The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and Temasek Foundation (TF) in partnership with Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) and Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) launched today, the first multi-disciplinary training programme for practitioners who support the development of children from low-income families. 

The Multi-Disciplinary Programme for Enhancing Child Development funded by TF aims to strengthen the capabilities of KidSTART practitioners working with young children from low-income families with competencies across child development, health and social work domains for effective early childhood intervention. This will enable the practitioners to better meet the multiple needs of young children, support their holistic development and ensure that they have a strong foundation for a good start in life. 

KidSTART practitioners provide upstream early childhood development support to children from low-income families from prenatal up to the 6 years across the child development, health and social work domains[1]. The training is in tandem with KidSTART plans to scale up its reach to 5,000 more children in the next three years. 

The multi-disciplinary training programme comprises two parts, (i) a foundational training programme conducted by NYP; and (ii) an in-service training programme conducted by SUSS. TF has committed $1.15 million to support the training of 300 practitioners over 3 years. The Foundational Training, conducted by NYP in collaboration with KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and National Institute of Early Childhood Development, provides practitioners with limited or no prior work experience with young children from low-income families, with a better understanding of the challenges faced by the families. 

Basic concepts and theories around child development, health and nutrition and social work domains will be covered in applied learning. Through dialogue sessions with experienced professionals from the healthcare, early childhood and social service sectors, practitioners will also be able to better appreciate the ecosystem of community support needed to meet the diverse needs of young children from low-income families. These insights will help practitioners to provide integrated and holistic support to KidSTART families. 

Experienced practitioners may deepen their capabilities through the in-service training conducted by SUSS. The specialised training programme which comprises seven[2] Continuing Education and Training (CET) modules aims to equip KidSTART practitioners with deeper knowledge and skills to effectively support KidSTART families. A completion of all Continuing Education and Training (CET) modules will culminate in the issuance of a Certificate in Child and Family Intervention (CCFI). Other social service or early childhood practitioners working with young children from low-income families may also sign up for the programme. More information on the foundational and in-service training programme can be found in the Annex. 

Minister of State for Social and Family Development, Sun Xueling, participated in one of the foundational training sessions over Zoom with representatives from TF, NYP and SUSS. She said, “The early years of a child are very important in setting a strong foundation for their later years. A child’s development is contingent on many factors such as health and nutrition, family support and opportunities for learning. As we expand KidSTART to help more low-income families, we will have to ensure that those working with young children have the right knowledge and skills to support KidSTART children and their families holistically. We are thus grateful to partners like Temasek Foundation, Singapore University of Social Sciences and Nanyang Polytechnic for partnering us in the development of this new multi-disciplinary training programme and training KidSTART professionals to best support our low-income families and children.” 

Mr Richard Magnus, Deputy Chairman of Temasek Foundation and Chairman of Temasek Foundation Cares, said “The experiences from Temasek Foundation KIDS 0-3 and KidSTART have shown that practitioners working with low-income families with young children require multi-disciplinary competencies to perform their roles effectively. Temasek Foundation recognized the need to share the learnings with the wider community. We are very pleased to have partnered ECDA to develop this structured curriculum and training programme, and we hope to see it scale up to benefit more early childhood practitioners in the coming years.” 

KidSTART Home Visitor Sua Swee Lee, who participated in the multi-disciplinary training programme said, “Parents of young children from low-income families are faced with many competing demands and sometimes overlook the importance of early childhood development, health and nutrition and benefits of enrolling their children in preschool early. Coming from an early childhood background, the new multi-disciplinary training programme helped to deepen my knowledge in areas that I was unfamiliar with, such as concepts and principles guiding social work practices and how to apply these in my work. I also gain a better understanding of the ecosystem of support and after the training, I feel more confident to support our KidSTART children.” 

 

Annex: Multi Disciplinary Training

 


1. This includes knowledge and skills-based competencies such as rapport building and communication skills; parenting, caregiving and caregiver-child relationships; issues related to social and family functioning, multi-disciplinary collaboration, etc.

2. Current, 5 CET modules are available.