New resource kit available to help children learn about Singapore's history and culture

SINGAPORE – Parents and educators can now turn to a new resource kit to help young children learn about Singapore’s history and culture.

The Creative Conversations: Shaping our Future resource kit was launched on Saturday (June 5) by Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling.

The fourth edition in a series, the kit is a joint project by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), the National Library Board, the National Museum of Singapore, early childhood educators, and art and drama specialists.

It contains an interactive story in which a young girl and her archaeologist uncle travel back in time to meet Singapore’s early settlers – rickshaw pullers, street hawkers, rubber tappers and more.

The kit also includes activity cards, a map of Singapore, craft materials and an information booklet.

In a media statement on Saturday, ECDA said: “The kit will enable educators and parents to help children understand the world their parents, grandparents, and ancestors lived in, the lives they led, their struggles, their dreams, and the values that held them together.”

Parents and early childhood educators can download the resource kit online. It will also be distributed to preschools in Singapore. ECDA aims to reach over 1,900 preschools and at least 5,000 downloads.

Ms Sun said the kit can be used to help children develop a sense of national identity.

She said: “In these unprecedented times, it is all the more important to collaborate with our community partners to create more learning opportunities for our young ones.”

The resource kit also features artefacts which can be found in the National Museum of Singapore, along with book recommendations and extension activities put together by the NLB and early childhood educators.

Parents can take their children out to suggested places of interest as part of the extension activities. ECDA said: “When parents and educators spend time engaging in fun educational activities with children, it will help foster positive relationships, which is crucial to the social emotional development of children.”

During a plenary discussion at the virtual launch, panellists said that creating meaningful conversations with children will help them feel acknowledged and important.

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Dr Jacqueline Chung, an ECDA fellow and academic director of St. James’ Church Kindergarten, said parents and educators should try their best to give children their full attention when in a conversation.

She said: “It is a challenge, but we have to put in effort to listen attentively to what our children are sharing, even though we may not always understand everything they are saying.”

Dr Chung also said asking children open-ended questions could extend the quality and depth of conversations.

Ms Cheryl Wee, an entrepreneur and soon-to-be mother of three, said conversations with her three-year-old son are usually simple, but geared towards what her son likes and can relate to.

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Dr Jared Ng, a senior consultant at the Institute of Mental Health, suggested using phrases such as “tell me more”, or “that’s an interesting idea” when conversing with children.

He said: “These show children that we are genuinely interested in them as individuals, which is key to nurturing a meaningful relationship.”

The resource kit can be downloaded here.

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