Just so that we are aware of the difference between child care centres and other kindies, enrichment centres etc.
After some confusion myself, I came to the following understanding:
(1) That the government is subsidizing fees for CHILD CARE for working mothers. A child-care centre is licensed and must operate from 7 am to 7 pm (full day) and also open on Saturdays (7 am to 1 pm). These centres are mainly to cater for working parents who NEED to have somebody look after their kid for whole day and there must be meals provided.
(2) Kindergartens and other enrichment centres not registered as "child care centres" has no such constraints. Kindergartens who are MOE registered followed MOE guidelines of course. They usually operates 3 hours classes for pre-Nursery, Nursery, K1 & K2. The school fees are NOT subsidized!
So the first question you need to ask yourself is: Do you require a child care centre who will provide long hours of care, provide meals and bathing for your child? You can also choose to put your child into a half-day child care centre. Most of the activities and learning will be done in the morning. If you do this, the half-day childcare centre fees after government subsidy can be a lot cheaper!
If you do not need a childcare centre, then you have a whole lot of other options ie. 3-hour kindergartens, other enrichment centres etc! I was told by a kindergarten staff very sternly that as a Kindergarten, they are NOT childcare centre hence they do not have breakfast / lunch etc! Of course this is not all correct because a number of kindergartens do provide snack and food! Neither do they do toilet-training or bathing for eg. Razz
For full day childcare centres, in the afternoon some have lessons, some have enrichments tied-up with external vendors, some have in-house cookery sessions conducted by own teachers, some watch TV! That’s where the standards differs and really you need to look for one time-table that you like.
Then you need to ask yourself: Do you want a very academic pre-school kindergarten or a more relaxed, more all-rounded cirriculum?
After much consideration, I decided to go for a church-based kindergarten with more fun, more physically mobile, more hands-on kind of cirriculum for my DS.