Introducing The Emancipation Figure of RA Kartini to Children


Our mother Kartini

The genuine lady

Indonesian lady

with eminent name


Our mother Kartini

The nation heroine

Heroine of her womanly class

for independence


Oh our mother Kartini

The honorable lady

How great her dream

for Indonesia


That song has been familiar for all Indonesian people. It is taught since kindergarten and continuously sung up to college students. Raden Ajeng Kartini (Princess Kartini) is an inspiring figure for Indonesian women. It is easy for ordinary people to study the history of R.A. Kartini through any form of media but not for children. How do children know RA Kartini? They merely know her from her pictures on the class walls, from the song about her, from reading her biography, from imitating her traditional costumes and from their participation in Kartini’s day contests. Those are the traditions, which become annual events. But how do we implement her good characters in our children?                         

RA Kartini has various noble characters that can be adopted. Those characters make her an idol many Indonesian people. Three of her characters that can be adopted and taught to children are like reading, writing, and helping others. The question is how to implement them to children?

In accordance with child cognitive development, children are in the phase of operational concrete phase, which means they experience real things and have not entered an abstract phase. Because of that teachers give them concrete experiences in learning. Then how do we suggest them to follow our heroine RA Kartini?

Reformulating Picture

So far the picture of RA Kartini on school walls wears kebaya traditional costume looked half body. Looking at the picture, what message can children get? For sure, children will think that wearing kebaya represents RA Kartini’s character. Therefore, providing pictures with different style can be useful for internalizing the positive characters of RA Kartini. For example, the picture of RA Kartini, who is reading a book, writing, or helping others. Those pictures will give concrete illustration of RA Kartini’s Character children can adopt.

These pictures can also be placed in rooms relevant to the picture style as reading book picture for libraries, writing picture for classroom, and helping people picture (teaching reading, writing, sewing, and making craft) for workshop room. Picture cannot talk a lot, therefore, it can be narrated through the story.

Reformulating Story

So far, RA Kartini is introduced through her biography such as her birth, life, her family, her books and her ideals written in her letters to her pen pals. Those are abstract things for children, which need to be taught through concrete things. Teachers are then required to find ways of doing such things in order to implement Kartini’s commendable values.

In order to furthermore work with picture formulation mentioned above, reformulating how to tell her biography is necessary. Begin the story with an idea that RA Kartini was a smart woman. How she became a smart woman that is because she liked reading. Moreover, she liked writing whatever in her mind. She shared her ideas through writing. What are the advantages of writing? Writing helps us to remember the things we have learned. Besides that, people can read our ideas and take advantage of them

Teacher can also tell that RA Kartini was a great teacher, she taught children and women around her. She taught everything she had learned, such as reading, writing, sewing or making crafts.

The story is expected to inspire children to help each other. For example, when a friend is incapable of reading, others can help him how to do it. When one is capable of making crafts, she or he can share it to others. Tell them that teaching what we have learned makes us smarter.

That is a brief idea I can share in relation with how to teach children with commendable characters of RA Kartini. Early learning and early habit making deserve good character building.