KidSTART programme for children of lower-income families to expand nationwide

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SINGAPORE: A programme to assist younger children from lower-income families will likely be progressively expanded nationwide from subsequent 12 months, mentioned the Ministry of Social and Family Services (MSF).

The KidSTART programme, first piloted in 2016, offers assist to lower-income families with younger children up to six years previous.  It has benefitted greater than 3,000 children dwelling in 13 Social Service Office areas and is on observe to assist 5,000 children by 2023.

“The Government is committed to strengthening support for children from low-income families, so we narrow the gap starting from their early years,” mentioned Minister of State for Social and Family Services Sun Xueling on Thursday (Mar 10).

She was talking on the MSF Committee of Supply debate, the place the ministry introduced new initiatives to increase the standard of early childhood professionals and programmes.

For children with developmental wants, there will likely be two new early intervention centres constructed, additional increasing the quantity of locations below the Early Intervention Programme for Infant and Children. 

MORE PRE-SCHOOL PLACES

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) mentioned that the proportion of pre-schoolers in Government-supported pre-schools has elevated to greater than 60 per cent, up from simply over 50 per cent in 2018. 

It has additionally greater than doubled the quantity of full-day pre-school locations previously decade from 90,000 locations in 2012 to round 200,000 locations as of end-2021.

“We will develop about 10,000 more full-day places by 2023 to meet the growing demand for pre-school,” Ms Sun mentioned, including that these new locations are concentrated in areas with younger families.

By round 2025, eight in 10 pre-schoolers can have a spot in Government-supported pre-schools, and payment caps will likely be lowered within the coming years, mentioned Ms Sun.

To assist the growth of pre-school locations, the quantity of early childhood educators within the sector has grown from 18,000 in 2018 to greater than 23,000 in 2021. 

To strengthen management competencies within the sector, ECDA will introduce a Leadership Development Framework for the “holistic development” of centre leaders.

It may also launch Early Childhood Learning Communities (ECLE) from April to foster peer sharing of pedagogical information and practices throughout the sector. 

This initiative may also enable excellent educators to be recognized and nurtured to change into future curricular and pedagogical leaders, mentioned ECDA. The ECLCs will cowl 4 areas – Early Years Competencies, Outdoor Learning, Social and Emotional Development, and Language and Literacy. 

Core members of the communities who lead peer sharing and studying classes for alternate of finest instructing practices amongst educators may have entry to absolutely funded skilled improvement programmes and knowledgeable improvement grant of their second 12 months. 

In addition, an annual manpower reduction fund will likely be obtainable to their employers to defray manpower reduction prices.

ECDA may also be reviewing the Early Years Development Framework for educators of children aged three and youthful to embody new areas reminiscent of the training of Mother Tongue languages and creating an inclusive classroom setting. 

The Government’s annual spending on the early childhood sector is predicted to greater than double over the subsequent few years, from round S$1 billion in 2018, mentioned MSF.

KidSTART programme for children of lower-income families to expand nationwide

Chew Hui Min

Source : channelnewsasia.com

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