Children are precious but finding the most fitting things for them isn’t always a walk in the park. If you have a toddler or planning to have a baby, you’re probably already wondering whether a preschool in Singapore or a daycare would be the best option for them.

From our experience helping young and would-be parents at, we fully understand the frustration that may come with choosing a daycare or preschool in Singapore. Therefore, in today’s guide, we compare the differences between preschools and daycares so you can make an informed decision depending on your needs and preferences.

Is there a Difference between Preschool and Daycare?

You should not confuse a daycare with a preschool. To begin with, a typical preschool in Singapore will, in most cases, only enroll children aged between 2.5 and 5 years. Besides, they typically require that these children be potty trained.

On the contrary, daycares are open to enrolling babies who range from as low as six weeks old to 12 years. The child doesn’t really need to be potty trained to be accepted in a daycare.

Which is better: a Preschool or Daycare?

Your choice between a preschool and daycare will be influenced by your schedules and, most importantly, what you want your child to gain in their free time. For instance, if you want your child to spend more of their free time on social interaction, play, and purposeful learning, a preschool would be the best option for you.

Either way, if you typically have lesser time to interact with the baby, for example, working irregular hours, your best bet would be a daycare. Daycare would be preferable in this case because of the limited hours you may get with a preschool.

Another factor that would influence your choice between a daycare and preschool is the child’s age. Ideally, your child would only qualify to be enrolled in a preschool in Singapore;

1.      If they can communicate their needs via words or signs

2.      If they can follow routines and

3.      If they’re able to get along with their peers

If the baby hasn’t reached these levels, they may need more time at home to practice. Alternatively, you may also get a daycare to get them used to the activities they’ll need to adjust to at a childcare center.

You will also need to consider your current need as a parent. Note that preschools are designed to lay a foundation for small children who should be joining kindergartens.

On the other hand, daycares only watch over the children though they also offer educational experiences and learning activities to accelerate their development. Therefore, if your current need is to get your youngster ready for kindergarten, you will need to consider enrolling him/her in a preschool in Singapore.

However, if you want the child to mature a bit fast and learn to get along with peers at a younger age, the daycares would be a recommendable option to consider. You should however remember that even though a daycare would provide educational experiences and learning activities, they typically do not have lesson plans or curriculum that governs their scope of work.

Find a Good Preschool in Singapore or Daycare for your Child

There are also childcare centers that blend the structure of a preschool with that of a daycare. With that being said, it would be better to check with your provider to see if they accept that structure as that would be convenient.

For example, at First Steps, we have been keen to take care of that by developing a customized preschool program that takes care of infant care, nursery, kindergarten, and playground. If you identify a preschool that also provides infant care, be sure to spare some time to tour the school.

You’ll need to ensure that your ideal preschool in Singapore meets the ideal teacher to learner ratios. The recommendable ratios are usually 1:8 or less, so you may need to confirm that.

Apart from the ratio, it would also be better to confirm that the teachers and staff have the required qualifications to serve in those capacities. For example, preschool teachers should have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or its equivalent.

It doesn’t end there still. You also need to confirm that the preschool is a legally registered institution by relevant bodies such as the ECDA.

Finally, do not forget about safety. During your facility tour, check to ensure that the preschool has enough spaces with necessary safety measures put up for the children.

Wrapping Up

Both preschools and daycares are pivotal in your child’s development. However, one of them may not be convenient for you, depending on what you want for your child and probably his/her age.

With that being said, your best bet would be to choose a preschool that also provides daycare services in the institution, and that’s where we also come in. Book a tour of our institution to learn more about our preschool programs.