PAP Community Foundation celebrates milestones and introduces initiatives to empower the community at its annual Family Day

Its various support programmes are in line with the Forward SG initiative, where PCF will further uplift the community through Sparkletots, Sparkle Care and Sparkle Charity

Singapore, 22 October 2023 – PAP Community Foundation (PCF) announced today the launch of several initiatives that will further benefit the community and pave the way for a more inclusive and innovative future for every PCF Sparkletots child.

Among its achievements and new programmes, PCF has embarked on a research collaboration to ensure a smoother transition to formal schooling for all children, and a programme to provide a personalised and supportive learning environment to children who require additional assistance in their schools. Through providing a comprehensive education experience with its new initiatives, PCF ensures that no child is left behind in their education journey.

The initiatives were officially announced at PCF’s Family Day 2023, which took place at the recently opened Bird Paradise, graced by the Guest-of-Honour, Mr. Lawrence Wong, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Finance. Mr. Wong took the stage to announce the collaboration with the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS), an institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and the National University of Singapore (NUS), along with the adoption of the Development Support-Plus (DS-Plus) Programme – a pioneering initiative developed by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) that aims to foster a more inclusive and accessible learning environment for PCF Sparkletots children requiring Early Intervention (EI).

Bridging the gaps in fulfilling children’s needs

PCF is committed to ensuring that all children are ready for formal schooling after their journey at Sparkletots. Through a 2-year collaboration with A*STAR’s SICS and NUS from July 2023
to June 2025, this initiative involves the validation of existing assessment tools, research to comprehend school readiness skills and needs, and uplifting teachers’ competency in holistic assessment and support of children.

The collaboration involves the use of the school readiness tool, which is a pre-academic screener created by researchers at NUS and A*STAR. Through interactive game-based activities, it evaluates children’s language, numeracy, social perception, memory, and impulse control, enabling teachers to pinpoint areas where additional support may be needed. This tool is already being tested in over 18 centres, benefitting more than 500 children.

As part of ensuring efficacy in accurately assessing children’s developmental progress, PCF, A*STAR’s SICS and NUS will also adopt a checklist validation against the standards established by the Nurturing Early Learners (NEL) framework and the Sparkletots curriculum.
The validation process involves A*STAR’s SICS, NUS and the PCF curriculum team examining the checklist indicators, ensuring that they align with the developmental milestone standards prescribed by qualified clinical psychologists and pediatricians, while also ensuring their alignment to the NEL framework and SparkleLIT curriculum. After the checklist indicators have been validated, they will be tested on children in Nursery, Kindergarten 1, and Kindergarten 2.

PCF teachers will implement activities corresponding to these indicators and utilise the revised checklist to evaluate the children, ensuring that the new checklist indicators are achievable for the specific age group.

The checklist validation will promote reliability and consistency when assessing children’s progress across PCF centres. The findings from this project with the various agencies will enable PCF to better understand the needs of Sparkletots children and develop more effective strategies to help them transition to formal schooling smoothly.

In line with its commitment towards inclusivity and further supporting children who require learning assistance, PCF has adopted the DS-Plus programme, impacting more children who require EI. Benefitting parents, children, and PCF’s teachers, The DS-Plus Programme is
tailored for children aged four to six, delivering targeted assistance to develop and strengthen a child’s speech, social skills, and literacy capabilities.

DS-Plus aims to support children in the transition into a mainstream education setting, where eligible children can now receive early intervention in their existing preschool environment, cultivating a seamless learning environment for all children across PCF Sparkletots. Apart from ensuring a comprehensive and individualised approach to each child’s development, EI professionals will help to support PCF’s teachers at their centres, where they will also progressively adopt EI skills and learn to integrate specific goals into the curriculum and key routines, upskilling to foster a tailored and cohesive educational experience.

PCF is redefining early childhood education with inclusivity and specialised support at its core. By 2024, PCF aims to expand the DS-Plus programme to 50 of its centres, providing DS Plus to more eligible children and ensuring every Sparkletots child receives the support they need to excel in school.

Additionally, PCF Sparkletots will offer three Mother Tongue Languages (Chinese, Malay, Tamil) across all its preschools islandwide by 2027. Currently, Chinese is taught in all its centres.

Impacting the community through Sparkle Care and PCF Charity Division

Alongside the Forward SG initiatives, PCF is making a profound impact on the community through the PCF Charity Division, aimed at enhancing the well-being of its senior citizens through Sparkle Care. Apart from its ongoing support to families with young children, PCF remains committed to empowering the community.

The PCF Charity Division continues to remain dedicated to community engagement and support, with approximately $4 million earmarked this year to reinforce assistance for and benefitting up to 26,000 underprivileged children. The initiatives include extending financial
support to children from lower-income families through its five distinct community programmes enhancing children’s living and learning environments.

With Sparkle Care, PCF is on a mission to transform elderly care and promote active ageing, taking on a proactive approach and empowering senior citizens with digital proficiency. To date, apart from around 1000 seniors benefitting from the usage of various technological devices in Sparkle Care, the transition also involves establishing four Transition Grant sites providing Active Ageing Services. These sites will be evaluated by MOH for potential conversion into four Active Ageing Centres by first quarter 2023.

Speaking at the event Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said: “PCF’s services play a vital role in our shared mission to uplift and empower families, ensuring that all children and seniors have the opportunity to thrive, regardless of their circumstances. Our commitment means that every child has a head start in life and every Singaporean has equal opportunities to succeed, with assistance when needed.”

Chief Executive Officer of PCF, Mr Victor Bay shared, “We are pleased to witness parents from diverse backgrounds coming together at our annual PCF Family Day. This year’s theme of PCF Family Day 2023 is ‘Supporting Families, Bonding Community’, reflecting our commitment to nurturing a supportive and inclusive society in Singapore. At PCF we believe family is one of the most important influences in a child’s life. With our latest initiatives, we aim to be a source of encouragement to parents, children, and teachers, providing them with valuable resources and an enabling environment for a quality preschool experience.”

For further enquiries, please contact:

Ryan Chia Nikita Rao
+65 9128 2345

Nikita Rao
+65 8342 8734

About PAP Community Foundation

PAP Community Foundation (PCF), a charitable foundation founded by the People’s Action Party (PAP) in 1986, runs social, educational and welfare programmes and activities for the community. PCF is committed to nurturing a multi-racial, fair, just and inclusive society by
providing educational, welfare and community services island-wide. PCF is also recognised as a Great Place to Work® and a Great Place to LearnTM by the Great Place to Work Institute. In 2021, it clinched first place in Asia’s Best WorkplacesTM in the category of ‘Large’
workplaces. It provides preschool services through PCF Sparkletots, which is the largest preschool operator in Singapore with almost 360 preschools and an enrolment of over 40,000 children. It also operates senior care centres through PCF Sparkle Care.