Singapore's first longitudinal kindergarten study aims to track children as they progress through the school system

Study leader Ng Ee Lynn (second from right) with researchers (from left) Beth O' Brien, Nirmala Karuppiah, Kenneth Poon and Fannie Khng. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Kindergarten Impact Project (Skip) is the Republic's first large-scale longitudinal study of pre-school children.

It followed a cohort of 1,537 children from 80 pre-schools (childcare centres, anchor operator and non-anchor operator kindergartens and Ministry of Education kindergartens) as they progressed from Kindergarten 1 (K1) in 2015 to Primary 1 (P1) in 2017.

As part of the study, the research team - comprising Dr Ng Ee Lynn, Dr Beth O'Brien, Dr Nirmala Karuppiah, Associate Professor Kenneth Poon and Dr Fannie Khng - conducted primary data collection and completed the analysis in July 2020.

• The aim of Skip was to understand how factors related to the school, home, and child, interact to influence children's development and future learning.

It also aimed to identify how these factors contributed to the successful development of English and Mother Tongue language and literacy skills.

• The Skip team used a variety of data collection methods which included one-on-one child assessments, parent and teacher surveys. The team also used tools to assess the quality of teacher-child interactions and the quality of learning environment and materials.

The team hopes to continue tracking the Skip children at later years, at Primary 5 and how they perform at the Primary School Leaving Examination. Among the questions the researchers hope to address in the future are:

• The performance of Skip children "later in life" in terms of their socio-emotional, physical, and academic well-being.

• Factors in early childhood that can predict how well a child does in later years - including the home and pre-school environment, and literacy, numeracy and executive functioning skills of children at K1.

• Factors that may moderate the children's developmental trajectories, including the quality of school environment and peer influences.

The team will also study the effect of initiatives such as the Learning Support Programme, which involves additional support for children lagging behind their peers.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.