Singapore is an excellent place for children, as it is incredibly safe and offers outstanding educational, developmental, and recreational opportunity for young people. The Singapore government, expatriate and local families alike place significant emphasis on the importance of education; thus, the public and private school systems are both excellent. While the Singapore system is a bit stricter and more rigid than the international schools, it offers great academic programs. International schools are also very good, catering to very diverse student bodies and offering good academic and extracurricular programs.
Singapore families place great importance on the development of their children academically, socially, physically, and in the arts. Thus, a plethora of after-school and weekend activities such as dance, art, community outreach, and sports are available through schools, social organizations, and companies. Furthermore, special events for children are regularly held at local museums including the Singapore Art Museum, National Museum, and Asian Civilizations Museum.
While local children spend most of their time in school during the week, and parents often work long hours, weekends are largely devoted to family activities, and children are welcome nearly anywhere. Certainly, restaurants, shopping centers, and other venues make a concerted effort to cater to children and families, and Singapore is very progressive about offering facilities for infant care and nursing mothers in its public places.
The Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park, River Safari, Singapore Science Centre, and Sentosa attractions offer memberships for families and are undoubtedly high points in every child’s Singapore experience. Memberships are often worth the price, especially at the zoo and bird park, as repeat visits are certainly worthwhile. Special programs at these parks are also numerous and very well facilitated.
Parents of older children will also find great solace in Singapore’s safety, as children and teens can travel worry-free on public transportation and entertain themselves in the city without concern for crime and other safety issues typical in large urban areas. Still, sometimes the perceived safety can offer freedoms that also allow for other social troubles, so parents should remain involved in evening plans – alcohol use and late-night partying is certainly not unheard of in the expatriate high school crowd, despite Singapore’s conservatism and strict policing.
Expatriates should be aware that should they choose to settle in Singapore and adopt permanent residency, their male children will be legally obliged to complete two years of National Service when they reach 18 years, followed by 40 days of Operationally Ready National Service per year till the age of 50. This should be taken into consideration when planning on applying for a permanent visa.