Fifteen new government-run kindergartens will be set up by 2016 in heartland estates with the first five opening early next year, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Wednesday.
The kindergartens, said Heng, will be opened at community spaces like void decks or near primary schools, and will be backed by the latest research in early childhood education and best teaching methods.
The exact locations of the schools will be released in two weeks’ time.
Heng said that his ministry was prepared to go beyond building these 15 centres but how many and how fast they are built will depend on their assessment of the situation and feedback from parents.
“MOE and the Ministry of Social and Family Development will work together with other operators through the Early Childhood Development Agency to expand capacity and increase standards of education,” he said.
At a primary level, more will be done for special needs students, in particular those suffering from the mild learning disability, dyslexia.
A reading programme for dyslexic children will be extended to 22 more primary schools by the end of 2013, with another 340 primary school children expected to benefit.
Heng said that the two-year reading programme has shown encouraging findings since it was first introduced in 20 primary schools last year, with pupils showing improvement in their reading and speaking skills.
An educational guidance service for parents who have children with special needs will be implemented by MOE so that they can receive advice on available options and how to apply for support for their children.
Finally, Heng said that MOE will be bringing back the Chinese Good Citizen series of textbooks for Character and Citizenship Education in 2014.
The textbook will be updated with Singapore stories and lessons and come with suggested activities of how parents can get involved in their children’s character development.