KidSTART is a programme for children from low-income families to enable them to have a good start in life. KidSTART programme supports parents with child development, coordinate and strengthen holistic support for families where needed, and monitors the developmental progress of children from birth onwards.

Research has shown that experiences in a child’s early years can significantly influence his physical, cognitive and social development, and these have an impact on his or her lifelong outcomes. Parents under KidSTART will be supported so that their children can benefit from warm and nurturing relationships, age-appropriate and holistic child development, and a safe and secure home environment to grow up in.

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 work together with parents to respond to the needs of the child and his family, and to support the child in achieving age-appropriate development in his immediate settings. Since 2016, KidSTART has benefitted some 1,000 children living in the current KidSTART regions of Kreta Ayer, Bukit Merah, Taman Jurong, Boon Lay and Geylang Serai. The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) will expand KidSTART to reach another 5,000 children over the next three years so that more families can benefit from the programme, starting first with Woodlands.

Eligibility Criteria of KidSTART

The eligibility criteria of KidSTART are:

  •  Singapore Citizen children aged up to 6 years old

  • Gross monthly household income of $1,900 and below or monthly per capita income of $650 and below (the monthly household income ceiling will be raised to $2,500 from April 2020)

  • Residing in a region served by KidSTART

ECDA works with key partners such as the Social Service Offices, Family Service Centres and hospitals to identify and reach out to pregnant mothers and families with infants and young children who can benefit from KidSTART. Partners would provide information on KidSTART to these families and invite them to participate in the programme.

KidSTART Programme Components

1. KidSTART Home Visitation

What is it? This consists of regular home visits to parents (or main caregivers) and their infants, from antenatal stage until the child is three years old. Parents receive support in skills and practical knowledge across areas of child growth, health and nutrition. Regular screening of the child’s development and maternal well-being across the antenatal and postnatal stages will also be conducted to identify and treat issues early. In addition, group-based activities called ‘Group Connect’ are organized for parents to provide peer support and reinforce learning from home visits. Depending on the family’s needs, the child will also be enrolled into an appropriate preschool programme. ECDA has partnered KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) to jointly deliver the Home Visitation Programme. This leverages the mutual strengths across the health and early childhood domains for a multi-disciplinary approach to KidSTART.

ECDA has partnered KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) to jointly deliver the Home Visitation Programme. This leverages the mutual strengths across the health and early childhood domains for a multi-disciplinary approach to KidSTART. From 2020, ECDA will also extend the partnership beyond KKH and include National University Hospital (NUH) to deliver the HVP.

Who conducts these visits? Depending on the point of intake, these visits will be undertaken either by home visitors from KKH or ECDA. Home visitors are professionals with qualifications and/or relevant experience in sectors such as health, early childhood or social services. They are supported by multi-disciplinary professionals, such as paediatricians and nurses, to ensure that the home visitors are able to address the needs of parents and children.

2. KidSTART Groups (Supported Playgroups)

What is it? These are weekly community-based playgroup sessions, for parents or main caregivers and their toddlers, aged 1 to 3 years old at the point of entry into KidSTART Groups. These sessions are based on the Supported Playgroups concept, and help parents and caregivers to build up skills in child development and parent-child bonding through evidence-based curricula of structured and purposeful play. Parents are provided with educational resources to reinforce their learning at home. KidSTART Group facilitators may conduct home visits for families who need additional support. Children requiring pre-school placement are supported, to find an appropriate preschool programme.

Who conducts these sessions? The sessions are delivered by ECDA-trained facilitators who have past experience working with young children and families. ECDA will work closely with community partners to set up KidSTART Groups in the different regions .

3. KidSTART Enhanced Support to Preschools 

What is it? Selected Anchor Operator pre-schools operated by PAP Community Foundation (PCF) and NTUC First Campus are provided with additional resources to improve engagement with and support for parents, and to improve the child’s school readiness. This may include addressing barriers related to poor preschool attendance and referrals to other support programmes to ensure their developmental needs are addressed. Eligible children who are currently enrolled in these preschools will be included in this component.

Who delivers the support? Child Enabling Executives are deployed to the selected preschools to work closely with the teachers, parents, and local community partners to build a strong network of support for KidSTART children.

Growing Together with KidSTART

The Growing Together with KidSTART initiative aims to deepen partnerships between the community and Government in giving children on the KidSTART programme a good start in life. Under this new initiative, corporates and individuals who wish to foster deeper and more sustained giving relationships with KidSTART children and their families can provide regular contributions or volunteer with KidSTART. The contributions would go towards providing KidSTART children with essential items such as milk, diapers and learning resources, cover their transport costs to attend preschool or KidSTART programmes, as well as top-up their Child Development Accounts (CDA)1.

Interested corporations and individuals can approach ComChest to contribute to KidSTART through monetary donations or regular volunteering via http://www.comchest.gov.sg/growingtogether​.

For more enquiries, please contact us at contact@ecda.gov.sg​.

1CDA Top-Ups will be matched by the G​overnment, up to the CDA matched savings caps.

Information updated as at March 2021​​​​​​​​

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