ANGELA SPEIRS, the new principal of the Canadian International School (CIS) Kindergarten in Singapore, shares some of the benefits of play-based learning and purposeful play.
Play is integral to a student’s kindergarten education, says Angela. “Purposeful play and inquiry-based learning offers boundless opportunities for learning and development. As children explore their imagination and creative ideas through play, they develop fine and gross motor skills while nurturing their sense of curiosity. In the process, they also hone their critical thinking skills, develop character traits through teamwork and collaboration, and learn how to solve problems creatively.”
Angela adds that real, authentic play scenarios, in particular, provide rich scope for discovery. Water play is a good example. This interactive activity creates a natural and authentic way for children to learn about the properties of water. They discover how it flows, how it can be diverted and how it can be held and released. Through this hands-on learning process, students can learn the basis of concepts such as volume and capacity.
How the campus of CIS Kindergarten in Singapore helps
The school aims to equip its Kindergarten students with the necessary skills – physical, emotional and intellectual – to succeed through school life and beyond as the world changes.
Angela says that to encourage the development of curiosity and excitement of learning in each child, the indoor and outdoor classrooms are designed to be stimulating learning spaces that provoke inquiry.
In the dedicated Kindergarten wing, classrooms bathed in natural light spill out into learning pods. And in the purpose-built Outdoor Discovery Centre (ODC), children explore and learn in a natural, luscious, green space. As they climb, crawl, jump and run, they develop their gross motor skills, and the various sensory areas let them experiment with water and musical instruments, surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature.
Pairing purposeful play with a solid foundation for academic success
The CIS Kindergarten programme is based on the IB PYP framework. The latter embodies a highly researched and proven approach to inquiry and purposeful play-based learning. It combines the following components:
- STEAM (science, technology, environment, arts, maths) with outdoor learning experiences
- High-quality programmes for literacy, mathematics, expressive arts and foreign languages
- Letters and Sounds (phonics) scheme from the UK
- Story Boxes
- A guided reading approach to promote early literacy skills
- Daily language acquisition classes
- Highly successful French-English and Chinese-English bilingual programmes
These programmes focus on fostering confidence and comfort among each child at school, enabling them to grow, discover their strengths and passions, and be empowered to learn.
Play is used to cultivate key language and numeracy skills in CIS’s Kindergarten children. As an illustration, a classroom exercise involves recreating a mini hawker centre. In this activity, students set prices, write menus and talk to make-believe customers. During the process, they’ll practise their counting, reading and writing skills as well as sharpen their problem-solving skills, and their ability to predict the actions and feelings of others.
Discover the CIS Kindergarten in Singapore approach for yourself!
Let your little explorers discover the benefits of play-based learning during the Discovery Day of CIS Kindergarten in Singapore on Friday 10 November. Held at the school’s ODC, it will be a fun and engaging morning of hands-on purposeful play and teacher-led activities in numeracy, literacy, arts and STEAM. The academic team will be there to meet parents, too. Register at cis.edu.sg/discover-el.
“I’m originally from Scotland in the UK – I’ve only just arrived in Singapore. However, my ‘third culture kid’ son went through the three IB programmes at various international schools in Asia and is now studying at university in Amsterdam.”
Canadian International School is at 7 Jurong West Street 41.
6363 3403 | cis.edu.sg
This article first appeared in the October 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe so you never miss a copy!
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