Archive for the ‘Early Childhood Education’ Category

‘Easier for stateless kids to enrol in school soon’

Saturday, October 13th, 2018
(File pix) Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching greeting students at SMJK Kuching High yesterday. Bernama Photo
By Bernama - October 13, 2018 @ 8:45am

KUCHING: The Education Ministry will simplify the registration process for pupils without citizenship for admission to government schools, said Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching.

She said the ministry had decided that children without citizenship needed only produce their birth certificates, adoption papers or court order to enrol in government schools.

“If they do not have these documents, they can get verification from the community leaders or their people’s representatives,” she said after officiating a ceremony for the Gate of Alumni at SMJK Kuching High here yesterday.

She said in the case of children without citizenship, but with one parent who was a Malaysian citizen and had a birth certificate, would be allowed to enrol in government schools.

The new conditions would be implemented in January and the students would be allowed to sit for public examinations like Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah, Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia and Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia, said Teo.

“The move is because the government wants to provide formal education to all children,” she said.

She added that parents had up to two years to provide necessary documents.

Teo said the main reason children did not have citizenship was because their parents did not register their marriages before the children were born.

By Bernama .

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Careers in early childhood education

Friday, October 5th, 2018
Aspiring ECCE educators from SEGi posing for a group photograph.

Aspiring ECCE educators from SEGi posing for a group photograph.

IN LINE with rising demands for improvements in early childcare services, the Ministry of Education has made it a mission to ensure that all Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) educators have the minimum qualification of Diploma in Early Childhood by 2020.

SEGi College Penang has embarked on a journey to produce more qualified ECCE educators with its internationally recognised Diploma in Early Childhood Education (DECE)

Entry requirement is SPM/STPM/UEC. The programme with its flexible learning hours is suitable for in-service teachers and can be completed within two-and-a-half years.

Graduates can then opt to further their studies with the three-year honours degree programme in Early Years Education (BA EYE) in collaboration with University of Greenwich, UK.

Degree students will have the opportunity to undergo teaching practicum (Workplace Experience) in both Taska and Tadika.

Financial support is available through EPF, PTPTN, Affin flexi-payment and rebates

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Nurturing creative pre-schoolers

Friday, October 5th, 2018
E-Bridge Pre-School Penang’s stimulating environment makes learning fun.

E-Bridge Pre-School Penang’s stimulating environment makes learning fun.

E-BRIDGE Pre-School Penang’s ‘Learning through inquiry’ curriculum framework allows children to learn through play and have a say in what they want to learn.

Kids are encouraged to ask questions, then think about solutions while teachers serve as facilitators.

While most schools in Malaysia still use the old academic approach that overemphasises testing and memorising, E-Bridge recognises that it is more important to be able to apply information.

For example, its integrated bilingual approach to learning English and Mandarin encourages children to use both languages.

Its centres on Penang island are at Arena Curve in Bayan Baru and Jalan Pangkor in George Town.

E-Bridge Penang founder and managing director Patrick Tiah said, “We respect children as capable individuals who have their own views.”

E-Bridge does not use standard textbooks or workbooks to teach. Instead, teachers organise projects and activities where children can learn by applying.

For example, instead of learning maths by completing a worksheet, children can apply maths in a supermarket role play scene by adding up the cost of the items in their shopping basket.

This ‘integrated learning’ approach teaches a child many things in one activity.

In the example above, apart from numeracy and addition, they also learn literacy (by reading the labels on the items) and social skills (interacting with peers).

With this open-ended approach to learning, parents might wonder if their children would be able to adapt what they learnt to the more structured learning in national primary schools.

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The key to progress

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018
Study the education system of other countries and adopt, adapt and apply the good features to our own. —

Study the education system of other countries and adopt, adapt and apply the good features to our own. —

Examine the weaknesses of the country and how education can help to improve the situation.

