Building Blocks (BB) is our pilot home-based parents outreach programme organised in collaboration with Temasek Foundation. It aims to share evidence-based parenting tips, with a hands-on focus, to enhance children’s early literacy skills.
In our second feature, we have Rupa, a marketing professional and mother to 1-year-old Yashika! Here, she shares her thoughts on parenting as a first-time parent and her takeaways from the BB programme!
What kind of challenges do you face the most as a parent and how do you deal with them?
When I joined the Building Blocks programme, my baby was just ten months old. I was trying to train her concentration, like trying to sit and talk with her, because she was at that stage where she kept moving and getting diverted. I was wondering how to communicate with her and get her to listen to me because of her distractions, so that was one concern I was having.
[To deal with the challenge], I will continuously keep calling to her to get her attention and whenever I have time I will sit and play with her, and when she’s playing I’ll join her and involve myself in doing whatever she’s doing.
Can you share with us an important parental tip for other parents?
I am a very new parent, a first-time parent, so I’m learning myself too and from others. But I think one thing is that they should spend time, as much as possible, with the baby. It’s really important because most of us are so busy working and trying to earn for our kids and provide and all that, but then the quality time we spend is compromised. We should definitely spend a lot of quality time, as much as possible, with our kids.
How have you enjoyed the BB programme so far and why?
Yes, I have enjoyed the programme. It started out with a very nice basic slogan of “15 minutes a day, 3 times a week” which I really liked because that was very important and basically needed for everything. The start of the programme itself was very inspiring and I did really like the touch - like a simple way of putting forward what is important and how simple it could be.
Which of the BB content do you find most useful?
I guess one of the first ones, which are the videos on the development of early literacy and E.E.E.R.I. I liked the content very much, and all the videos are very short and simple!
[Sidenote: In our first few core videos, we introduced the building blocks of early (or emergent) literacy such as oral language, vocabulary, story structure and the alphabet. In a following video, we also shared that parents could help their child’s language development by practicing EEERI (Explain, Expand, Extend, Repeat, Imaginary play) during play time.]
Also, I really liked the ones introducing the sections of the library. And of course, the toys [given], and the importance of playing with the kids.
How did you put the BB content to practice & how did it benefit your child?
The content on how to use the flashcards, the fishing set, peg board etc was useful. She loves the book now, she’s so interested in it because of the interactive element - she likes to turn pages and flip them. It made me buy more books for her and I’m trying to teach her the words. She’s also getting the hand at handling the fishing set and the peg board. You’ll realise a small change after the first time when you introduce something new and when you try to practise it yourself, the baby will try to follow, repeat and also get the hang of it after a few attempts.
Would you suggest this programme to other acquaintances and why?
Definitely, I’ve already told a couple of my friends to look out for the next phase! It definitely helped a lot, especially for younger families. It helps the parents, especially first-time parents like me as it really helps a lot with answering questions and [clearing] doubts. It helps to build a better relationship and [improve] communication with the baby. Definitely recommend it!