Friday, December 5, 2008

Infant care centres

We have decided that we will enrol our son in an infant care centre where he will be cared for while we are working. We sourced for centres that were either near home or near the office and managed to find two which we visited last weekend. We also visited one more centre today, although it is not as near as the first two.

The first one we visited was Sam's Early Learning Centre which is located along the street where we live. It's in a bungalow with a big garden with swings, a sandpit and lots of playground equipment. The centre provides child care as well as infant care. We peeked into the infant care section and it looked wonderful. All the babies looked happy and well cared for and there is a large activity area for the babies to crawl around and play. They cater for about 12 babies and the ratio of caregivers to babies is 1 to 3. The place was non air-conditioned (which is good) and bright and airy. The infant care fees are S$1,000 per month. The centre has been operating for about 20 years now although the infant care has only been in place for 2 years. The director told us that we need to confirm our interest within the week because there was only one available spot left and a few couples had already expressed interest. The only downside is that the pick-up time everyday is 7 pm. It is unlikely that we will be able to meet this pick-up time on most days.

The next one we visited was Citikids Academy which is near Leona's office. This is a much smaller child care/infant care facility than Sam's Early Learning Centre. The infant care section was started three years ago as an added service to their child care customers, which is their main business. The child care used to be affiliated to Pat's Schoolhouse, in the sense that they bought the curriculum from Pat's Schoolhouse but their contract has now ended and they are now free to tailor their curriculum as they wish. The centre is located in a narrow and long shophouse, which is air-conditioned for ventilation. In the morning, the windows are opened for venting. We did not see any babies there when we visited as it was a Saturday. There did not seem to be any activity area for the babies - the infant care section is really quite small. Apparently, they take the babies outside in the morning to just spend some time outside. The ratio of caregivers to infants is very good - one to two. The real plus point is that the centre's pick-up time will be 8 pm starting from next year. Also, the proximity of the centre to Leona's office means that she can be there quickly in any case of emergency or if she simply wants to pop by and spend some time with the baby, perhaps even for feeding him. The infant care fees are S$1,750 but the lady that gave us the tour (Christina) told us that she could offer us a place for S$1,550. Christina said we can let her know in January 2009 if we are interested.

[UPDATE: Citikids Academy has since moved out from the premises that we visited.]

The third centre we went to (today) was Zion Babies. This is in a shopping centre in a nearby estate. It's also a bright, airy place with high ceilings and large windows. The centre also does not use any air-conditioning. The babies were happy and active, crawling around the large play area. Unfortunately, the pick-up time is 7 pm. They also have a waiting list for a place in April 2009. Their fees are about S$1,300. Although the place is lovely, it's not a serious contender as it is neither near our home nor the office so it is nearly impossible for us to meet the pick-up time of 7 pm.

All in all, although we like Sam's Early Learning Centre the best, it looks like the front contender is Citikids Academy, purely because of the pick-up time.

[UPDATE: We did not end up placing Ryan in an infant care centre. Instead, while we are working, he spends his time with a wonderful nanny who dotes on him and treats him as if he were part of her family.]


Christ reigns said...

Hello, I'm actually looking for a nanny. Wld you be able to give me the contacts for Ryan's nanny (assuming she's not caring for him anymore). Thanks!

Pinkie Pirate said...

Hi Ryan is still being cared for by his nanny. His nanny now looks after him and his sister, as well as her own toddler grandson. :)

Nicole said...

Hi, I am looking around for a review on Sam's Early Learning Centre and chanced upon your blog (in fact, it seemed to be the only which has mentioned about this childcare). I would like to know what is your review of this establishment's childcare services from a neighbour's perspective (assuming that you might be still staying on same street). For example, do the children going there look happy and the teachers are caring and happy? Thank you very much.

Pinkie Pirate said...

Hi Nicole, we no longer live there. We didn't see the people coming and going because we lived in a house along Jalan Mutiara which is on the other end of the horseshoe and not on the end where the school is. I didn't ask about the pre-school curriculum, just the infantcare. Sorry I can't be of more help. Good luck!

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