Though he barely spoke and was unable to read before his ninth birthday, Albert Einstein always cherished an early memory; a pocket compass that his father handed to him when he was five. Later, he recalled that playing with this simple contraption “made a deep and lasting impression”, one he believed marked the beginning of his fascination with science. The story is a perfect example of the importance of learning through play in children’s early development – a topic we discuss here with British expat ANGELA HOLLINGTON.
Angela is the Kindergarten and Primary School Principal at the Lakeside campus of the Canadian International School (CIS). She says that the power of play and learning through inquiry is integral to students’ international kindergarten education at CIS. Find out more on this, below; plus, if you’re looking for an international kindergarten or school in Singapore, register for one of CIS’ dedicated Kindergarten open houses There are campuses on both the east and west side of Singapore.
What’s the most rewarding part of being a kindergarten principal?
I love seeing the curiosity that young children have in the world around them. The sheer joy of learning and discovery is exciting to be around; it inspires me!
What are the key objectives of CIS’s kindergarten programme?
To develop each child’s potential and develop their curiosity and excitement in learning. Our goal is to equip them with the necessary skills (physical, emotional and intellectual) to succeed through their school life and beyond as the world changes and adapts to new learning.
Our programme, based on the IB PYP framework, combines a range of subjects including STEAM (science, technology, entrepreneurship, arts, maths), outdoor learning experiences and a first-rate literacy, math and foreign languages programme. (All children must learn either Chinese or French; we offer daily language acquisition classes and also a unique Chinese-English bilingual programme.) We focus on the individual child with the aim of helping them reach their full potential, no matter their strengths and interests.
What are the benefits of adopting an inquiry, play-based teaching approach?
Research shows young children learn best through play. It allows them to experiment, hypothesise and make sense of the world around them. They develop solid cognitive skills in all areas, generate their own ideas and become confident individuals who are intellectually curious.
What does this type of learning look like in your classrooms?
Our classrooms and outdoor environment are stimulating learning spaces designed to provoke inquiry. Children are absorbed in their learning and encouraged to experiment, explore new concepts, ask questions and talk about what they are doing with their friends and teachers. This promotes lots of discussion and develops their thinking.
Developing key language and numeracy skills are an essential part of our Kindergarten programme and cultivated in our young students through a play based context. For example, one day we might recreate a mini hawker centre where they set prices, write menus and talk to make-believe customers. During the process they will practise their counting, reading and writing; they’ll also sharpen their problem-solving skills and their ability to predict the actions and feelings of others.
Find out more: International Kindergarten Open House
Bring your child along to a free Kindergarten Open House for a fun and engaging morning of hands-on, teacher-led activities. You’ll meet the school principal and tour the campus, and also learn how CIS applies its inquiry, play-based approach to concepts like STEAM, literacy and mathematics.
Where and when:
Lakeside campus: 23-25 February, 9 to 10am