Archive for the ‘Early Childhood Education’ Category

Prof: Bright ideas can come from children.

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017
Making his point: Prof Anil giving his keynote address at Pangkor Dialogue 2017.

Making his point: Prof Anil giving his keynote address at Pangkor Dialogue 2017.

IPOH: Children are often brimming with ideas and they should not be brushed aside, said renowned grassroots innovations scholar Prof Anil K. Gupta.

They should be treated as a source of ideas as there is much to learn from them, he said.

“Children are naturally creative, we just need to pay attention to them.

“Everyone is a potential innovator and inventor,” he said in his keynote address during Pangkor Dialogue 2017 yesterday.

Among the ideas were a walking aid suitable for stairs, shoes with vacuuming abilities and a modern Swiss Army Knife with a projector function.

The professor also called on countries to collaborate in creating a networking system to pool ideas and innovations.

“We need an open source know­ledge management system. We should no longer just think of ourselves but also others,” he said.

Countries, he added, also need to learn and work together or risk being left behind.

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said he managed to turn his town, which was once listed as the second most obese city in the US, into one of the fittest.

Cornett said Oklahoma was built around cars and there were no pedestrian-friendly walkways.

The city, he added, was also known as the fast-food capital of the world.

“In 2007, I called upon the people in the city to go on a diet. We also created jogging and biking trails.

“In 2012, we were on the list as one of the fittest cities in US,” he said in his keynote address.

Cornett said no one talked about obesity but he had to start getting people to do so, in order to bring about changes.

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Children should be exposed money managing skills: PNB

Sunday, September 10th, 2017
Datuk Aznil Nawawi host the Financial Planning Camp for Children, organised by Amanah Saham Nasional. Pic by HASRIYASYAH SABUDIN.

SEREMBAN: Parents must instil in their children saving and investment habits from young so that they will be savvy financial planners in the future.

Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd chief executive officer and executive director Mohammad Husin said children should be given financial exposure from young to nurture savings habit, a better perception and understanding of money, and its inherent value.

“Permodalan Nasional Bhd is constantly organising financial planning camps for children so that they will have a better understanding in managing money more intelligently and subsequently make it a habit to spend prudently as well as save a portion of their money,” Mohamad told New Straits Times earlier here today on the sidelines of its Financial Planning Camp for Children.

The event was hosted by popular celebrity Datuk Aznil Nawawi who shared his experience with more than 100 children at the camp and advised them on how to spend their money wisely in the future.

This camp is the fifth organised this year by Amanah Saham Nasional, which was also held in Shah Alam, Selangor, Sibu, Sarawak and Kuala Lumpur, attracting more than 1,000 participants.

The main activity of the camp include a ‘I’m a smart investor’ seminar designed specifically for children between 7 to 12 years old and activities such as ‘I spend my money wisely’, followed by ‘Know your investment risks’ and ‘Instalabur’.

Mohammad said in the ‘I spend my wisely’ activity, every participant will receive a RM50 allowance and each are allocated five minutes to spend at the makeshift bookshop and school canteen.

The winner will be chosen based on their spending pattern as well as the product purchased, if it is of high quality and a good buy.


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Why we must invest in the young

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Quality early childhood education not only benefits the child but also parents, the Taska and kindergartens, and in society at large.

“By investing in our children we are actually investing in our future generation.

Thus early childhood education is a very important part of child development,” said Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad.

“The emotional, social and physical development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adults that they will become.

“This is why we need to raise awareness among the public on the need to invest in young children so as to maximise their future wellbeing,” she said in her speech when opening the first International Early Childhood Conference 2017, here, Monday. Her speech was read out by Sabah Welfare Department Director Mohd Noor Wahab.

Jainab said teachers are important assets to the country and that quality early childhood educators will produce quality education for children which will affect the future generation.

“We thank teachers for all their hard work, passion and endurance to keep doing what they do.

It is not an easy job but a very important one.

