Archive for the ‘Early Childhood Education’ Category

Financial aid for private kindergartens

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020
 Private kindergartens are entitled to a grant worth RM5,000 each.Private kindergartens are entitled to a grant worth RM5,000 each.

KUALA LUMPUR: Private kindergartens nationwide will receive a financial boost of RM5,000 and RM3,000 from the government in a bid to ease operational costs when they were allowed to reopen on July 1.

The Education Ministry, in a statement, said the Ministry of Finance (MoF) has agreed to provide one-off grant contributions that will be channelled via the Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana).

Private kindergartens are entitled to a grant worth RM5,000 each.

Kindergarten operators that have yet to register with the ministry will receive a grant worth RM3,000 each if their registrations are done before Oct 31 this year.

“The ministry believes that the grants provided by the government will assist kindergarten operators to continue the pre-school education agenda.

“We allowed the reopening of private kindergartens from July 1 onwards to fulfil the need for pre-school education in the country.

“We also urge private kindergartens that have yet to register with the ministry to do so before Oct 31 this year,” it said.

By Dawn Chan -

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80pct preschool attendance in Sabah on first day

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

Misterine inspecting the muddy classrooms in boots at flood-hit SK Daingin in Papar, where floodwater was said to be about eight feet outside the classrooms and five feet within the classrooms.

PAPAR: The attendance at preschools in Sabah during its first day yesterday was 80 percent.

Sabah Education Department director Dr Misterine Radin said she was unsure why the other 20 percent of pupils had not turned up but reckoned that it might be because parents were still wary of the situation.

She added that from her observation, the children were very well behaved and knew how to social distance.

“We thought that they would be hugging their friends and so on, but they have surprised us by how well they are adhering to the standard operating procedure,” she said.

“They are very well behaved and discipline,” she said when met at the SK Buang Sayang preschool in Papar.

The director also visited two other preschools in the district, namely the preschool in St Mary Limbahau and at SJKC Cheng Ming to see their readiness in starting the school session for the preschoolers following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prior to the visit, Misterine informed members of the media that they were not allowed to enter the classrooms and that only pupils, their teachers and assistant were allowed inside.

“Even parents are disallowed from entering,” she said.

In Papar, nine preschools remained closed after they were flooded last week. Other districts with preschools still closed are Kota Belud (four preschools), Beaufort (four preschools) and Tenom. The affected number of preschool students are 412.

Misterine said there were 1,291 preschool classes in Sabah, with 54,070 pupils and 3,256 teachers.

After visiting the preschools in Papar, Misterine also visited SK Daingin which was badly affected by the recent flood.

Misterine said the floodwater was about eight feet outside the classrooms and five feet within the classrooms.

“Huge amount of mud has entered all the classrooms,” she said.

The process to clean the school and classrooms were hampered due to disruption in the water supply.

While the building remained intact, everything inside such as teaching equipment, books, chairs and tables have been washed away by the flood.

Misterine thanked members of the military as well as non-government organisations who have come to help in cleaning the schools.


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Help kids express themselves

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020
Kids are miniature adults who encounter positive and negative feelings in their daily lives. --BERNAMA picKids are miniature adults who encounter positive and negative feelings in their daily lives. –BERNAMA pic

ONE of the biggest misconceptions we have as adults is that we think children have no feelings. Just because they can’t say it in words, does not mean they do not experience feelings.

Kids are miniature adults who encounter positive and negative feelings in their daily lives.

However, they usually lack the ability to describe these feelings, and so, they are not able to properly express themselves verbally. Some of these negative feelings are translated into misbehaviour, like throwing tantrums. Some choose to withdraw from others or isolate themselves.

Younger children may have nightmares and sleepless nights. Kids may show some physiological symptoms, like frequent night urinating, vomiting or diarrhoea, which are not due to medical reasons. Their anxieties and worries are expressed in different ways.

Going back to school after Covid-19 can be a challenge for some kids. Covid-19 has been viewed as a “huge, mean ugly monster” by the young that has ruined normal life for all. Everyone has been affected. Parents and siblings take precautions seriously and children are expected to follow.