I SIGHED with relief when I read the letter from the Education Minister (StarEducate, Sept 9) about his plan to transform the education system. One proposed move is the appointment or reappointment of the National Education Advisory Council members including a very trusted educationist and former chairman of the council in the form of former Education director-general Tan Sri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Noordin.

I sighed with relief as the Minister appears to be finally heading in the right direction of formulating policies, after examining issues rather than making contentious statements such as changing the colour of shoes or inconsequential issues and plans like asking schools to hold Language Days and such, which are the actions of school heads and the district education offices.

He should understand that his function is to get the machinery under him to examine the whole system itself, sieve out the flaws and weaknesses and rectify them as well as find out the strengths that could be developed.

He should then determine the direction to take so that the healing of the country can be done since education is the key to progress in all forms and directions.

Education is one of the most vital ministries of any country. Finland recognises this and that is why they have directed their best students not only to go into important fields like science, medicine, engineering and economics but also education.

Similarly, Singapore has realised that their main resource is their citizens and so education is their prime concern. These two countries always score well in surveys of the education system. So why not learn from them even though our situation is different.

Differences can be ironed out.

In any case, one direction that could be taken is to study the education system of other countries and to adopt, adapt and apply the good features to our own system. There should not be slavish application of the features of other countries as we blindly did in the past.

Know our own situation especially the reasons for our ills and then remedy them. Ours is a complex situation with diverse races and religions thrown in. But some of the ills cut across the diversity.

To remedy this, let us look at the Japanese system to see how the schools help to educate the people so that they queue respectfully even for much needed rations during times of disaster unlike Malaysians who rush to pile up food at open houses.

Examine their curriculum and emphasis and what they want their citizens to develop into.

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Let’s start them young in being patriotic

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018
The young should be taught to love the country and be respectful of others, regardless of their background or religion. FILE PIC

AT a talk given to students of Seri Stamford College, Kuala Lumpur, in conjunction with National Day, I was asked how to make Malaysians patriotic.

Patriotism should be inculcated in childhood because when children love their home and country, they grow up appreciating their heritage, diversity and history.

They would strive to improve Malaysia.

Patriotism can be instilled in students through awareness, education and knowledge. The education system should inculcate in students a sense of pride and belonging to the nation.

Only through this sense of belonging can Malaysia’s younger generation be moulded into responsible and mature citizens and future leaders

Children can be moulded into not looking at things through coloured lenses.

Let children grow up together so that they get to know their peers.

The younger generation must be made aware of the importance of unity, social cohesion and reconciliation as these are the cornerstones of the nation’s success and development.

It is imperative that they forge closer relations.

Principals and teachers need to use creativity and skills to get students to participate in activities that boost racial integration.

They need to encourage students to understand one another better and to have mutual respect for each other.

They must be the prime movers of our educational transformation, not only to teach and impart knowledge and skills, but also to unite students.

Parents need to practise good values to inspire their children to emulate behaviour that will help them build a stable nation.

Values such as honesty, integrity, tolerance, diligence, fairness, respect for elders and civic-consciousness must be upheld.

After 61 years of independence, Malaysians should be more united. We should identify ourselves first as a Malaysian.

I have always believed that being Malaysian does not make us any less Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan, Iban or Bidayuh

National unity and integration can be made stronger by inculcating patriotism in people.

History has proven that Malaysia was able to overcome challenges when the people were united.

Our diversity is our strength and it is the recipe of success in achieving development and socio-economic progress, as well as our ability to conquer adversities.

Malaysians, especially the younger generation, need to appreciate the concept of unity under 1Malaysia where everyone accepts the uniqueness of others so that we can live together.

It is the key to a peaceful country.

Nationhood and nation building are meaningless if the younger generation doesn’t learn values.

Youth can transform the nation and bring about positive change in the country.

They can influence their peers to contribute to nation building.


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Best national day gift for children

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018
Malaysia, as a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, must protect the rights of children. FILE PIC

THE best National Day gift we can give our children is to uphold their rights as children, to be granted citizenship, to live the life of a child, the right to education, healthcare and nutrition, and protected by love in this era of Malaysia Baru.

