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How to Set Up a Child Care Centre in Singapore

Published on October 13th, 2015 by in Blog

Child care centres play an important role in early childhood development and are an integral part of the child care industry in Singapore. For these reasons, those who wish to set up a new centre must meet a set of stringent requirements. Singapore’s Early Childhood Development Agency will oversee the process, and a child care centre license will be required.

The purpose of this guide is to provide prospective child care centres with information on how to set up a centre in Singapore.

What Is Considered a Child Care Centre?

Under the Child Care Centres Act, a child care centre is defined as:

  • Any facility in which five or more children under 7 years of age are being cared for and supervised during part or all of the day on a regular basis.

All child care centres must be licensed and comply with all of the standards set in the Regulations section of the Act, or any requirement set forth by the Director of Social Welfare.

In order to set up a child care centre in Singapore, the following steps must be taken:

1.     Meet the Required Prerequisites

All applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Must not have committed offences under the Child and Young Persons Act, or the Woman’s Charter
  • Must not have any court convictions
  • Must not have been issued any warning letters from the Ministry of Social and Family Development or the Early Childhood Development Agency

2.     Select a Premises for the Centre

One of the first steps in the process is to select a premises for the centre. Depending on the location, approval will be required from respective agencies.

  • For Private Commercial or Residential Premises: Approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, or URA, is required to change use of the premises.
  • For Industrial Premises: Approval from the National Environment Agency will be required in addition to the change of use approval required by the URA.
  • HDB Commercial Premises: Approval will be required by the HDB (Housing and Development Board) for change of trade.

The centre should be located on the ground floor of the building. Written approval from the ECDA must be sought for any centre that is not located on the ground floor.

The premises must meet the requirements of the ECDA in order to be approved.

3.     Obtain Clearances from Respective Government Departments

Once you have selected a suitable premises, you will need to take the following steps:

  • Apply for change of use if applicable.
  • Submit a floor plan of the premises to the:
    • Central Building Plan Department
    • Land Transport Authority
    • Singapore Defence Force
    • Sewerage Department
  • Renovate the premises. A “Commencement of Works” will be required from the Building and Construction Authority.
  • Obtain a Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP)

4.     Register a Singapore Business

The next step is to register your Singapore business with the ACRA (Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority). Be sure to choose the appropriate SSIC code for your child care centre business.

A registration fee of S$50-S$600 is required for local applicants, and S$300-S$1,200 for foreign applicants. A fee of S$15 is required for business name approval.

5.     Apply for a Child Care Centre License

Once you have registered your business, you can apply for a child care centre license using the Online Business Licensing Service License Application. Ensure that your premises is renovated and that you have obtained the TOP by the BCA before applying.

Please note that if the centre is being set up as an employee-benefit or a community service, financial support can be sought to develop the child care centre.

Once the license application has been submitted, you will receive an email asking you to contact the Early Childhood Officer to schedule a pre-licensing visit. Make sure that your facility is operationally ready before arranging this visit.

Child care centre licenses typically take 14 working days to be issued. The ECDA will notify you when your application has been approved.

Staff Requirements

In order to be approved for a license, your staff must meet certain requirements, and these requirements will be based on the age of the children your centre will be supervising.

Children 18 Months – 6 Years 11 Months

  • A trained supervisor who meets the following requirements:
    • Has a valid first aid certificate (must be recognized by the ECDA)
    • Obtained a Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education or Diploma in Pre-School Education Leadership
    • Certified by the ECDA as a Level 2 teacher
    • Has a minimum of 2 years of pre-school teaching experience
  • A minimum of 2 staff who are certified as Level 1 teachers by the ECDA
  • A minimum of 1 staff who is certified as a Level 2 teacher by the ECDA

Infant Care & Children 18 Months – 6 Years 11 Months

  • A trained supervisor who meets the following requirements:
    • Has a valid first aid certificate (must be recognized by the ECDA)
    • Obtained a Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education or Diploma in Pre-School Education Leadership
    • Certified by the ECDA as a Level 2 teacher
    • Has a minimum of 2 years of pre-school teaching experience
  • A minimum of 1 staff who are certified as Level 1 teachers by the ECDA
  • A minimum of 1 staff who is certified as a Level 2 teacher by the ECDA
  • A minimum of 1 staff with training at: Certificate in Infant, Toddler care, or EY1; or State Registered Nurse with a certificate in Early Years Development Framework

Infant Care Only (2-18 months)

  • A trained supervisor who meets the following requirements:
    • Has a valid first aid certificate (must be recognized by the ECDA)
    • Obtained a Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education or Diploma in Pre-School Education Leadership
    • Certified by the ECDA as a Level 2 teacher
    • Has a minimum of 2 years of pre-school teaching experience
  • A minimum of 3 staff with training at: Certificate in Infant, Toddler care, or EY1; or State Registered Nurse with a certificate in Early Years Development Framework

Other staffing requirements may apply. Check with the ECDA to learn more about additional staffing, premises and program requirements that may apply to your child care centre.

 
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