Child Development---Our Focus
Instructional Methodology and Policy
To ensure firm foundation is laid down for the next stage of learning, we focus on
Holistic development and learning
Our aim is to nurture each child holistically.
Aesthetics and Creative Expression
At this age, children are naturally spontaneous and enthusiastic in the
ways they express their ideas and feelings. We provide opportunities for children to express themselves freely, as they invent, play, explore and refine ideas and feelings through a variety of resources..
We focus on the activities that are related to children’s emerging knowledge and understanding of their environment, including both the natural and manmade world. It provides them with the early foundations for historical, geographical and scientific learning. The aim is that children will recognize, make observations and express their views about their immediate surroundings, gradually extending to the wider environments
Language and literacy
Language plays a crucial role in the development of children’s thinking and learning. To nurture a positive disposition towards language learning, it is essential that children are exposed to meaningful language arts activities such as role playing, singing, rhyming and reading. These activities will promote children’s interactive skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Children will also need to be immersed in language-rich environments, and engaged in activities which foster the use of English in everyday, authentic situations in order to help them acquire the necessary communication skills to express their needs, thoughts and feelings in English.
Motor Skills Development
Though motor skills development is a naturally evolving process, it should not be taken for granted and ignored in pre-school education. In fact, it should be recognized as crucial to the development of gross muscle and fine motor dexterity that will, in turn, affect children’s mastery of self-help routines (such as brushing one’s teeth) and skills in the other domains (such as writing or painting). It is therefore important to recognise children’s physical needs and to provide them with the time and space for unrestricted movement, so that they can naturally develop their sense of balance, physical co-ordination, and awareness of space and direction. It is also important to provide a secure environment where children learn about their limits and build self-confidence in risk-taking.
Becoming numerate is an integral part of daily experience. Through the use of manipulative, pictures and symbols, children notice relationships between sets and groups of things to be sorted, counted, shared, and represented. Hence activities are focused on hands-on experiences and the acquisition and use of appropriate language such as position words, number words, names of shapes, and so on.
Self and Social Awareness
Pre-school years are the critical years in which children learn to make sense of their own ‘selves’ in relation to the world around them. In order to do this they have to learn the values and rules governing the society in which they live, and to develop socially and morally acceptable behaviour. They have to learn to be sensitive to the needs of others and develop the necessary social skills to establish meaningful relationships at work and at play. They have to learn how to cope with success and failure and to confront and overcome their fears and anxieties. These social learning experiences are vital to children’s long-term mental health and social well-being and to successful learning outcomes later on. Our overriding concern should be to nurture caring, courteous, gracious and compassionate individuals who can effectively cooperate with others whilst pursuing their own ambitions, in order to lead fulfilling lives.
Young children learn from everything that happens to them and do not separate their learning into subjects. Their learning experiences should therefore be integrated as a whole. These interdisciplinary activities help children to understand how knowledge and skills are really linked together rather than segregated in the teaching and learning process.
Children as active learners
Learning is most effective when children are actively involved and engaged in carrying out tasks that are meaningful to them. These activities should be based on children’s curiosity, needs and interests. Lessons should do more than fill the children’s minds with facts. Although basic skills will be taught to help children make sense of their environment and sharpen their abilities in thinking, observing and communicating, the emphasis is on the process of knowing, understanding and forming their own ideas rather than the completion of worksheets or repetitive exercises. Ample opportunities should be provided for children to learn from observations, enquiry, exploration and first-hand experiences. Adults facilitating these learning experiences both in the home and in school should bear the following points in mind:
• Allow for messiness: The process of exploration, experimentation and creation of unique products and artifacts is often a messy affair and part of active learning.
• Ensure that the environment is safe for children: Look out for such hazards as slippery floor, sharp objects, and make sure that the children are not exposed to naked flames.
• Allow for mistakes: Children should not be made to feel afraid to try something new. Even if they make mistakes or encounter failure in doing something, they should be encouraged to try again, and should be praised for their effort.
Adults as interested supporters in learning
Children should be given experiences that support and extend knowledge, skills, understanding and confidence, and help them to overcome any disadvantage. An adult planning a developmentally supportive activity first considers what the children know and can do, and then builds on the learning experiences. To do this, the adult needs to be very observant of the children’s needs and abilities. The adult has to recognise when children are experiencing frustration with the activity because of its level of difficulty. The goal is for children to experience satisfaction and independence by working on the activity. It is only when this is achieved, that children will feel comfortable to take risks in their learning. The adult can then guide children to the next challenge or level of difficulty. Expectations and demands on children should be realistic, based on their levels of development across all areas. The aims are to encourage a positive disposition to learning and risk-taking without fear of failing. The most effective learners are those who are able to learn from their mistakes.
Learning through interactions
Participation in groups is central to how individual learning is constructed, for adults as well as children. When there is extensive and meaningful interaction between children and adults in a nurturing and positive environment, children display more exploratory behaviour and better peer relations. This principle has implications for:
Children’s talk: Ample opportunities must be given for all children to talk about their experiences, express their thoughts and opinions, and explain how they solve problems that occur during play. Children should be actively engaged and involved in interactions and dialogue.
Adult talk: Adults act as role models for the correct use of the language and should be affirming and supportive in encouraging children to express their thoughts. The best teachers listen to children and have conversations with them.
Learning through play
Play as a medium for learning
Play is vital to children’s learning. Play is a vehicle for motivating children to explore, discover, take risks, make mistakes and cope with failure. It permits them to be involved in organising, making decisions, making choices, practising, persevering and expressing feelings. It keeps them physically fit.