Parents will have new reading materials to encourage their young children to learn the Tamil language, with the launch of a new magazine targeted at pre-schoolers.
The magazine, Balar Murasu, was launched yesterday by Tamil Murasu at Umar Pulavar Tamil Language Centre in Beatty Road. Tamil Murasu was launched in 1935 and is Singapore's only Tamil-language newspaper. Balar Murasu is a 12-page magazine that will be printed every two weeks.
It will be given out free to certain PAP Community Foundation kindergartens as well as the National Library Board and Singapore Indian Development Association.
Parents can subscribe to it for $30 a year at www.sphsubscription.com.sg
The magazine will include activities for children, such as colouring, and learning songs they can be encouraged to perform for parents.
Balar Murasu is the first Tamil magazine produced here for pre-schoolers, so 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 of the language and develop a greater familiarity of popular local spots.
The associate editor of Tamil Murasu, Ms. K. Kanagalatha, 38, said: "We want to motivate them and make them think, so that we can give them a head start in developing their imagination and their love for the language."
The magazine is funded by the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism which aims at spearheading initiatives to support English and mother tongue teaching, especially at the pre-school level. The fund, which has awarded about $10.3 million in grants, has also funded Thumbs Up Little Junior, a Chinese magazine for pre-schoolers.
Guest of honour R. Rajaram, 54, chairman of the Tamil Language Council and a board member of the fund, said: "Good grounding at this level ensures preparedness for primary school."
He added that parents are yearning for these kinds of material.
Parents at the launch were glad to have a magazine to encourage the learning of Tamil.
Housewife and mother Balan Vinitha, 32, said: "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."