“They are the ones who will be training our future generations. One day these children will be the ones who will run our country, so teachers, you better make sure you do your job well.

“Quality can only start when we work towards it. We must upgrade ourselves, we must change our ways and we must have passion in what we do.

“As the Chinese proverb says, ‘when the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills’.

“Together, let’s build windmills and let’s work towards building quality early childhood education,” she said.

On another note, Jainab thanked organising chairlady Datin Rahimah Quadra and her team for their efforts.

“It is great to see different organisations collaborating and working together for the greater good.

When many people work together, the job gets done faster and it is easier for everyone,” said Jainab, who hoped there will be more such conference in the future.

Meanwhile, Rahimah said through the conference, the teachers were motivated, inspired and enriched with new ideas and knowledge to improve their profession as educators.

“Research has shown that the first eight years of life are crucial to success in life.

During those early years, how a child learns and develops – mentally, emotionally and socially – is critical.

“As early childhood educators, we must realise this important role we play in shaping lives and characters of our children into future leaders.

“We are not just teachers, we are the managers of the world’s greatest resources: children.

“It is my hope also that this conference will not just end here, but ‘jumpstart’ the journey towards quality childhood education in our State and country.

“Let us not just be happy with what we have but keep working hard to further improve,” she said.

A total of 250 teachers and early childhood educators from across Malaysia as well as Singapore attended the two-day conference themed “Towards Quality Early Childhood Education” at Klagan Hotel, Warisan Square, here.

by Sherell Jeffrey.

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Conducive eco-system for learning in preschools

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor paying a visit to Sekolah Bimbingan Jalinan Kasih at Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur. The preschool should be a place that introduces preschoolers to the English language in an enjoyable way.

THE learning of languages is commonly believed to be most effective and efficient in the early years and even though there are studies that support this belief, an added pre-condition to this maxim is that the learning context has to be carefully managed and the learner appropriately supported.

Based on this premise, as well as the current demands of globalisation and future trends in education, it is difficult to deny the learning of the English Language as a modern-day imperative. Hence, whilst the introduction of English Language learning in preschool is a laudable and important move on the part of the Education Ministry, it has to be done in a developmentally appropriate manner and through research-driven or evidence-based strategies.

The current English Language scenario in Malaysian preschools reveals several challenges, among which are teachers’ low level of English Language proficiency , children’s lack of exposure to English Language speaking environments, as well as parents’ ignorance of the importance of the English Language to acquire knowledge.

It is partly due to the above as well as because research supports the notion of young children being taught using their first language (L1), that the learning of English Language as an additional language should commence with creating language awareness and nurturing a positive attitude towards the language.

English Language learning should not have a heavy cognitive load nor be assessed in a developmentally inappropriate manner.

In the context of English Language learning then, the preschool should be a place that introduces them to the language in an enjoyable and meaningful way and not one that causes feelings of insecurity or anxiousness.

The preschool teacher has to ensure that a conducive eco-system is provided for children’s English Language learning.

A conducive eco-system should be one that prioritises the child’s needs and planning that revolves around his interests and abilities. The child needs to feel safe and comfortable enough to take risks involved in exploring and attempting new things. Hence, the use of play-based learning experiences is most apt as play comes naturally to children, and involves hands-on, interactive and concrete sensorial activities. There should not be an artificial play-work divide as children’s work is play.

Creating playful interactions with preschoolers around games, songs, storytelling, storybook reading, rhyming and oral language not only supports language learning but also helps make learning English less scary and more fun. For example, what 4- or 5-year-old would not love speaking into a microphone and hearing his own voice or singing along with gestures/actions to a song with a big purple dinosaur? In the process, play-based activities allow preschoolers to learn new concepts, words and skills.

Enticing preschoolers to speak through the use of realia, props and visuals can make learning more meaningful and impactful. The selection of appropriate teaching aids is equally crucial.

