Looking for somewhere that will cater to your child’s learning needs? All Hands Together provides a learning experience that isn’t just personalised but fun too. Kids learn well at different paces and in different environments, and this is clearly put to practice at this special education centre. We hear from founders and good friends Gayathri Ramaswami and Yasodha Rajadurai about the philosophy behind it and what we can expect.
Why did you set up All Hands Together?
We started it to fill a gap in Singapore’s special education space. We have a shared vision that everyone, not just a privileged few, should enjoy good education. Parents can wait a very long time to get help for their children with developmental and learning delays. During this wait, the children lose crucial time in their early intervention years. We wanted to create programmes that were more accessible, and it led us to start our home-based, parent-empowered customised learning programme five years ago.
We partnered with parents and families, supporting them with methods and materials required for creative and consistent home practice of crucial skills. Since then, we’ve evolved and grown, and we now offer many programmes tailoring to children and young adults who learn differently.
Tell us more about your approach to learning.
Through personal experience and inspirational stories, children with learning difficulties and special needs can sometimes defy their diagnosis. They deserve to receive the right support and encouragement, so that they can be defined by their possibilities and not only by their limitations. We believe in looking beyond labels and recognise that every child is differently abled. Each child is unique and has his or her own way of processing information. Our motto is to embrace differences and inspire learning. Our personalised approach makes learning accessible to all children and facilitates their developmental journey.
Why do you believe personalised learning is beneficial?
A one-size-fits-all approach is often adopted in learning, with an expectation that the same curriculum and mode of learning will work for all children. Yet, we wouldn’t dream of creating a standard “size” for something as trivial as clothing, so why something as crucial as education? We believe that every child can learn; they just don’t all do it in the same way. So, we study and understand each child’s learning profile as well as their strengths and weaknesses, and then we personalise the learning to meet their specific style and needs. We do this even for children who attend group classes via differentiation and purposeful learning.
How is the centre’s mode of learning especially helpful for children with special needs?
We place a strong emphasis on family partnership, working closely with families to help children learn the way they learn best. The team works with each child’s parents, therapists and school teachers to reach the child’s learning goals.
What type of activities can children expect?
Children learn through their experiences, and positive experiences enforce learning. Fun and interactive learning materials (often hand-crafted) make learning enjoyable. The learning experience is always multi-sensorial and experiential, and it’s play- and movement-based. We believe this is the way children learn best. Expect singing, dancing, reading, painting, cooking, experimenting and getting down and dirty!
What do the children enjoy the most?
They love going on field trips, and we also recently held our first holiday camp. In the words of the kids, “I liked everything, yes, yes, yes!” Outdoor sessions during the Early Intervention Programme (EIP) are also a favourite. On Free and Easy Fridays, we set up stations and activities for the children to explore and discover. The sensory and messy play areas are the most popular!
Anything new and upcoming?
We recently started the EIP in our new centre and just completed our second term. It’s a unique three-hour programme that incorporates our personalised one-to-one learning programme with both small and large group sessions to foster socio-emotional development and build school-readiness skills. It is run by qualified, passionate and innovative teachers and the lesson plans are developed in line with the Ministry of Education’s NEL (Nurturing Early Learners) framework. It’s offered in a mainstream preschool setting, but is differentiated and personalised to suit diverse learning styles and needs. It includes specialist feedback and group sessions follow a therapy-based approach.
From the beginning of next term (1 October), the centre will also offer one-to-one speech and occupational therapy sessions.
Quote “Expat Living” and get 10% off fees for the first term.
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