NTUC First Campus and National Institute of Education embark on a 3-year research study on holistic Child Support Model for pre-school children from low-income families


05 December 2018

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The study will help pre-school operators and policy makers understand the impact of first-of-its-kind Child Support Model in addressing social and developmental needs of these children, and its positive effects on inequality and social mobility issues.

Singapore, 5 December 2018 – Pre-school operator NTUC First Campus (NFC) will partner National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore on a joint three-year research to study the effects of the former’s Child Support Model on the well-being and learning of pre-schoolers from low-income families.

Mr Ng Chee Meng, Secretary-General, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office witnessed the inaugural signing of the Research Collaboration Agreement between Mr Chan Tee Seng, Chief Executive Officer of NFC, and Professor David Hung, Dean of NIE Office of Education Research held at the My First Skool (MFS) pre-school centre at Yung An Road today.

Child Support Model is a Game Changer for the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) sector in Singapore

Started in 2016, the NFC flagship Child Support Model was developed in response to the needs of pre-schoolers in NFC and their families. It seeks to provide social, learning and financial assistance programmes to address their diverse needs.

NFC is the only pre-school to develop its own holistic and integrated Child Support Model. The model builds on MFS’ high quality and accessible childcare programmes implemented across its entire network of 140 MFS pre-schools. Together, the pre-school programme and the Child Support Model offer a game changing model to give children from low-income families a good start in life.

Today, NFC has 70 Child Support Professionals including Learning Support Educators, Therapists, Child Enabling Executives, Classroom Co-Facilitators and Programme Managers. The multi-disciplinary team works hand in hand with the principals, teachers and staff at MFS pre-schools to support the needs of each individual child, as well as their families.

While the focus is to support low-income families with children attending MFS pre-school centres, i.e. households earning less than $3,500 per month, the Learning Support Programmes also serve children with mild developmental or learning needs from all backgrounds.

To date, the Child Support Model has served 15,000 beneficiaries. In 2019, NFC targets to serve 3,000 beneficiaries through $7.3m worth of assistance.

First Joint Research Study for NFC and NIE

This is a research study jointly conducted by NFC and NIE. Comprising a team of two NFC early childhood researchers and six NIE researchers, the study aims to derive findings that would address issues on inequality and social mobility in Singapore.

This is the first-of-its-kind social research study initiated by a pre-school operator in Singapore, in partnership with Singapore’s national teacher education institute. This is a three-year study to collect quantitative and qualitative data from selected NFC pre-school cohorts starting next year and ends in 2021.

The study will track the well-being and learning of up to 100 children from low-income families from 10 MFS KidSTART centres, from the time they enter at K1 to their Primary 1 education journeys. The research team will also include the children’s parents, teachers, principals and Child Support Professionals as active participants in the study.

The study will evaluate before-and-after outcomes of how these children and their families’ situation have changed through the assistance and support services they receive from the Child Support Model.

The research findings will give NFC informed insights to propose new policies or changes to existing ones, as part of its regular advocacy efforts with the government.

Mrs Phoon Chew Ping, Group Child Support Officer, NFC said: “This research study demonstrates NFC’s commitment to boost social mobility through access to quality pre-school education. The study will tell the story of a Singapore approach to support pre-school children and their families from low-income backgrounds. It hopes to offer updated perspectives and builds upon empirical research and literature on supporting social mobility in Singapore.”

Mrs Phoon added: “The research findings will also help NFC to identify new areas of needs that may arise over time, and new forms of assistance to further enhance the service offerings of the Child Support Model. This will enable NFC to continue to deliver targeted actions, where they are needed most, to transform the lives of children and their families from less privileged backgrounds.”

Through NIE’s academic research expertise, the partnership will further ensure findings derived meet NFC’s objectives.

Professor David Hung, Dean of NIE Office of Education Research said: “As we approach a crucial time in Singapore’s dynamic education environment where multiple needs of learners demand greater attention and further explanations for teaching and learning, we hope to lend our long-standing education research expertise, knowledge and experience toward important evidence-informed education decisions for our local community. This partnership with NTUC First Campus also corresponds to our onward orientation in building a body of evidence to advance future education practice and professionalism. We look forward to providing meaningful outcomes toward NFC’s future plans.”

Learn more about the NTUC First Campus Child Support Model.

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