Cozycove - Children in childcare centre

How To Choose a Childcare Centre in Singapore

So it’s back to school! Only this time, it’s for your baby. Whether you are 1001% ready to head back into the workforce, battling separation anxiety, or both, we are here to balance out some of that.

Other than the monthly budget you can afford and the proximity of the school, Team Cozycove has compiled a list of key factors that you should take into consideration when choosing a childcare centre.

1. Licensed

Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) is the regulatory and developmental agency for the early childhood sector in Singapore. They oversee the key aspects of children’s development below the age of seven across both kindergartens and childcare centres. Childcare centres and Kindergartens are all classified as Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDCs) and are covered by the Early Childhood Development Act and Regulations. You can find these preschools under ECDA here.

ECDA conducts regular checks to ensure compliance by centres, and takes firm action against educators or preschool operators when they are found guilty of not fulfilling their duty of care to the children under their charge.

All childcare centres are obligated to secure a license that specifies its validity period and must be conspicuously displayed within the centre. Nonetheless, even if a centre is licensed, it does not mean that their standards are upheld well. Here’s where you should take a tour of the centre, assess the physical environment for safety hazards, staff decorum, evidence of the curriculum being carried out by the teachers and the principal’s professionalism towards everyone. Look around and compare centre to centre, even within the same chain/brand. 

Private childcare centers are generally more expensive and there is a wide price range depending on location and brand. Nonetheless, you do get what you pay for (most of the time!). Private childcare centres tend to offer better teacher-student ratio and a wider range of facilities.

2. Consider Accreditation

The Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (SPARK) is a quality assurance program launched by the Ministry of Education in January 2011 to elevate the standards of pre-schools in Singapore.

SPARK assists pre-school leaders in enhancing their educational practices, administrative procedures, and management techniques, providing a structured plan for immediate and long-term enhancements.

When the school has an accreditation with Commendation it means they have strong processes in Teaching and Learning, as well as Curriculum, Leadership, and Pedagogy. 

Here is the list of pre-schools that have obtained SPARK certification (including commendation).

3. Understand Curriculum Differences

Are you inclined towards exposing your child to a learning environment that is focused on play, or do you prefer one that emphasizes creativity and the arts?

These are the various schools of thought:

  • Nurturing Early Learners 
  • Play Approach
  • Montessori Approach
  • Reggio Emilia Approach
  • Learning Center Approach
  • Project-based Approach
  • Waldorf Approach

Want to know the differences between curriculums? Read more in our Understanding Early Childhood Curriculum Styles.

 4. Reputation and Accountability

The Kinderland Saga in 2023 has highlighted that even licensed and accredited centres can fall short of the standards that you may expect from the centres.

As a parent, our due diligence could be limited to doing a background check of the school on Google reviews, and gathering feedback from Mum chat groups and forums on the centre. We can also ask for the centre's policies on accountability of the staff and how the centre enforces and upholds the staff's expected level of care, discipline, and oversight of the children.


We hope this list has helped you to think about other factors you may or may not have considered when choosing a childcare centre in Singapore! We've also compiled a list of things to look out for during your first tour of the school. It includes some questions to ask yourself and the centre so that you can be extra sure you've chosen the best choice for your precious little one.

Checklist for Childcare Centres

Physical Environment

  • Is the physical environment warm, inviting and safe?
  • Are there any obvious hazards?
  • Is this a safe environment for my child to play?
  • Are there any potential areas for slipping?
  • Are boundaries secured?
  • Is there sufficient space for the number of children in the centre?


  • Is there a fire extinguisher?
  • Does the centre have a fire emergency plan?
  • Are hazardous items placed away and secured from reach by the children?
  • Are the furniture and equipment, play materials child-safe?
  • Are there medical kits, first aid kits and proper medical emergency SOPs in place?
  • Measures to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome


  • Does the centre practice good health and hygiene practices?
  • How do the staff handle food and drinks?
  • Does the centre look clean?
  • How often is the centre cleaned?
  • Does the centre maintain cleaning records?
  • Look at the diaper changing, showering and milk bottle sterilisation procedures
  • Are there a sufficient number of toilets for the number of children?


  • What does the school feed the children?
  • Are the meals well balanced?
  • Can the meals be customized for special dietary requirements?
  • How does the centre ensure special dietary requirements are strictly enforced?
  • Administration of medicine
  • Allergy management
  • Does the centre prepare the food in-house or is it outsourced?


  • Are the teachers certified?
  • Do they have at least a certificate in Early Childhood?


  • Class size (teacher/child ratio)
  • Are there CCTVs installed on the premises?
  • Are there any blind spots?
  • What is the centre’s policy to review CCTV footage?
  • How often can I meet the principals?

Overall Vibes

  • How are the other children behaving in the school?
  • Do the teachers smile?
  • Do you get to meet the principal?
  • Does the principal look trustworthy?
  • Does the school look fun?
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.