Observing adults, children may have developed scary thoughts during the Movement Control Order. To be in school after months of absence or quarantine is a totally new experience. And for preschoolers, the new normal will be a new phase.

The first day at school, the young will start the day early. They will go through the process of detachment from the comfort of a home to that of a school setting, full of rules and regulations. Their friends may be seen as strangers. Approaching them directly may not work.

Parents and teachers need to explore such feelings and experiences. Have play therapy techniques to help them express those internal feelings. Their worries, anxieties and fears can interfere in the process of adjusting to the transition from home to school.

Some of the tools can be casual and fun. To begin with, children can be tuned in to the school mood by doing simple dances and movements with lively songs to sing. This helps them set the mood to be in a classroom with teachers and friends.

Some children would know about Covid-19, some may not. So it is good to start with what they know. Parents and teachers must allow children to ask questions and provide them with accurate answers. This is an opportunity to correct misconceptions.

Educate them about Covid-19 and other illnesses, health, hygiene and cleanliness, and how they can be affected and infected. Educate them about the importance of washing hands, social distancing and the use of masks and sanitisers. Explain that the procedures are to protect them from getting the disease. Infographics can illustrate the process as small children are more visually oriented in learning.

Teachers can also have sessions for colouring, painting and drawing. They can do bibliotherapy (using books to educate or counselling on certain issues), and share short stories on Covid-19.

Storytelling sessions can help them process the feelings of being at home for three months and coming back. Stories that have such elements can help them relate to Covid-19. It will show that they are “not alone”.

Teachers’ observations are crucial as they can observe changes in the behaviours of children. Children who are in a world of their own or disassociate themselves from others need special attention. Teachers can communicate with parents and refer cases for professional help for further treatment.

By Dr Haniza Rais

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Sabah reopens childcare centres, allows entry of Chinese workers

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has allowed childcare centres to reopen and workers from China to enter the state, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
Childcare centres registered with the General Welfare Services Department can reopen effective Wednesday subject to standard operating procedures (SOPs) to prevent the spread of Covid-19, said Shafie in a statement.

Chinese workers are required to test negative for Covid-19 within three days before their arrival in Sabah also subject to SOPs.

Holders of passes issued by the Immigration Department and their families in the peninsula, Sarawak and Labuan are also now allowed to enter Sabah for pleasure without having to undergo Covid-19 tests and quarantine, but they have to fill up a health declaration form and abide by the SOPs.

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Parents remain concerned

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

KLANG: Despite some nagging concerns, bank employee M. Chanddradevey will go ahead with plans to send her five-year-old twins Nashwina and Nashwin to their daycare and pre-kindergarten centres today.

“They have been very pampered by their grandmother and have become extra mischievous during the movement control order period,’’ said Chanddradevey, 36.

Both Chanddradevey and her 39-year-old husband Reuben Victor, who works for a telecommunications company, acknowledged however that they were worried about their children’s safety at the centre.

“But we feel a little reassured after the centre contacted us and explained their new standard operating procedure,’’ she said.

According to Chanddradevey, before the Covid-19 pandemic, she would send her children to the centre in Kota Damansara while they were still in their pajamas as the twins would be bathed and dressed by the staff there.

“They have now told us that the children must be bathed and dressed at home,’’ said Chanddradevey.

She said that parents were also told not to come directly from their workplace to fetch their children from the centre.

“Parents have to go home first and shower before coming to get the children,’’ said Chanddradevey.

Meanwhile, kindergarten teacher Kalyani Subramaniam said only eight out of the 18 children enrolled in her class had confirmed their attendance.

“We called their parents and most of them are not comfortable sending their children yet. Some of them said they would send their children in August. Others said that their children would return to the kindergarten in September,’’ said Kalyani, whose kindergarten is in Teluk Pulai near here.

She said the kindergarten’s management had also prepared a SOP to ensure everyone’s safety.

“Children are no longer allowed to bring anything from home, including water bottles, as we will be providing everything for them from now on,’’ she said.

Kalyani said that body temperature would be taken at the start and end of the day. Shoes will be disinfected before the children enter the premises.

