30 October 2019
Singapore, 30 October 2019 – The PAP Community Foundation (PCF) announced today that it will commit $2 million annually for the next three years to enhance the PCF Headstart Fund (HSF). The fund provides additional support for parents with Singaporean children at PCF Sparkletots, on top of government preschool subsidies. About 10,000 low-income families will benefit each year.
Speaking at a PCF Sparkletots event, Executive Committee Chairman Mrs Josephine Teo, shared that the eligibility criteria will be expanded from January 2020. The monthly household income ceiling criteria will be raised from $2,500 to $4,500. Currently, the HSF is available to qualifying children from Nursery 2 (N2) to Kindergarten 2 (K2). From next year, children enrolled at earlier ages from Infant Care (IF) to Nursery 1 (N1) will be included. Mrs Teo is also Minister for Manpower, Second Minister for Home Affairs.
Every eligible child will receive a HSF grant which can be used to cover monthly school fees after government subsidies and other preschool expenses such as school uniform, learning materials and excursions. As a result, parents will pay about $10 or less for full-day childcare and $5 or less for half-day kindergarten programmes. For infant care, the monthly preschool fee after government subsidies will be reduced to about $100 or less. Families with children diagnosed with special needs will receive double the amount of support given under the enhanced HSF.
Mrs Teo said, “PCF’s mission has always been to give every child a good start in life through quality and affordable preschool education. 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”.
PCF Chief Executive Officer, Mr Victor Bay shared, “The enhanced PCF HSF will also facilitate social mixing and enable more children from low-income families to engage in enrichment activities with their peers. These include various experiential programmes, in order to better prepare them for primary school, hone their soft skills and boost their confidence. For example, these children will be undergoing customised theatre workshops to learn through drama and play. They will also have the opportunity to attend coding and problem-solving workshops”.
At the PCF Sparkletots event, over 60 PCF Sparkletots children participated in a series of PCF HSF enrichment programmes such as Glass and Clay Art, Ceramic Art as well as a Cajon class. Through these interactive and hands-on activities, the children could express their creativity, practise self-discipline and learn through the arts.
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