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Book on Tourette Syndrome now an educational resource in schools

Book on Tourette Syndrome by a pre-school child advocating for inclusion is now an educational resource in schools across Singapore.

Tourette Syndrome and Me by six-year-old Zachary with Tourette syndrome and published by the EtonHouse Community Fund (ECF), is based on a heart-to-heart talk between Zachary and his principal, Ms. Josephyne Ho from EtonHouse Pre-School. The interactive read-along book comes with augmented reality (AR) features and will be distributed to 800 primary schools, kindergartens, and pre-schools around Singapore. It will also be available at public libraries and Molly, the Mobile Library operated by National Library Board to serve special needs students.

 

Tourette Syndrome and Me was first published digitally on social media in October 2020. It quickly caught attention from parents, teachers, and education leaders, expressing how meaningful the book was for children.

 

Very soon, ECF started receiving requests for this book to be shared with their school communities. To further its cause and enable more children to access this book, ECF raised funds to produce it in an interactive, physical format as an educational resource for pre-school and primary schools.

 

This book gives an authentic glimpse into Zachary’s fears and anxieties. “I didn’t want to go to school because I didn’t want my friends to see my twitching. I was worried that my friends would laugh at me.” When he realised that his friends’ reactions were because they did not understand Tourette Syndrome, he set out to create awareness amongst them about it. Encouraged by his principal and supported by ECF, he co-created this book, a process that has made him more confident and less fearful of the reactions from his peers. Through this book, he wanted to help others understand that there is nothing wrong with being different.

This book aims to:

Help children develop empathy to build warm, kind, and respectful connections with others

Raise awareness about different abilities and celebrate diversity

Create opportunities for adults to have sensitive and healing conversations with children

Empower children to inspire others

Ms. Josehyne Ho, Senior Principal of EtonHouse Pre-School 223 Mountbatten, who initiated this book, says, “I hope that more people can understand the potentially difficult social struggles and stigma, real or imagined, that children with Tourette Syndrome have to endure. I also wish for this book to offer parents with children who are in similar situations a platform to start conversations about how they can overcome their fears and talk about them with confidence.”

 

The book is being retailed at S$25 per copy for fundraising. All proceeds from the sales of the book will go to activities for underprivileged children. Get your copy here.

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ECF launches Teacher Everywhere™

ECF has launched Teacher Everywhere™, the first teacher training volunteer programme in Singapore to support disadvantaged children.

The EtonHouse Community Fund (ECF) has launched Teacher Everywhere™, an innovative programme to train ‘Volunteer Teachers’ for free to enable them to work with and teach children from disadvantaged backgrounds.


Recruitment of volunteers started in October 2020, and within three weeks, ECF received an overwhelming response from more than 200 volunteers stepping forward to express interest to be a part of Teacher Everywhere™. They come from diverse backgrounds, nationalities and professions, from homemakers, scientists to doctors. Many of them are parents, while some secondary and high school students have also signed up to volunteer.


EtonHouse educators and trainers have been hired to train the volunteers.

The key highlights of the programme are

The course will be delivered over 6 sessions and includes 2 practicums.

Volunteers are not required to have a prior background or experience in teaching.

The course content will include child development, classroom management, communication with children, managing challenging behavior, positive guidance, strategies for leading effective story-telling and learning experiences.

The course including all materials are free of charge and will be delivered by highly experienced and trained early childhood leaders and facilitators from EtonHouse.

On the successful completion of the course, the volunteers will be certified to facilitate Joyful Learning, an exclusive programme created for children 4-6 years old. Based on 40 classic storybooks, the year-long programme delivered every week to children from disadvantaged families will cover literacy, numeracy, creative expression and fine motor skills. Volunteers will also engage parents during these sessions, supporting them with practical tips to extend their children’s learning at home.

No child should be left behind. Through Teacher Everywhere and our Joyful Learning programme, ECF hopes to increase our outreach and improve the lives of underprivileged children by equipping them with skills and knowledge to be successful in school and beyond.

