Help children thrive in an increasingly disruptive learning landscape through early identification and intervention

SINGAPORE, 15 March 2021 – After a year where learning has been heavily disrupted by COVID-19, the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) is organising Preschool Seminar 2021 on 17 March 2021 with the aim of helping educators, and parents compensate, catch up and put preschoolers back on the best learning course moving forward.


Themed ‘Bouncing Back: Pathway to Success’, the seminar will focus on the importance of early literacy intervention, building resilience and grit as well as enhancing executive functioning skills among young learners, to help them excel in an increasingly demanding educational landscape.


In particular, DAS aims to equip educators and parents of preschoolers with learning differences with knowledge and practical tips necessary for smooth transitioning into primary school. There are an estimated 2,700 preschoolers in Singapore every year who require support to overcome learning challenges related to dyslexia. This is based on international statistics of 10 per cent of a population likely to have dyslexia of differing degrees and that four per cent will be severe enough to warrant intervention.


Organised by the Specialised Educational Services (SES), a division of DAS, the seminar will contribute to the government’s growing emphasis on providing interventional support to children of special educational needs, as part of the goal to strengthen Singapore’s social compact.


Building on the success of its inaugural online format last year, DAS will continue to deliver the 2021 seminar via livestreaming. This will enable local and international parents and educators to join the seminar from the comfort of their homes.


The first keynote speaker is Dr Sylvia Choo, Senior Consultant, Department of Child Development, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, who will share about the importance of building executive functioning skills and how these skills could influence learning, behavioural and emotional development in children. The second keynote speaker, award-winning children’s book author and parenting expert Julia Cook, will focus on ways to enhance skills that foster boundary recognition, determination and grit in young learners, while also addressing online safety and technology in the modern learning environment. Charles W. Haynes, EdD, CCC-SLP, Professor at the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at MGH Institute of Health Profession, Boston, will deliver the final keynote speech on early identification markers for children at risk of reading difficulties and research-supported techniques for supporting a child’s linguistic development.


This year’s workshops will offer a comprehensive scope of hands-on techniques and resources to support day-to-day learning experiences of preschool children. The sessions will cover interactive story reading, managing attention issues through developing mindfulness, using prompts to support children in their conversation and introducing naturalistic intervention approaches in an inclusive classroom.

At the seminar, DAS will also launch a preschool study on Twice Exceptional (2e) learners who are known to be extraordinarily able in some areas but struggle with basic literacy, behavioural and/or social skills. The study will provide greater understanding of 2e learners in Singapore through the perspectives of their preschool teachers.


“As preschool is a critical period in a child’s development, early intervention for those with literacy delay, along with development of cognitive and executive functional skills, will make significant differences in the child’s academic achievement and overall well-being. The experience of COVID-19 has also reminded us of how critical it is for parents and educators to help their preschool children develop resilience in an evolving learning landscape. Through the Preschool Seminar 2021, DAS seeks to put everyone working with preschoolers in a better position to help their children,” said Mr. Lee Siang, CEO of DAS.


Since 2006, DAS has helped 2,554 preschoolers with early literacy difficulties overcome barriers through its Preschool Early Literacy Intervention Programme. Designed for preschoolers who are potentially at risk of having dyslexia or exhibit consistent weakness in early literacy, the programme provides the necessary support for preschoolers struggling with basic literacy to mitigate potential negative lifelong impact. Through this programme, preschoolers develop skills and strategies to become confident learners. DAS delivers the Preschool Early Literacy Intervention Programme at many of its Learning Centres and provides in-school support at a PAP Community Foundation (PCF) preschool centre.


A partner that has made significant contributions to the Preschool Early Literacy Intervention Programme is Ishk Tolaram Foundation, an organisation established in 2016 to provide access to quality education, healthcare and skills training for underserved individuals in Indonesia, Nigeria, Singapore and Estonia. DAS is extremely grateful to Ishk Tolaram Foundation for its tremendous support of our Preschool Programme via bursaries for students from lower income families since 2019.


DAS also regularly conducts free awareness talks and basic literacy screening to engage stakeholders in the early childhood sector. DAS extends financial assistance to enable children requiring additional educational support, including those from low-income families, to access their services.

For more information on the Preschool Seminar 2021, please visit https://www.das.org.sg/news-events/conferences/preschool-seminar-2021.html. To register, go to https://ps2021.eventzilla.net/. The registration fee is S$38.


The keynote presentations will be streamed LIVE, accompanied by an interactive Question & Answer session with the keynote presenters and a DAS Preschool Programme representative. Participants will be provided with presentation slides, handouts and a web link to ZOOM prior to the seminar; and links to access the workshops and keynote videos will also be made available for up to two weeks after the event.