September 7, 2021

Parents say all children benefit from inclusive pre-schools, have better social skills

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Kindle Garden, started by social service agency Awwa, takes in about 70 children a year with a ratio of 70 typical to 30 children with special needs, said principal Sandy Koh. It usually has a wait list for children with special needs.

She said: “We are heartened to see others join us in this space because we believe children of every ability and talent should have access to quality education in a common and conducive environment.”

An inclusive pre-school benefits not just children with additional needs, but typically developing children as well, said experts.

National Institute of Education associate dean of education research Kenneth Poon said that having classmates with special needs helps to develop children’s socioemotional skills.

He added: “Inclusive education from a young age also serves as a platform to nurture empathy.

“A positive interaction between a child with developmental needs and his or her classmates will develop a sense of comfort and welcome that persons with special needs require to participate in society and community activities.”

Associate Professor Poon is one of the co-chairs of the inclusive pre-school work group, which earlier this year put forth recommendations to improve inclusive education here.

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