Thursday, May 23, 2024

Tanoto Foundation and School of Parenting Launch Collaborative Study to Improve Early Childhood Care

The study was presented at the 14th Asian Conference on Psychology & the Behavioural Sciences in Tokyo, Japan

SINGAPORE, April 26, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Tanoto Foundation, in partnership with the School of Parenting in Indonesia, initiated a study titled “Optimising Child Development Through the First Three Years: The Importance of Responsive Parenting and Early Learning Stimulation.” 

This quantitative research aims to evaluate responsive child care practices and the availability of learning resources for children from birth to three years in Indonesia. The study outcomes will provide a basis for developing intervention strategies and conducting further research on Indonesian family dynamics.

A child’s brain develops to 80% of the size of an adult human in these age groups, which is a crucial period for human growth. During this stage, responsive parenting plays a pivotal role in fostering the child’s optimal growth and development. This involves being attuned to the child’s fundamental needs and providing access to learning materials within their environment. However, the prevalence of inappropriate child care practices remains significant in Indonesia.

As outlined in the 2021 Indonesian Early Childhood Report (Laporan Anak Usia Dini Indonesia), four out of 10 young children in the country continue to receive inadequate care. Furthermore, data from the Online Information System for the Protection of Women and Children (Sistem Informasi Online Perlindungan Perempuan dan Anak / SIMFONI PPA) in 2023 revealed 5,604 reported cases of violence against children, with 730 victims aged between zero to five years old. These statistics demonstrate inadequate support for optimal child growth in current parenting patterns in Indonesia.

The research team recently presented their findings at the 14th Asian Conference on Psychology & the Behavioral Sciences (ACP2024) in Tokyo in Japan, where they highlighted that differences in educational and economic backgrounds, as well as the geographical location of caregivers, are factors influencing optimal child care.

ACP2024 is an international conference that convenes researchers, experts and academics from diverse disciplines, fostering the exchange of knowledge, insights and perspectives. This platform cultivates dialogue aimed at sharing ideas to enhance human life quality. Held in conjunction with The Asian Conference on Aging & Gerontology (AGen 2024), it brought together 747 delegates from 63 countries to address critical issues spanning not only their fields but also global concerns. This joint initiative underscores the significance of collaboration across different disciplines, nations, and cultures.

“The quality of child care tends to improve with higher levels of education and economic status among parents or caregivers. Those with higher education levels are adept at offering a diverse range of games tailored to children’s developmental needs. They may include activities that enhance physical and motor skills, as well as educational and imaginative games like role-playing, which provide children with opportunities for meaningful engagement. Conversely, caregivers with lower education and economic levels often focus more on physical activities such as running, pulling and pushing, primarily developing motor skills,” Fitriana Herarti, the ECED Ecosystem Lead at Tanoto Foundation, explained.

Parents with higher education levels demonstrate a better understanding of the importance of stimulating their children’s development through reading books. “According to our research, a mere 21.4% of respondents read to their children at least three times a week, while a striking 56.6% of parents have never engaged in reading activities with their children. This discovery aligns with the concerning low levels of literacy in Indonesia, highlighting the urgent need for improvement,” Fitriana elaborated.

The study also identified the provision of learning materials as a critical factor in children’s development. Learning is a process that goes beyond the confines of a structured early childhood education system, such as pre-schools or PAUD (Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini) centres. Learning materials serve as essential tools for children to explore and understand their environment through sensory experiences. However, accessibility to such resources varies significantly between urban and rural areas.

“Specialised play or study rooms, educational tools and toys are predominantly accessible to caregivers residing in urban areas, whereas no more than 29% of caregivers in rural areas have access to or can provide learning materials for their children,” Dhisty Azlia Firnandy, from the School of Parenting, highlighted.

In addition, the caregiver’s level of knowledge is another important element in fostering optimal care. “Our findings revealed that 44% of parents lacked an understanding of how to provide age-appropriate stimulation for their children. This deficiency stems from their limited knowledge of child growth, development, and stimulation techniques,” she added.

“Based on the findings of this study, we propose comprehensive intervention initiatives by both government and private entities to aid parents and children, especially those hailing from underprivileged backgrounds. These efforts should aim to enhance caregiver awareness and skills, offer tailored parenting education, and ensure the provision of adequate learning materials for children,” Fitriana concluded.

Inge Kusuma, Country Head of Tanoto Foundation Indonesia, emphasised that this study reflects Tanoto Foundation’s dedication to enhancing early childhood care for the betterment of Indonesia’s human resources in the future. “We are delighted to partner with the School of Parenting and proud to present our findings at ACP2024. Learning, which focuses on real data and evidence through studies, is our strategy in designing programs that can provide real and sustainable impact. We aspire for this study to inspire further research in early childhood development, care, and education, ultimately improving parenting practices in Indonesia,” Inge said. Tanoto Foundation is an independent philanthropic organisation founded by Sukanto Tanoto and Tinah Bingei Tanoto.

Meanwhile, I Gede Dharma Putra, Founder of the School of Parenting, expressed pride in collaborating with Tanoto Foundation on this quantitative research endeavor aimed at understanding societal parenting practices. “The research findings underscore the necessity for parents to enhance their parenting skills to foster optimal child development. Moving forward, we anticipate more research and intervention programs aimed at improving parental skills, and we look forward to contributing and collaborating,” Gede emphasised.

This study was conducted from February to March 2023 across three cities in Indonesia: Jakarta, Pandeglang and Kupang with 1,200 parents, utilising the HOME (Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment) instrument adapted to the Indonesian context.

– Ends –

About Tanoto Foundation

Tanoto Foundation is an independent philanthropic organization in the field of education founded by Sukanto Tanoto and Tinah Bingei Tanoto in 1981 based on the belief that every person should have the opportunity to realise his or her full potential. Tanoto Foundation’s programmes stem from the belief that quality education accelerates equal opportunity. We strive to unlock people’s potential and enhance lives through quality education, starting from an early age through to productive age. The three pillars of Tanoto Foundation’s commitment are improving the learning environment, developing future leaders, and facilitating medical research.


About the School of Parenting

The School of Parenting, a digital platform established in 2012, has shifted its focus to family mental health education since 2019. This shift stems from research findings revealing the iceberg phenomenon of mental health challenges, which manifest in the rising cases of bullying, domestic violence, and divorce. We firmly believe that addressing these issues begins with safeguarding the mental well-being of each family member. In collaboration with certified psychologists, we offer a range of resources such as instructional videos (including modules, worksheets, and e-certificates), virtual classes, and counseling services.


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