Forum: Tuition centres play important role for young, but there are limitations when it comes to specific learning needs

I refer to the article "Tuition centres enrolling more young pupils, even those aged 4" (June 20).

Children learn best through play, exploration and teachable moments.

The desire for children to be successful academically should not compromise other important aspects of their development. For example, emphasis should be placed on developing their fine-motor skills, as it affects their ability to write, as well as emotional development to build good behaviour and communication skills which are crucial for expressing oneself clearly. Developmentally appropriate exposure is pivotal to a well-balanced, holistic childhood.

The Dyslexia Association of Singapore strongly supports the importance of children being children, and a clinical diagnosis of dyslexia should be considered if the child manifests learning challenges despite having had exposure to quality, general educational intervention.

Hence, while it is true that many children do not need to be academically overexposed through efforts such as enrolling them in tuition centres, there are indeed children who require such intervention earlier than their peers.

Parents of children who are experiencing significant learning challenges should recognise that tuition centres may not offer the solution. Kindergarteners experiencing significant learning needs must be supported early by community intervention centres that provide multidisciplinary early intervention services.

It is important for a child who is facing significant early literacy learning difficulties to be supported by specialised interventional services. Otherwise, the literacy gap will continue to widen and the child will struggle more with basic literacy in primary school.

School preparedness for pre-schoolers encompasses non-academic soft skills and early-academic skills. This holistic approach will lay a strong foundation for learning when a child transits to primary school.

Tuition centres do play an important role in supporting students academically, but there are limitations when it comes to specific learning needs.

It is important for parents to understand their child's needs and make informed decisions to make their learning journey enjoyable and fruitful.

Suthasha Kelly Bijay

Pre-school Programme Manager

Dyslexia Association of Singapore

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