SES Preschool Programme

“Catch them before they fall”

Early identification and support prevents reading failure in young children." - Dr Joseph K. Torgesen

“Moving into Primary One is a big educational milestone for children in Kindergarten One and Two. It is imperative to support preschoolers struggling with basic literacy early since research has shown that neglecting to do so may have a lifelong impact. Since 2006, DAS has helped many preschoolers with early literacy difficulties overcome barriers through our SES Preschool Programme. The SES Preschool Programme is a published evidence-based programme, which has been consistently found to have a positive effect on learning outcomes. 

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Preschool, in essence, builds the foundation needed for children to access formal learning in primary school. It is crucial to make the most out of the first six years of life, the golden window of opportunity as some may call it. As most children, manage without much struggle, there are children who seem to be struggling with the very basics which facilitate most formal learning to occur, the alphabet knowledge. Children who are observed to be struggling in Kindergarten need help immediately, and the earlier the better.

Most importantly, how do we know if a child can manage? When a child can visually recognise the alphabets, knows most of the letter sounds, recognises common words such as ‘I’, ‘the’ ‘is’, and is able to hear letter sounds in 3 letter words such as c a t, and enjoys reading developmentally appropriate books, one can safely say with a sigh of relief everything is going to be just fine. For those who sighed with worry, we are here to help.  

The aim of the SES Preschool Programme is to help preschoolers who are potentially at risk of having dyslexia or developmental delay in early literacy, develop skills and strategies to become confident achievers when they enter primary school.


Recommended for

Preschoolers in Kindergarten one or two who are experiencing persistent learning difficulties with early reading, spelling and/or writing.


Application Process 

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For more detailed information, email [email protected] or call 6444 5700 (Monday to Friday, 9.30 am to 5.30 pm)

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Specialised Educational Services (SES) is a division of the Dyslexia Association of Singapore. SES programmes are tailored to fit the learning needs of students with a learning difference.

SES Programmes are NOT funded by the Ministry of Education (MOE), the MOE only supply a grant for the DAS Main Literacy Programme (MLP).  


All Educational Therapist (EdTs) are continuously trained in their work with pre-schoolers with specific learning difficulties (SpLDs). At entry, all Preschool EdTs are expected to have relevant degree or diploma in the field of early childhood education, early intervention and/or related fields. Further in-service training includes continuous formal and informal training, which prepares EdTs to be able to manage demands on the ground.

View more about our EdTs here

Does your child experience any of the following?


Alphabet Knowledge

Difficulty learning the letters or remembering the letters taught.

Recognises some letters but not most.

Writing the letters is laborious and may not remember how to write the strokes of most letters. Numerous consistent, Letter and number reversals

Phonological Awareness 

Has not been able to acquire skills in identifying rhyming words, count syllables in words, match letter sound to letters, join or separate  letter sounds in 3-letter words  i.e.  c-a-t

Word Recognition 

Does not recognise high-frequency words despite being taught such as I, a, my, the

Difficulty with Learning Tasks 

Remembering concepts taught

Take a long time to recall concepts taught

Frequent task avoidance

Emotional meltdowns during learning tasks

Dyslexia Checklist for Preschoolers

If more than 4 of the boxes are ticked, your preschooler is recommended to come for the free online basic literacy screening. Find out more here.

Does your preschooler experience any of these challenges?

  • Was a late talker
  • Recognising the letters (ABCs)
  • Not able to write their own name yet
  • Sequencing difficulties for letters (ABC not ACB)
  • Not able to read some sight words yet (I, the, my)
  • Challenges with writing letters and numbers
  • Takes a long time or unable to recall concepts taught
  • Does not know most of the letter sounds
  • Not able to join sounds in words to read yet
  • Difficulty identifying sounds in words to spell
  • Needs extensive guidance to complete learning tasks
  • Requires multiple reminders for attention and staying on task

Our Teaching Approach

Preschool Hot Air Balloon Infographic

The SES Preschool Programme integrates Orton-Gillingham (OG) Instructional Approach, along with early childhood pedagogy and is guided by the MOE's Nurturing Early Learners (NEL) Language and Literacy Framework. Student progress is closely monitored through formal and informal literacy assessments throughout the year.  The programme is intentionally multi-sensory, learning is layered with repetition, and personalised to a child's profile thereby supporting mastery, retention and understanding.  The teaching approach in class is tweaked to the learning needs and style of the children. 

The programme aims to help preschoolers to learn.

Components covered in a typical lesson:




  • Alphabet knowledge

  • Phonological Awareness

  • High-Frequency Words i,e the, on, a, is

  • Oracy, Shared Reading and Listening Comprehension

  • Fine Motor Skills, and Emergent Writing

  • Social & Emotional Literacy



Our Preschool Team

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Bridging the gap to get into school

All Educational therapists (EdTs) are continuously trained in their work with pre-schoolers with specific learning difficulties (SpLDs). At entry, all Preschool EdTs are expected to have a relevant degree or diploma in the field of early childhood education, early intervention and/or related fields. Further in-service training includes continuous formal and informal training.

