The Child Development Centre (CDC) believes early identification, intervention and education for children with additional needs has a positive impact on their development. Hence, we were delighted to receive a private donation to launch our first school-based integration programme called Bright Start, which aimed to work collaboratively within mainstream kindergartens.

In November 2018, we partnered with two pre-schools, Kornhill Anglo-Chinese Kindergarten and another kindergarten. A total of eleven children were supported with professional intervention from a special needs teacher, occupational therapist and/or speech therapist from the CDC.

The programme gave all-round intervention to the children involved, supporting their learning, peer interactions, the parents’ journey, and the teachers’ capacity to implement inclusive practices and differentiated instructions. We worked collaboratively with over 20 childhood educators and provided 40 hours of school-based integrated support. We shared classroom strategies to empower teachers with the tools and skills to support the children with individual needs in their kindergarten. We also ran parent workshops to share intervention strategies that can be implemented at home.

Over 90% satisfied with programme

In total, early identification screeners for 6 families, two teacher workshops for 40 teachers and two parent workshops for 83 parents, were provided within each kindergarten setting. The themes are “Strategies and Sensory Input For Inclusive Classroom”, “Managing Challenging Behaviour” and “How Mistakes and Risk-taking can Help Their Confidence and Self-esteem”. Over 90% of the participants gave positive feedback with overall satisfaction.

We also provide individual education sessions and in-class support to help with the children’s cognitive development, as well as social groups to enhance their social skills. A parent expressed her gratitude to CDC, “I am grateful to have the Bright Start project this year. My son said he loves the training provided by the CDC teacher and I found he has improved a lot. Thank you to the CDC staff.”

Hope to serve more preschool organisations

Here are some reflections regarding the project: “The teacher from the CDC helps a lot. My student can pay attention and behave well in class. It will be great if more contact hours can be provided,” a teacher who participated in the programme said.

Our staff have also given positive feedback to the programme, “The Bright Start project is a pilot programme for kindergartens which aims to help children with needs within a mainstream school system supported by multi-disciplinary experts in special needs. We have gained positive feedback in the initial implementation in supporting children’s diverse needs at the school, teacher, family and individual levels and hope to continue to transfer the knowledge into the bigger preschool community in the future.” (Isabel Li, CDC Educational Psychologist)

“In this project, there was a close collaboration between CDC teachers/therapists and preschool teachers. Based on the teachers’ concerns, CDC staff shared and demonstrated strategies in order to facilitate the target children’s learning in the classroom.  There have been satisfactory improvements of the children in different aspects, including attention, engagement, emotion control and communication.” (Olivia Lee, CDC Special Education Needs Teacher)

“The Bright Start Pilot project was a great initiative allowing the CDC therapists and Teachers to reach out into the community and work collaboratively with the Teachers of the two kindergartens. This experience allowed the teachers and therapists to share ideas and a work towards helping the children learn in a more stimulating environment.” (Matthew Lee, CDC Speech and Language Therapist)

Through the Bright Start programme, we hope the professionally-guided intervention strategies will be carried forward by the parents and teachers.