To encourage the development of bilingual skills among Singaporean children , a unique programme Junction Tree will air on TV from February 27. It will be the first bilingual TV series targeting pre-schoolers.
Each episode comprises of three versions: English-Chinese, English-Malay and English-Tamil, with a bilingual host for each language version.
The series is set in a hyper-real park where the characters live in a magical treehouse with other communities. Most pre-schoolers are expected to relate to the storylines that are centred on the lives and experiences of the characters, such as making new friends and the importance of being punctual and respectful.
Hidayah Ong, head of news segment at Mediacorp, who produced and wrote the series, said that with more Singaporeans speaking English at home, this project would hopefully help pre-schoolers to “better appreciate and be more conversant in their mother tongue”.
“Junction Tree was borne out of two years of pilot-testing and research-and-development with a panel of educators, mother-tongue experts from the three language streams, parents and pre-schoolers themselves,” she said.
The 26 episode programme has received support from the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) and the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism.
All three bilingual versions will be telecast daily on the Okto channel at different time slots from 1.30pm to 4pm. A repeat telecast will also be on channels 5, 8, Suria and Vasantham.