In Melaka, six-year-old Marcus Neo Chao Wei had been pestering his mother about wanting to see his buddies.

Less playtime soon: Nashwina and Nashwin will finally be going back to kindergarden today after a long impromptu break.Less playtime soon: Nashwina and Nashwin will finally be going back to kindergarden today after a long impromptu break.

His only playmate for the past few months was his brother, said his mother Gan Swee Wai. “And now, he would be pleased to meet his friends,” she said.

Today, the boy will attend kindergarten, which has been allowed to reopen under the recovery movement control order.

Gan, 39, said she was confident of sending Marcus to kindergarten as safety measures had been taken by the operator of the preschool.

Besides temperature checks, she said the kindergarten had also carried out disinfection exercises.

“With the SOP in place, I believe that my son will be in good hands,” she said.

Gan, who celebrated her birthday yesterday, said she was also happy to see her boy returning to kindergarten.


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Eighteen preschools in Sabah still not operational due to floods

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

PAPAR: Eighteen preschools across Sabah are not operational on Wednesday (July 1) as the clean-up is still in progress after floods hit the state on Saturday (June 27).

Sabah Education director Dr Mistirine Radin said nine kindergartens in Papar were affected, four in Kota Belud, four in Beaufort and one in Tenom.

A total of 412 pupils were impacted.

Sessions were allowed to resume on Wednesday (July 1), at 1,291 preschools in the state, involving 54,070 pupils and 3,256 teachers.

Mistirine said during a visit to a preschool in SK Buang Sayang in Papar that she was satisfied with the sessions, which went on smoothly.

“Attendance at this school is at nearly 80% and from what we gathered from our (education) officers, all schools are following the set Standard Operating Procedures (SOP),” she said on Wednesday (July 1).

Mistirine said safety and cleanliness were a priority as the preschoolers were aged five and six.

“The parents have been briefed by the headmasters and they know they are not allowed to enter the classes.

“Even our officers are not allowed to do so; only pupils, teachers and pupil management assistants are allowed to be in the class, ” she said.

Mistirine also visited two other preschools in Papar district – St Mary Limbahau and SJKC Cheng Ming – as well as one of the schools affected by the flood, SK Daingin.

SK Buang Sayang headmaster Basnih Maidin said he is confident that more parents would be willing to send their children to school next week once they see how smooth the sessions went.

“We have been preparing since two weeks ago,” he said, adding that before a briefing last week, some parents had initially responded in WhatsApp groups that they might not send their children to school.

However, more were willing to do so after the SOP were presented at the briefing.

“We are confident that this number will increase as they see how others across the country have started schooling, and that will ease their worries, ” he added.


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Face it: Masks not suitable for small kids

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020
Some childcare centres and kindergartens require  children to wear face masks during the school session that  begins tomorrow.  PIC BY AZIAH AZMEESome childcare centres and kindergartens require children to wear face masks during the school session that begins tomorrow. PIC BY AZIAH AZMEE

IPOH: The use of face masks among children aged 5 and below while attending classes is discouraged as it could pose a safety risk, said senior consultant paediatrician Datuk Dr Amar Singh.

Dr Amar, former Paediatric Department head at Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital here, said children at that age, especially those who could not speak fluently or had health problems such as asthma, might have difficulty with wearing masks for a long period.

“The question is, can these young children wear face masks for a long period while in the classroom?

“They may be able to wear a face mask temporarily.

“Children with health problems such as asthma or heart disease are not recommended to wear a face mask for an extended period of time as there is a fear that they will experience shortness of breath. It is more worrying if they are not yet good in communicating their problems,” he said recently.

He was commenting on the rules stipulated by several childcare centres and kindergartens, which required children to wear masks during the school session that would begin tomorrow after the closure since March 18.

According to Dr Amar, who is National Early Childhood Intervention Council advisor, the use of face shields would be more appropriate for children who could understand and follow instructions.

“This (face shield) is not as good as the face mask, but it is not distracting, easy to breathe with and the teacher can see the children’s face.”

He said teachers needed to use the device regularly to prevent saliva drops touching students.

