MIRI: Parents should not doubt the far-reaching effects of early childhood education, said Minister of Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Datuk Fatimah Abdullah.
She said early childhood education was an effective approach for the physical, cognitive, language, moral, social and emotional development of young children.
She said many studies had suggested that while nature could influence the differences in IQ levels, nurturing children indicated a stronger influence.
“Early childhood intervention like those in Taska Tawa Raut, which is conducted together with the community and Kemas (Community Development Department), is crucial to instil school readiness and subsequent intellectual development.
“Participation in high quality, developmentally-appropriate infant and early childhood curriculum will be able to affect cognitive development. It could have enduring beneficial effects on behaviour and learning,” she said during a recent visit to Taska Tawa Raut in Bario, which was set up in 2010.
Fatimah said medical and educational research also showed that mental growth occurred most rapidly in humans during their earliest years.
“The brain responds best to very early experience, and brain research has documented the environment’s effect on brain function. As such, intervention at the kindergarten level, when the young children are already four years old, may even be too late to help develop their cognition.
“In addition, parents who are involved in school activities are more likely to have children who do well academically. Therefore, parental participation is a major component to improve academic achievement among children.”
Accompanying Fatimah were her husband Datuk Adi Badiozaman Tuah, Mulu assemblyman Datuk Gerawat Gala and members of the organising committee of ‘Pesta Nukenen Bario’ (Bario Food Festival), including Rurum Kelabit Sarawak deputy president Dr Philip Raja.
Fatimah and her entourage also visited the festival.