More financial support for low-income families with kids at Sparkletots
The PAP Community Foundation (PCF) will pump $2 million a year over the next three years into a fund that supports low-income families with Singaporean children at its Sparkletots centres.
The monthly household income ceiling to qualify for the Headstart Fund will also be raised from $2,500 to $4,500 next January, said PCF in a statement yesterday.
This increase in funding and expanded eligibility criteria will benefit about 10,000 low-income families each year.
PCF, a charitable foundation founded by the People's Action Party (PAP) in 1986, has an enrolment of more than 40,000 children in about 360 pre-schools.
Since 2004, PCF said it has disbursed a total of $3 million to help 6,600 families, providing additional support to cover monthly school fees on top of government pre-school subsidies.
From next year, the fund will also cover families with younger children, from infant care to Nursery 1.
It is already available for children from Nursery 2 to Kindergarten 2.
PCF said that with the Headstart Fund grant, parents whose children are eligible will pay about $10 or less for full-day childcare and $5 or less for half-day kindergarten programmes.
The monthly pre-school fee after government subsidies will also be reduced to about $100 or less for infant care, it said.
According to the Early Childhood Development Agency website, monthly fees at the PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Bishan East-Thomson Block 197 ranges from $160 to $320.
Monthly fees at its pre-school in Bukit Batok Block 148 ranges from $144 to $308.
Families with children who have been diagnosed with special needs - such as hearing or visual impairment, autism and Down syndrome - will receive double the financial support under the enhanced fund.
These families currently receive $100 a month, up to a maximum of $1,200 a year.
Families can apply for the fund at any PCF centre.
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said yesterday that the fund was expanded following "very positive feedback" from families it had helped.
"PCF's mission has always been to give every child a good start in life through quality and affordable pre-school education," said Mrs Teo, who chairs the PCF executive committee, at a PCF Sparkletots event at Goodman Arts Centre.
"This enhancement of the Headstart Fund reaffirms our commitment, and is our way to ensure that all young Singaporeans can make progress together regardless of family circumstances."