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Difference between a Childcare, Kindergarten and Playgroup

Updated: Apr 5


Is there a difference between a Childcare Centre, Kindergarten and Playgroup? As a parent, how do you choose the right preschool for your DD (Dear Daughter) or DS (Dear Son)? Read on more as we at Genesis 1989 explain more about the differences and how to select the right preschool for your DD and DS.


Singapore's pre-school landscape

According to Skillsfuture Singapore, Singapore’s pre-school landscape comprises both kindergartens and childcare centres. Kindergartens provide pre-school developmental programmes for children aged about 2 years to children below 7 years of age. The programmes comprise at least Kindergarten 1 and Kindergarten 2. In addition, kindergartens may also provide programmes for Playgroup, Pre-Nursery (or Nursery 1), and Nursery (or Nursery 2) five days a week. Most kindergarten sessions range between 2 to 3 hours for Playgroup and Pre-Nursery, and between 3 to 4 hours for Nursery and Kindergartens 1 & 2.


As you can see from SSG’s definition, Playgroup is a part of a Kindergarten programme.

Compared to Childcare centres, Kindergartens have shorter operating hours. The usual operating hours are 8am in the morning to about 4 or 5 pm. Within these hours, parents can register their children for the Playgroup programme either in the mornings or afternoons.


According to SSG, childcare centres in Singapore provide childcare services and pre-school developmental programmes for children aged from 18 months to children below 7 years old. Several centres also provide infant care programmes for infants aged from 2 to 18 months old. Childcare centres may offer full-day, half-day, or flexible programmes to cater to different parents’ working schedules. Childcare centres are usually open from 7am in the morning to 7pm in the evening.


Nurture Infant House Tampines is a Tampines Childcare that offers full day infant care from 7am to 7pm on weekdays and 7am to 2pm on Saturdays. Half day care from 7am to 1pm or 1pm to 7pm on weekdays are also available. Similarly, Genesis Childcare 1989 is a Tampines Child care centre that offers full day care and half day care. For parents who have to work the full day for 8 hours, you might want to consider putting your DD or DS in a childcare centre.


The importance of unstructured play to a child

Regardless of the option (childcare centre, kindergarten or playgroup) that you choose for your child, there must be a component of unstructured play for your child. For children there are few things more serious than play. There is a direct correlation between active, novel play and increased brain activity and development, which facilitates creative and analytical thinking, problem solving skills, the ability to collaborate and cooperate with others.


Play is a primary way that children learn to understand and experience the world around them. There are powerful links between play and the physical development of healthy bodies. Growing children need the stimulation that comes from vigorous physical activity, good nutrition and a safe environment in which to explore their abilities.


Unstructured play, unsupervised and self-initiated play is important as it connects children to the external world around them and to their inner world ideas and imagination.



As a Tampines Infant Care and Infant Care in Singapore, Nurture Infant House Tampines provides unstructured play, especially in the late afternoons to evenings when the formal lessons are over and children are given the freedom to play before the parents/care givers come and pick them up. Whilst there are teachers and educarers to supervise the children, the children are free to select the toys that they want to play or activities that they wish to do, for example colouring.


Hence, Nurture Infant House Tampines provides the convenience of a Infant Care Tampines to parents, yet at the same time, gives the flexibility for parents to select a Kindergarten or Playgroup option. Parents can pick the child up earlier or opt for the half day option.


Learning, Education and School


Below explains the three terms – “learning”, “education” and “school”.

Learning is acquiring new skills and understanding. There are many places or ways that children learn. Education is an organized program of learning. School is a community of learners.


A good indicator of the right selection of childcare centre, kindergarten or playgroup is that your DS or DD enjoys learning in school. Children love to learn; they don’t always enjoy education and some have big problems with school. Why is that?


Learning is natural for children. Babies learn at a prodigious pace. Take language. In their first twenty-four months or so, they go from being inarticulate bundles of cries and gurgles to being able to speak. It’s a remarkable achievement and truth be told, the child probably “caught” on how to talk from the people around him.



Learning to speak can be complicated. How do babies learn to speak? They have a natural capacity for it and they love to learn. How do they do it? By listening and by copying you and the others around them. You encourage them with your smiles and delight and they encourage you with theirs. As they go through life, they will pick up all sorts of other skills and knowledge just for the love of learning: because they want to and they can.


Education is a more organized approach to learning. It can be formal or informal, self-directed or organized by someone else. It might be at home, online, at work or somewhere else.


A school is any community of people who come together to learn with and form each other. Most of what we learn in our lives we learn with and from other people. Learning is as much a social as an individual process. The real question is what sort of schools help children learn best? Many young people are turned off education not because they don’t want to learn but because the rituals and routines of conventional schooling get in the way.


The best starting point for all of this is to understand what you want for your own children as they grow and develop, what they need from you as they do, and how education fits into the overall picture.


Nurture Infant House (Tampines)


At Nurture Infant House, our passion is to love and care for each infant and to provide a safe and interactive environment for infants to learn and grow in body and in mind independently.

If you are looking for infant care in Tampines or in East, do visit Nurture Infant House.

We have over 30 years of experience in nurturing thousands of infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers.

If you are looking for a preschool for toddlers and older children in Tampines or in East, do visit Genesis Childcare 1989.

Feel free to book an appointment through WhatsApp.

You can visit us at the following venues:


Nurture Infant House (Tampines) (2 to 18 months Infants) Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-61 Singapore 520433

Tel: 96664141


Genesis Childcare 1989 (Tampines)

Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-63/65 Singapore 520433

Tel: 96664141


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