• Vol. 36 No. 11, 898–910
  • 15 November 2007

Child Development Programme in Singapore 1988 to 2007



Early childhood intervention programmes can shift the odds toward more favourable outcomes in development, especially for children at risk. However, there is no quick fix in the world for early childhood interventions. Programmes that work are rarely simple, inexpensive, or easy to implement. Each country must decide its own model and strategies and develop its resources based on existing infrastructures. Since its independence to become a sovereign nation in 1965, Singapore has undergone significant socio-economic changes. The infant and under-5 childhood mortality rates are among the lowest in the world. A number of “new morbidities” have been identified to pose major challenges to child health in the next decades. They are chronic medical illnesses, developmental disabilities, learning problems, injuries and neglect, behavioural disturbances and disorders, sequelae associated with unhealthy life-styles, and social and emotional disorders. The need for a comprehensive child development programme is therefore obvious. The main objectives are identification and treatment of children with developmental and behavioural problems so as to correct developmental dysfunctions, minimise the impact of a child’s disability or of prevailing risk factors, strengthen families, and establish the foundations for subsequent development. A child development programme has evolved in Singapore over the last 20 years. The programme is multi-disciplinary, community-based, family-focused, and childcentric, with partnership and integration between government and voluntary community organisations.

Singapore is a small country without natural resources. Children are our nation’s most important resource and they are the future of our society. Since its independence in 1965, Singapore has enjoyed economic success and this is due primarily to the fundamental principle that Singapore’s continued prosperity depends largely on its people to maintain its competitiveness. The Singapore family size is small and its population is ageing. As such, great importance must be placed on health and well-being of the next generation.

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