The nation yesterday celebrated its 61st National Day with participation by Malaysian from all walks of life.

I would like to dedicate this historic National Day celebration to the children of Malaysia.

The nation was shocked in June when an 11-year-old Thai girl married a 41-year-old man from Gua Musang, Kelantan.

Following that came media coverage of children being victims of trafficking, sexual violence, rape, incest and being married off as child brides or child grooms

We have thousands of stateless children born out of wedlock to refugees, children who grow
up on the streets, and even children in foster homes, all of whom will grow up to be stateless adults.

Stateless children are often subjected to bureaucratic nonsense, which will deny them the right to education (in spite of provisions in the law allowing them to do so), healthcare and the right to be protected from harm and danger, such as being married off at a young age.

Little and large Napoleons continue to dictate whether children are allowed to attend school. We must stop attempts to toy with the future of these children.

For this reason, I call on the Home Ministry to grant citizenship to children in foster homes when they reach the age of 4, if they have not been adopted, to allow them to go to school, like all children born in Malaysia.

All citizenship approvals for children must be expedited to prevent them from feeling unwanted.

As far as child marriages is concerned, even with reforms in the civil law through the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act, Islamic Family Law Enactments of the States for Muslims in Syariah courts, and native customary laws in Sabah and Sarawak, criminalising child marriages and penalising parents who give consent to their children to get married will not prevent the practice if there is no effort and participation from society.

We must work with the government to end child marriages.

I propose a moratorium on marriage applications through these three legal provisions, until amendments to the law to fix 18 as the minimum age of marriage, with no exception, is passed in the Dewan Rakyat, and in state Syariah and customary bodies.

I applaud the comment by Ismail Yahya, former Terengganu chief Syariah judge, calling for the minimum age for Muslims to marry to be fixed at 18.

The Pakatan Harapan government will promote the rights of children by putting the children’s agenda in the spotlight as Malaysia is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Therefore, the nation is bound to protect the rights of children.

While there are many issues surrounding the growth of children in Malaysia, the dilemma is about citizenship, which will at least guarantee that children can reap the joys of education, access to healthcare, access to nutritional food as well as protecting them.

What message will we send to our children when we place their interest first?

That we, as a government, as leaders, community chiefs and society take matters concerning children seriously and will work to ensure that no child is left behind.


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80 pct of childminders at nurseries don’t have minimum qualifications

Monday, August 13th, 2018

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail – Bernama file photo

PUTRAJAYA: About 80 per cent or 13,700 childminders for those aged (0) to four in nurseries registered with the Department of Social Welfare (SWD) still do not meet the minimum qualification of the Permata Early Childhood Care and Education (KAP) course as of June 2018.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the lack of qualified caregivers had a negative implication on the number of registered nurseries.

“The census projection by the Malaysian Department of Statistics in 2010 estimated the number of children aged between zero and four in 2018 to be 2.3 million,” she said the launching ceremony of the 2018 Nursery Day here, today.

She said based on these statistics, if it is assumed that 50 per cent of children in Malaysia aged up to four years old required nursery care, our country would need 38,333 nurseries.

However, she said SWD’s database showed there were only 4,302 registered nurseries nationwide.

Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister said the numbers showed a clear shortage in terms of the requirement and availability of nurseries in the country.

“The lack of qualified caregivers and the number of registered nurseries will have implications on the quality of care and safety of our children,” she said.

Wan Azizah stressed that the availability of nurseries was important to provide a support system for working parents to manage their children while they were at work.

“This will indirectly help the country achieve its goal of increasing the number of women in the workforce to 59 per cent in 2020 compared to 54.7 per cent in 2017,” she said.


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Getting preschoolers in math early

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018
Christina Andin (fourth from right) with the mentors for the Accountant Junior programme.

DURING early childhood, infants and toddlers develop 700 neural connections every second. This period has long been accepted as the most critical point in neurological or brain development.

