Bright Futures For Every Child And Their Family
Families are at the heart of what NTUC First Campus (NFC) does. To support more working families in all Singaporean neighbourhoods, NFC will offer 4,000 more preschool places by 2025. It will also further inclusivity in classrooms, enabling more children with developmental needs to learn alongside their peers.
More Preschool Places And An Enhanced Curriculum
NFC shared its expansion plans to enable bright futures for every child and their family at its 45th anniversary celebration at My First Skool at 6 New Punggol Road, which was attended by the Minister for Education, Mr Chan Chun Sing.
As part of NFC’s enduring mission to provide excellent childcare services to young families in all neighbourhoods, it will offer up to 4,000 new preschool places for children by 2024, bringing the total number of preschool places to more than 30,000 across more than 170 preschool centres.
NFC will offer up to 4,000
new preschool places for children by 2024
Bringing the total number of preschool places to more than 30,000 across
It will augment its preschool curricula to build foundational skills of the future in the ‘NFC Child’. Beyond strong fundamentals in core maths and literacy, NFC will nurture three vital foundational skills for a lifetime of growth: relational skills; global citizenship; and digital intelligence skills.
NFC will also grow the impact of its Outdoor School Singapore (OSS), which delivers outdoor learning programmes to children in NFC preschools and from the general public. OSS aims to engage over 7,000 children on these outdoor adventure sessions in 2023, up from 2,000 in 2022.
The Positive Impact Of NFC’s Child Support Model
A three-year research study by NFC and the National Institute of Education (NIE) on NFC’s flagship Child Support Model has proven the Model to be effective in uplifting the lives of children and families who require additional support. The children who participated in the study are also academically, socially and emotionally ready for primary school.
The Model was developed in 2016 by NFC to provide an integrated approach in addressing diverse needs of children and their families.
Every year, over 5,000 children from low-income backgrounds from My First Skool (MFS) preschools and their families receive help under the Model.
To date, 30,000 children and their families from 150 MFS preschools have benefited from the Model.
The research study, which concluded in 2021, found that the Child Support Model has helped children from low-income families narrow the gap and keep pace with their peers in language and cognitive development. These children experienced higher teacher-child ratio during Child Support programmes, and received targeted support according to their needs. The children made progress in language and cognitive development, and showed readiness for primary school.
In addition, the well-being of children and their families was supported by NFC’s Child Enabling Executives (CEE). The CEEs readily provided assistance, such as financial support, well-being programmes and parenting workshops, and bridged families to relevant resources in the community. The CEEs also empowered families to be more confident and competent in improving their situations in life, which in turn created a positive impact on the well-being and learning of their children.
In September 2022, Ms Rita Lim, Learning Support Manager at NFC’s Child Support Services Department, shared the findings with early childhood professionals alongside NIE’s Dr Xie Huichao at the Division of Early Childhood Conference in Chicago, United States.
Ooi Poh Kim
Mother of Kevier Loe
“I cannot help my son much with his studies as I need to tend to my stall at the hawker centre every day. I take comfort knowing that there will be teachers to support my son’s learning at school. ”
Ng Chee Meng
National Trades Union Congress
“NTUC First Campus’s Child Support Model has improved the learning outcomes of children from low-income families. Through the Model’s comprehensive approach, I am heartened to know that it has uplifted the lives of not only these children, but their working parents and caregivers as well. With the peace of mind knowing that their children are well taken care of, they have the confidence and space to improve their family circumstances, through securing better jobs with better wages and prospects.”
Piloting The Inclusive Support Programme At My First Skool
In February 2022, NFC piloted the Inclusive Support Programme (InSP) at two My First Skool (MFS) centres – Blk 248 Kim Keat Link and Blk 406 Woodlands – benefitting 11 children with developmental needs. Previously, some of these children would have to shuttle between their preschool and the Early Intervention Programme for Infants & Children (EIPIC) centre thrice a week for their classes.
The InSP ensures in-school support for children requiring medium levels of early intervention support at their preschools. With differentiated teaching practices, the early intervention professionals and early childhood educators will plan and teach classes together, while tailoring the lessons to the children’s learning abilities. When deemed necessary, visiting allied health professionals will also provide specialist support to the children.
The two MFS centres have also set aside a room each for the customised sessions by the full-time early interventionists who support the children under the programme.
Wong Sit Wai
Mother of Yap Jia Kai
“The programme is very good. Jia Kai can now recognise all capital letters and small letters. He also loves to go to school.”
Mother of Muhammad Fahmi Bin Muhammad Faizal
“The InSP is very helpful because Fahmi can now do all his learning at the same place, and he will not be missing lessons at MFS. Previously, a bus would take Fahmi to and from the EIPIC centre thrice a week for classes, which is a lot of time spent on commuting.”
Chief Child Support Officer,
NTUC First Campus
“InSP not only benefits these children and their families, but also the preschool ecosystem. Typically developing children can build positive relationships with children of diverse abilities without compromising on their own development, and the early childhood educators also gain skills to better support children with developmental needs in their class.”
Augmenting NFC’s Child Support Model With Mental Well-being Support
Children with parents and guardians with poor mental health are significantly more likely to have poorer general health. They are also more likely to have adverse childhood experiences, such as parental divorce, trauma, and nutritional and financial concerns. Thus, addressing caregiver mental health is absolutely critical in ensuring the well-being of our children as we navigate a post-pandemic world.
In line with the increase in national awareness of mental well-being in Singapore, NFC’s Child Support Services (CSS) Department has included Mental Health support under its Child Support Model. With the larger goal of strengthening the resilience of parents and guardians of children from low-income and vulnerable families, and the Child Enabling Executives (CEEs) who provide support for these families at My First Skool preschool centres, NFC has launched a series of workshops as part of a broader initiative to focus on their mental well-being.
In April 2022, NFC launched mental health training for its CEEs, who are first points of contact for low-income and vulnerable families, sharing techniques and approaches to engage parents who are having trouble making changes. These workshops focused on assessing and managing parents and guardians struggling with making healthy changes, and self care. CEEs continue to receive ongoing consultation after the workshop, so that they can master these skills, and in turn, impart them to parents who will be able to support their children’s socio-emotional development at home.
In May 2022, NFC ran workshops for parents and guardians, sharing targeted and useful techniques to help them better manage stress when they care for their children at home. Its CEEs continued to follow up with these parents after the workshops to support them in the mastery of these skills.
Child Enabling Executive
NTUC First Campus
“The workshop has helped me to set practical and achievable goals with the families I support. Parents also found it easier to open up and share their challenges with me upon setting the goals.”
Dr Ong Mian Li
Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologist & Mental Well-being Consultant
“By creating more avenues for peer interaction, equipping caregivers with skills, and finally equipping the staff that care for these caregivers, we create stronger virtuous cycles of reciprocal support. In the long run, we increase mastery, reduce stigma, and ultimately serve to build a stronger mental health surveillance ecosystem where we are better equipped to look out for one another’s well-being.”