Mrs. Ng Gim Choo, Founder and Director of EtonHouse Community Fund

The programme was inspired by a ground-up initiative in 2019 which saw EtonHouse teachers providing weekly English enrichment classes to 3-4-year-old children at Henderson WeLL Centre. Says Ms. Josephyne Ho, Principal of EtonHouse at Mountbatten who led her team on the year-long volunteering journey and has now joined as a Teacher Everywhere™ mentor, “As many of my teammates are teachers with young families, it took a lot to give up their family time during weekends.

I am extremely grateful to have a team of like-minded teachers who understand the value of literacy skills especially for children who are at risk. The children picked up literacy skills and experienced the joy of learning and reading. To see them attend the sessions with enthusiasm and learn to read was extremely rewarding.”

Mrs. Ng Gim Choo, Founder of the EtonHouse International Group and EtonHouse Community Fund, who initiated the thinking behind Teacher Everywhere™ says “No child should be left behind. Through Teacher Everywhere™ and our Joyful Learning programme, ECF hopes to increase our outreach and improve the lives of vulnerable children by equipping them with skills and knowledge to be successful in school and beyond.”

 

Upon completion of training, Teacher Everywhere™ volunteers will partner with various community groups to work directly with children and families from disadvantaged backgrounds. To sign up as a volunteer or partner, connect with ECF at enquiry@www.ehcommunityfund.org.sg

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ECF partners with KKH Health Fund to support children with diabetes

Learn about children with diabetes and how Glucose Monitoring Systems can make their lives easier in our press release.

The EtonHouse Community Fund (ECF) has partnered with the KKH Health Fund (KKHHF) to improve the care of less privileged children with diabetes through the use of technology such as a Glucose Monitoring System (GMS) and educational and outreach initiatives such as diabetes camps for patients and their caregivers.

 

Over 400 active paediatric and adolescent patients with diabetes are seen at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) each year. Blood glucose monitoring is a critical need for these patients living with this chronic condition, as glucose levels that are too low can result in the loss of the ability of the nervous system to function normally and levels that are too high can result in long term health complications.

 

Traditionally, glucose levels can be monitored by administering a finger-prick test at least four times a day. For young children, this can cause disruption to their school life, as they would have to pause their day-to-day activities to administer the test. With the GMS, children with diabetes can monitor their glucose levels more conveniently and less painfully.

How the GMS works

The GMS comprises a small, circular sensor discreetly inserted in the upper arm.

The patient and caregivers can wave a reader over the sensor at any time to obtain a reading of the glucose level.

This greatly reduces the frequency of finger-prick tests and keeps children from experiencing unnecessary anxiety in the classroom, in turn allowing for better concentration and learning outcomes.

It also enables the child to better monitor glucose levels through the night without needing to be woken up for regular finger-prick testing, thereby improving sleep quality.

Says a parent with a type one diabetic child, “When my child was about two years old and newly diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I was administering the finger-prick test for my child more than 10 times a day. I had to prick him in his fingers and toes. I couldn't tell whether his blood sugar is high or low just by looking at him physically. He could run into the risk of hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia anytime. The multiple finger pricks were then the only way to check his blood sugar and making sure that he is safe. With the GMS sensor, I can check his glucose levels regularly without causing pain or interrupting his sleep.”

 

However, children from less privileged families may not have ready access to the GMS, especially since treatment for diabetes may already be a strain on their families’ finances.

 

With a sponsorship sum of more than S$200,000, the ECF will be able to support about 60 children with diabetes from less privileged families with the use of GMS which will empower these children and adults to follow established care plans for the child. The use of the GMS also provides rapid response to the fluctuations in glucose levels in the event of hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) and comes in handy in the treatment or prevention of hypoglycaemia. Additionally, by using the GMS, parents will have a greater sense of relief and peace of mind enabling them to focus on their work and in turn support their family.

Through this partnership with KKHHF, we hope that children living with this chronic disease will be more empowered and confident in school. By being able to actively participate in all aspects of learning, they will experience a more joyful and fulfilling childhood.

Mrs. Ng Gim Choo, Founder and Director of EtonHouse Community Fund

Professor Alex Sia, Chief Executive Officer, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital said, “We would like to thank EtonHouse Community Fund for their generous support, which will allow us to continue to provide holistic care for our paediatric and adolescent patients with diabetes.” The ECF, an independent IPC charity focuses on improving the lives of less privileged children and youth through education.