KidSTART is a pilot programme for low-income and vulnerable young children, to enable them to have a good start in life. The pilot coordinates and strengthens support across agencies, extends new forms of support, and monitors the 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. 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.


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. KidSTART has been rolled out since July 2016, and about 1,000 children living in the pilot sites – Kreta Ayer, Bukit Merah, Taman Jurong, Boon Lay and Geylang Serai – are expected to benefit from the pilot programme.


Eligibility Criteria of KidSTART

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 

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) works with key partners such as the Social Service Offices, Family Service Centres and hospitals to identify and reach out to families with infants and young children who can benefit from KidSTART. Partners would contact suitable families to inform them about KidSTART, and seek their participation.


KidSTART Programme Components

1.    KidSTART Home Visitation

        What is it? This consists of regular home visits to parents (or main caregivers) and their
        infants, until the child is three years old. Parents will 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 detect and treat issues early. Group-based activities called ‘Group Connect’ are
        also organized for parents to provide peer support. Depending on the family’s needs, the child
        will also be enrolled into an appropriate preschool programme.     

        Who conducts these visits? Depending on the point of intake, these visits will be undertaken
        either by home visitors from KK Hospital or ECDA. The home visitors are supported by
disciplinary professionals, such as paediatricians and nurses, who may provide
        guidance or occasionally accompany the home visitors in visits.

2.    KidSTART Groups (Supported Playgroups)  

       What is it? These are weekly community-based playgroup sessions, called
       ‘KidSTART Groups’, and are meant for parents or main caregivers and their children, aged
       up to three years old. These sessions are based on the Supported Playgroups concept, and
       seeks to build up parental skills in child development and parent-child bonding through
       evidence-based curricula of structured and purposeful play. Parents will also get to bring
       home educational resources to reinforce their learning. KidSTART Group facilitators may
       conduct home visits for families who need additional support, and facilitate the child’s
       placement in an appropriate preschool programme.  

       Who conducts these sessions? The sessions are delivered by ECDA-trained trainers called
       KidSTART Group facilitators. ECDA will work closely with community partners to set up
       KidSTART Groups in pilot sites.

3.    KidSTART Enhanced Support to Preschools 

       What is it? This is a new model of support piloted in selected Anchor Operator pre-schools
       operated by PAP Community Foundation (PCF) and NTUC First Campus. Selected centres 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 with the children and their families.

As KidSTART is still in a pilot phase, the programme components are for families staying within 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. For example, they can approach the Social Service Offices, if they require social assistance, or contact preschools or ECDA if they require a preschool place. There are also various preschool subsidies to help low-income parents defray the cost of preschool.

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

Information updated as at 26 January 201​7
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