We hear a lot of talk about the importance of play for preschoolers. At Singapore’s Australian International School (AIS), though, it’s not just a lot of hot air. Their dedicated Early Years Centre (EYC) for Nursery and Preschool-level students (that’s little ones aged 2-years-old and 3-4, respectively) is all about purposeful play and inquiry-based learning that gives children the time to be, well, children.
But what does a play-based programme mean in practice for those all-important formative years? We can assure you it’s not just playing with Tonka trucks all day! AIS’ engaging, relevant and challenging curriculum combines the Australian Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) in Nursery and the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) in Preschool with the Reggio Emilia philosophy, which puts children at the centre of the learning experience, letting them learn and inquire through observation, exploration and discovery.
Both the EYLF and IB PYP recognise inquiry as a central component in effective learning. To support this, AIS’ purpose-built Early Years environment is full of interesting and engaging materials and resources that provide the stimulus for children’s questions and investigations, allowing them to learn through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment. Impressive, yes, and super-fun, too!
Each day AIS’ youngest students will get to enjoy Mandarin, music experience (especially brilliant at oiling all those new cognitive skills), and Physical Education under the care of curriculum specialists. Lessons are taught in dedicated classrooms, an age-specific Early Years playground as well as, from Preschool onwards, an indoor multi-purpose hall.
Your child will also pop into the Early Years Library and Inquiry Centre each week to supplement the curriculum with special areas of interest. You’ll hear no complaints from students when it’s tech time and computers, iPads and interactive white-boards are hauled out for activities.
Where does the Reggio Emilia philosophy fit into all of this? All of the activities mentioned above are planned for in a child-led manner with heaps of engaging resources, natural light and highly skilled teachers on hand to facilitate and guide their learning. That’s the beauty of purposeful play! The learning benefits are huge, and include snapping up some serious life skills along the way – think decision-making, problem-solving, social interaction, language skills, bodily and spatial awareness, self-worth and expression of feelings. (We could go on?).
Not an AIS parent yet and want to give your child a taster of their play-based programme? You can, by joining playgroups hosted on campus throughout the school year. Here, children up to 4-years-old can try out the outdoor play area for size and get involved in activities and games overseen by the Early Years Centre’s Mandarin, Literacy, Visual Arts and Music specialists. Much fun was had at the playgroup on 27 May 2015 in partnership with Storks Nest Singapore, and there’ll be more coming up so stay tuned to AIS’ calendar listings for details.
Something else you won’t want to miss out on is AIS’ totally FREE workshops! Occupational therapist Raheli Kremnizaer recently ran a session on developing little learners’ fine motor skills with inexpensive at-home activitives. Our notebook is full from that one, so we’re eagerly awaiting the table topic for the next session!
Want to know more? Keep an eye on AIS’ calendar listings and event invites for details of upcoming playgroups and workshops. Alternatively, book a personal tour to check out the facilities for yourself. See you there!
Australian International School; ais.com.sg; 1 Lorong Chuan, Singapore, 556 818; +65 6653 2958 (admissions) or +65 6664 8127 (general enquiries); email@example.com
Australian International School Pte Ltd is registered by the Council for Private Education. CPE Registration Number 199204405H. Period of Registration 6 July 2011 to 5 July 2015