Preschools at the post office

Preschools at the post office

Little Estelle Chia's playschool shares the same postal code as a post office.

The 2½-year-old's school, My First Classroom at Siglap, is one of seven that have taken up residence in SingPost outlets. The space crunch is one reason for this.

"We wanted to expand but there was simply no place available in the nearby estates," My First Classroom's centre manager Oh Kwai Heng, 43, said. Her first preschool opened in 2002 - in a converted bungalow at Upper East Coast. It took Mrs Oh almost a year to find the Siglap locale, which opened this March.

Estelle's mum, bank officer Chloe Chia, 34, a Bedok resident, said she chose the Siglap centre based on word of mouth: "I was so surprised when I saw the place. I didn't know you can have a school at the post office."

Another surprise: Rent is higher at the post office, industry sources said. Some operators pay slightly more to their postal landlord than other landlords. But the perks - like bigger outdoor space and proximity to affiliated centres - make up for the pricer tab.

Wee Care Kindergarten built a roof garden at Tanglin post office before its November 2010 opening, with Singapore Post's blessing. "This (would be) virtually impossible in other commercial buildings," director Denise Lai said.

More space was also the clincher for Shaws Preschool in Katong and Pat's Schoolhouse in Alexandra, the first to start in a post office in 2008.

A SingPost spokesman said the areas leased to preschools were "repurposed" space previously used for mail operations and converted for commercial use. With domestic mail volume dropping for the seventh consecutive quarter, SingPost has had to transform and meet changing needs.

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