For example, in a thematic unit on fruits and vegetables, how can a teacher go about facilitating the acquisition of related vocabulary? Teachers tend to frequently use flashcards and pictures. However, by bringing a basket full of fruits into the classroom, and having the children name and describe each fruit is more authentic, and thereafter a surprise indoor picnic with the fruits will surely be all the more exciting.

One thing is certain: this is one lesson they will not forget for they will have had the opportunity to touch, feel, smell and even taste the fruits. Hence, they will have learnt vocabulary related to the names of the fruits, plus the words for describing them (size, colour, texture) and their taste.

Dispensing meaningful praise and encouragement will help motivate and support children in learning a new language. However, teachers should not be too troubled if there are children who are reluctant to speak initially.

Some, if not most preschoolers will go through a “silent period”. This is when they are absorbing the new language and are reluctant to speak for fear of making mistakes. Thus, it is very important that teachers do not pressure or punish them for not speaking. Instead, timely praise and encouragement can work wonders.

Additionally, the teacher should not react negatively if the child uses his L1, as the L1 at this stage can act as an enabler of the target language. Reprimanding the child will introduce an element of fear and reinforce the idea that his L1 is not valued while the target language is viewed as a threat to the L1.

Having a buddy system is a great way to help preschoolers cope with the mammoth task of learning a new language. This involves pairing a child who is more proficient in English with a child who is less, where the former can scaffold the latter in language learning. It can take place during play time or another learning activity, where buddies have each other to talk to and practise their speaking skills.

The buddy system helps create a non-threatening language learning environment and builds confidence among less proficient preschoolers.

Involving parents in their children’s learning is crucial in supporting the child’s learning outside the classroom. Parental involvement can help extend the experiences that a child has in the classroom to include real-world activities that happen in the home. Families should be encouraged to engage in oral language and read to their child in English at home.

Consequently, these shared activities create a more positive experience for children and help them perform better when they are in school. To engage parents in their child’s learning, the first important step for the teacher is to establish good lines of communication with parents as well as create opportunities to involve them as an important partner in their child’s education.

Summing up, creating a conducive eco-system for English Language learning in preschool is challenging but not impossible. Preschool teachers can inject fun and playfulness into classroom interactions and thus, promote a non-threatening language learning situation for preschoolers. This combined with appropriate teaching resources, positive reinforcement and social interaction that scaffold language learning will further impact learning among preschoolers.


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Parents, kids read books together

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

HELPING children learn the English language is not the sole responsibility of one individual but a shared responsibility. Parents, children, teachers … every person has a role to play.

The challenge, of course, is engaging everyone to take on that responsibility. Teachers have to teach, children have to learn, but what should parents do? Well, they can encourage and help create an environment where their children want to learn.

The Education Ministry is continually engaging with teachers, students and parents to help create such environments.

The “Highly Immersive Programme” (HIP) is such an example to support the learning of English by children across Malaysia.

An easy way to start creating that immersive environment is with storybooks and reading.

A British Council trainer reads to children from SK Bandar Utama Damansara and SJK (T) RRI Sungai Buloh at the community event for the Selangor Literacy Project.

A British Council trainer reads to children from SK Bandar Utama Damansara and SJK (T) RRI Sungai Buloh at the community event for the Selangor Literacy Project.

In May, 100 excited parents and children from both SK Bandar Utama Damansara and from SJK (T) RRI Sungai Buloh came together in SK Bandar Utama to draw, guess, dance, read and listen to fun stories in English.

This was the third community event of the Selangor Literacy Project, which has brought parents and children together to read and learn English hand-in-hand, in an interactive and fun environment.

The schoolteachers were responsible for designing and running the event, with facilitation from British Council trainers while children and parents were responsible for getting involved and having fun.

This event is part of a wider project run by the British Council in partnership with the ministry’s School Management Division, together with the support of the Selangor Education Department, and is funded by HSBC.

“Creating immersive environments for learning English is a long-term task and needs a sustainable approach.

