Study Hard And Play Hard, Says Amanda The Panda

Although children may feel pressurized to spend their time studying indoors, a new book reminds parents that outdoor play has immense benefits for their child’s eyesight and emotional health.

AsianScientist (Sep. 16, 2019) – With the closure of schools and the suspension of outdoor activities due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, parents may find their children spending more time indoors—and on their screens—than ever before.

To help children understand the importance of taking care of their eyes, the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) has launched a new illustrated book titled Amanda The Panda Goes To The City, written by Associate Professor Marcus Ang and Professor Saw Seang Mei of Duke-NUS Medical School.

In this second instalment of the adventures of a young panda named Amanda, the main character leaves home to go to school in the big city of Pandoro. While struggling to adjust to the demands of school life, she encounters a librarian who encourages her to take frequent breaks for the sake of her eyesight. Aimed at reducing educational pressures faced by children in their formative years, the book encourages outdoor play as a solution that not only helps to prevent myopia but also benefits physical and emotional well-being in children.

The book was launched on September 15, 2020, at a virtual event commemorating the first year anniversary of SNEC’s Myopia Centre. The guest-of-honor, Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, read the book to five- to seven-year-olds from seven childcare centers across Singapore, an age group at the highest risk of developing myopia.

“All of us, especially our children, need to have a balanced life,” said Balakrishnan, a trained ophthalmologist and former medical director of SNEC. “We need to spend time outdoors, we need to take frequent breaks from reading or from the screen, we need to engage in sports, we need to engage in social development.”

Both books in the Amanda the Panda series were published by Wildtype Books in collaboration with SNEC and the Myopia Centre and are available at their online store.


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Asian Scientist Magazine is an award-winning science and technology magazine that highlights R&D news stories from Asia to a global audience. The magazine is published by Singapore-headquartered Wildtype Media Group.

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