View the synopsis of the 2 keynotes and 6 workshops.

Keynote 1: Anxiety in Children
Keynote 2: Early Biliteracy Across Different Script Sets

BREAKOUT SESSION A:

Workshop 1: What Can Teachers Do For Preschoolers Who Show Early Signs Of Difficulty?
Workshop 2: Books Are More Than Just For Reading! Using Books to Build Children's Language Skills
Workshop 3: The Use of Technology in Early Intervention

BREAKOUT SESSION B:

Workshop 4: Neat And Tidy Handwriting
Workshop 5: Understanding and Supporting our Local Preschoolers with Literacy Difficulties
Workshop 6: Snippet into DAS Preschool Classroom: Building Phonological Awareness

Each participant can attend ONE (1) workshop per session. Do note that workshops slots are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis and are limited due to venue capacity.

 

Keynote 1: Anxiety in Young Children

By Kathleen Chan, Registered Psychologist, SpLD Assessment Services (SAS), Senior Specialist Psychologist


With the increasing concerns surrounding mental health in young children, there is a greater call for us to understand the emotional difficulties that they commonly experience, and to provide appropriate support as we learn to pick up on the early signs.

In this presentation, we will explore what anxiety looks like in young children, how anxiety and learning interplay, and practical tips to help children manage their anxiety.

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Keynote 2: Early Biliteracy Across Different Script Sets

By Dr. Beth O’Brien Ann, Head, Early and Middle Childhood Research, OER Centre for Research in Child Development Principal Research Scientist, National Institute of Education (NIE)


Children growing up in Singapore have a unique opportunity to become bilingual, learning both English and their mother tongue in school and through the home or community. What does this mean for their early literacy skills, and learning to read and write in two languages? Part of the Singapore Kindergarten Impact Project (SKIP) focused on this question. In this presentation, we will share some of the findings from the SKIP project, specifically addressing what comprises ‘literacy’, and if this is the same for different languages. Children from different language backgrounds who were acquiring Chinese, Malay or Tamil alongside English participated in the SKIP study. As emerging biliterates, the children learn literacy in a set of scripts that involve either a single alphabet (Roman/Roman for Malay-English learners), a dual alphabet (Roman/Tamil - for Tamil-English learners) or a dual code (Roman/characters for Chinese-English learners). A different set or requisite skills might be expected for learning each script. We examine this, and also ask whether knowledge and skills in one language affect those in the other, suggesting cross language influence. Finally, we investigate different factors that contribute to children’s literacy, such as their fine motor competency, and the literacy environment and activities in the home.

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Workshop 1: What Can Teachers Do For Preschoolers Who Show Early Signs Of Difficulty?

By DAS Academy, Private Education Institution (PEI)


Preschool teachers will encounter students with literacy delay in their classrooms, which often leads them to wonder: Can this be dyslexia? Due to their age, pre-schoolers may not be ready for formal assessments. What can teachers do for these pre-schoolers in the meantime?

This workshop covers the fundamentals of quality early literacy instruction, including handwriting, alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness, decoding and sight words. Young children learn more effectively when knowledge is presented in a concrete, sequential and cumulative, simultaneously multisensory, playful and positive manner. Teachers will learn how to apply these principles of teaching in the early literacy classrooms, using direct, careful and deliberate instructions.

Learning outcomes:
· Understand the fundamentals of an effective literacy programme
· Apply principles of quality literacy instruction in the classroom
· Apply literacy strategies on students with literacy delay
· Reflect on barriers that might have impeded students’ literacy learning

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Workshop 2: Books Are More Than Just For Reading! Using Books to Build Children's Language Skills

By KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), Department of Child Development (DCD), Educational Therapy


A good predictor of later ability to read and write well is having satisfactory language development (Kotamann, 2009). There are many factors such as family and environmental stimulus that influence language development in young children. The use of stories as an environmental stimulus provides countless opportunities for children to learn targeted language. It offers rich vocabulary, repetition of language, rhymes and language to enrich children’s language skills. One way to use stories is through storybook reading. It is one of the most studied formats for increasing language learning in young children (Suhendan Er et. al., 2013). Whitehurst and colleagues (1998) found that parent-child storybook reading was an effective way to strengthen children’s language development. It led to the question if there is a structured way to support parents during their storybook reading session with their children?

