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Jan 18, 2012

Ways Done in the Past - Creche

For centuries, the community social service creches or childcare centres in Singapore have been in existence since the 1940s.

The ways, methods, training systems of these creches have changed over time to adapt and suit our social environments and service providers.

With fewer children for individual family in our nation's population over the years, a better educated and affluent parents who could afford to send the young children to private playschools,nurseries, kindergartens and other registered childcare service providers.
Kindergartens started very early in churches and in the private sector.Its role was very specific – to prepare children for primary school.

Kindergartens were not widespread during the 1940s and 1950s, and attended mainly by children from middle and upper income families. An early major player is the People’s Association (PA), a Statutory Board that ran kindergartens in community centres. In the 1960s, the People’s Action Party (PAP), ventured into setting up 3 kindergartens.

It was not until 1986 when the PAP went full-scale with the establishment of the PAP Community Foundation (PCF) that kindergartens were quickly made accessible to all children in every constituency.

In one fell swoop, PCF became (and still is) the largest provider of kindergartens in Singapore while the PA kindergartens slowly faded off. The low fees made kindergartens affordable to the masses. Kindergartens were no longer the privilege of a few.

Later, ‘madrasahs’ began offering kindergarten classes for Malay/Muslim children as well.

Early requirements to start a kindergarten were minimum, pertaining mainly to the physical environment and brief teacher training starting with only 60 hours to qualify as a kindergarten teacher.

Childcare centres had its early beginnings under the Child Welfare Society, which was set up in 1942 but was disrupted by the Japanese occupation of Singapore.

The Social Welfare Department (SWD)was established in 1946 by the British administration to deal with with the aftermath of the war - resettlement issues, malnutrition and poverty.

Childcare centres began as a feeding scheme for poor and undernourished children. These feeding scheme evolved into the children’s centres primarily for 2 to 7 year-old children with malnutrition and subsequently included poor children and those not in school up to 14 years old.

SWD eventually took over the few centres run by the Welfare Society and the City Council to provide custodial care for children from Economic Policies While the provision of childcare services was motivated by welfare for low-income families, the onset of industrialization in the ‘60s and ‘70s called for a different rationale for childcare services.

At that time, the level of female participation in the labour force was rather low.

With rapid industrialization, more workers were required in the industries. “The '70s rapid industrialization program led to an influx of foreign workers, and given the nature of policy then to phase out foreign workers by 1995 and given the full employment of males, the need to get women into the labour force became more urgent.”

Thus, the government’s objective was to increase the female participation rate in the labour force, initially for the manufacturing industries, but subsequently for the professional sectors as well.

Meanwhile, the government found that it was too expensive to sustain the childcare services and the then Ministry of Social Affairs (MSA) divested its centres to the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC)vi. By 1979, all 11 centres under the MSA came under the NTUC. Childcare Services was made available to all families, regardless of union membership. With this transfer, the government relinquished its role as direct childcare service provider to assume the role of regulator and policymaker.

Source: Khoo Kim Choo, International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy, 2010, Vol. 4, No.1, 23-34
Born rich or born poor, these children in Singapore were given equal opportunities to all Singaporeans to grow physically and intellectually, regardless of gender, ethnic groups or religion.

With the courtesy of past photos and credit of National Archives of Singapore (NAS), we share on this photojournal blog the way dones in the past and the present, the creches in Singapore.

As the children grow from generation to generation in Singapore, they have been educated, fed and grown in ways done in the past and how they are done today.

Creches in 1949

In the 1950s

In the 1960s

In the 1970s

How many ways have we observed the changes in the ways of the creches in Singapore?

Please have an interesting family fun activities by digging through the family photo albums with your children at the nursery, kindergarten as many years ago in the past and share these precious memories of their children growing up in the ways done in the past from children of our own, relatives, friends and neighbours and community, please retrieve our Singapore memories at irememberSG on Facebook to share with everyone.



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