Pre-school and Childcare Full Day
Is a half-day childcare or a full-day childcare better?
Asked By : Stepphy
Words from the Expert:

Question: Is it better to send my child to a half-day childcare or full-day childcare? What is the difference?


When deciding whether to send your child to a half-day or full-day childcare centre, it really depends on your child’s needs as well as your own.

The main differences in each type of programme are the length of time your child will spend at school as well as the activities offered. 

With a full-day programme, your child can be dropped off at school at 7am and get picked up by 7pm, whereas with the half-day programme, your child will be picked up around 1pm (times may vary with different childcare centres).

With regards to the difference in programmes, besides offering the same morning activities as the half-day option, during a full-day programme your child will take a nap before continuing with afternoon activities.

Core subjects such as Language, Mandarin, Music & Movement, Cookery and Mathematics are usually covered in the morning, whilst in the afternoon, some childcare centres may run enrichment-based programmes. For example, at Chiltern House Preschool, our children who attend the full-day programme enjoy enrichment programmes such as Creative Writing (English), Language Learners (Chinese), Chinese Cultural Arts, Creative Writing and Thinking (Chinese), Discovery Play and Project! Project! The advantage here is that children receive all these enrichment programmes under one roof, plus it frees up time over the weekends for them to engage in other activities or simply to take a break.

This type of programme schedule may vary in different childcare centres but similarly, with longer day programmes the day is often more relaxed, leading to more social learning and time for exploration.

Which type of programme you choose for your child depends very much on the type of care you are looking for. I suggest you consider the following:

  1. What is the main purpose of sending your child to school? Is it for your child to develop skills or is it for your child to interact with their peers because there are no other children at home to interact with? 

  2. What are your child’s needs with regards to their whole development? Can they learn in the same way and as well at home in the afternoon, as opposed to the school learning environment? 

  3. What are your needs in terms of childcare arrangements? Do you need to put your child in a full-day programme because no one can take care of them? If you are able to look after your child in the afternoon or you have a caregiver to do that for you, you may want to think about the value of having your child stay at school during the afternoon. How might this help in the holistic development of your child?

At the end of the day, you know your child and your own needs best! Whatever decision you make, I am sure your child’s ability to learn positively will benefit.

I wish you all the best! 

The Expert:
Iris Lim
Principal of Chiltern House