“This project focuses on building the skills of teachers to teach literacy in an engaging way, and of parents to invest time and energy in encouraging their children to read and learn English,” said British Council Head of English in Education Systems Keith O’Hare.

One of the biggest outcomes of the community event at SK Bandar Utama Damansara was to give parents the ideas and confidence to encourage and support their children to read at home; a responsibility many seemed happy to take on.

According to Rezuan Ahmad from the ministry’s School Management Division, parental engagement is one of the fundamental elements of the Malaysia Education Blueprint.

“I am pleased to see so many parents getting involved in the fun and interactive workshops and activities. “We cannot emphasise enough the importance of parents’ participation in their children’s education,” said Rezuan at the community event in SK Bandar Utama.

The Selangor Literacy Project falls under the banner of the HIP programme and runs for eight months. Within the project, 49 English language teachers from the six selected primary schools are given monthly training workshops; high quality and attractive storybooks from the United Kingdom are placed into the school libraries; and three half-day community events are run for parents and children to get immersed in reading and learning English.
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Kemas Kindergarten Recognised As A Trusted Brand In Early Childhood Education

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

PUTRAJAYA, June 8 (Bernama) — Kemas (community development department) kindergarten transformation programme began to bear fruit when it was selected as this year’s most trusted brand in Malaysia by a family magazine reader’s digest.

The recognition, in the form of Gold Award in the Early Childhood Education category, was based on votes and an online survey of 8,000 respondents about their views on pre-school education system in Malaysia.

Minister of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the award was proof that Kemas kindergarten was among the best and was comparable to services provided by private kindergartens.

“This achievement dismissed all the negative reaction of some parties who often underestimate the quality of education in Kemas compared to private kindergartens,” he told reporters after attending Community Dialogue TN50 @ KKLW: Early Childhood Education here today.

In the survey, respondents were asked on matters related to trust and reliability, innovation, quality and social responsibility, credibility and understanding the consumers’ needs.

Apart from Kemas, other Reader’s Digest’s Gold Award recipients were Q-Dees and Smart Readers, both operated by private owners, he said.

Launched in 2016, the Kemas kindergarten transformation implementation involved three main modules, namely Islamic Education Appreciation, inculcating the spirit of patriotism among children, and self-confidence programmes.

On the dialogue today, Ismail Sabri said the participants were giving suggestions for improvement to strengthen the early childhood education including the importance of the use of digital technology and innovation in learning.


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KKLW Targets 80 Per Cent Students To Master New Syllabus Implemented In Kemas Kindergartens

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

MACHANG, May 25 (Bernama) — The Rural and Regional Development Ministry (KKLW) is targeting 80 per cent of students of kindergartens under Community Development Department (Kemas) to master three new syllabus implemented this year.

Deputy Minister Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakob said the three new syllabus, namely Islamic Education Appreciation, Patriotism and Self-confidence, should make Kemas kindergartens more advanced and comparable to other private early-education institutions in the country.

“The government wants Kemas kindergartens to be the main choice for parents to send their children to, and to change the perspective tagged on Kemas kindergarten being the second and third choice,” he told reporters after opening the national level of ‘Kemas Berselawat’ programme at the Sultan Yahya Petra Mosque here today.

More than 1,000 pupils from the Machang parliamentary constituency participated in the programme that was also attended by Kemas director-general Datuk Amiruddin Ariffin.


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Early childhood education system review coming up for Malaysian schools

Saturday, May 13th, 2017
(File pix) Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the ministry will hold discussions with various stakeholders including early childhood experts to improve and evaluate the current system, which was last reviewed in 2015. (by pix FARIZ ISWADI ISMAIl)

PUTRAJAYA: The Education Ministry will review the early childhood education system in the country to increase and improve the quality of pre-school students.

Its minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the ministry will hold discussions with various stakeholders including early childhood experts to improve and evaluate the current system, which was last reviewed in 2015.

