Efforts to give every child a good start in life

We thank Dr Patrick Liew Siow Gian for his feedback ("Quality early child development programmes crucial for progress"; Forum Online, Aug 22).

We agree that it is crucial to support children in their early years. This is so that every child can have a good start in life - especially those who need more help.

Over the past few years, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) embarked on a range of initiatives to make quality pre-school more accessible and affordable, particularly for lower- and middle-income families.

For example, with the enhanced basic and means-tested additional childcare subsidies, lower-income families may pay as little as $3 a month.

With more than 30,000 places added over the past three years, enhancements to continuous professional training for educators, and more pre-schools certified under the Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework, more families are able to access quality pre-school education.

As announced in Budget 2016, ECDA is piloting KidStart, a programme to further support low-income and vulnerable children.

KidStart will provide early access to health, learning and developmental support.

As part of this pilot, ECDA will be working with key partners such as hospitals, social service offices, family service centres, pre-schools and other community partners to test various models of service and support.

Through this, ECDA aims to develop a coordinated system of support for vulnerable children and their families.

We will review and evaluate the impact of the various efforts carefully, so as to refine the way we help these children.

For more information, please visit www.ecda.gov.sg or e-mail contact@ecda.gov.sg

Eugene Leong

Chief Executive

Early Childhood Development Agency