7 pre-schools in S’pore to pilot programme for youngsters with developmental wants by June 2022, Parenting & Training Information & High Tales

SINGAPORE – Instead of shuttling back and forth between preschools and ECI centers, parents will soon be able to enroll children with developmental needs in schools that offer both services.

The inclusive support program will be tested in seven preschools across the island by June 2022.

Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling opened the program on Thursday (October 28) at PCF Sparkletots @ Fernvale Block 455 in Sengkang.

Six more preschools will gradually introduce the program over the next year. It is designed to help children ages three to six with moderate support needs, Ms. Sun said.

Most of these children are currently supported in early intervention centers while they attend preschools elsewhere.

This is a burden for families and children rushing between the two sites, Ms. Sun said.

Accounting assistant Hasliani Hassim, 42, said the technical support under one roof will save a lot of time for her and her four-year-old son, who was diagnosed with a language delay two years ago and who is attending one of the seven preschools.

She currently accompanies him on almost weekly trips from his preschool Small Wonder Nordcom II in Sembawang to a speech therapist in Novena.

Ms. Sun added that children with developmental problems will be able to learn important social skills when interacting with normally developing peers. These children include those with attention deficit disorder, delayed motor development, and delayed speech.

The other children will also learn to be more helpful and develop empathy by interacting with those who have developmental needs.

As part of the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) program, full-time early intervention professionals and accompanying health professionals will provide expert assistance to children with developmental needs.

The preschool will also work with the children’s families to support their progress at home and in school, the agency said in a statement.

The four providers of the pilot project are the Ministry of Education (MOE), the PAP Community Foundation, the NTUC First Campus and Busy Bees Singapore.

ECDA said the providers were selected based on their experience and expertise in delivering early childhood and early intervention services, their understanding of the features of the program, and their ability to meet service requirements.

The pilot will run in each preschool for three years, Ms. Sun said.

ECDA said the program at MOE Kindergarten @ Mayflower in Ang Mo Kio is only for children five to six years old with hearing loss who require a signature.

It is open to children of the K1 cohort.

An Inclusive Support Program technical support team led by the Community Psychology Hub has been set up to assist preschool providers, ECDA said.

You will train preschool management and staff to deepen their expertise in the provision of early intervention and inclusive practices, among other things.

The members of the technical support team include AWWA, Rainbow Center and the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Parents wishing to enroll for their child will need an updated letter or medical report from a Singapore Medical Council registered pediatrician detailing their child’s condition.

The monthly fee is $ 10 to $ 430, on top of preschool fees, depending on the household’s per capita monthly income, ECDA said.

Further information on enrollment can be found on the agency’s website.

ECDA said the pilot is being studied to assess its value and the feasibility of expanding the program.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat had announced the pilot project of the Inclusive Support Program in the 2021 budget.

The program follows the recommendations of the Integrative Preschool Working Group established in 2019, jointly led by Ms. Sun and Associate Professor Kenneth Poon, Deputy Dean of Educational Research at the National Institute of Education.

Ms. Sun said the goal is to create an inclusive environment from the start and see children “learn together, develop friendships, thrive and have a sense of belonging”.

“When we start young, we have the best chance of promoting common values,” she added.

Preschools running the Inclusive Support Program pilot

October 2021

• PCF Sparkletots @ Fernvale Block 455

January 2022

• Small Wonder Nordcom II

• MOE Kindergarten @ Mayflower

• PCF Sparkletots @ Pasir Ris West Block 517

February 2022

• My first school in Block 248 Kim Keat Link

• My first school in Block 406 Woodlands

June 2022

• PCF Sparkletots @ Bukit Batok Block 118


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