Understanding your role as an ICO

1: Understanding your role as an ICO

1.1 Who are ICOs?

Starting from the second half of 2023, every preschool will appoint an inclusion coordinator to identify and support children with developmental needs.”

- Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Social and Family Development

An ICO is an appointed staff nominated by the centre leader or HQ, to oversee and coordinate the support for children with Developmental Needs (DN). It is a requirement under the Code of Practice for every preschool to appoint an existing staff to undertake this role.

ICOs play an important role in strengthening inclusive practice at their preschool so that children with varying levels of DN can have the best start in their learning. Hence, it is important for an ICO to be:

Familiar with centre processes;

Adept at fostering connections with relevant stakeholders (i.e., centre head, educators, and caregivers); and

Possess comprehensive knowledge of children with DN.

1.2 What will your ICO journey look like?

A. Meet all ICO requirements:

To qualify for nomination as an ICO, you must meet all the following ICO requirements:

  • L2(EL) certification,
  • At least two years of relevant Early Childhood (EC) experience,
  • Be fully employed at the centre and
  • A positive attitude and disposition to support children with DN.

B. Attend ICO Pre-appointment training

This course equips and prepares ICO to collaborate with educators to flag out children with potential needs for further assessment and connect EC educators and parents to the relevant EI support and resources.

It is mandatory for those who would be appointed as ICO to attend the pre-appointment training and obtain an e-certificate.

For more information on the course and registration, you may refer to the Social Service Institute (SSI) portal here. Training can be counted towards CPD hours!

C. Receive ICO appointment letter

After you have met all the requirements and successfully passed the assessment by obtaining Competent (‘C’) status and received an e-cert, your centre may appoint you as ICO at designated centre via ONE@ECDA*, to receive an ICO appointment letter.

*It is your centre/operator’s responsibility to ensure that the formal appointment of ICO is reflected on ONE@ECDA.

D. Attend Community of Practice (COP) by regional Therapy Team

The regional Communities of Practice (COP) is a platform which allows ICO to share their experiences and learn best practice from like-minded professionals. ICO may also use this platform to seek feedback from the Therapy Teams.
COP sessions are conducted by Therapy Teams in 2 modes – Seminar (S) and Small Learning Circles (SLC).

  • Session information will be disseminated directly by respective Therapy Teams, and you may register for a COP session through CPD module on ONE@ECDA. If you have any queries regarding the COP sessions, you may contact your region’s Therapy Team:
  • When registering for COP, please ensure that you have registered for the Therapy Team’s COP that serves your centre’s region.
  • We recommend all ICOs to attend 1 COP session every quarter as part of their continuous learning; COP can be counted towards CPD hours!
  • Therapy Teams also provide online support for ICOs through various platforms (e.g., Padlet, Telegram, Learning Management System etc). At these platforms, ICOs can receive case-specific advice, participate in group discussions, network with other ICOs and access relevant resources.

E. Refer to other support and resources for ICO

Beyond the COP, we encourage you to continuously upgrade your skills as an ICO. You may do so by taking up an inclusive practice related Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses or a Certificate in Inclusive Practice (CIP).

Continue to broaden your understanding of the benefits of Early Intervention (EI), the EI landscape in Singapore, and equip yourself with knowledge to support parents of children who require additional assistance.

1.3 What is your role as an ICO?

As an ICO, these are your key roles:

If you are keen to develop yourself further as an ICO, do check out Domain 5 on Developing Yourself as an ICO.