All our preschool educational therapists also possess the following qualifications:

1. Certificate in Dyslexia and Literacy Teaching 
2. Professional Certificate in Preschool Literacy Intervention and 
3. Certificate in Dyslexia Studies


 Kelly Bijay 

Lead Educational Therapist
Preschool Programme Manager

Kelly Bijay started with the DAS as an educational therapist with the main literacy programme (MLP), she has been with the DAS since 2012. Currently, she is the Pre-School Programme Manager of the Specialised Educational Services (SES). Her main roles include managing the operations of the preschool programme across 12 DAS learning centres and in-school support for kindergartens. She also supports the development of the specialised curriculum and resources, and carries out training and mentoring of trainee teachers for the pre-school programme. More about Kelly here







How our Preschool classes look like

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Preschool Online Learning

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The tables have turned now that the students we used to see in the physical classroom are coming to us in the virtual classroom. Three weeks ago, this virtual classroom did not exist in my universe, a Mission impossible for all of us at the Dyslexia Association of Singapore. What I am going to say next is the biggest shocker, the children being supported online by my team are Preschoolers! Yes, they are all in kindergarten, now let that sink in!

When the going gets tough, the tough get tougher!

The DAS Preschool team is full of very passionate Educational Therapists who knew very well what was at stake if remediation services for their students were suspended. Early literacy intervention is crucial for those children that struggle with early literacy and they need continuous support for retention and mastery. Our Preschool Team went beyond their call of duty, to create resources from scratch. We collaborated and put on a brave face to confront the challenges ahead of us. This was a steep learning curve for us as some were not so tech-savvy, so they must be applauded for their courage. The mental shift to deliver lessons online to pre-schoolers is a phenomenal concept to address on its own!


We have delivered lessons as best as we can over the past three weeks of teaching online. We are learning every day and working on improving as each week passes. The support can never be perfect, Nor the same as in-class multisensory lessons! During the online classes with the children, I wish that I can just stick my sanitized hands into the screen and do some hand-holding and at other times I want to stick my head through the screen with my mask on and play our usual classroom games. These things were no longer possible of course, so instead of sulking behind our masks, we started thinking creatively.

Read More about Preschool Online Learning in these articles:




These BLOGS are featured in our #CIRCUITBREAKER NEWS Series in the DAS NEWS & HAPPENINGS BLOG find more interesting articles in the blog section! 

Parent, Preschool Programme (2022):

"I would like to thank you teacher Roseline for her effort and patience in guiding Xanelia for the last 3 years. English was a foreign language to Xaneilia since she spend most of the early years in Thailand. I can see that she had shown tremendous progress in her literacy and also her understanding of phonics."

- Mr Soh


Parent, Preschool Programme:

"I would like to thank teacher Bell, for teaching my son. From not being able to recognize letters to being able to read and spell 3-letter words. My son has made so much progress in her class last year."


Parent, Preschool Programme (Feb, 2022):

"I would like to thank teacher Babe for nurturing emotional awareness in my son Raphael. He really enjoyed her classes. He now knows some important words had to be remembered and can’t be sounded out. He looks forward to attending her classes."

- Mrs Tan


Parent, Preschool Programme (Nov, 2021):

"I would like to thank teacher Rose  for making an enormous impact on Ian. He has always struggled with English but with her patience, guidance and meticulousness, he has shown great improvement. We are very grateful for your help from the bottom of our hearts."

- Mr and Mrs. Ong


Parent, Preschool Programme (2019):

"Greetings! I would like to thank DAS Preschool Program and my son's Preschool Therapist, Ms R for helping my son. to have the interest and the courage to read books by himself. My son loves books. But, before DAS days, he would wait for me to read to him and would rarely attempt to read by himself. Recently, I am pleasantly surprised to see him getting books and trying to read them! Though he still makes wild guesses when reading, but I can see that this is getting less. Instead, I can see that he tries to use his phonics knowledge in reading a lot more these days.Lastly, DAS and Ms R have helped my son loves learning. He prefers staying home than going to school. But, for DAS, it is a different story. He looks forward to attend DAS class.Due to not feeling well today, he has to miss school but when afternoon comes, he clamours to attend his DAS class. Thank you so much for helping my son and our family."
- Ms Irene Tan

Frequently Asked Questions (Preschool)

What is covered in SES Preschool Programme?

The Programme’s main focus is the structured, sequential, cumulative and explicit teaching of early reading. The components covered in a typical lesson are oracy, alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness skills, sight words knowledge (e.g. said), blending to read and segmenting to spell 3-letter words. In addition, early writing, reading and listening comprehension, will be taught in the classroom. The learning and teaching are customised to a child’s  learning needs. Parents will be informed of the learning goals and what would be covered in the classroom through an Individualised Intervention Plan (IIP).

What is the frequency of the lessons?