On the use of hand sanitiser, Dr Amar said there was no problem for children using the liquid even though it contained alcohol as it was one of the options to kill bacteria and viruses, apart from regularly washing hands with water and soap.

“Some parents are worried about having their children using hand sanitiser containing alcohol, which is really not a problem.

“Hand sanitiser without alcohol content do not guarantee that they can kill germs, bacteria or viruses,” he said.

Consumers are advised to use hand sanitiser with 60 to 80 per cent of alcohol content as anything higher is less suitable due to its fast drying properties, as well as causing dryness to the skin.


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Preparations underway for pre-schools, kindergartens to reopen this week

Monday, June 29th, 2020
This June 15 pic shows staff at Tadika Integrasi Sri Jasmine, Taman Setiawangsa making preparations  for the reopening of the kindergarten. - NSTP/FATHIL ASRI.This June 15 pic shows staff at Tadika Integrasi Sri Jasmine, Taman Setiawangsa making preparations for the reopening of the kindergarten. – NSTP/FATHIL ASRI.

KUALA LUMPUR: With government and private kindergartens, pre-schools, nurseries and day-care centres scheduled to resume operations on Wednesday (July 1), parents must surely be busy making the final arrangements to send their little ones there after a three-month hiatus following the imposition of the Movement Control Order (MCO).

For sure, there will be some parents who are still unsure about sending their children to these places as the nation has not yet been declared free of Covid-19.

So it is the management of these places who play an important role in ensuring that they are prepared with the standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the government to ensure the safety of the little ones.

Attention must be given to social distancing and the cleanliness of the premises must be maintained as the children are excited and eager to be with their friends.

Besides pre-schools, kindergartens and nurseries, various other sectors have also been allowed to resume operations including spas, wellness and foot massage centres, cinemas, theatres and ‘live’ event venues, while meetings, conferences, seminars, courses or training sessions can now be held.

The government has also allowed from the same date social events like weddings, engagement parties, anniversary and birthday celebrations as well as religious gatherings to be held.

Swimming in public, hotel, condominium, gated community and private pools have also been allowed.

Today is the 20th day of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) which came into effect on June 10. The rules are slowly being relaxed, but the people must remember not to be complacent as the country is still battling Covid-19.

As Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah constantly reminds in his press conferences, the public must continue to observe the SOP including maintaining social distancing, washing their hands, wearing masks and avoiding close interactions.

As of yesterday, the number of Covid-19 infection cases in the country remain at double digits with 18 positive cases bringing the cumulative number to 8,634 incuding 195 active cases.

No deaths due to the virus were reported yesterday and the death toll remains at 121 or 1.40 per cent of the total number of cases.


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Penjana: 7,000 childcare operators nationwide to receive grants

Saturday, June 27th, 2020
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun. - NSTP/MOHD FADLI HAMZAH

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun. – NSTP/MOHD FADLI HAMZAH

PUTRAJAYA: About 7,000 operators of childcare centres are to receive grants of up to RM5,000 each, allocated to them by the government under the National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA).

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun said the offer of the one-off grant will hopefully encourage unlicensed childcare service providers to register their centres with the ministry, as only registered nurseries are entitled to the grant.

“As of now, 5,700 nurseries are registered with the ministry. We expect more unlicensed operators to come forward to be registered.

“Almost 5,000 operators have been affected by the shutdown following the enforcement of the Movement Control Order,” she told reporters at her office at the launch of the special PENJANA incentives for target groups under the ministry’s scope, namely children, single mothers, persons with disabilities and senior citizens.

To be eligible for the grant, childcare centres that are not registered yet with the Women, Family and Community Development ministry have up to Dec 31, 2020, to do so.

Rina said to reopen their centres, childcare operators would be required to comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and her ministry.

“The special grant will be of help to many of these registered operators that are facing financial problems. The grant is offered not only to childcare institutions and those set up at workplaces but also the (registered) homebased ones which can get RM1,500,” said Rina.

Rina said as of June 23 this year, applications for grants have been received from a total of 1,766 nurseries comprising 1,475 childcare institutions, 122 workplace nurseries and 169 homebased nurseries.

