Empowering Orang Asli Parents - One Skill at a Time!
Early childhood education is crucial in helping children develop their social, emotional, physical and cognitive skills to prepare them for school.
In April 2021, a team of teachers based in Ladang CARE's Deek Penaniy ran an early childhood education awareness programme at Kampung Sungai Cincin, Chenderiang and Kampung Tibang, Slim River. The aim of the programme was to create awareness on the importance of early childhood education and how to incorporate learning through play at home. The focus group for this programme consisted of parents with children aged 3-6 years old.
During the programme, parents shared how they were unable to carry out active learning at home as they lack the skills to read, write and count. The time spent at home was also limited as most parents were farmers while some work outside their kampung. Traditionally, Orang Asli mothers are also expected to bear the responsibility of childcare. However, mothers shared a similar struggle in educating their children as they were not equipped for it.
With these challenges in mind, we facilitated several types of activities that parents can do at home with their children, such as assigning age-appropriate chores and tasks. While at different activity stations, parents modelled after teachers by observing and replicating skills that could assist in improving their children’s abilities.
As parents encouraged and supported their children, we could see that they were motivated and able to show improvement in their skills. It was also heartwarming to see the parents’ reactions while playing! One parent later responded, “Today I learnt a lot and felt very happy because I never thought an activity like this would help my children in their learning and self-confidence.”
I believe that such an awareness programme is important as it gives parents the needed exposure and opportunity to experience and learn new ideas to help their children’s developmental growth at home. Through the support and facilities provided by teachers, the programme also bridges and strengthens relationships between parents, students and teachers.
Let us continue to pray for Orang Asli parents as they support their children's learnings despite the challenges and hardships. Amen!
Written by Ita Bah Nan - Community Development Manager, Ladang CARE
Story taken from CARE Contact, September 2021 Edition