SINGAPORE: Young children will be able to experience more collaborative and inclusive activities at two new educational centres at Fernvale that were launched on Monday (Jul 10).
The largest of each kind, NTUC’s My First Skool and AWWA Early Intervention Centre (EIC) - a non-profit organisation - are expected to meet the needs of the growing population of young children in the Sengkang area.
The centres are co-located to allow for flexibility in planning activities. Children from My First Skool will get to buddy the kids from EIC@Fernvale and interact with them through play sessions at the shared sand pits, playground and indoor gym. The aim is to allow social interactions between children with and without special needs. However, they will not be attending educational classes together.
Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, who was the guest of honour at the opening, said: "Collaborations will inculcate acceptance and understanding of peers with special needs, and will go a long way towards achieving a more inclusive society".
The new My First Skool will provide an additional 520 childcare places, while EIA@Fernvale will open 300 places for children who require early intervention while involving them in activities in a mainstream school environment.
JR Karthikeyan, director of AWWA Education and Development, Disability Support, Family and Caregiver Support, said: “We hope to enhance learning opportunities not just for children from both centres but also facilitate learning opportunities for teachers and educators".
NEW STEM PROGRAMME FOR PRESCHOOLERS
Besides the collaborative activities, children at this My First Skool can also look forward to a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programme offered at this location.
Under a three-year partnership with Science Centre’s KidsSTOP, it will develop a programme that focuses on experiential learning through science.
This will be done by exposing children to STEM concepts through learning stations set up at the preschool. Science kits will be on display for children and parents to use and explore.
Teachers will also be trained to design STEM-based learning programmes for the kids by working alongside educators from KidsSTOP.
Dr Lee Song Choon, deputy director of KidsSTOP and Life Sciences, Science Centre Singapore, said: "KidsSTOP hopes to encourage and inspire young minds to explore the environment in a more in-depth manner."