Parenting within the Preschool System in Malaysia

About this project

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  January 2023- December 2025
Principal Investigators Professor Dr Rumaya Juhari (Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia), Dr Jamie Lachman (University of Oxford and University of Cape Town) and Professor Frances Gardner (University of Oxford)
Research Team Assoc. Prof Dr Zainal Madon, Assoc. Prof Dr Zarinah Arshat, Dr Rojanah Kahar, Dr Muslihah Hasbullah, Dr Mohd Najmi Daud, Dr Mohamad Naqiuddin Dahamat Azam, Dr Nellie Ismail and Mrs. Farah Zeehan Mohd Nadzri (Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia), Hal Cooper (University of Oxford)
Partners National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) in the Ministry of Women, Family, and Community Development; Community Development Department (KEMAS), Ministry of Rural Development; UNICEF Malaysia


Factorial multisite randomised trial to optimise the effectiveness and scalability of ParentChat and ParentText within the national government education system. The study will test 2 remotely delivered Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH) programmes (locally known in Malaysia as Naungan Kasih Positive Parenting Programme): Parentchat and ParentText, as well as the PLH in-person programme. This study will train a number of facilitators, and is aimed at parents and caregivers of children between ages four and five.


This study aims to optimise the effectiveness and scalability of two Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH) human-digital playful parenting interventions (ParentChat and ParentText) on parenting, learning through play, and child educational outcomes when embedded within a national government education system for low-income families in Malaysia.


The objectives of this study are as follows:

  1. To evaluate the implementation, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of ParentChat and ParentText when delivered within the government-run preschool system
  2. To assess the scalability of ParentChat and ParentText within existing government services by examining user engagement, programme fidelity, and sustainability
  3. To examine whether the combined delivery of ParentText or ParentChat has an impact on user engagement, programme effectiveness, and programme scalability
  4. To support the long-term sustainability of programme implementation and scale-up of Parenting for Lifelong Health within government services in Malaysia.

Study Setting

This study will be conducted in rural and peri-urban Malaysian communities selected by KEMAS.

Study Significance and Impact

The findings of this study will inform the national scale-up of universal remotely delivered playful parenting interventions for low-income families with young children in Malaysia. It will make an important contribution to our understanding of how playful parenting interventions can have a meaningful impact on parenting, learning through play, and early educational outcomes. The findings will also benefit advocacy work for the scale-up of human- digital evidence-based playful parenting programmes in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.