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How To Explain The Importance Of Total Defence To A Child

Did you know that on 15th February 1942, Singapore fell to the Japanese? Hence, Total Defence Day is marked on 15th February every year as a reminder of what could happen if we can’t defend Singapore ourselves, and to strengthen our resolve to keep Singapore safe, secure and sovereign.

Total Defence an important national capability uniting Singaporeans in responding to military and non-military attacks that threaten the country’s independence and well-being, such as terrorism, disease, and disinformation campaigns.  

So how does one instil the significance of such an important part of Singapore in children from a young age? Here are our suggestions:

1. Explain it simply

Instead of going into the full details, start off by explaining Total Defence in simple terms. For instance, young children are better able to understand when you say something like ‘Total Defence is important because it involves every Singaporean playing a part, individually and together, to build a strong and secure nation, because when we are strong as a country, we are better able to deal with any crisis or threats together’.

2. Break down the different areas to be defended

Children easily understand terms such as fake news, cyberattacks and military threats. Explain to them how we all have to strengthen our defences against these military and non-military threats and challenges through six different areas. The six pillars represent Military, Civil, Economic, Social, Digital, and Psychological Defence. In fact, each of the six arrows in the Total Defence logo represents each of these pillars.

3. Download the Total Defence Resource Kit

This initiative has actually been designed by parents, featuring activities aimed to engage children and students below the age of 12 by introducing different but fun ways to understand Total Defence. With interactive activities that focus on bringing Total Defence outdoors as part of our daily lives, this resource kit has proved to be very valuable for parents to teach their children the importance of Total Defence.

4. Get the “Singapore, My Little Red Dot” Book

In collaboration with local artist Edmund Chen, Nexus launched an activity booklet, aimed at teaching children values such as unity, resilience and teamwork. It is also aligned with the national curriculum framework for kindergartens, and incorporates activities to engage pre-schoolers in identifying shapes, going through mazes, counting numbers and colouring.

This year, Nexus and Temasek Foundation have provided an enhanced version of this book to all K1 preschoolers. The enhanced activity book includes:

  • Information about trauma in children, a ‘Stay Prepared’ initiative
  • Activity cards for preschoolers and their parents to be engaged on Total Defence
  • Soaper 5 Challenge
  • Information and activity on how to stay safe during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Email [email protected] for copies of the book.

5. Colour in the Total Defence (TD) Poster

An ideal colouring activity for children aged between 5-12 years, this Black and White TD 2020 Illustration is a great, indirect way of getting young ones to recognise Total Defence action and how to participate in it (without even actively thinking about it).

6. Download links to other fun TD activities 

It really couldn’t be any easier to engage your child into learning the importance of TD and its six pillars in a fun and interactive way to keep them engaged whilst still learning, thanks to these different activities available via download:

- TD 2022 Poster
- TD Activity sheets for Pre-school students
- TD Activity sheets for Primary 1 to 2 students
- TD Activity sheets for Primary 3 to 4 students
- TD Activity sheets for Primary 5 to 6 students
- TD Activity sheets for Secondary School students
- TD Digital Defence Quiz
- TD Puzzle and Answer Key

For more information, click here

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