About Starysa Playgroup and Kindergarten Curriculum

NURTURING EARLY LEARNERS

Overview:

  • How young children learn
  • What are young children like?
  • What is kindergarten education all about?
  • Aims of kindergarten education Principles :

* Principle 1: Holistic development and learning

* Principle 2: Integrated learning

* Principle 3: Active learning

* Principle 4: Supporting learning

* Principle 5: Learning through interactions

* Principle 6: Learning through play

  •  Putting principles into practice

* Practice 1: Starting from the child

* Practice 2: Fostering a positive learning climate

* Practice 3: Preparing the learning environment

* Practice 4: Planning and structuring learning activities

* Practice 5: Setting up resources

* Practice 6: Observing children Home-school partnership

We want to nurture clear thinkers. We want to nurture men and women who express themselves with assurance, in language and in the arts. We want to nurture children who are robust in health, and who show friendship and respect for others regardless of their backgrounds. A child who has his curiosity ignited in his early years, who develops an excitement about learning and interacts easily with others, will have a headstart in life.

Let’s give every child a headstart. Our aim is to nurture each child holistically.

If learning is perceived to be both fun and enjoyable, it would help set the child on a journey of life-long learning.

THE early years have a crucial influence on later development and learning. Quality early experiences have been found to make a difference to the future achievements of children. Young children are natural and active learners. They enjoy: • observing • exploring • imagining • discovering • investigating • collecting information • sharing knowledge These early learning experiences can be further enhanced by caring adults who provide high levels of interaction to promote positive attitudes to learning, This is achieved through both play and structured learning in an enjoyable and non-threatening environment.

A child who sees learning as pleasurable and challenging has a headstart on the journey of life-long learning and looks forward to the varied opportunities to explore and discover the many facets of our world. What is kindergarten education all about? to promote a love for learning.  Know what is right and what is wrong Be willing to share and take turns with others Be able to relate to others Be curious and able to explore Be able to listen and speak with understanding Be comfortable and happy with themselves Have developed physical co-ordination and healthy habits Love their families, friends, teachers and school

WE want our children in the kindergarten years to enjoy observing, exploring and discovering the world. To develop a thinking nation and life-long learners, we need to nurture children from the start, to learn to think and to think to learn. Thinking cannot be developed in a vacuum. Language and thought are so closely related that we need to develop language abilities so as to develop thought. It is therefore paramount that a kindergarten curriculum should lay a strong foundation for language skills. No educational programme is complete without a strong emphasis on values. No man is an island. Children have to learn to interact with others and to be aware of their own feelings and needs, as well as the feelings and needs of others. Children need to feel confident and comfortable about engaging in new learning experiences. These aims are reflected in the desired outcomes of education in the kindergarten, which are in line with those of the primary school. Successful life-long learning depends on develop personal and social skills. young children being given opportunities

By the end of their education in kindergarten, children should foster in children the following dispositions and skills: • Sound moral and social values • Good habits of working and playing with others • Positive self-concept and confidence • A strong sense of curiosity about things and objects around them • An ability to communicate effectively in English and a mother tongue language • Physical control and manipulative skills • Positive attitudes towards a healthy lifestyle • Positive family values and strong community ties

The critical features of a quality kindergarten curriculum are: • A holistic approach to development and learning • Integrated learning • Children as active learners • Adults as interested supporters in learning • Interactive learning • Play as a medium for learning

Principle 1: Holistic development and learning A holistic approach to development and learning Every aspect of a child’s development should be recognised and valued. Each one of us has different ways of learning, with individual preferences and abilities. These need to be recognised in order to maximise the potential of each individual. Provision for children’s learning at every level must focus on knowledge, skills, dispositions and feelings. Children should be given the opportunity to explore and experiment with developing their various intelligences. Six critical areas of learning experience have been identified for this purpose:

• aesthetics and creative expression

• environmental awareness

• language and literacy

• motor skills development

• numeracy

• self and social awareness

Aesthetics and Creative Expression At this age, children are naturally spontaneous and exuberant in the ways they express their ideas and feelings. We should therefore provide opportunities for children to express themselves freely, as they invent, play, explore and refine ideas and feelings through a variety of media such as dance, music and art.

Principle 1: Holistic development and learning Environmental Awareness The focus of activities should be on children’s emerging knowledge and understanding of their environment, including both the natural and manmade world. These should provide the early foundations for historical, geographical and scientific learning. The aim is that children will recognise, make observations and express their views about their immediate surroundings, gradually extending to the wider environments of  the world

Language and literacy Language plays a crucial role in the development of children’s thinking and learning. To nurture a positive disposition towards language learning, it is essential that children are exposed to meaningful language arts activities such as role playing, singing, rhyming and reading. These activities will promote children’s interactive skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Children will also need to be immersed in language-rich environments, and engaged in activities which foster the use of English in everyday, authentic situations in order to help them acquire the necessary communication skills to express their needs, thoughts and feelings in English.