Experts say this sensitive period of development must be utilised to start children on the right path to be successful in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and other content areas. Once these neurological pathways are developed, they go through a pruning process, in which synapses that are not used are eliminated.

Based on this, the Faculty of Psychology and Education at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS)

has taken on an initiative to focus on creating STEM activities, particularly in the area of Mathematics, for preschool level (nursery and kindergarten) children under the STEM Mentor-Mentee Programme driven by the National STEM Movement.

“The Faculty of Psychology and Education produces graduates who are recognised in the field of Psychology and Education.

“We have five programmes: Science and Mathematics with Education, Social Science with Education, Economic with Education, Education with Teaching English as a Second Language and Early Childhood Education.

“The programmes train teachers for the said particular areas. Thus, we have strong connections with schools as we are producing future teachers,” said senior lecturer Dr Christina Andin.

Why mathematics?

Christina said research confirmed that the brain was particularly receptive to learning mathematics and logic between the ages of 1 and 4, and that early mathematics skills were the most powerful predictors of later learning.

“Early math skills are a better predictor of later academic success than early reading. Basically, we hold this findings as justification in the paperwork for this STEM project.”

For the STEM Mentor-Mentee Programme, Christina collaborated with fellow lecturer Dr Connie Shin.

“She is from the Early Childhood Education programme and I am from the Economic with Education programme.

“Our study is about the learning of numbers among preschoolers. We used money as a medium to learn mathematics because it provides a perfect, authentic opportunity to explore mathematics.

“Each coin and paper money has an assigned value. These can be used to engage kids in techniques of sorting, counting, comparing, measuring, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and, eventually, using fractions, decimals, percentages and more,” Christina said.

“Accountant Juniors”, the name of the project, illustrated the ambitious mind to be“like a professional”.

“As we know, an accountant is a professional who performs accounting functions, such as audits or financial statement analyses,” said Christina.

Accountant Junior also has some integrated learning objectives, such as introducing and familiarising children with money, value and the concept of trading, developing social skills, and practising negotiation skills, turn taking and sharing.

The activities provide opportunities for working out problems and experimenting with solutions.

“The development of the modules involved several stages,” said Christina.

“The first was to determine the content to be taught, where we referred to the latest syllabus of Early Mathematics by the Education Ministry. Then, the writing of the lesson plan, which provides important guides for teachers on how to implement the teaching and learning activities. Following that was the creation of the teaching aid as a tool for teaching and learning activities.”

As the concept is based on games, there are five games within the modules that range from simple money-counting activities to more complex money calculations.

The games include an activity called “Know Your Money”, where preschoolers get familiar with coins and paper money. This activity is divided into three sub-activities, namely “Pancing Wang”, “Many or Little” and “Pay by Price”.

Activity 2, “Wheels of Dreams (Needs and Wants)”, is based on the theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow. Through this game, children will learn about the concepts of cheap and expensive through identifying of price tags.

Activity 3, “ATM Machine (Addition and Subtraction)”, relates to the introduction of value in money to children. Children will be exposed to activities that involve addition and subtraction.

Activity 4, “Monopoly (Plan Your Money)”, is a board game where players are involved in making purchses and saving money. This game applies the concepts of addition and subtraction, as well as enhances cognitive, affective and psychomotor aspects. Kids will distinguish between earning, spending, saving and sharing money. The money used per player is below RM10.

Lastly, Activity 5, “Spend and Save”, introduces to children as early as 4 to the usage of 10 sen up to RM10.

“We implemented Accountant Junior in real classroom settings. This involved the pre-test and post-test. The pilot programme was held in Ranau, Kota Belud, Labuan, Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Penyu in Sabah, involving 15 kindergartens, with the presence of 375 preschoolers,” said Christina.

To fulfil the basic concept of the mentor-mentee programme, the kindergarten and nursery teachers took on the role as mentees and university students as mentors.The students are from UMS’s Early Childhood Education programme.

