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29 May 2016

Kumon Singapore General Manager, Mr Allan Menagh, speaks at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2016

General Manager of Kumon Singapore, Mr Allan Menagh, participated as a speaker for the first time at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC). He gave a talk titled, Dad, You Count Too, at the parents forum on the vital role Dads play in raising their children, and was part of a 4-man panel discussion on Working Together: Fostering the Teachers-Parent Alliance.

The panel discussion revolved around questions of how parents and teachers can come together to build children’s literacy skills. Mr Menagh stressed that better communication between parents and teachers was key. As parents’ expectations of what teachers should do for their children has increased, they too should be more involved. It is important that parents are clear about what they value in terms of education – for instance, whether they measure success through test results, or the amount of effort and preparation put in by their child – and are committed to working with teachers to support their child’s learning.

Teachers can do their part by thinking beyond the usual face-to-face discussion when reaching out to parents. In response to a question raised by an audience member on how to involve low income parents who may work long hours, Mr Menagh suggested that teachers engage through means other than the usual face-to-face discussion. Whatsapp, email and SMS are some possible ways teachers could reach out to busy parents.

In his talk, Dads, You Count Too, he elaborated on a few tips and techniques parents, in particular Dads, can employ to help their child cultivate a reading habit. Mr. Menagh explained, “Dads often underthink their contribution, or they overthink the complexity of it. It takes just three minutes to read a children's book, and when both parents read and make it a part of the family routine, this sends a positive message about reading to the children.” The key is to start young as the most formative years of a child are prior to his or her entry into primary school.

He also emphasised that reading to young children should be fun and not an academic exercise at that age, highlighting how a common request he receives as an educator is for children to be coached in composition. Said Mr Menagh, “If you want to write well, you have to read well.” In our enthusiasm to ensure our children do well in school, we should not forget the benefits of reading for leisure. A habit of reading for leisure develops children’s ability as independent thinkers and learners.

AFCC 2016 marks Kumon’s first collaboration with the National Book Development Council (NBDC).

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