“I am very glad that Celina can have an earlier start than my son. The programme is a great help to my children as I am unable to help them with English.”
Chinese language preschool teacher Mdm Lu Xiaoyan was relieved and thrilled when her daughter, Celina, finally could register for GROW (Gain Reading, Oral and Writing skills), a literacy support programme developed by Calvary Community Care (C3) in 2010.
Registered in March 2010, C3 is a not-for-profit voluntary welfare organisation that seeks to meet the social needs in the community regardless of race, age, gender or religion. C3’s main focus as a broad-based charity is on the elderly, youths and children through differentiated programmes such as GROW, ENCORE, Story L.A.B, ACE, and MACE.
Mdm Lu had heard about the GROW programme from her colleague whose son had started in the programme without a mastery of the alphabet, yet developed reading skills after a year of lessons.
The GROW curriculum was specially put together to address the needs of Kindergarten 2 (K2) and Primary 1 children who struggle to acquire reading proficiency in English. This year, the programme has been extended to K1 children.
Mdm Lu said: “I am very glad that Celina can have an earlier start than my son. The programme is a great help to my children as I am unable to help them with English.” She had seen how her son, Calvin, developed reading skills after he started attending the weekly lessons in K2 last year.
“In particular, the graded readers that he brings home each week provide him with the opportunity to learn word recognition, progressing gradually from the basic level. This has helped him gain much confidence as well as motivation to read on his own,” she said.
Mrs Eunice Goh, Programme Manager of Children Services at C3, said: “Many children from low-income or non-English-speaking families often lack the readiness to acquire literacy skills, but reading proficiency in English is a fundamental requirement for success in the formal school system. If they do not receive intervention that addresses their issues in reading readiness and support for their reading needs as they proceed to formal school education, their problems get compounded.”
Another literacy support programme that C3 has developed is ENCORE (ENgagement and COmprehension in REading), where students are taught reading comprehension strategies. Mrs Goh explains, “Children with a poor literacy foundation often fail to be engaged in their reading. Their reading experience may involve no more than decoding words and they do not naturally make connections with the text.”
In addition, C3 runs Story L.A.B. (Literacy Awareness Builders), where a read-aloud story session provides children aged nine and below with the “bedtime story experience”. This is especially beneficial for children from non-English-speaking homes.
C3 also reaches out to youths through ACE (Active Community Engagement), a year-long enhancement programme run in neighbourhood schools for students in the Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) classes that focuses on life skills and character building.
ACE* (STAR: Strength, Tenacity, Active and Resilience) is a recovery programme established in 2013 for youths identified with emotional and/ or psychological issues. Our trained counsellors work in partnership with them and their families to empower them to achieve their goals and live in a safe, caring and inclusive community.
MACE (MOE.ACE) and PACE (PA.ACE) Youth Activity Centres are run in schools and community centres. These after-school activity centres promote social interaction and participation in activities in a safe and comfortable environment as well as provide avenues for youths to seek assistance and counselling.
Programmes for the elderly run by C3 include Meals on Wheels (MOW) in collaboration and partnership with Touch Community Services and the Befrienders programme that reaches out to the lonely elderly in the Potong Pasir constituency.
The GROW curriculum was specially put together to address the needs of Kindergarten 2 (K2) and Primary 1 children who struggle to acquire reading proficiency in English.
Photos courtesy of Calvary Community Care
Eunice Goh is Programme Manager of Children Services at Calvary Community Care.