Recognising that the Malay language lacks exposure to a portion of Malay preschool children in Singapore, KATA•KUMPUL is designed as a learning system that allows children to learn the Malay language with minimal guidance from an adult. One of the main reasons behind the lack of exposure is simply the lack of human resource in certain preschools to teach the Malay language. In Singapore, mother tongue is taught with the aim to preserve identity among different races. To this, it is beneficial to introduce the Malay language to children as soon as they start preschool. Picking the language up early could also possibly help narrow the disparity of the Malay language ability between Singaporean Malays and other Malay speakers in the region. More importantly, KATA•KUMPUL is created to ensure preschoolers who do not have the opportunity to be exposed to the Malay language due to the above-stated problem do not lag behind when they enrol in a primary school.
KATA•KUMPUL is an educational multiplayer game where players form Malay words using letter tiles on a gameboard with the help of the word list on our KATA•KUMPUL application. KATA•KUMPUL’s content of Malay words is devised to be appropriate for the preschool age and more specifically for the Malay language we use in Singapore. Additionally, the word list is not only limited to simple everyday words but also words of cultural significance to interest preschoolers to their own Malay culture.
Playing on just a gameboard has long been a traditional way of playing games, but playing together with an application on a smart device is a great way to synthesize both old and new ways of play to preschoolers. The interweaving of IT into KATA•KUMPUL will not only provide preschoolers some exposure to IT, but also make learning through play more visually and auditorily more stimulating through the pictures and sounds from the application.
The physicality of the gameboard in KATA•KUMPUL is a union of the art style and functionalities of the Malay traditional culture along with the Singaporean floral symbol, Vanda ‘Miss Joaquim’. In kind, KATA•KUMPUL becomes uniquely Singaporean Malay.
In essence, KATA•KUMPUL will teach children of preschool age how to spell, speak and understand the Malay language as well as enthuse them on Malay culture. Forward into the future, the learning system of KATA•KUMPUL could always be repurposed for the learning of another language besides the Malay language.