The lessons are once a week,  2 hours per lesson. We follow the MOE school calendar. In a year there will be 4 terms, and in each term, there are 10 weeks. There will be no classes during the March, June, September and December School Holidays. There will also be no classes if your child's lesson day falls during a public holiday. We are unable to replace lessons if your child is absent or when classes fall on public holidays.

How many students are there in a class? 

Depending on the class profile, the students in each class ranges between 4 to 5 students.

Does the Preschool Programme offer one-to-one remediation?

The programme currently does not offer one-to-one remediation. However, you may refer to our Specialist Tutoring branch to enquire more about one-to-one remediation.

How long will it take to see improvement in my child?

Response to intervention and progress varies from child to child and is according to a child’s learning needs and pace. Some children take longer whereas some may show progress in a shorter time. The key is the little successes since any progress in intervention however small is a great achievement. Preschool Educational Therapists do update parents/guardians about a student's progress and classroom learning. They also give recommendations on how to follow up with learning at home. Parents and guardians are advised to follow up at home where possible.

How do I help my child?

The DAS Preschool Educational Therapist will communicate with parents/guardians on a child's individual literacy goals, on progress, and are always ready to give recommendations on how to follow up with learning at home. Parents and guardians are advised to be open to communicating with our therapists. In addition, parents also have a wealth of knowledge to share about their child, this can be very helpful in the classroom.

Can the programme help my child in preparing for Primary 1?

Our main objective is to work with children who really need help with early literacy and are struggling. We will work according to the child's level, and pace to narrow the learning gaps. The programme will work towards helping preschoolers acquire a foundation in alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness and high-frequency words, leading up to skills in early reading, early comprehension and early writing. These abilities gear children towards the skills required to better access and manage formal learning in Primary School.

How are the lessons at DAS different from what is offered at tuition/enrichment centres?

We have worked with numerous students who have not benefited from enrichment centres. We've seen that children who need our help and come to us need specialised support because they learn differently. SES Preschool Programme applies the Orton Gillingham (OG) which is a teaching approach designed specifically to help children to remember and apply concepts taught in early literacy.

Why is it so important for my child to have developed early literacy skills in preschool?

There is much added advantage in acquiring knowledge in the early years, from birth to 6 years of age. PELP helps preschoolers acquire a good foundation in alphabet knowledge and phonological awareness, leading up to learning high-frequency words. These abilities gear children towards the skills required to better access formal learning in Primary School.

When I was young I never go to kindergarten, and never had to study phonics, and I did very well in English in Primary School.

You are right, not everybody needs explicit structured phonics instructions in order to become a fluent reader. But, there are children who learn differently and require explicit, structured phonics instructions in order to read and spell. Children from previous generations mostly had similar exposure back then and there were fewer external phonics enrichment centres. Times have changed and a majority of children nowadays start from infant care or playgroup. We must also be mindful that there are students who catch-up very fast and their pace of learning is just so amazing that in primary school they are able to pick up learning of early literacy instantaneously. However, not all children are the same, and if you would like to level the playing field for your child in Primary school it is best for them to enter primary school with age-appropriate developed early literacy skills. This is so that they are better able to thrive in beginning reading instruction, and are in par with other children in the same class. When children are successful in school it will build a strong positive self esteem within themselves and towards learning in general.

Does my child need to have a diagnosis of Dyslexia to come onboard the programme?

Preschoolers are too young for a formal diagnosis of Dyslexia. Therefore, it is not required. At the pre-school level hand holding a child and building a strong foundation is key. If you would like to know if your child needs early literacy intervention you may choose to send your child for a preschool early literacy screening with DAS for free. Find out more here.

Is the programme only beneficial for children with or at-risk of dyslexia?

The programme is especially for children who have learning gaps in early literacy learning and really need the additional support. The progamme is able to customise learning and teaching to meet the learning needs of all children with or without dyslexia.

When can my child go for a school-age psychological assessment to find out if he/she has dyslexia?

Children below 6 six years of age are too young for a school-age psychological assessment. For children 6 years of age to be assessed for dyslexia they must have received 6 months of structured phonics support and are 6 years of age (passed their official birthday). This criterion for 6 years old is known internally as the 6-6 rule. For those who are not ready for an assessment with us, it is recommended to attend the DAS Preschool Programme before applying for a formal assessment. Preschoolers attending the DAS Pre-school programme will be provided with the option to go for a School Age Psychological Assessment with the DAS once they have met the 6-6 rule and can continue on the programme while they wait in the queue to be assessed. Children diagnosed with dyslexia have the option to continue literacy intervention with the DAS Main Literacy Programme (MLP) in Primary One.

Have more questions? You can email us at [email protected] or call 6444 5700 (Monday to Friday, 9.30 am to 5.30 pm)

Preschool Short Term Programmes

2023 Preschool Numeracy 01


Preschool Numeracy

Foundational understanding of numbers and number system 1 to 10

10-week programme

Start Date
30 June 2023

Existing K1 and K2 Preschoolers from DAS Preschool Programme

Jurong Point Learning Centre
Sengkang Learning Centre

Class fee
Bursary is available for existing DAS Preschool Students