The program contains more than 100 carefully curated tips and activities that are proven to promote healthy brain development in children through regular and frequent interactions between parents, caregivers and children.
“Children are our assets, and among the indigenous communities, children are treated as the king of the community. They represent our hope for the future; they are instrumental for the sustainability of humanity,” says Fauwaz Hasbullah, Director of Family Wellness Division, from the National Population and Family Development Board. “Yet, as we look around the world, we find the emphasis has been given to national education, but not for those under five, for which there is a void in terms of parenting skills and attention given to their development. Thus, the Thrive by Five – MyANAK parenting program will bridge the gap.”
The Thrive by Five – MyANAK program is a collaboration between the Malaysian Association of Professional Early Childhood Educators (MAPECE) and Minderoo Foundation, one of Australasia’s largest philanthropies. It brings anthropological and neuroscientific research by the University of Sydney’s world-leading Brain and Mind Centre to Asia and the world through a well-established network of local early childhood-based NGOs and organisations.
MAPECE has worked closely with Minderoo Foundation and the Brain and Mind Centre to localise the content, which combines local Malaysian early childhood parenting practices with the latest research on early childhood development.
“Despite the fact that Malaysia is an upper-middle income nation, our research revealed challenges around early childhood education (ECE) expressed by ECE educators, around the lack of parental and stakeholder support and commitment, as well as limited resources on multicultural education materials and learning aids. Child malnutrition also continues to be a problem in Malaysia,” said Susan Schofield from Minderoo Foundation.
A symposium ‘Establishing Strong Foundations for Lifelong Cognitive Strengths, Mental Health, and Well-being through Parental Involvement’ with international speakers was held at SEGI University to promote the importance of collaboration between early childhood carers, teachers and parents for the holistic development of children up to five years.
“The research team from the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre is responsible for developing the content for the Thrive by Five International Program. All of the content is underpinned by a scientific framework that highlights key neurobiological systems that are critical to healthy development in the early years,” said Dr Haley La Monica, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sydney.
“In the upcoming weeks, the Brain and Mind’s Centre’s research team will be conducting an evaluation study, collecting feedback from Malaysian parents and caregivers about the impact of the app’s content on their childrearing attitudes.”
The Thrive by Five – MyANAK launch was officiated by representatives from the Australian High Commission, Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Jabatan Kemajuan Masyarakat (KEMAS) or Community Development Department, and other early childhood NGOs. Among the speakers attending the symposium were Datin Dr Ng Soo Boon from MAPECE, Susan Schofield from Minderoo Foundation and Dr Hayley La Monica from the University of Sydney.
Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, we are a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with key initiatives spanning from ocean research and ending slavery, to collaboration in cancer and community projects.