Every Child Deserves a Good Start

Teacher Angela 2
How one preschool helped a cancer-stricken single dad

What would you do to help a single father diagnosed with cancer with three schooling children? Well, Teacher Angela (pictured above) went the extra mile to help him.

Working as a cleaner in a restaurant, Mr Tan stayed in a rental one-room flat. A single dad to three children, Mr Tan’s wife ran away after giving birth to their third child.

The youngest of three kids – Anna has two elder brothers in Secondary 2 and Primary 5 respectively.

Anna’s learning development was far slower than her peers when she joined a preschool as a toddler in playgroup.

As her single dad was illiterate, Anna did not have a conducive learning environment at home. She had behavioural issues and could hardly speak. Anna’s plight was noticed by the family’s Member of Parliament (MP), who referred her to the preschool.

To help Anna catch up with her peers, special attention was provided to her.

Teachers at the centre guided her through special reading programmes to overcome her learning disadvantages. She was also led through specific activities to regulate her disruptive behaviour and improve her attention span.

While Anna has graduated from the preschool last year, her family’s challenges were not forgotten.

Tragically, Mr Tan was diagnosed with cancer in May this year. Due to his health condition, he could no longer work as his job required him to be physically fit.

When the preschool heard of his predicament, staff like Senior Teacher Angela (pictured above) immediately launched into a fundraising effort to help the stricken family pay for their bills. The principal and teachers also visited him in his home out of concern for his welfare.

Funds were raised from the preschool teachers and other parents.  Children in the centre were also told about Anna’s plight. Many assisted in the effort while learning important values like charity and compassion. A few of their parents also contributed to the effort.

Collectively they have raised about $700 thus far. Together with subsidy from the Government and various welfare organisations, this was used for medical treatments to remove the cancerous lump from Mr Tan’s body.

The journey to help Mr Tan hasn’t ended. A bigger scale exercise is planned in December this year to collect contributions for the family.

Hopefully, this would help Anna and her family to tide over this challenging period of their lives.

Do you know of any families of young children who need that extra help to tide through a difficult period? What can you do to give that an equal head start?

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