Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia (PPBM) launched its maiden showcase of the Resource Centre and Children’s Library at its Headquarters in Petaling Jaya on 11 July, 2018. The event was officiated by Masdiana Muhammad, wife of Selangor Chief Minister.
“The aim of PPBM Resource Centre is to provide relevant information and references regarding setting up of a child care centre, while the Children’s Library is aimed at cultivating reading habits in young children of 4 years old and below”, said PPBM President, Norsheila Abdullah.
She added the initiative to optimise the headquarters as a Resource Centre was a strategic decision to provide greater access to information and support for 11,000 PPBM members, as guidance in setting up childcare centres that must meet the strict requirements and standards in the Child Care Centre Act 1984.
The other showcase component is the Children’s Library, which is envisioned to be a conducive, welcoming, safe place for young children up to 4 years of age, to cultivate early reading habits and engage in activities that further develop their cognitive and social skills as early as possible.
In partnership with PPBM, Nippon Paint Malaysia Group will be providing colour and functional coatings advisory to PPBM members who are looking at repainting their child care centres or children’s library. The partnership with PPBM began in 2017, under the purview of Nippon Paint’s Child Wellness Programme – an educational campaign aimed to empower today’s discerning parents and key decision makers towards creating uplifting environments for children, through various awareness and educational initiatives related to children’s health and wellness.
Speaking at the launch of the centre Gladys Goh, Group General Manager of Nippon Paint said, “Our partnership with PPBM was one of our first steps to reaching out to discerning parents and childcare providers. Through the setting up of an Advisory Panel, Nippon Paint is able to provide counsel to PPBM members on recommending the right functional coatings or colours that enables clean air, safe touch and promotes creativity from our Child Wellness Range to facilitate an uplifting and safer indoor environment for children. Being the first coatings company to develop child-friendly coatings, we understand that it is crucial for us to educate our customers and stakeholders on the importance of creating a safer and more conducive environment for children – especially as colours have a significant impact in their development and influence their mood, emotional wellbeing, productivity level and their desire to learn.”
In conjunction with the launch, an expert roundtable session themed, “Raising Gadget-Free Kids” was also held, which discussed insights on creating enabling environments for today’s children who are more technology dependent to cultivate good reading habits. Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail pointed out that children are more inclined to participate in activities or adhere to instructions in an environment that is safe and uplifting.
He said, “A child’s development is very much dependent on the environment the child is in. From a tender age as young as 0 to 4 years old, children are inquisitive and will develop their preferences and habits based on the environment they are in and experiences they gain. While gadget used has its pros in today’s modern day and age, parents should monitor screen time to ensure a holistic cognitive development.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children age 2 to 5 years are advised to limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programmes. While screen time in moderation is encouraged, parents should also critically look into the selection of programmes. A recent study published by the Perak Medical Journal revealed Malaysian children below the age of 2 spent an average of 6 hours on electric screens, with television being the highest screen time (5.9 hours), followed by iPad/Tablet (3.2 hours).
Norsheila Abdullah further shared that the association had observed that children are more reluctant to read and participate in activities due to their dependency on gadgets such as iPads and mobile phones.
“While Malaysia’s high literacy rate paints a rosy picture, a firm foundation should be instilled in all children at an early age to ensure that they are well on the right path. Thus, the importance of cultivating the love for reading at a very early age,” she added, quoting a recent review by UNESCO: Education for All 2015 – National Review which revealed that the literacy level in Malaysians is close to 95% for children aged 10 years and above.
The showcase Children’s Library is the first phase of PPBM’s initiative to cultivate reading habits amongst younger Malaysian children. The association is currently looking into the execution of its second phase through Books on Wheels, providing mobile libraries to rural and semi-urban areas.
“The Child Wellness Programme has led us this far with our partnership with PPBM. We are delighted to be a part of this noble effort and we are certain that the Children’s Library will serve its purpose to cultivate early reading habits in children. Our continuous partnership with PPBM and other national associations under the Programme will continue to realise more initiatives and engagement promoting child wellness and further elevate awareness in the public sphere,” added Goh.
The Child Wellness Programme sees partnerships with national associations such as the Malaysian Paediatric Association (MPA), Persatuan Pengasuh Berdaftar (PPBM), Persatuan Tadika Malaysia (PTM) as well as the Malaysian Society of Allergy and Immunology (MSAI), working alongside child care providers and medical practitioners as key influencers to provide simple steps and expert advises for today’s discerning parents.