Numerous research studies have shown that the first few years of a child’s life is a time of rapid neurological, social and behavioural development. It is important to nurture this early development in order to build a stronger foundation for the child’s future growth.
In the course of supporting programmes for children and youths over the years,
Temasek Foundation has seen that the core relationship for almost all children, especially before age 6, will be with their parents or primary caregivers.
This meant that for even greater impact, we had to start upstream with parents and those involved in raising a child to close what we call the “know-do” gap – having information but not always being equipped to apply it.
It thus became our mission to uplift parents and caregivers with both knowledge, skills and assurance to promote early development in their children and consequently improve the quality of this relationship.
Despite the parenting resources available, parents we spoke to shared that they are too busy juggling work and home demands to attend workshops and talks.
In times of uncertainty, some would do quick online searches or text their close family and friends for solutions. Answers – many answers – are easily found, but the true difficulty was discerning “fact” from “fake” and “myths”.
So, if we wanted to make a real difference, we were going to have to help parents find their desired answers easily and efficiently. Answers backed by trusted and credible science, grounded in years of research, so that parents can make the wise decisions for their children.
We set ourselves to solving this predicament in two ways: First, by translating wieldy research into simple, bite-sized tips and activities backed by science. Second, by making these tips and activities available on multiple channels – easily found and ready for use.
For the first task at hand, we turned to
SEED Institute (subsidiary of
NTUC First Campus), centre for advancing parenting knowledge, to comb through research studies on child development from around the world.
With their help, we identified key findings that we believe would be most relevant for Singapore. We also met with dozens of gynaecologists, child psychologists, preschool practitioners and researchers, among others, to further validate our approach and focus.
The culmination of this effort was a 500-page publication, titled Temasek Foundation Early Childhood Compendium, comprising our findings on key domains and practical tips for applying them.
With our research well on its way to completion, we brought in messaging partners to help us package the information in engaging and relevant ways for our diverse population.
We spent many months speaking to mums and dads and testing our tips in learning sessions with small groups of parents from different educational backgrounds, cultures, needs and preferences. This affirmed that shared parental experiences can definitely make bringing up a child a lot less anxious and a lot more joyful.
Armed with feedback from parents and to complement existing parent support networks, we created
WiseJourneys, learning streams designed from our research findings and tips that aim to equip parents in a constructive and science-based manner.
We sincerely look forward to ParentWise becoming a movement that excites Singaporean parents and caregivers to use and share trustworthy tips anchored in years of research – the art of parenting built on solid science.
More importantly, we hope that the knowledge and social support brought about by ParentWise will build deep capabilities in parents to apply their learnings, assemble their own village and acquire the wisdom of community-driven learning, ultimately making the parenting journey one that is full of joy, hope and purpose.