Is School-based Or Community-based Student Care Better?

In Singapore, there are a handful of after school care arrangements available to parents – school-based, community-based, and home-based. However, not all parents are able to leave their child with family members at home or feel comfortable entrusting their child to a domestic helper. Research from the Singapore Children’s Society has also found that mothers preferred placing their children in childcare centres as they grew older to stimulate their social and cognitive development. Consequently, this leaves many parents in a dilemma of choosing between school or community-based student care centres. 

School-based student care is provided by primary schools and is located within the school. On the flip side, community-based care usually refers to licensed and professional student care centres. But which one is the best option for your child? It is important to weigh all the options before making a decision, so let’s take a look at some key factors to determine which one is right for your family.

1. Curriculum

School-based student care centres’ curriculum centres around homework supervision and basic rote memorisation learning methods such as English or Mandarin spelling. 

In contrast, leading community-based after school care centres such as MindSpace provide greater flexibility in their curriculum. Beyond homework guidance, they also have tuition, reading and enrichment programmes to ensure a holistic learning environment. Through these, student care centres aim to foster a love for learning. 

Aware that traditional rote learning is no longer as effective or relevant to the ever-changing education landscape, MindSpace developed proprietary learning techniques for its curriculum to advance your child’s development. Tailor-made for Primary 1-2 students, The Art of Learning focuses on not just what to learn but how to learn. Children will be taught how to analyse, evaluate and apply new concepts. In addition, they are placed in situations to encourage their creativity such as finding alternative solutions to challenges. Alongside those, students will be exposed to The Optimal Flow Method™ where they are guided to break down topics into concepts and expand upon prior knowledge for better understanding and recall. Through this, your child is empowered to master every subject and thrive in their examinations even as they get to grips with the upper primary curriculum. Together, these two pedagogies and techniques will stand your child in good stead to succeed in not just their studies but in every area of life.

2. Programmes

Being closely tied to the primary school itself, school-based student care centres are restricted to merely being an after school care programme. They follow the schedule of the school, so they are unable to offer student care on the weekends or during the holidays. As a result, parents who opt for such centres are often left stranded when the school holidays roll around as they need to find alternative arrangements.

However, that is not something they have to be worried about when they choose community-based student care centres. Top-notch community-based operators have a myriad of programmes designed to cater to parents’ different needs and preferences.  These programmes range from half-day after school student care and full-day school holiday student care to weekend enrichment for students where they are equipped to excel in school.

Facilities & Environment

Typically, school-based student care centres make use of the existing facilities in school to run their programmes. As such, the design of the premises is often bare and minimalistic. Cosy elements such as lighting, pillows and rugs to put the children at ease are often missing in their after school care experience as well. They are suitable for parents who are looking for a simple, fuss-free and convenient solution as the centre is housed within the school itself.

But if you are a parent who values providing your child with the best possible learning environment, then community-based student care centres are definitely a safer bet. Although your child may have to travel slightly further, the excellent facilities awaiting your child will be worth it. Additionally, established community-based student care service providers such as MindSpace have multiple locations islandwide for parents’ convenience. In fact, children who attend a primary school further from their home may even find that these centres are closer to where they stay. Accessible locations aside, MindSpace’s facilities come fully equipped with dedicated areas for meals, clean, spacious classrooms and state-of-the-art interactive screens. These fixtures provide a conducive and optimal after school learning environment for your child.


While fees vary from centre to centre, school-based student care centres do tend to cost less to ensure after school care is affordable for needy families. If your family requires more financial assistance, head to The Ministry Of Social And Family Development’s Student Care Fee Assistance page.

That said, community-based student care centres provide more value to children in the areas of better academic guidance, facilities, and programmes. Furthermore, the academic support could even help parents save on additional tuition costs, which makes them a more cost-effective choice.

Your Child Deserves The Best

Ultimately, which student care option is better depends on your family’s needs and preferences. However, if you want to set your child up for success from their formative years with top-quality learning support, facilities and programmes, opt for a trusted community-based student care centre such as MindSpace. Book a visit to our centre to find out more now.