SINGAPORE: The KidSTART programme to help young children from low-income families will be expanded to another three regions, announced Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling on Friday (Mar 5).
It will now include Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Panjang and Bukit Batok.
KidStart, which was introduced in 2016, provides additional support to children up to six years old from low-income families.
The programme was first piloted in Kreta Ayer, Bukit Merah, Taman Jurong, Boon Lay and Geylang Serai, benefitting more than 1,000 children in these regions, said the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA).
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It was later expanded to Woodlands and Bedok, with ECDA announcing last year that KidSTART will also include Ang Mo Kio, Sembawang and Yishun in 2021.
To support the expansion of the programme, a dedicated KidSTART Singapore office has been set up which will partner an anchor social service agency in each region.
MORE MOTHER TONGUE LANGUAGE TRAINING FOR EDUCATORS
Ms Sun also announced during her ministry’s Committee of Supply speech that ECDA and the National Institute of Early Childhood Development will introduce a course for Chinese language teaching later this year, as part of efforts to support the professional development of educators.
Educators will be taught Chinese language skills and knowledge of the local Chinese culture and heritage, and be equipped with pedagogies to help children enjoy learning the language.
The non-compulsory course for Malay and Tamil language was rolled out in 2019, with a S$2,000 training bonus given to in-service teachers who take up mother tongue language teaching and complete the course.
Previously, educators could only receive the bonus if they underwent training by Dec 31, 2020. ECDA will now extend the qualifying window for Malay and Tamil language educators to Dec 31, 2022.
Educators enrolled in the new certificate for Chinese language teaching, and who go on to teach Chinese language, are also eligible for the bonus.