As a result of economic developments and standard of living improvements, the population of Singapore has been quickly increasing over the last decades, reaching more than 5.6 million people in 2017. Kids and young children make up of a large part of that, which means the potentials for kindergartens and childcare centres are incredibly high.
However, education is one of the most stringently regulated fields in Singapore. This means you have to acquire a lot of licenses and meet different requirements before opening up and operating a facility. To make everything simpler for you, this comprehensive guide will show you how to start a kindergarten school in Singapore.
Overview of Kindergarten in Singapore
A kindergarten is known as a school which provides a three-year education program for kids at the age of 3 to 6. This form of education often offers a 5-day week program with 2 sessions per day. The primary purposes of kindergartens are to teach children activities which can develop literacy and language skills, social skills, basic number concepts, problem-solving skills, and other abilities.
Unlike childcare centers which are regulated by the Early Childhood Development Agency, kindergartens in Singapore are directly regulated by the Ministry of Education. Thus, if you are going to set up a kindergarten which accommodates more than 10 children, it is necessary to register first with the Singapore Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. Once the business entity has been established, you have to register your company with the Ministry of Education.
The first thing you need to do is to choose a suitable name for the kindergarten. Keep in mind that the name of the business that you registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority must be the same as that of the school. Also, you can’t include the following words in the name without permission from the authority: international, conservatory, college, university, and Singapore.
The next step is incorporating your business. For a kindergarten school, the most appropriate legal entity might be a private limited or sole proprietorship company. In fact, this process is relatively quick and straightforward, even though there are a couple of statutory requirements that need to be applied.
There are many strict regulations and rules for educational facilities in Singapore such as the student ratio or the size of the classroom. Basically, you could only use a premise which is approved by the Urban Redevelopment Authority for educational purposes. In other words, it requires a Class XII permission before you can start using the facilities. Thus, make sure to check with the landlord before you plan to do anything to avoid losing accreditation.
If you want to renovate the structure, it is necessary to apply for a constructing work permit from the Singapore Building and Construction Authority. Once the building tasks have been completed, you might need to get the following license from the BCA before occupying the space: the Temporary Occupation License and the Statutory Completion Certificate.
In addition, you might need to acquire a Certificate of Fire Safety from the Civil Defense Force of Singapore. You can only get this through a registered engineer or architect. All renovation projects must be performed by licensed or certified contractors. If you plant to place business signage on the premise, it requires a License of Advertisement from the BCA as well.
The last step is to register your business with the Ministry of Education. During this step, you also need to register the list of your teachers and school curriculum. In general, the curriculum should be holistic and comprehensive and should include those courses which would help children develop essential skills such as social awareness, numeric skills, literacy, and language skills.
Also, you need to submit an education plan which specifies the learning outcomes, materials, resources, class schedules, and teaching methodology. Every teacher needs to possess a certificate at GCE ?O’ level with at least 5 passes and a B4 level in English. Also, it requires a license in Teaching Early Childhood Care and Education.
The average processing time is around 14 working days. The license fee is S$400.