New guidebook on child development launched

Incoming Yayasan Mendaki chief Rahayu Buang (left) and outgoing chief Tuminah Sapawi at the launch of a guidebook on early childhood information by Mendaki at Bedok Green Primary School on Nov 19, 2016.
Incoming Yayasan Mendaki chief Rahayu Buang (left) and outgoing chief Tuminah Sapawi at the launch of a guidebook on early childhood information by Mendaki at Bedok Green Primary School on Nov 19, 2016.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE- A guidebook to help Malay-Muslim parents understand and support their children's development is now available.

Put together by self-help group Mendaki, "My Early Adventure" is aimed at parents with children up to 6, and addresses topics such as nutrition and promoting stronger parent-child bonds.

Available in both English and Malay, it also combats myths like the melenggeng perut - an ancient divining rite for babies still in the womb - and offers practical tips on how to ensure a safe pregnancy.

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, who attended the book launch at a bursary ceremony on Saturday (Nov 19), hopes the guide will help parents chart the key milestones of a child's development, such as when a toddler ought to be recognising numbers.

"It's important for parents to take an active interest in this, especially low-income parents, because this is something that will give their kids a headstart," he said.

Housewife Lailia Uzla Amin, 33, has two older children aged nine and eight, but she thinks the book will still prove helpful for her three-year-old daughter.

"I may not be able to help my kids with their schoolwork, but I can learn how to provide better moral support," she said.

Yesterday, Dr Yaacob also gave out Education Trust Fund vouchers, worth $200 each, and Aziz Merchant bursaries of $500 to 78 students from needy families.

Also present were outgoing Mendaki chief executive Tuminah Sapawi and her recently announced successor, Ms Rahayu Buang. 

Ms Tuminah said her three years at Mendaki have been enriching, and that she felt proudest of the Raikan Ilmu, or Celebrate Knowledge, campaign she launched earlier this year, which aimed to promote learning through reading.

"For the community, that's the way to go - to embrace life long learning so it won't be irrelevant," she said.

Ms Rahayu, currently a director at the Ministry of Social and Family Development, said she hopes to continue Ms Tuminah's good work when she takes over on Jan 1 next year.

She added that Mendaki will continue to focus on ensuring higher achievements for the Malay/Muslim community.

rachelay@sph.com.sg