Press Releases

Launch of Inclusive Support Programme (InSP) Pilot

16 Oct 2021


Following the recommendations of the Inclusive Preschool Workgroup (IPWG) in April 2021, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) will pilot a new Inclusive Support Programme (InSP) in seven preschools, starting with the first preschool from October 2021. The InSP pilot seeks to strengthen inclusion and support for children with developmental needs within preschools, and is part of ECDA’s continued efforts to provide a good start for every child. A summary of recommendations by the IPWG can be found in Annex A.

2.     The InSP helps children with developmental needs aged three to six, who require medium levels of early intervention support, to access both early childhood education and early intervention within a preschool. The inclusive learning environment that is suitably resourced under the InSP can benefit all children. As children learn and play alongside peers of diverse abilities, they will develop important social-emotional competencies as well as collaborative and communicative skills.

3.     Currently, many children with developmental needs already attend preschool, while separately attending intervention sessions at early intervention centres. The InSP will therefore not only provide integrated support, but also reduce the need for these children to travel to different centres on a regular basis.

InSP Pilot Providers and Sites

4.     The InSP will be piloted at seven preschools across Singapore under four providers: the Ministry of Education (MOE), PAP Community Foundation (PCF), NTUC First Campus (NFC), and Busy Bees Singapore. These providers and preschools were carefully selected based on an assessment of (a) their experience and expertise in providing early childhood and early intervention services; (b) their understanding of the key InSP features; and (c) their ability to fulfil the InSP service requirements. The InSP pilot will be rolled out in the seven selected preschools progressively from October 2021 to June 2022. The InSP pilot is expected to run for three years, for each pilot preschool. See Annex B for the full list of providers/preschools piloting the InSP, and their respective target launch dates.

5.     An InSP Technical Assistance (TA) team1 led by the Community Psychology Hub (CPH)2 has been set up to support these providers. The TA team will (a) provide the preschools with coaching support on day-to-day implementation challenges; (b) facilitate training sessions for preschool management and staff to deepen their expertise on evidence-based early intervention and inclusive practices; and (c) build up a professional learning community for preschools to learn from one another. This ensures that preschools under the InSP pilot are better positioned to deliver quality services.

1Members of the InSP TA team constitute CPH staff, as well as local and international experts with cross-disciplinary expertise in early childhood, early intervention and inclusive practices. Locally, this includes members from AWWA, Rainbow Centre, and KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH).
2The CPH provides psychological and research services in collaboration with their partners in the social service and public sector, to care for persons with vulnerabilities alongside their families in the community.

Key Features of the InSP Pilot

6.     The seven pilot preschools will implement the following features of the InSP:

a. Child – Supporting children's early intervention needs within the preschool
    i. Specialist support from full-time early intervention professionals and visiting allied health professionals will be made available in InSP preschools, so that children no longer need to travel between preschools and early intervention centres. Intervention hours under the InSP will be delivered within preschool hours, and will be similar to those of the Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC), ranging from 5-12 hours weekly.
   ii. Each child under the InSP will be supported by an Individual Programme Plan (IPP), developed in consultation with family members and relevant professionals. The IPP details the child's education and intervention goals. Each child’s IPP will be executed through in-class support and/or pull-out sessions, depending on the child’s needs and progress made. This will be in addition to the current progress monitoring that preschools provide for all children.

b. Class – Cultivating inclusive practices in the classroom
   i. Early childhood educators and early intervention professionals will co-plan and co-teach classes and learning activities using differentiated teaching practices, so that children with developmental needs are able to learn according to their pace and abilities, and benefit from a richer classroom experience.
     ii. Early childhood educators and early intervention professionals will also work with the allied health professionals to embed early intervention strategies into children's daily preschool routines.

c. Centre – Fostering an inclusive ecosystem
   i. ​InSP preschools will comprise a diverse mix of children, with typically developing children still forming the majority. This ensures that classroom dynamics remain led by typically developing children, while catering to children with developmental needs.
   ii. InSP preschools will step up efforts to build an environment conducive towards inclusion, by cultivating an inclusive organisational culture and modifying the physical preschool environment where appropriate. This could be in the form of larger walkways and a variety of gym equipment, among other features.

d. Community – Families as core partners
  i. ​To foster family-centre partnerships, InSP preschools will actively engage parents and/or caregivers and involve them in their child’s progress and development.
   ​ii. InSP preschools will provide support such as consultations, counselling, and training or workshops to help families develop skills to embed early intervention routines in the home environment.

7.     ECDA will work closely with the TA team and pilot preschools to review and refine the above key features. A summary of the InSP pilot sites and features, with additional information for parents on how to enrol in the InSP, can be found at Annex C.

8.     Children enrolled in the InSP will pay an additional fee for the programme3 on top of preschool fees. The maximum monthly out-of-pocket (OOP) fees for the InSP are aligned to those for EIPIC. Please refer to Annex Dfor more information on the OOP fees.

9.     ECDA will be commissioning an evaluation study to review the effectiveness, sustainability and scalability of the InSP pilot. The study will also inform possible areas for improvement in service delivery design and capability-building initiatives.

Making Preschools More Inclusive for All Children

10.     The InSP pilot is a crucial step towards the vision of enabling children with diverse abilities to learn, play, contribute and participate meaningfully alongside each other. ECDA remains committed to work with partners to make preschools more inclusive, and to provide a good start for every child.

11.     Ms Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Social and Family Development, and Education, said, “The InSP pilot is part of a concerted effort by ECDA and our partners to enhance inclusion and support for children with developmental needs. Through this initiative, we aim to cultivate an inclusive environment from the early years that embraces each child’s unique abilities, and enables all children to learn together, develop friendships, thrive and feel a sense of belonging. When we start young, we have the best chance to foster shared values. I hope parents, preschools and early intervention providers can give their fullest support in making our preschools more inclusive.”

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