Ramping up pre-schools

Promising feedback for KidStart scheme

Azlinah Jumali and husband, Abdul Rahim Samion, with their children (from right) Nur Dini Farzana, Muhammad Raqib Faruqi, Nur Damia Rafyiqah and Muhammad Rafiq Alfaruqi, benefited from the KidStart scheme.
Azlinah Jumali and husband, Abdul Rahim Samion, with their children (from right) Nur Dini Farzana, Muhammad Raqib Faruqi, Nur Damia Rafyiqah and Muhammad Rafiq Alfaruqi, benefited from the KidStart scheme. PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

A government scheme to help disadvantaged children has received promising feedback after being piloted for a year.

KidStart offers a range of support for children aged up to six, and about 400 families are currently on the scheme.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at the National Day Rally yesterday: "Parents say that their children are more talkative and expressive, and interact much better.

"If these results are confirmed, we will scale up KidStart to benefit more children."

The support offered to those on the scheme includes home visits to teach parents about babies' nutrition and care, playgroups for those aged one to three and dedicated staff at pre-schools who focus on keeping these children in school.

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin wrote in a Facebook post last night: "(KidStart) is an initiative that is very close to my heart. When we talk of inequalities and disadvantage, we need to go way upstream to begin breaking the cycle."

DEDICATED PARTNERS

We couldn't have done this without the dedication of our KidStart practitioners and volunteers. They have been the families' teacher, partner and friend, seeing them through their brightest and darkest moments.

MINISTER FOR SOCIAL AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT TAN CHUAN-JIN, writing in a Facebook post last night.

He also commended the children's parents for their efforts, as well as the staff and volunteers involved. "We couldn't have done this without the dedication of our KidStart practitioners and volunteers. They have been the families' teacher, partner and friend, seeing them through their brightest and darkest moments," he wrote.

A taxi driver, who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan, has gone for 10 playgroup sessions with his wife and two-year-old son. Parents pick up parenting skills during these sessions, and learn how to strengthen the bond with their children.

Mr Tan, who is in his 40s, said his son is now more confident and interacts well with strangers. "My two older children had problems transiting to pre-school, and that affected my work. But when I see my youngest child now, I have peace of mind."

 

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2017, with the headline 'Promising feedback for KidStart scheme'. Print Edition | Subscribe