, the childcaring timing is like a full-day childcare programme. That said, teachers at childcare centres require specialist educational certifications in the areas of Early Childhood. It is, however, not mandatory for KCare programme staff. They have to complete a Continuing Professional Development course to learn how to care for kindergarten-aged kids and attain the Certificate, besides other qualifications.
9. How do I decide which MOE Kindergarten to register at?
This takes some forward planning, or some may say strategic tactical moves.
Just like for P1 admission, children who live near the kindergarten are given priority. With the primary school affiliation for MOE Kindergartens, you may wish to think about which primary school you are planning to register your child in. Browse this list to help you.
However, places are not guaranteed as there is a priority admission order for lower-income families and balloting. Keep your eyes peeled for the next intake – online registration is usually held in February annually.
More MK located within primary schools will be available by 2027. To date, there are 50 MKs in Singapore, with a total of 60 to open by 2027.
Whether you decide to enrol your child in MK or other options like childcare, discuss what works best for your family and your child’s needs.
Transit from infant care to kindergarten within one space
For families who prefer a one-stop arrangement to minimise coping with changes, childcare centres in Singapore offer full-day and half-day options to parents.
With a holistic childcare programme tailored to 18 months to 6 years old, Little Footprints Preschool raises curious learners with skills crucial for formal schooling. Progressing through theme-based, experiential learning that piques inquisitive minds, our SPARK-certified preschools* are given the nod of approval by ECDA and families.
Book a tour to check out the centre environment and facilities at our centres.
*As of 20 March 2023, there are 38 SPARK-certified Little Footprints Preschool centres in Singapore.
Follow us on social media to stay updated on our latest updates and happenings: