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TAKING HEART

CapitaLand launches S$750,000 programme with NTUC First Campus

Scheme aims to help preschool children from low-income families at NTUC First Campus' My First Skool be better prepared for primary school

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Mr Lee Chee Koon, group CEO, CapitaLand Group and director, CapitaLand Hope Foundation, presenting a schoolbag to a beneficiary of the CapitaLand-Bright Horizons Fund Ready-for-School programme.

Singapore

AN'AHQIL Nul'ishqi Farhan Fairus is a six-year-old at My First Skool who spoke only in his mother tongue when he first started classes. Since joining the Classroom Support Programme, and with the guidance of his classroom co-facilitator, Nur Khairiyah Sharun, he has since improved his English and enjoys the games and group learning.

To help more children such as Ahqil, CapitaLand launched a programme for pre-schoolers in Singapore with S$750,000 funding from its philanthropic arm, CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF), to help 2,000 pre-school children from low-income families at NTUC First Campus' My First Skool.

Launched in partnership with NTUC First Campus' Bright Horizons Fund, the CapitaLand-Bright Horizons Fund Ready-for-School programme is in line with the government's efforts to strengthen early childhood care and education.

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Tan Seng Chai, chief corporate & people officer for CapitaLand Group and executive director of CapitaLand Hope Foundation, said: "CapitaLand is committed to support the building of inclusive communities in Singapore and other geographic locations where we operate.

"We continue to focus on helping children from low-income families in areas such as education... CapitaLand-Bright Horizons Fund Ready-for-School provides care and attention to pre-schoolers with learning needs that will better prepare them when they enter primary school."

Under the three-year programme, CapitaLand's contributions will allow seven more My First Skool centres to provide the Classroom Support Programme, bringing it to a total of 20. More classroom co-facilitators will be deployed to provide for an additional 200 pre-school children who require learning support.

This programme sees classroom co-facilitators partnering teachers in supporting children with learning difficulties. Teaching will be done in small groups, focusing on language, literacy and numeracy. A yearly impact assessment will also be conducted to measure effectiveness of the programme.

Chan Tee Seng, NTUC First Campus CEO, said: "NTUC First Campus is committed to playing a leading role in giving every child a good start in life. We have a unique Child Support Model that supports low-income families and their children in their financial, learning and development as well as social needs.

"Beyond our recent partnerships in enabling low-income children to have access to pre-school education, we also have a Classroom Support Programme to reinforce in-classroom pre-school support for children with learning needs as we observed that many of them tend to face learning difficulties due to a lack of resources."

Ms Khairiyah said in such small groups - of three to four - the children will be less intimidated and the co-facilitators can better cater to their individual learning needs.

Separately, as part of CHF's existing partnership with five Community Development Councils (CDCs) through the CapitaLand-People's Association Community Development Fund, established in 2016, more than S$660,000 will be set aside for five initiatives under CapitaLand Cares @ CDC programme to support over 5,000 vulnerable seniors and children in their education, healthcare, shelter and living needs.

CapitaLand staff volunteers also took about 190 vulnerable seniors and children from low-income families on an educational tour of Jewel and to a meal at Five Spice food court.

Low Yen Ling, chairman of Mayors' Committee and Mayor of South West District, said: "The Community Development Councils are happy to continue our partnership with CapitaLand Hope Foundation to uplift the lives of the vulnerable seniors and children."

Mr Tan said: "Two years ago, we saw the growing need of the elderly population in Singapore, so we decided to expand our scope to help them…

"It is important for us to be part of the community where we have businesses and corporations. It is important to give back to society and we also mobilise our employees to create a sustainable platform. By doing so, we also create a sense of belonging to the company."