“They are the future kindergarten teachers. Therefore, engaging them in this activity will indirectly expose them to the real world of teaching and learning in the kindergarten context. This is important in producing teachers who have the passion for STEM education,” said Christina.

UMS second-year Early Childhood Education student Phreoza Dayzency Missie said: “The programme is all about exploring early mathematics and exposing preschoolers to financial literacy and money skills. We observed that lower primary schoolchildren often have problems dealing with transactions at their school canteen and thought of teaching them to count by using games and activities.

“The 12 of us mentors, students of the Early Childhood Education Programme, have worked with 33 mentees — kindergarten teachers. We’ve been thinking of turning the games into software applications, so that we can run the programme in Sarawak and the rest of Malaysia too.

“The age of 4 to 6 is very critical to instill understanding of numbers and relate it to problem solving.”

And has the Accountant Junior mentor-mentee programme been successful?

“This is only the starting point for the STEM Mentor-Mentee Programme at UMS. A lot of things need to be done, especially in involving the rest of the three components of STEM, Science, Technology and Engineering,” said Christina.

“We are also in the process of developing the module for ‘Natural Lab’, where we use the eco-campus environment as a medium of learning science concepts among pre-schoolers.


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First music-themed playschool to open in Sabah

Monday, February 19th, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: The first ever music-themed playschool in Sabah is finally open for intake in March and it is offering a special discount to the first 30 children to register.

Located at Jalan Punai Tanah, Likas (opposite the Chung Hwa Kindergarten and next to the State Education Department building), the ECC (Every Child Can) Playschool Plus is open to children aged two to four years old and provides full-day daycare service. The playschool will be using music and arts as a medium of learning for students.

According to Madam Lily Yong, the Chief Operations Officer for ECCPlayschool Plus, “music has been proven to be able to stimulate brain development, especially in young children. Therefore, ECC Playschool Plus provides creative and interesting thematic classes with lessons using musical instruments, such as piano, violin, singing and phonics, as well as arts and crafts activities.”

Lily adds that early exposure to music and arts early in their lives will help develop creative and cognitive skills in children. Furthermore, this will also help prepare the children’s minds for academic learning in the future. In addition to that, Lily notes that picking up skills early in life, especially in learning musical instruments, will help instill discipline and build solid characters from young.

On top of that, ECC Playschool Plus teachers are also highly trained and qualified in the field of creative arts and music. To ensure the children’s health and safety, the playschool also hires full-time registered nurses to monitor the children’s health and plan nutritious meals for their growing bodies.

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Ensuring access to early childhood education

Thursday, February 15th, 2018
Ong (fourth from right) and Wang (second from right) at a scholarship presentation held in Kelantan.

Ong (fourth from right) and Wang (second from right) at a scholarship presentation held in Kelantan.

AFTER receiving the National Woman Entrepreneur Award 2009 for her outstanding achievements and contribution to society, especially in early childhood development, Datin Seri Dr K H Wang who is co-founder of Smart Reader Worldwide, was inspired to realise her vision to ensure that underprivileged children have access to quality preschool education in their formative years.

She contributed the prizes received to initiate the One Child One Hope Education Scholarship programme. Since it started, the programme has funded more than 500 less fortunate children nationwide for their preschool education.

Each child in the programme receives complete education benefits, including the provision of school fees, uniforms, shoes, schoolbags, books, worksheets and various other learning materials.

More than RM500,000 worth of scholarships have been distributed nationwide and through numerous charity establishments such as Yayasan Sultan Kelantan Darulnaim, Yayasan Tuanku Syed Putra and Yayasan Diraja Sultan Mizan.

To date, Smart Reader Worldwide has also organised various fund-raising events.

These include a grand charity concert in 2012 to an exciting family cycle-and-run event in 2017.

“Providing children with quality education during their formative years allows them the opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Wang.

This is supported by Smart Reader Worldwide Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr Richard Ong.

“We are delighted to see the accomplishment from the scholarship awardees after they enrol in Smart Reader Kids.

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