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Fathers Encouraged to Support Children in Transiting to New School Year

SINGAPORE  2 January 2024 – Dads from 130 pre-schools, primary and secondary schools, and institutes of higher learning joined the “Back to School with Dad” initiative, with 49 schools including three private organisations taking part for the first time.Launched in 2006, the upcoming Back to School with Dad is themed “First Days of School”. The beginning of a new school year is time of transition and children may experience anxiety over the changes that come with joining new classes or schools and making new friends. However, children who have the support of their fathers and families during this transition are more likely to have a positive school experience.

Back to School with Dad, scheduled for 2 and 3 January 2024, encourages fathers to set aside time at the beginning of the school year to send their children to school as well as leave them notes of encouragement. Through these acts of support, fathers demonstrate care and concern for their children and show they are walking with them in their academic journey. This sets a positive tone for the school year by instilling confidence and resilience in their children to overcome challenges.

Mr. Xander Ong, CEO, Centre for Fathering said, “As a father, sending your children to school shows your children that you are interested in their academic journey and that you value the relationships they forge, and the things they learn. The days prior to and after school reopens is a pivotal window to create stronger bonds and lasting memories with our children. Together, let’s make it a priority to be with our children on their physical and emotional journey to and at school, especially during first few weeks of the school year and as often as possible during the rest of the year.”

“The start of a new academic year marks a key milestone in a child’s developmental journey. We hope that more fathers will accompany their children on their first day of school. It is a simple and meaningful way for fathers to demonstrate their love and commitment to their child. This special moment will become a fond memory cherished by both father and child for many years to come. This will also demonstrate equal partnership between husband and wife in parenting and caring for our children,” Families for Life Council Chairman, Mr. Ishak Ismail shared.

Back to School with Dad cards

For the academic year 2024, fathers (and mothers) can easily access and download Back to School with Dad cards from the Back to School with Dad webpage. This accessibility encourages parents to share the card templates within their communities. In addition, we have introduced an Instagram filter to enhance the memorability of the back-to-school experience via the following link thus allowing parents to share these precious moments on Instagram.

With these downloadable templates, parents have the flexibility to personalise notes of encouragement. These can either be printed and tucked into lunchboxes or school bags, bringing pleasant surprises to their children during recess. For older children, parents can also send these personalised notes directly to their mobile phones. To further support parents in this initiative, a Back to School with Dad toolkit is provided, offering ideas on how to prepare their children for the upcoming school year.

In the years before COVID-19, only hard copy Back to School with Dad cards were disseminated to schools for fathers to pen notes for their children. Due to COVID-19 restrictions affecting logistics of cards distribution, Back to School with Dad 2022 went virtual.

Since 2023, hard copy Back to School with Dad cards were also provided to schools upon request. For the 2024 academic year, 28 schools have requested for hard copies Back to School with Dad cards which were distributed out to parents at school events such as Primary 1 orientation. In addition, 28 schools will also be receiving Back to School Photo Frame boards which will be used to inspire dads to capture memories of this important milestone through photos while motivating them to be more involved in their children’s academic journey.