This workshop aims to share and demonstrate using a case study, how the evidence-based Dialogic Reading method is used to encourage parents to ask less and talk more during the story reading session, while at the same time increase child’s print awareness skills.

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Workshop 3: The Use of Technology in Early Intervention

By AWWA, Early Intervention Therapist Team


Early intervention may help minimize the negative impacts of delays and deficits in atypical development in children.

During COVID-19 pandemic, we have explored various types of interventions, such as tele-intervention and virtual reality programmes, to complement the current existing early intervention programmes. There are several programmes for children with special needs that have already used virtual reality (VR) in their interventions in treating motor & cognitive issues. However, there are few research that focused on VR interventions in supporting several developmental domains.

Besides studying the potential benefits, it is important to learn how VR interventions can be feasibly implemented and incorporated into the existing early intervention programme. As such, we have collaborated with DancingMind to conduct a pilot programme, called MindWarrior Digital Health Therapy (MindWarrior), in one of the AWWA Early Intervention Centres. The purpose of MindWarrior is to provide the children with special needs training and therapy DancingMind used the self-developed tool to evaluate the responsiveness of the children to DancingMind’s Health Programme in the following areas: (a) Emotion Wellbeing (b) Memory & Logic Reasoning(c) Physio and Sport (d) Activities of Daily living (e) Experience using DancingMind’s VR applications.

Twenty clients were selected for the MindWarriors programme and each client will receive the session once a week for a total of 8 sessions. Each of the session lasted around 45 minutes. The identified clients were divided into two batches. One client dropped out from the first batch & the remaining children completed 7-8 sessions each. We have started MindWarriors for the second batch of 10 clients and it will be completed by end November 2022. We will analyze the results by end of 2022. The initial results shows that the children show progress in acceptance & engagement, cognition, mood, and energy level.

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Workshop 4: Neat and Tidy Handwriting

By KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), Department of Child Development (DCD), Occupational Therapy


Handwriting is an important part of early childhood development. Children need to acquire (1) efficient letter formation, (2) legible handwriting, and (3) fluency when learning handwriting skills. While most children develop handwriting with general instruction, children with weak foundation skills would require an intentional and explicit handwriting instruction. The workshop will focus on sharing evidence-informed strategies, extracted from the book titled “Handwriting Matters! A Resource for Early childhood Educators”, to enhance general handwriting instruction for preschoolers. Strategies include making handwriting fun and meaningful, making handwriting instruction obvious and having distributed, frequent and short handwriting practice. Opportunities will also be provided for participants to try out strategies to teach handwriting legibility (including letter alignment, letter sizing and spacing) and copying skills.

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Workshop 5: Understanding and Supporting our Local Preschoolers with Literacy Difficulties

By NTUC First Campus (NFC) Educational Therapy Professionals


All children can learn. Every child is different. Come join us to understand the why and explore the how in supporting our local preschoolers (K1 & K2) with literacy difficulties. This interactive workshop aims to equip parents and teachers with an understanding of why some children struggle in picking up their literacy skills. The workshop will include hands-on activities on integrating the knowledge of how children learn and using multi-sensory approach to support preschoolers' literacy development. NTUC First Campus (NFC) Educational Therapy Professionals will also be sharing their experiences from their perspectives.

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Workshop 6: Snippet into DAS Preschool Classroom: Building Phonological Awareness

By Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS), Specialised Educational Services (SES), Preschool Team


According to research by the National Centre on improving literacy, Phonological Awareness (PA) is critical for reading success. It is a skill to recognise and manipulate sounds in words. With a strong foundation in PA, children can develop letter sound correspondence which allows them to decode and encode words. Come join us in discovering fun and interesting ways to help children take their first steps to reading success!

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Find out more about the PRESENTERS here.