It's becoming a rather common phenomenon for parents in Singapore to enrol their child in preschool. While this is not mandatory at all, we all know that the first few years of a child are very important for his or her development. Because there is no fixed curriculum, parents here have a wide variety of choice for preschools.

To make things easier for parents in Singapore, we at GET.com will show you the different types of schooling options and then unveil the 20 most expensive preschools in Singapore.

Types Of Preschools

Playgroups

Playgroups usually provide short daily programmes lasting between 2 to 3 hours each time on weekdays.

These are great for parents who can provide some form of home care while allowing for their children to have some structured education and a chance to interact with other children of their age.

Child Care Centres

Child care centres provide child care services and pre-school developmental programmes for children between 1.5 years old to below 7 years old. Some centres also provide infant care programmes for children aged between 2 and 18 months old.

These centres largely cater to help working parents to take care of their kids, offering programmes ranging from full-day and half-day to flexible schedules. You can search for a child care centre on childcarelink.gov.sg.

Kindergartens

Kindergartens provide pre-school programmes for children from about 2 years old to below 7 years of age. The programme consists of at least kindergarten 1 and kindergarten 2 with sessions of about 4 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Local vs International

Local preschools provide a 3-year childhood education programme for children who fall between the ages of 3-6 years old.

Students attending the local pre-school programme are taught language skills, simple mathematical concepts, basic science concepts, arts and crafts, problem-solving skills and music appreciation through play.

Children are taught in English although there is the option of Malay, Mandarin or Tamil language classes.

Comparatively, an international pre-school system is known to provide a more holistic view of education and less pressure on tests and exams.

Some of these schools also follow a certain education philosophy and approach, such as Montessori, Emilio Reggio, or Waldorf schools.

Here you can find out more about childcare options for working parents in Singapore.

There are three main differences between local and international preschools:

1. Fees

Local schools are generally cheaper compared to international schools, with fees at local schools starting at around $1,000 a month for foreigners and international schools at about double that amount.

2. Schedule

Local schools usually start earlier at about 7:30 a.m. while international school schedules tend to vary.

3. Holidays

School terms vary for international schools depending on what type of school system they follow, whereas Singapore schools usually go into holidays in June and December.

The school programmes in international preschools are run by expatriate educators. The international education system also cater to different nationalities, and not just a specific nationality. Such programmes serve as a launching platform for students who are planning to pursue higher learning programmes from the same institution.

What To Consider When Choosing A Preschool

1. Location

You'd want to choose a preschool nearer to your home or workplace so that dropping off and picking up your child can be done on your way to and from work.

Either that, or look for one that has a school bus that can have your child travelling safely to school; although keep in mind that this will incur extra costs.

2. Experience Of Staff

It is a mandatory requirement for all registered kindergartens to hire registered teachers with at least a Certificate in Pre-School Teaching.

You need to find out which teacher will be teaching your child and if the teacher has had a minimum number of years of experience.

As kids attending preschools are very young, it is not just about the education standards you are looking out for, but for the safety of your child in their care as well.

3. Learning Methodology/Programmes

Depending on whether you choose a local or international preschool, each of them can have very different learning methodologies.

Local preschools follow the Nurturing Early Learners (NEL) curriculum, which is a comprehensive toolkit of kindergarten curriculum resources consisting of creating quality learning experiences for children from 4 to 6 years old.

The learning programmes provided by international preschools vary from school to school, and you can choose a preferred method for your child. These can range from being a more education-based learning or a play-based learning approach.

20 Most Expensive Preschools In Singapore

From $10,000 To $20,000

EtonHouse at 681 Bukit Timah Road
Morning session nursery 2, K1 & K2
Registration fee: $300
Insurance: $8
School fees per term (4 terms per year): $2250
GST: $179.06
Refundable deposit: $2,000

Total fees for the first year (including deposit): $11,980.56

From $20,000 To $30,000

Quayside Isle Preparatory School in Sentosa Cove
Pre-kindergarten
Half-day programme annual fees: $18,000
Annual discovery fee: $1,000
Admissions fee: $2,000

Total fees for the first year: $21,000

EtonHouse at 215 Upper Bukit Timah
Nursery 1 to K2
Registration fee: $535*
Yearly insurance: $8.56
Refundable deposit: $1,600
Full day 10-week school term (4 terms per year): $5,136

*Includes 1 uniform, 1 P.E. uniform and a school hat.

Total fees for the first year (including deposit): $22,687.56

EtonHouse at 1 Vanda Road Singapore
Nursery 1 to kindergarten 2
Registration fee: $535*
Insurance: $8.56
Deposit (refundable): $1,600
School fees for 10-week term (4 terms per year): $5,136

*Includes school hat, 1 P.E. uniform and 1 school uniform.

Total fees for the first year (including deposit): $22,687.56

EtonHouse at 717 Mountbatten Road
Nursery 1
Registration fee: $535
Yearly insurance: $8.56
Deposit (refundable): $1,600
School fees for 10-week term (4 terms per year): $5,136

Total fees for the first year (including deposit): $22,687.56

EtonHouse at 223 Mountbatten Road
Nursery 1 to K2
Registration fee: $535
Yearly insurance: $8.56
Deposit (refundable): $1,600
School fees per 10-week term (4 terms per year): $5,136*

*Fees include a morning snack, lunch, afternoon tea, a uniform set, a P.E. uniform and a school hat.

