Helping kids build strong foundation early

We thank Ms Maria Loh Mun Foong ("Underprivileged kids need early educational support"; last Saturday) and Mr David Chin Kah Hin ("Parents can boost early education support"; Wednesday) for their feedback.

Customised help is extended to pupils who need additional support to build a good foundation in literacy and numeracy, particularly in their early years.

Our teachers and school leaders pay special attention to these pupils, and do their utmost to meet their developmental needs. In addition to school-based efforts, pupils are also helped through Ministry of Education-designed programmes, such as the Learning Support Programme (LSP) for literacy, and the Learning Support for Mathematics (LSM).

For Primary 1 and 2 pupils who need additional help in literacy, LSP classes are conducted in small groups of 10 or fewer pupils, and are taught by specially trained teachers. This ensures that each child receives more individualised attention and guidance.

About two-thirds of these pupils would meet the expected reading age and graduate from the programme at the end of Primary 2.

Special programmes such as the School-based Dyslexia Remediation programme and Reading Remediation programme are available at Primary 3 and 4, and the Foundation Stellar programme at Primary 5 and 6, to support pupils beyond Primary 2.

Similar to the LSP, the LSM supports Primary 1 pupils who need additional help in numeracy by having specially trained teachers guide these pupils in small groups.

Around 40 per cent of LSM pupils would achieve the expected mathematical age by the end of Primary 1. The remaining pupils can continue to be supported,

with the expansion of LSM to Primary 2 last year and the introduction of the Improving Confidence and Achievement in Numeracy project from Primary 3 and beyond.

Our support measures go beyond the spectrum of support programmes. We also have more diverse pathways that have been established in our education system to cater to the different interests and talent of our students.

The Ministry of Education is committed to helping every child develop to his fullest potential and we look forward to greater parental and community support, which is vital in the child's development.

Sng Chern Wei

Divisional Director

Curriculum Planning and Development Division

Ministry of Education

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2015, with the headline 'Helping kids build strong foundation early'. Print Edition | Subscribe