Sharing a story of giving among pre-schoolers

Ms Fu and Mr Vikram Nair, MP for Sembawang GRC, reading the book to pre-schoolers at PCF Sparkletots Admiralty Childcare. The book, written by Touch Community Services, will be distributed to 50,000 pre-schoolers.
Ms Fu and Mr Vikram Nair, MP for Sembawang GRC, reading the book to pre-schoolers at PCF Sparkletots Admiralty Childcare. The book, written by Touch Community Services, will be distributed to 50,000 pre-schoolers.PHOTO: TOUCH COMMUNITY SERVICES

While on their way to get ice cream with their parents, Jason and Jane ran into an old man collecting cardboard. His trolley was broken, so the family stopped to help him and pledged to save money so the man could buy a new trolley.

This is the storyline of a new children's book written by non-profit Touch Community Services that will be distributed to 50,000 pre-schoolers this month through the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA).

Included in the book, titled A New Trolley, are tips for parents to teach the children about compassion and generosity to their friends, family and the community.

The book is part of an initiative called The Giving Family, through which Touch wants to spark a national movement of families giving to the needy together.

Mr James Tan, executive director of Touch, said: "Values are more often caught than taught. A great way for kids to understand what compassion means is for the family to demonstrate giving together."

Hence, the storybook encourages families to start a savings project together, and to later commit the money saved to disadvantaged Singaporeans supported by the President's Challenge.

Charities benefiting from the President's Challenge include Family Life First, the Alzheimer's Disease Association and Special Olympics Singapore.

Touch aims to have 1,500 families giving to the initiative by the end of next year.

Families keen to take part can also join Touch for one-off volunteering experiences organised during the June and December school holidays. Activities include meal delivery for the elderly and befriending adults with special needs.

The Giving Family was launched yesterday by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, at PCF Sparkletots Admiralty Childcare - a pre-school in Woodlands - where she read the storybook to more than 30 pre-schoolers.

The pupils later made piggy banks out of plastic bottles so they could start their family savings.

Ms Fu said: "It's really what we need as a society, to come forward together to send a very consistent and positive message to our children."

Some 300 pre-schools will receive the book, including MOE Kindergartens, Kinderland Preschools and My First Skool.

Housewife Karen Goh, 41, who read the book with her six-year-old daughter Isabel, said: "Now she saves some of her pocket money in her 'share' fund for those in need. I'll be explaining to her some worthy causes to donate to, and she can decide which one to contribute to."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2016, with the headline 'Sharing a story of giving among pre-schoolers'. Print Edition | Subscribe