Picture book to teach kids about caring

Retired First Warrant Officer Mohamed Haniffa Jainul Abitheen, 72, and retired Lieutenant-Colonel Bob Cheah, 78, at a story-telling session for pre-schoolers at the My First Skool centre in Jurong West Street 65 yesterday, as part of the pre-school's
Retired First Warrant Officer Mohamed Haniffa Jainul Abitheen, 72, and retired Lieutenant-Colonel Bob Cheah, 78, at a story-telling session for pre-schoolers at the My First Skool centre in Jurong West Street 65 yesterday, as part of the pre-school's Total Defence Day commemoration.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

President Halimah launches book to be distributed to 141 My First Skool centres

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.

That is the central message of Start Small Dream Big Caring For Others, a 21-page picture book that teaches pre-schoolers simple everyday actions to care for their family members, their teachers and friends, the community, as well as animals and the environment.

The book was launched by President Halimah Yacob yesterday at My First Skool (MFS) in Jurong West Street 65.

It is available in four languages - English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil - and copies will be distributed to every MFS centre in Singapore by next month. It was conceptualised and written by MFS early childhood educators.

The book is a collaboration between MFS and the Early Childhood Development Agency. It is part of the Start Small Dream Big movement, an initiative by the agency to encourage closer partnerships among pre-schools, families and the wider community.

The book launch was held in conjunction with the pre-school's commemoration of Total Defence Day, which falls on Feb 15 every year to mark the day Singapore fell to the Japanese in 1942.

Among those who attended the event were an MP for West Coast GRC, Mr Patrick Tay; Singapore Armed Forces veterans; seniors from NTUC Health Silver Circle (Jurong West); as well as MFS teachers and pre-schoolers.

RESOURCE ON LANGUAGE AND VALUES

Children these days might have a limited knowledge of their mother tongues if the people around them do not use the languages much. We hope this book can be a useful resource for teachers and parents to teach linguistic abilities and impart values at the same time to the children.

MS THIAN AI LING, general manager of My First Skool.

Ms Thian Ai Ling, general manager of MFS, said: "Other pillars of Total Defence, such as military defence or psychological defence, might be concepts too difficult for pre-school children to understand. So we tend to focus on social defence.

"Social defence is about how people of different races come together to care for one another, and this book sits right in that same concept of caring for others."

MFS has 141 centres islandwide, and is one of many pre-school brands under NTUC First Campus, the second largest pre-school operator in Singapore.

Ms Thian said the book can also be used to inculcate in pre-schoolers an appreciation of their mother tongues.

"Children these days might have a limited knowledge of their mother tongues if the people around them do not use the languages much. We hope this book can be a useful resource for teachers and parents to teach linguistic abilities and impart values at the same time to the children."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2019, with the headline 'Picture book to teach kids about caring'. Print Edition | Subscribe