Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar
Ang Mo Kio GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development
(a) what percentage of five- and six-year old Singaporeans and permanent residents are enrolled in half-day or full-day pre-school; and
(b) for children who are not enrolled in pre-school, what actions are taken on the parents or guardians and what are the reasons given for not enrolling their children in pre-school.
In 2015, over 90% of Singaporean and permanent resident children aged five to six years were enrolled in half-day or full-day pre-schools.
Some Singaporean and permanent resident children may not attend pre-school due to their family’s circumstances. For example, there are those who are living overseas, or whose parents prefer other options for their child’s development. By age six, close to 99% of Singaporean children would have had some pre-school experience.
We recognise the importance of the pre-school years in a child’s development, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. As such, ECDA works actively with the community to reach out to Singaporean children who are not attending pre-school by age five. Our community outreach partners conduct home visits and work closely with the family to overcome some of the barriers to the child’s pre-school participation.
KidSTART, a new initiative announced at Budget this year, will further enhance efforts to reach out to and ensure children from low income and vulnerable families have early access to appropriate health, learning and developmental support, including attending quality pre-school. We will pilot KidSTART in the second half of 2016.