The Early Learning Center (ELC) at Singapore American School is a place where both children and adults become active researchers. The school says that the active participation from both sides in the learning process creates positive impacts on their own lives and those around them. The environment is one of possibilities; this fosters meaningful inquiry, strong connections and rich understanding. Hear from the pre-kindergarten students as they and the SAS team lead us step by step through a day at the ELC.
What the kids do: “We put our bags in our cubbies.” – Agi
As the buses start to arrive, the children of the ELC are warmly greeted by their friends and adults in their learning community. Some children wait eagerly at the door to welcome friends who haven’t arrived while others explore the learning invitations set up in the environment. There’s always something new to discover at the early learning center: a recycled space rocket, a rainbow beaming from a light projector or even a family of snails.
#2 Snack Time
What the kids do: “You eat a snack.” – Walker
This is a time for making connections with each other. Snack time is enjoyed by all of the members in the learning community; children share stories from home, talk about the learning ahead, or ask questions about the world around them.
#3 Connection Time
What the kids do: “We read books and do the calendar.” – Mia
The learning community of the SAS Early Learning Center is made up of 32 pre-kindergarten children, two teachers and two instructional assistants. Throughout the day, children and adults come together to connect with each other about their learning; they share stories, photos, videos or artefacts from the previous days and together plan the next steps in their learning.
In the ELC this year, educators are focused on shared research and are looking deeply into “What do we learn about pre-kindergarten children’s understanding of self, others, and the world through the stories they tell?” During connection time, educators document many of these stories.
#4 Outdoor Learning
What the kids do: “I love going to the slide, monkey bars, climbing and riding bikes!” – Kiki
The outdoor learning environment of the SAS Early Learning Centre welcomes big body movement and collaboration. Children work together to build castles, ride bikes, cross the wobbly bridge, scale the climbing wall, dig for treasure in the sandpit and swing across the monkey bars.
#5 Story Time
What the kids do: “We read books. I like to read human body books.” – Soren
The children cool down with water and meet together for a story. Children in the ELC often ask for their favourite books – like The Gruffalo and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! – or they bring a special book from home to share with their friends.
#6 Chinese class
What the kids do: “We sing in Chinese.” – Amelia
Each day, children learn Chinese through songs, stories and practical experiences. This is an opportunity to develop their spoken language skills and engage in cultural competency.
What the kids do: “My favourite thing at lunch is to talk!” – Kai
At lunchtime, children talk about their day so far in the Early Learning Center, their food from around the world and their families as they eat lunch together with their teachers and pre-kindergarten friends.
#8 Reflection Time
What the kids do: “I talk about what I do and stuff.” – Aidan
Time is taken to reflect on the group’s learning each day. As they grow comfortable with one another, the children of the ELC speak confidently about their learning, sharing their thoughts and wonderings. They also bring their own questions and ideas for the following day’s learning.
#9 Exploring Time
What the kids do: “I like to get wet! I like to play in the courtyard with everyone!” – Katie
The environment in the ELC is rich with possibilities; during Exploring Time, the children and teaching adults work together to explore their interests and delve into inquiries. In the atrium, children create and build with the big foam blocks.
In the courtyard, children investigate water, paint on the giant tiled wall with rollers and brushes, engage in a clay workshop or build obstacle courses. Inside, they paint, build with magnetic tiles, retell stories with puppets, make observational drawings, create messages which are passed to friends, build with wooden blocks, design models and snuggle on the sofa with their favourite book.
The Early Learning Center environment is set up to encourage independence and the pre-kindergarten children readily access a wide range of materials with which bring their ideas to life.
#10 Move and Groove
What the kids do: “We swing and find letters on the wall.” – Ahana
This daily movement class is an opportunity for children to learn to move safely and imaginatively, developing basic skills and confidence in themselves both as a mover and student of movement concepts.
The children gain knowledge and experience through a full range of rhythmic activities and dramatic enactment, music and dance, developmentally appropriate games and guided discovery. The goal of the Early Learning Center is physical literacy and building a love for physical activity.
#11 Library Day
What the kids do: “We take books from the library; we can take two books.” – Shaurya
The ELC library is a source of much joy each week, as the children have the opportunity to borrow their very own books to take home.
What the kids do: “We take a bus and sometimes we take a car.” – Hannah
Children and adults at the Early Learning Center say goodbye and thank each other for another wonderful day of learning together. As they walk to the bus, the pre-kindergarten children speak to their teachers about the day’s learning or their upcoming playdate with a school friend. Another teacher greets parents at the door and all the children head home, eager to return the following day to see what new discoveries await.
Thank you to the children at Singapore American School’s Early Learning Center for writing this article with us!
Singapore American School
40 Woodlands Street 41
Find out about the preschools in Singapore from our guide. Also check out where to buy groceries online in Singapore.