Comparison between MOE Kindergartens (MK) and Private Kindergartens

The nursery school program in Singapore lasts three years, usually from age three to six years. The first year is commonly referred to as nursery, the second year as Kindergarten 1 (K1) and the third year is known as Kindergarten 2 (K2). Nursery school Singapore provides a healthy environment for children to interact and prepare for formal learning in primary school. 

When trying to find nursery school Singapore for your child, you will be choosing between a private kindergarten and MOE kindergarten. It is best to understand the difference between these kindergartens so you can determine which one is most suitable. 

MKs offer two-year kindergarten programmes. 

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has so far established 28 MKs across Singapore. These kindergartens offer 4-hour K1 and K2 programmes, with the morning session operating between 8 am to 12 pm, and the afternoon session between 1 pm and 5 pm. Children who attend MKs join at the age of 5years (K1) and 6years (K2). 

On the other hand, private kindergartens offer a three-year program for children between ages 4-6 years. The school sessions also last three hours, for the morning and afternoon sessions. 

MKs are strategically located close to selected primary schools.

MOE’s strategy to attract more parents to MKs is by strategically establishing the kindergartens close to primary schools. This is done to ensure a smooth transition from nursery school Singapore to primary school. 

Admission into these primary schools is often prioritized for children who attend MKs. Parents who intend to send their children to the affiliated primary schools often prefer sending their children to a MOE kindergarten to make admission into primary school much easier. 

A little bit of travel may be necessary in some cases since most of these primary schools are located within residential estates. While some private kindergartens are located in residential areas, others are located in prime locations, such as malls, business parks, and close to MRT stations. 

MKs follow the MOE academic calendar.

If you have children in primary school and prefer a kindergarten that follows the same academic calendar, you should consider an MK. According to the MOE academic calendar, your child will have four major vacation periods adding to about three months. Should a public holiday fall on a Sunday, then Mondays will be considered rest days. 

If, on the other hand, you require greater flexibility, private kindergartens remain open all-year-long. Most private kindergartens close for about seven days, including a three-day holiday on the eve of major festivals. 

Fees of MKs are subsidized and standardized.

One reason for the great disparity in fees charged by kindergartens is the presence of subsidies. MKs charge Singaporean children about $160, while permanent residents pay $320. The Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS) is available for households earning a gross income of less than $6000. 

Private kindergartens have the freedom to determine their fees, with some charging a little over $1000 a month, while others charge more than $2000 a month. Anchor operators receive financial support from the government, so their fees are subsidized, with some charging $720 a month. 

Private schools have a lower teacher-child ratio.

Most private nursery schools in Singapore have a teacher-child ratio of 1:15. Some even have a lower ration of one teacher for every ten children. The MOE K1 has a teacher-child ratio of 1:20, while that of K2 is 1:25. So, if your concern is individualized care, you may need to consider a nursery school with a lower teacher-child ratio. 

Several unique features distinguish MKs from private kindergartens. It is vital that you appreciate the differences, and what they mean to your child before deciding which facility is best for your child’s nursery education.