Couples wanting to get married sit for courses before tying the knot but expectant parents are often left on their own to figure out what’s best for their children.
And while all parents mean well, they sometimes instil bad habits that children never forget.
Even many childminders and kindergarten teachers are unqualified to take care of children, as revealed by Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on Monday.
Dr Wan Azizah, who is also deputy prime minister, said about 80 per cent, or 13,700 childminders, for those aged one to four in registered nurseries do not have the minimum Permata Early Childhood Care and Education qualification as at June this year.
So if parents and teachers are not doing it right, what would become of the future generation?
“Bringing up a child is even more challenging than marriage as you are shaping someone’s future,” says early childhood education expert Pua Chee Ling.
“We go for marriage classes but no one teaches you good parenting. It is often based on trial and error, which should not be the case.”
Pua said when she was pregnant with her daughter Qiqi, she read everything she could about raising a child.
“That’s when I realised early childhood education is an important tool in building children’s character. If you teach them right, they will instinctively do the right thing as adults.”
As such, she hoped to see expectant parents sit for a course to know the best way to bring up children.
Pua said a good start was a new regulation requiring childminders and teachers to have at least a diploma in early childhood education. The law will come into force in 2020.
“Right now, it is so easy to become a kindergarten teacher. But, are they teaching the right things?” asked Pua, who is Dika College chief executive.
“That is why it is so important to have the right qualifications. It is difficult to make someone unlearn something.”
She said children are a product of their environment and this is why some abused and neglected children repeat the mistakes their parents did when they become parents themselves.
“Just because you are a product of a broken or abusive home, does not mean you will turn out that way. A parenting course could help break the vicious cycle.”
Dika College and Learning Box Sdn Bhd are organising the Early Childhood Education Symposium at Dwi Emas International School this weekend.
Themed “In it for the right reason”, the symposium will see eminent Malaysians and international experts talk and hold dialogues with participants on the importance of early childhood education.
There will also be hands-on workshops on how-to, and strategising child-centred approaches and making special needs education inclusive.
“We need to be connected and united when it comes to early childhood education. We should put the child at the centre of the community no matter what.”
To learn more about the symposium, log on to tiny.cc/initfortherightreason.