Founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles, Singapore has come a long way from that tiny fishing village. Today, she is a bustling multi-cultural city state, a garden city and a global financial hub.

Here are three reasons why it is good for your child to know Singapore’s short but significant history:

1. Develops Cultural Identity and National Pride

Understanding Singapore’s history is vital for nurturing a strong sense of cultural identity and national pride among Singaporean children. Learning about the nation’s journey from a small trading post to a thriving global city-state instills a deep connection to their roots. For example, studying the struggles faced during the Japanese occupation and the subsequent fight for independence, led by leaders like Lee Kuan Yew, allows children to appreciate the resilience and determination of their forefathers.

2. Promotes Social Harmony and Cultural Understanding

Singapore’s rich history highlights the harmonious coexistence of diverse ethnic and religious communities. Teaching children about events such as the racial riots of 1964 and the subsequent efforts to promote racial harmony emphasises the importance of tolerance and understanding. By appreciating the contributions of various ethnic groups like the Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians, children learn to respect different cultures and traditions.

3. Promotes Informed Citizenship and Civic Responsibility

Teaching children about Singapore’s history equips them with the knowledge needed to become informed and responsible citizens. Knowing about the struggles during the merger with Malaysia and subsequent separation in 1965 provides insights into the nation’s sovereignty. Awareness of key policies such as Total Defence and the Singaporean spirit during crises like the SARS outbreak showcases the resilience of the nation. By understanding the challenges faced and overcome, children are inspired to actively engage in civic activities, make informed decisions during elections when they are of eligible age to vote, and contribute meaningfully to society.

Now that we know why it is important for young ones to have a sense of Singapore’s history, here are some fun activities you can engage with your child to impart a love for history in them.

1. Visit Museums

Take your child to museums such as the National Museum of Singapore, the Peranakan Museum, the Asian Civilisations Museum and Reflections at Bukit Chandu. Museums offer interactive exhibits and artifacts that bring history to life. Engage your child with age-appropriate guided tours and interactive displays, allowing them to visually explore Singapore’s past.

2. Read books

Utilise age-appropriate books and stories that introduce Singapore’s history in a captivating manner. Some books you might want to consider are “Playtime with Ye Ye” by Pauline Loh (written in both English and Mandarin), “The Little Singapore Book” by Joyceline See Tully and Sim Ee Waun, “Lion City Adventures: Explore Singapore, Learn Cool Stuff and Solve Mini-Mysteries” by Don Bosco and “Secrets of Singapore” by Lesley-Anne and Monica Lim. These books can be easily found at public libraries and local bookstores.

3. Celebrate National Day and Cultural Festivals

Celebrate National Day and ethnic festivals like Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Puasa, and Deepavali. These events provide opportunities to learn about Singapore’s history, traditions, and cultural diversity. Attend cultural performances and exhibitions that showcase Singapore’s heritage.

4. Talk to Older Family Members

Encourage your child to talk to older family members who have lived through significant events in Singapore’s history. Their personal experiences and anecdotes can provide valuable insights and a unique perspective. This makes history more relatable and personal.

Incorporating Singapore’s history into your child’s education not only enriches their knowledge, but also equips them with a deeper understanding of their identity. In the month of August, New Life Student Care celebrates National Day with the nation, and seeks to help our students appreciate how Singapore has grown from a tiny fishing village to a cosmopolitan city in 200 years.