Pre-schoolers do their bit to help the less fortunate

One is never too young to help the less fortunate - that is what 5,000 children as young as five will learn this year.

Be it decorating potted plants to give to the needy or making ice-cream to raise funds, the children from 150 childcare centres and kindergartens will do their part for the community. They will be taking part in community service projects for six months with their pre-schools.

This is part of the Early Childhood Development Agency's (ECDA) Start Small Dream Big initiative, which aims to encourage pre-school children to help the less fortunate and develop social awareness and compassion.

The agency said the initiative is also "a gift from the early childhood sector to Singapore" for the Republic's 50th birthday and the 15th anniversary of the President's Challenge, an annual series of fund-raising and volunteer activities.

Launching the programme yesterday at the Science Centre Singapore, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said: "We want to encourage our children to be kind when they're young and start to do good deeds however young they are, however small their deeds. Every good deed counts."

At the event, 1,000 children and 200 teachers pledged to make a positive impact on the community by completing dot drawings - representative of how small individual efforts can result in a larger impact.

At Far Eastern Kindergarten, one of the participating pre-schools, children will make crafts from recycled materials.

It is hoped that their parents will be encouraged to donate more money to charity after seeing their children's efforts.

Funds raised will go to Star Pals (Paediatric Advanced Life Support), a service for children and young adults who are critically ill or have life-threatening diseases.

Mrs Ang Chui Hwa, the kindergarten's principal, said: "You need to start young, because character is moulded when they are young and open to suggestions...

"It doesn't cost you very much but the difference made can be significant."

This article was first published on April 2, 2015.
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