Parents return to 'school' for lessons on maths coaching

Mr Faizal Jamil with his wife, Madam Normaya Johari, and children Nayli Yusyairah (right), six, and Izz Haziq, three. The couple and their daughterhave completed the pilot KelasMateMatika@CC programme.
Mr Faizal Jamil with his wife, Madam Normaya Johari, and children Nayli Yusyairah (right), six, and Izz Haziq, three. The couple and their daughterhave completed the pilot KelasMateMatika@CC programme.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

When children struggle with mathematics, some parents go back to "school".

It was the case with Madam Normaya Johari, 32, who found herself at a loss when it came to helping her young daughter understand mathematical concepts.

So she persuaded her husband, Mr Faizal Jamil, an interior designer, to make time from work on Sundays so they could join a pilot programme to learn how to support their children's learning. "The classes were very interesting and it makes it easier for us, as parents, to understand the concepts," said Mr Faizal, 35.

Besides learning about mathematical concepts, the couple also got to play games with their six-year-old daughter at the end of each session.

"The programme changed how we interact as a family and now, after work, we know how to coach her in her homework," Mr Faizal added.

The KelasMateMatika@CC (KMM) programme is an initiative of three key Malay/Muslim organisations: Mendaki, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore and the People's Association Malay Activity Executive Committees Council.

By next year, the aim is to have 1,500 Malay parents and children go through the free educational programme, which is an enhanced version of self-help group Mendaki's existing Tiga M programme.

The KMM programme is targeted at families with children aged between four and six, and whose household per capita income is $450 or less a month.

Over six sessions, parents learn basic numeracy concepts as well as techniques to build the child's self-esteem and confidence as they learn. There are also interactive activities for the children to pick up mathematical concepts.

There are an additional four sessions to expose families to other life skills and encourage family bonding.

A total of 150 parents and children have completed all 10 sessions of the programme under the first pilot phase at three divisions in Marsiling, Nee Soon East and Pasir Ris East.

At a graduation ceremony at Science Centre Singapore yesterday, Minister of State for National Development Zaqy Mohamad said feedback from parents has shown that they are now more confident in coaching their children in mathematics.

"That has been something we are looking closely at because in terms of getting our children prepared for primary school, especially for maths, this is one thing we have always seen as a weakness in some of our Malay pupils, looking at the PSLE results," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2018, with the headline 'Parents return to 'school' for lessons on maths coaching'. Print Edition | Subscribe