Total fees for the first year (including deposit): $22,687.56

EtonHouse at Robertson Walk, 11 Unity Street
Nursery 1 to K2
Registration fee: $535
Yearly insurance: $8.56
Deposit (refundable): $1,650
Full day school fees per 10-week term (4 terms per year): $5,296.50

*Fees are inclusive of meals and a welcome pack consisting of 1 set of P.E. apparel, 1 school uniform and a hat will be provided after paying the registration fee.

Total fees for the first year (including deposit): $23,379.56

One World International School
Early childhood 1
Application fee: $150
Registration fee: $2,400
Full day program annual fees: $22,756

Total fees for the first year: $25,305

Singapore American School
Early childhood center
Application fee: $2,500
Facility fee: $ 4,762
Early childhood annual fees: $19,529

Total fees for the first year: $26,791

EtonHouse at 39 Newton Road
Nursery 1 to kindergarten 2
Registration fee: $2,140
Yearly insurance: $8.56
Deposit (refundable): $1,950
Full day sessions per 10-week term (4 terms per year): $6,259.50*

Total fees for the first year (including deposit): $29,136.56

Avondale Grammar School
Full day preschool early years 1 annual fee: $25,188 (payable in 12 monthly instalments)
Class resource fee: $120
Infrastructure fee: $1,910
Parent's association fee: $53.50
Application fee: $2,140

Total fees for the first year: $29,411.50

ISS (International School Singapore)
Enrolment fee: $3,210
Development fee: $1,230.50 per semester
Parent teacher annual association fee: $22
Annual fee protection scheme: $227.92
Kindergarten 1 to 2 annual tuition fee: $25,038

Total fees for the first year: $29,728.42

From $30,000 To $40,000

Tanglin Trust School
Nursery
Enrolment fee: $2,675
Capital levy: $3,210
Building fund per term: $1,405
Tuition fee per term (3 terms per year): $6,790

Total fees for the first year: $30,470

Stamford American International School
Application fee: $3,160
Facility fee: $2,675
Full day pre-kindergarten annual fee: $27,656*

*Includes a daily lunch.

Total fees for the first year: $33,491

EtonHouse at 718 Mountbatten Road
Nursery 1, 2 & K1, K2
Registration fee: $2,140
Deposit (refundable): 1 term's fee exclusive of GST
Full day school fees per term (4 terms per year): $6,420*

*Inclusive of 2 sets of uniforms, 1 P.E. uniform, a sun hat, meals and snacks.

Total fees for the first year (including deposit): $33,790.60

Canadian International School
Pre-kindergarten Lakeside campus
Application fee: $2,140
Confirmation fee: $3,200
Full day programme tuition fees: $29,620 per year

Total fees for the first year: $34,960

EtonHouse at 8 Thomson Lane
Nursery 1, 2 & kindergarten 1, 2
Registration fee: $2,140
Deposit (refundable): 1 term's fee exclusive of GST
School fees per term (4 terms in a year): $6,741*

*Includes meals, snacks, 2 sets of uniforms, 1 set of P.E. attire and a sun hat.

Total fees for the first year (including deposit): $35,373.13

EtonHouse at 15 Claymore Road
Nursery & kindergarten
Registration fees: $2,140
Deposit (refundable): 1 month's term exclusive of GST
Full day school fees per term (4 terms per year): $7,062*

*The school fees include 1 school uniform, a P.E. uniform, a sun hat for your child and meals and snacks.

Total fees for the first year (including deposit): $36,955.66

United World College South East Asia
Application fee: $410
Enrolment fee: $3,210
Development levy per year: $7,080
Parents' association: $30
Kindergarten annual tuition fees: $28,320

Total fees for the first year: $39,050

Over $40,000

EtonHouse Sentosa takes the cake with its whopping $42k yearly preschool fees!

EtonHouse Sentosa
Nursery 1 to kindergarten 2
Registration fee: $2,675
Deposit: 1 term's fee (note that there is only 1 deposit per family)
Full day sessions per term (4 terms per year): $ 8,025*

*The school fees include 1 school uniform, a P.E. uniform, a sun hat for your child and meals and snacks.

Total fees for the first year (including deposit): $42,275

With such eye-watering fees, what can you expect to get in return?

The school building itself is housed in a colonial pair of 3-storey heritage bungalows, fringed by majestic traveller's palm trees, with sounds of peacock and cockatoo calls every now and then piercing through the tranquil atmosphere. There are multiple playrooms for books, light play and dramatic play.

What is great about EtonHouse Sentosa is its very spacious indoor playground which comes with a retro-looking thatched roof, complete with slides and a wooden swing - perfect for toddlers and kids to explore and play even during times of haze in Singapore.

The eating area where kids have their meals is HUGE. Filled with olden-day Singapore-style decorations and props, the area feels like an open-air street-side hawker centre, reminiscent of the 60s.

Besides the indoor playground, there is also plenty of space in the outside compound for sand pit play and water play.

The pre-nursery ratio is also a standout point: There is 1 teacher to 4 pre-schoolers, max. In local preschools, the ratio is 1 teacher to 8 pre-schoolers.

So, there you go - our roundup of the most expensive preschools in Singapore. As you can see, the prices are pretty high!

With this in mind, check out GET.com's article to find the answer to this question: is it worth it to put your child in a top school in Singapore?

If you're looking for a fun learning environment for your child, check out our pick of the 5 most fun preschools in Singapore.