5 Ways Early Intervention Principles Support Preschool Education
Making preschool education nurturing and enjoyable for children with developmental delays is definitely possible. If you’re an early childhood educator, integrating early intervention within the preschool’s formal curriculum lets you identify and address a child’s needs beyond nursery care. This way, you further their growth and help them feel empowered.
Applying the early intervention guiding principles set out by the Early Childhood Development Agency in Singapore, we explore five strategies to overcome the developmental gaps in preschool children.
1. Help The Child Find Secure Attachments
The preschool environment is new to every child — for those with developmental needs, adjusting can be challenging. The child may feel anxious and find it difficult to separate from familiar adults, such as their parents or nursery educarers.
For a successful transition to your classroom, you can help the child to establish secure attachments. Consistent and predictable, they are a base on which the child can fall back, whether physically or emotionally, for reassurance. When the child feels confident, they go on to explore more social interactions through relationships and play.
Here are some ways you can help the child build a secure attachment to the preschool setting:
Let the child visit the preschool to get acquainted with the environment before term starts
Build a relationship with the child during such visits
Have a familiar adult, like a parent or caregiver, around in the first few days of school
2. Design An Intentional Programme
A meaningful preschool experience that mimics an Early Intervention Programme (EIP) lets you achieve better learning outcomes tailored to the child’s developmental needs. Areas of focus include:
Disposition for learning
Exposure to natural and man-made materials
Safe and healthy environment
You can adapt the above to the preschool environment by:
Understanding the level of caregiving attention required and establish a routine
Identifying learning curve and pace through communication, cognitive stimulation, art, music and play activities
Combining indoor (classroom) and outdoor (i.e. playground) experiences to further nurture gross motor and cognitive skills
Educating on hazards in the preschool environment to empower the child to look out for themselves
3. Be Professional And Empathetic
During the child’s preschool education journey, you are the most important secure attachment. Their developmental journey is influenced by the experiences you create for them as an educator. There are three areas to consider when carving out a learning environment for the child:
Standards and ethics: Maintain professionalism and safeguard the child’s best interests. Document observations for a comprehensive profile of the child to plan intervention more effectively. Get in touch with previous educators in infant or nursery care to ensure consistency in and/or explore next phases of intervention.
Reflection: Review care and learning practices to remain sensitive and responsive to the child’s needs. Develop improved strategies to strengthen support for the child’s development.
Professional development: Acquire deeper knowledge on early intervention methods and apply more effective practices for preschool education. Train colleagues caring for children with developmental needs in their classrooms.
4. Build Strong Relationships With The Family
Working closely with the family will allow you to maintain continuous early intervention care.
Since both parties have a shared responsibility towards the child, the mutually supportive roles enable smoother transition between the home and preschool.
Some ways you can establish stronger teacher-family relationships include:
Regular meet-up sessions to discuss child’s challenges and progress plans
Design home learning projects and activities for the child to familiarise with lessons
Establish a communication channel for immediate sharing of information
Plan events to involve families in the child’s classroom learning experience
5. Engage The Community
Making help readily available to families caring for children with developmental needs is important. Your role as a preschool educator bridges the gap between such families and the resources available in the community. This includes financial aid, mental health counselling and medical intervention. At the same time, you can enhance your preschool intervention programme by getting the child to engage with the community.
Some methods include:
Establishing a directory of community and professional services available for family referrals
Building connections with various community services to extend help to families
Maintaining partnerships with community agencies to expand curriculum learning opportunities (i.e talks, workshops, field trips) and aid in cognitive, social, emotional and behavioural development
Improve Care With Integrated Education
Children with developmental delays thrive well in a nurturing environment — a well-planned programme can help them through their preschool education journey. This builds not only their confidence but also resilience in facing challenges. You can make a difference in their lives by implementing suitable strategies in the classroom and beyond so they can enjoy every stage of the process. Get in touch to understand more about early intervention principles from our trained educators.
If you are a parent looking for a holistic school environment for your child, you may also book a visit to our centres to learn more!