“All nurseries must adhere to the guidelines on the prevention of Covid-19 infection post-Movement Control Order for the safety of the children and workers,” she said, adding that to date 1,460 childcare centres nationwide have reopened.

MOH and the Social Welfare Department (JKM) are also carrying out checks on them continuously, to ensure SOP compliance, she added.

Under the PENJANA initiatives – which were announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on June 5 – incentives totalling RM152 million were approved for the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry’s various target groups.

On the Early Childcare and Education (ECE) course for which participants are given an incentive of RM900 each, Rina said the course is mostly conducted online and that its syllabus has been modified in accordance with the new normal, while its duration has been shortened from six to three months.

“The ECE course opens up opportunities for childminders who don’t possess the necessary certification and wish to register their services,” she added.

Describing the incentives provided under the PENJANA and PRIHATIN Economic Stimulus Packages as “lifelines” for women, including working and non-working mothers, Rina said women entrepreneurs are also entitled to benefits under a special RM50 million allocation for them by another ministry.

Muhyiddin has also said that more than 300,000 single mothers and persons with disabilities (OKU) registered with JKM will receive a one-off payment of RM300 before Hari Raya Aidiladha to relieve their financial burden.

To date, 150,000 single mothers and 190,000 OKU are registered with JKM, Rina said, adding that eligible single mothers who have not registered yet can do so either online or manually.

“We expect an increase in the number of applicants as many people have lost their jobs and are facing financial problems,” she said.

On the initiative to encourage government-linked companies (GLCs) to carry out programmes to build the socio-economic capacity of needy communities, Rina said her ministry has entered into strategic collaborations with GLCs and private companies to empower people to rise above challenges and resume their businesses or get a job.

“Collaborations with our strategic partners are esse

ntial as they have expertise and experience in certain aspects,” she said, adding that the collaboration is also aimed at creating more job opportunities for women.

During the Covid-19 crisis, the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development extended aid to about two million households comprising not only those living below the national poverty line but also those in the B40 and M40 groups whose sources of income were affected.


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Take precautionary measures, kindergarten operators told

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020
The Malaysian Association of Kindergartens  has voiced  readiness to resume classes for preschoolers after almost three months of inactivity due to the Covid-19 pandemic. - NSTP/FATHIL ASRIThe Malaysian Association of Kindergartens has voiced readiness to resume classes for preschoolers after almost three months of inactivity due to the Covid-19 pandemic. – NSTP/FATHIL ASRI

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Association of Kindergartens has voiced readiness to resume classes for preschoolers after almost three months of inactivity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Association president Eveleen Khoo said the association would ensure that kindergartens under its purview would comply with the standard operating procedures (SOP) laid out by the Education Ministry.

She said all kindergartens, as such, had to make the necessary preparations, including disinfecting the premises and ensuring that social distancing was adhered to.

“Up to now, we have yet to receive the SOP on the operations. However, we advise kindergarten operators to study the base guidelines first and take precautionary measures.

“We are also ready to offer advice to all kindergarten operators on SOP compliance once it is tabled by the Education Ministry,” she said.

A civil servant, who wished to be known only as Melor, 34, said she was not yet comfortable with sending her child back to kindergarten despite the centres already being given approval to resume operations.

“I still have my reservations as to why kindergartens are allowed to resume business when primary school pupils, especially those in Year Six, have yet to return to school,” she said.

“I may hold off on sending my child back to kindergarten for two to three more months. Maybe even until the year end.”

Hayati Farhan, 34, shared the same view, saying she was more comfortable with continuing online lessons.

“Although I teach my child the importance of personal hygiene, social distancing, frequent hand-washing and wearing face masks, I’m not confident that he will follow through. I worry about him mingling with other children,” she said.

“I’m more at ease with online lessons for now.”

Civil servant Siti Safiah Md Zainudin, 31, however, had no such qualms.

“I’ve already begun sending my child to a private preschool in Seri Kembangan on June 3.

“The principal briefed parents on the schedule and required parents to sign a form certifying their children’s health status beforehand.”

By Muhammad Yusri Muzamir.

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