How can play for a child be transformed into something educational? This is where purposeful play matters. The term “purposeful play” sees a balance between a classroom rich in child-initiated play (where teachers are actively present) and focused learning guided by teachers. It teaches students to “learn how to learn” and allows them to develop a strong conceptual understanding of subjects such as literacy and mathematics. We look at the concept of play-based learning at one kindergarten in Singapore.
Making purposeful play educational
How is purposeful play used in Canadian International School’s (CIS) kindergarten programme to pique the interest of early learners? One way is by applying the concept in the areas of literacy, mathematics and STEAM (Science, Technology, Environmental studies, Arts, Maths).
To find out more, let’s explore just one of the child-led learning play activities that kids experience at this kindergarten in Singapore! In the Buttons activity, students are presented with a handful of buttons to play with. These are in different colours, shapes and sizes. A teacher guides them to touch and feel the various textures and forms of the buttons; this lets the student practice their fine motor skills.
They’re then encouraged to voice their preferences for colours or textures; this creates an opportunity for them to develop colour recognition, shape differentiation and the concept of sorting through inquiry.
At the same time, when they use descriptive words to express themselves, they’re also improving their language and vocabulary skills. This sets the foundation for language and literacy development. Plus, they’re having an enjoyable experience through the play activity without realising that they’re learning!
While they’re having fun through play, students are encouraged to be curious and develop independent thinking as well as a passion for learning. This helps them to develop critical and creative thinking and problem-solving skills.
See it for yourself!
Rather than just read about it, why not experience how play-based learning is carried out at CIS’ kindergarten programme? Their open houses provide both children and parents the opportunity to take part in child-led learning and play activities that are designed to stimulate learning and imagination.
Each open house at this kindergarten in Singapore features four activity zones for children and parents to participate in:
- Literacy – Children learn how to form the letters and shapes of the alphabet through multi-sensory activities that focus on the key pre-writing strokes.
- Math – Hands-on activities such as weaving and marble games encourage children to explore shapes, volume, sequencing, estimation and patterns.
- STEAM – Using a variety of materials and tools, children will explore size, shape and textures in order to construct a giant pyramid structure.
- Arts – Explore with different painting motions, textures, blends and colours to develop fine motor skills, imagination, language and collaboration skills.
While these purposeful play activities are aimed at children from two to five years of age, parents are encouraged to participate with their child during the open house.
There’s also the opportunity to have a guided tour of the campus. This allows parents to observe classes in session and discover how the facilities of this kindergarten in Singapore have been designed to support the curriculum.
Hear from a teacher
“The kindergarten open houses are an opportunity for prospective parents and students to observe first-hand how teachers ignite curiosity in our youngest learners. A highlight is viewing the Kindergarten Pod; this inquiry-based space supports the environment as the ‘third teacher’ by fostering interactive and meaningful experiences and catering to each child’s developmental needs.”
– Tonia Whyte Potter-Mal, Primary Vice-Principal and PYP Coordinator
Want to experience the play-based learning kindergarten programme at CIS?
Due to space constraints, a maximum of three people per family is permitted; helpers and caregivers won’t be able to attend. All visitors have to wear a mask at all times while on campus.
Written in collaboration with:
Canadian International School
- Lakeside campus: 7 Jurong West Street 41 | 6467 1732 | email@example.com
- Tanjong Katong campus: 371 Tanjong Katong Road | 6345 1573 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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