“The review is important to ensure that students who enter Primary One are of high quality and are able to read. Therefore we have to make sure the teachers educating these students must have knowledge in early childhood education,” he told reporters after visiting the SMK Presint 8 (1) pre-school, here today.

Mahdzir said the ministry would also look into the possibility of increasing the number of pre-school students and classes offered in schools, which are currently limited to students whose parents have a monthly household income of less than RM5,000.

The review was part of the education transformation under the National Education Blueprint Second Wave from year 2016 to 2020.

The ministry had been conducting a series of surprise visits to schools which offer pre-school education in both rural and urban areas.

Mahdzir said the visit was to check on teachers’ teaching and learning schedules and the facilities offered in every school.


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Early childhood education vital to ensure success

Friday, March 10th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: Early childhood education is very crucial to ensure the success of our children in future. A child best learning process takes place when they are 5 to 8 years old, so in that sense we need to invest in the people who teach our children, said Asia e University (AeU) President Prof Dato’ Dr Ansary Ahmed.

To prove his point, he said research carried out by Stanford University showed that a person who went for early childhood training performed better in their later life than those who did not.

“So investment in early childhood education is very important and to make sure our children get the best training, we also need to provide proper training to the people who teach them,” said Dr Ansary.

And the training was made possible when AeU in collaboration with Sabah Institute of Arts (SIA) offered the graduate diploma in early childhood education (GDECE) programme to upscale the practising preschool and kindergarten teachers as well as heads and administrators in Sabah who do not have a qualification in early childhood education since last year.

And yesterday, the programme was extended to Tadika Hwa Shiong and Tadika Bersatu when they both signed a corporate partnership with AeU at SIA in KK Times Square here.

During the signing, Tadika Hwa Shiong was represented by Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry president, Datuk Michael Lui and Tadika Bersatu by Datin Kong Ho Yii whilst AeU by Dr Ansary.

Under the agreement, there will be eight and 10 preschool teachers from Tadika Bersatu and Tadika Hwa Shiong respectively will enroll for the two and a half year GDECE programme.


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PPTS aims to produce competent, efficient Sabahan nursery entrepreneurs, caregivers

Monday, February 27th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: Persatuan Perkhidmatan Taska Sabah (PPTS) aims to produce competent and efficient Sabahan nursery entrepreneurs and caregivers by providing Infant and Child CPR and Airway Management course, held only in Sabah.

The course has been held annually for the past two years, but this year the association is introducing a new course designated for toddlers and not just babies.

“The programme is practical. It teaches the entrepreneurs and the caregivers on how to recognise the symptoms of respiratory problems on babies and toddlers, how to perform a CPR accurately on children and infant, how to handle accidents that happen in a nursery, and many more” said the Vice President of PPTS Zubaidah A. Sidek.

“It is a programme where all of the nursery entrepreneurs and caregivers are obliged to attend before serving in the industry,” she added.

The training, which has also been done in Tawau, Sandakan, and Keningau, only allows an enrolment of 30 participants per programme.

The participants will have to attend the programme every two years in order to renew the certificate as new module may be implemented or upgraded.

“This programme is held to create awareness so that there will be no negligence in the nurseries of Sabah,” said Hajah Dayang Rugayah Awang Besar, the chief assistant director of the Department of General Services.

“Last two years, we only provided CPR and Airway Management Course on babies. But this year we have developed a module for both babies and toddlers.

“We have a trained nurse who is certified to lead the program. After the 2-day programme, the participants will be sitting for their examination,” she said.

Anamaria Anthony, 29, is one of the participants who expressed her gratitude for being given the opportunity to attend the programme.

“The children are the future leaders. We will, in any cost, avoid anything that may harm them to happen,” said Anamaria.

”The responsibility on handling a nursery is big. Anything that happens in the nursery will be our responsibility. So when something bad happens, we are able to handle it as we have had the knowledge.”


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