What happens when an early childhood education expert realises that the field lacks guidebooks which provide a Malaysian context and use the national language? She writes them.

That is precisely what the Chair of the faculty for Education and Social Sciences, Dr Aliza Ali, has done. She has written a book entitled, Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Bahasa Melayu Pada Peringkat Pendidikan Awal Kanak-kanak, which has been published by UKM Press this year.

Says Dr Aliza, “As someone who has been involved in the field of early childhood education for 18 years, I have received a lot of feedback over the years that teachers and students lack guidebooks on early childhood education which are in their native language and touch on the Malaysian context. The guidebooks widely available in the market are in English and focus on children in the West. So, I decided to fill this knowledge gap for their benefit.”

Dr Aliza has much experience conducting research on early childhood field at both government preschools under the Ministry of Education as well as private ones. The book is mostly based on her master’s dissertation and PhD thesis but she made sure to use an easily understood style of writing. “I want teachers to understand the book well enough to put it into teaching practice in the classroom,” she explains.

It took her roughly six months to write the book. “I didn’t feel pressured as I like writing and sharing my knowledge in the written form. I usually started writing after returning home from work and during weekends. Even holidays were spent writing because I’m the type of person who lugs my laptop around everywhere.”

According to Dr Aliza, her book will be of great benefit to preschool teachers and students in the field of early childhood education. “It focuses on early childhood pedagogies and recommends that teaching and learning follow children’s choices, needs and interests.

“Readers of this book will learn and understand Constructivist and Interactionist theories and how these theories can be translated into teaching practice in child-centred classrooms. It is very crucial for teachers to understand how children construct abstract knowledge through concrete experiences in a stimulating environment. This book also touches on planning, strategies, approaches, methods and techniques in a child-centred classroom.

“It can be used as a module for students of early childhood education. In fact, it has almost sold out in less than a month from the date of the first publication.”

Dr Aliza’s earlier writings include a 2013 book entitled, Belajar Melalui Bermain: Prinsip Utama Pendidikan Awal Kanak-kanak, published by Utusan Publications & Distributions Sdn Bhd and a 2015 children’s book series, Siri Mudah Baca. The series published by Pelangi Books Sdn Bhd presented themes based on children’s daily life experiences.

“I intend to continue writing more early childhood education and children’s books as we need more of these in this country,” says Dr Aliza.

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