Medical professionals have been roped in to promote shared reading between parents and children.
“As parents talk and read to their children, existing links among brain cells are strengthened and new links are formed,” said Dr Maha Al Fahim, who spearheaded the project as part of an early childhood development fellowship programme. The programme marks the collaboration between Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and the prestigious Yale University.
Apart from developing a child’s brains in the early years, a shared reading experience also enhances a child emotionally.
“Most important is the parent-child bonding that occurs through reading, which is the essential foundation for developing children’s security, confidence and parents’ love,” said Dr Maha.
Through the Reach Out and Read project, originally developed by a US non-profit organisation, clinical staff including physicians and nurses received online training where they also learnt the benefits of early literacy. It was piloted at Al Bateen Clinic primary healthcare centre in Abu Dhabi.
Dr Maha said that the driving force behind the shared reading initiative is the desire to encourage the Arab society, who is “frequently criticized for not being fond of reading together” with their children.
She is one of the eight graduates who carried out various projects to boost early childhood development in the UAE. The projects include a handbook on disciplining children and posters that explain the stages of child development.
Compiled from the report, Eight Women Work To Develop Tomorrow’s Young Emiratis, which first appeared in The National UAE on 31 May 2015.
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