SINGAPORE - Parents will soon have new reading materials to encourage the learning of the Tamil language amongst their children with the launch of a new magazine targeted at preschoolers.
The magazine, titled Balar Murasu, was launched on Tuesday (April 25) by Tamil Murasu at an event at Umar Pulavar Tamil Language Centre. Tamil Murasu itself was launched in 1935 and is Singapore's only Tamil language newspaper.
Balar Murasu will be available from April 25 and will be published every two weeks. The magazine will be given out free to certain kindergartens islandwide and can also be purchased by parents externally by contacting Tamil Murasu.
The magazine will include activities for children such as colouring and poems and songs for them to memorise and perform. This will give parents an opportunity to interact with their children in Tamil.
Balar Murasu is also the first Tamil supplement for preschoolers that will be produced in Singapore. This means that the activities will have local content - for example, notable Singapore landmarks and food will be mentioned. It is hoped that through these activities, children will have a greater appreciation for the language as well as develop a greater familiarity for popular local spots.
The magazine is being funded by the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism which aims at spearheading initiatives to support English and mother tongue teaching, especially at the preschool level.
Guest-of-honour Mr R. Rajaram, 54 and a board member of the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism said: "Good grounding at this level ensures preparedness for primary school." He continued to say that parents are yearning for these kinds of materials for their children.
True enough, parents at the launch expressed their joy at having a supplement to encourage the learning of Tamil at home.
Housewife and mother Balan Vinitha, 32, said of Balar Murasu: " It's great because they have smaller words for them to learn as well as ideas for us to use. We will certainly be cutting, pasting and using some of the ideas in the magazine."