Fernvale Primary School and the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore's (Minds) Fernvale Gardens School yesterday launched a new buddy reading programme to commemorate World Down Syndrome Day.
Since 2010, the two schools have been linked by a satellite partnership - as well as a physical gate, known as the "Friendship Gate" - that aims to facilitate interactions between pupils.
The new reading programme, called Eat And Read With Me, will be rolled out later this month to help Fernvale Gardens pupils improve their literacy.
Fernvale Primary School's library has been moved to the ground floor to allow for easier access, and was also officially opened yesterday.
It contains a set of books supplied by Fernvale Gardens School.
2,400 Number of clients served by Minds, 30 per cent of whom are diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
At the launch, guest of honour Puan Noor Aishah, wife of Singapore's first president Yusof Ishak, joined some 150 pupils from the schools, many of whom tied friendship knots at the gate.
Fernvale Primary School allows pupils from Fernvale Gardens School to use its facilities such as the canteen and library.
The pupils also get to interact during sports activities, dance performances and craft sessions.
Fernvale Gardens School's principal Chan Kwai Foong said: "It's unique that in this satellite partnership, our schools are located side by side.
She added: "For safety reasons, we find the gate very useful. There's no need to cross the road."
Fernvale Primary School pupil Anshu Velagala, 10, said he enjoys playing basketball with Fernvale Gardens pupils during recess, and would also teach them how to play floorball.
The Primary 5 pupil said: "They are very nice, active and kind towards us. They make jokes and take their work seriously.
"At first it was a bit tough communicating, but I tried my best by smiling and using hand signals."
Anshu added that he was excited about the new buddy reading programme.
"We'll be able to read together with them, and help them understand books better," he said.
Minds serves nearly 2,400 adult and children clients, of whom about 30 per cent are diagnosed with Down syndrome, according to its president Jeffrey Tan.