A Literacy@Home Starter Kit
We made a rash decision to set up a stall at a huge, 3-day mother-and-baby fair over a year ago. It was our first attempt setting up a physical ‘shop front’ and with my youngest son already 5, I had forgotten that such fairs were mostly frequented by parents rushing to buy diapers, cots, strollers, mats, bottles and sterilizers for babies to 18 month olds at bargain prices. Our little store, selling educational learning tools and toys for reading and numeracy for 3-6 year olds, was at the wrong place, at the wrong time! Two days in, we were discouraged because we were making pathetic sales, as expected.
Then a stay-home mum of two boys, Yen, walked by and stopped to browse. She looked at our materials then shared that her 5 year old son was falling behind in kindergarten, and his teachers were concerned especially as he wasn’t able to read yet. She didn’t want to have to send him for tuition or enrichment classes. She did want to help him on her own at home, but she didn’t know how to get started. We went through the materials we had, how to use them, and she bought a small selection to try. Our depressed spirits were suddenly lifted - it was great to be able to help a mum who really wanted to help her child. This was what Learning Vessels was all about!
Some months after, we were able to connect with Yen again and conducted a quick literacy test over Zoom to check what areas her son needed most help with. Yen had been using our sight word cards with her son, and we could see a difference in the test results. We encouraged Yen to keep up the great work and sent her a new video on Sight Words we had done so that she could maximize the use of the cards she had.
This incident stayed in our minds - there had to be other parents like Yen who wanted to help their children with their reading skills but who didn’t know how to. Could we find a way to provide them the tools and knowledge they needed so they were better equipped to help their children?
Since then, we had the opportunity to run an emergent literacy programme for parents called Building Blocks with Temasek Foundation - where we equipped close to 590 parents of 1-3 year olds with a stay-home kit of tools accompanied by topical videos that guided them to use the materials in the kit with their child. Building Blocks met with overwhelming success, and we decided to apply what we’d learnt to developing a kit of tools and videos (serving almost like a map!) for parents of 3-6 year olds that want to set-off on a reading voyage with their child - Anchors Aweigh!