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Early childhood

© UNICEF Malaysia/2007/Nadchatram

Boosting early childhood development 
In line with Malaysia’s national plan to reduce disparities between rural and urban areas, and between less developed and more developed regions, UNICEF and the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development's Community Development Department (KEMAS) trained some 300 preschool teachers and supervisors in 2007 in early childhood development.

Preschool teachers were equipped with skills and knowledge to run workshops for Orang Asli and rural communities, stressing the importance of boosting early childhood development and offering tips on learning activities, nutrition and child psychology. The program reached out to more than 18,000 parents and guardians in rural and remote parts of Malaysia.

Reach out and read (ROAR) program
In 2007, UNICEF together with the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development KEMAS preschools introduced the “Reach out and Read” program (or ROAR) for preschoolers in rural and remote areas across the country to improve their literacy abilities in preparation for primary school Year One. Poor reading and writing skills are amongst the reasons cited for the poor enrolment rates of Orang Asli children in primary schooling.

The ROAR program aims to help children between the ages of 5 and 6 master six key learning components: language and communication, cognitive development, morale and spirituality, social-emotional development and creativity. Language skills are given particular emphasis, as it enables children to develop their ability to think, understand concepts, imagine and communicate effectively. Around 350 KEMAS preschool teachers have been trained under ROAR benefiting close to 3,400 preschool children from rural and remote parts of the country.





Early childhood


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