As Victoria contemplates Saturday kinder, Singapore says no more
The Sector > Economics > Affordability & Accessibility > As Victoria contemplates Saturday kinder, Singapore says no more

As Victoria contemplates Saturday kinder, Singapore says no more

by Freya Lucas

July 18, 2023

Some kindergartens in Victoria are proposing a Saturday program for three- and four-year-old children as the system juggles a spike in demand as a result of the expanded access to free kinder as part of the state’s Best Start, Best Life reforms. 


The Age has reported at least four Melbourne services announcing a Saturday program option in 2024.


Speaking to 3AW about the proposal, Early Childhood Australia (ECA) CEO Sam Page said the state is “still playing catch up” since the Victorian Government’s decision to offer 15 hours of free kinder to all three- and four-year-old Victorians.


“But of course, buildings haven’t been expanded and staff teams are still as they were,” Ms Page said.


“So rather than turn children away we’ve seen some of these innovative solutions to try and accommodate more children. I think eventually buildings will be expanded and staff teams will be increased and capacity will match what families are looking for.”


As Melbourne opens up Saturday as an early learning option, educators in Singapore are thankful that their six-day work weeks will soon come to an end, with the island nation removing a mandate to have early childhood services open six days a week, including Saturday. 


From 1 January 2025, Singaporean early childhood centres will be open Monday to Friday, a move which the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) said is part of ongoing efforts to improve the working conditions of those in the sector. 


Currently, demand for childcare services on Saturdays is low, and to allow educators to benefit from the change earlier, each service can elect whether it will, or will not, open on Saturdays, effective 1 January 2024. Operators with multiple centres will also be allowed to aggregate demand and operate out of designated centres on Saturdays if needed.


Speaking at the annual Professional Development Programme appointment ceremony organised by ECDA, Singapore’s Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli said he hopes the move will help retain educators in the sector while attracting more Singaporeans to join and support the ongoing increase in the number of pre-school places.


To access further information about the Singapore story, please see here. Victorian coverage is available here

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