The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) in Singapore has introduced a pilot programme for low-income and vulnerable young children, to enable them to have a good start in life. Called KidSTART, the programme coordinates and strengthens support across agencies, extends new forms of support, and monitors the progress of children from birth onwards.
Building an Ecosystem of Support around the Child
KidSTART aims to build an “ecosystem of support” around the child. Multi-disciplinary professionals and the community will work collaboratively together, and with the parents, to respond effectively to the changing needs of the child and his family, and to support the child in achieving age-appropriate development in his immediate settings.
Research has shown that experiences in a child’s early years can significantly influence his physical, cognitive and social development. In particular, children from vulnerable circumstances may face developmental challenges compared to their peers. On the other hand, a stronger parent-child relationship and holistic early childhood development can bring about positive impact on the child’s lifelong outcomes and narrow the developmental gaps. KidSTART aims to provide upstream support and create a conducive environment to give vulnerable children a good start in life.
The eligibility criteria of KidSTART are:
- Singapore Citizen children aged up to 6 years old
- Low-income household
- Residing in one of the pilot regions. Families outside the pilot regions requiring assistance can continue to tap on the existing programmes and services that support children and families in need.