SINGAPORE - A garden piazza, a butterfly lodge and a dining theatre that serves dishes from the school's garden will be some of the things you will find at a new childcare centre that will open by mid-2018.
Set in Sengkang Riverside Park, it will have 400 places.
Three other mega childcare centres will also begin construction this year and are due for completion at the same time - two in Punggol that will have 1,000 places and one in Bukit Panjang with 300 places.
This brings the number of large childcare centres to nine, said the Early Childhood Development Agency.
Details of the Sengkang centre - the first in Singapore to be located in a park - were revealed at a ground-breaking ceremony yesterday.
The state-of-the-art campus will have a cocoon-like structure so that it will look like a "rolling hill" on the park, and blend seamlessly with the environment.
The campus will have a site area of 4,000 sq m and built-up area of 3,600 sq m - almost four times the size of an average childcare centre.
Operated by anchor operator Skool4kidz, which runs 11 childcare centres islandwide, it will be completed by the fourth quarter of this year.
Full-day fees will cost an estimated $720 for children aged between 18 months and six years. Infant care fees for children aged between two and 17 months will cost an estimated $1275.
Skool4kidz's curriculum founder, Dr Jane Ching-Kwan, said that being close to nature will allow the children to develop holistically.
She told The New Paper: "They will be able to learn about botany and insects by curiously examining the wide variety of plants and insects in the park's eco-system...
A POSITIVE IMPACT
"Research has also shown that immersing in a natural environment has a positive impact on a child's overall health."
The other mega childcare centres will also be run by anchor operators - PAP Community Foundation in Punggol and NTUC My First Skool in Punggol and Bukit Panjang.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Sengkang centre yesterday, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin reiterated the Government's commitment to providing more quality and affordable pre-school options.
He said: "This centre at Sengkang Riverside Park is the result of a partnership with NParks, so that our children can easily participate in physical and outdoor activities."
Mr Tan told Parliament last year that by this year, about 10,000 more places will be added, of which about a third will be in Punggol and Sengkang.
Mother of a 33-month-old girl and a two-week-old boy, Ms Joanne Goh, 34, told TNP that she faced many challenges enrolling her older daughter into a childcare centre in Punggol, where she is currently living with her parents.
She hopes that she will be able to enrol her children into the new Sengkang facility when she moves into the neighbourhood next year.
This article was first published on Jan 19, 2017.
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