Motor Skills Development Though motor skills development is a naturally evolving process, it should not be taken for granted and ignored in pre-school education. In fact, it should be recognised as crucial to the development of gross muscle and fine motor dexterity that will, in turn, affect children’s mastery of self-help routines (such as brushing one’s teeth) and skills in the other domains (such as writing or painting). It is therefore important to recognise children’s physical needs and to provide them with the time and space for unrestricted movement, so that they can naturally develop their sense of balance, physical co-ordination, and awareness of space and direction. It is also important to provide a secure environment where children learn about their limits and build selfconfidence in risk-taking

Numeracy Becoming numerate is an integral part of daily experience. Through the use of manipulatives, pictures and symbols, children notice relationships between sets and groups of things to be sorted, counted, shared, and represented. Hence activities should focus on hands-on experiences and the acquisition and use of appropriate language such as position words, number words, names of shapes, and so on.

Principle 1: Holistic development and learning Self and Social Awareness Pre-school years are the critical years in which children learn to make sense of their own ‘selves’ in relation to the world around them. In order to do this they have to learn the values and rules governing the society in which they live, and to develop socially and morally acceptable behaviour. They have to learn to be sensitive to the needs of others and develop the necessary social skills to establish meaningful relationships at work and at play. They have to learn how to cope with success and failure and to confront and overcome their fears and anxieties. These social learning experiences are vital to children’s long-term mental health and social well-being and to successful learning outcomes later on. Our overriding concern should be to nurture caring, courteous, gracious and compassionate individuals who can effectively cooperate with others whilst pursuing their own ambitions, in order to lead fulfilling lives.

Integrated learning Young children learn from everything that happens to them and do not separate their learning into subjects. Their learning experiences should therefore be integrated as a whole. These interdisciplinary activities help children to understand how knowledge and skills are really linked together rather than segregated in the teaching and learning process. A learning experience from one domain should naturally lead on to another learning experience from another domain. Within a children discover things from observations, enquiry, exploration, and first-hand experiences. meaningful context,

Principle 2: Integrated learning

Children as active learners Learning is most effective when children are actively involved and engaged in carrying out tasks that are meaningful to them. These activities should be based on children’s curiosity, needs and interests. Lessons should do more than fill the children’s minds with facts. Although basic skills will be taught to help children make sense of their environment and sharpen their abilities in thinking, observing and communicating, the emphasis is on the process of knowing, understanding and forming their own ideas rather than the completion of worksheets or repetitive exercises. Ample opportunities should be provided for children to learn from observations, enquiry, exploration and first-hand experiences. Adults facilitating these learning experiences both in the home and in school should bear the following points in mind:

• Allow for messiness: The process of exploration, experimentation and creation of unique products and artefacts is often a messy affair and part of active learning.

• Ensure that the environment is safe for children: Look out for such hazards as slippery floor, sharp objects, and make sure that the children are not exposed to naked flames.

• Allow for mistakes: Children should not be made to feel afraid to try something new. Even if they make mistakes or encounter failure in doing something, they should be encouraged to try again, and should be praised for their effort.

Principle 3: Active learning

Adults as interested supporters in learning Children should be given experiences that support and extend knowledge, skills, understanding and confidence, and help them to overcome any disadvantage. An adult planning a developmentally supportive activity first considers what the children know and can do, and then builds on the learning experiences. To do this, the adult needs to be very observant of the children’s needs and abilities. The adult has to recognise when children are experiencing frustration with the activity because of its level of difficulty. The goal is for children to experience satisfaction and independence by working on the activity. It is only when this is achieved, that children will feel comfortable to take risks in their learning. The adult can then guide children to the next challenge or level of difficulty. Expectations and demands on children should be realistic, based on their levels of development across all areas. The aims are to encourage a positive disposition to learning and risk-taking without fear of failing. The most effective learners are those who are able to learn from their mistakes. should then be given to build up confidence through practice and understanding.

Support Principle 4: Supporting learning

Interactive learning Participation in groups is central to how individual learning is constructed, for adults as well as children. When there is extensive and meaningful interaction between children and adults in a nurturing and positive environment, children display more exploratory behaviour and better peer relations. This principle has implications for: Children’s talk: Ample opportunities must be given for all children to talk about their experiences, express their thoughts and opinions, and explain how they solve problems that occur during play. Children should be actively engaged and involved in interactions and dialogue. Adult talk: Adults act as role models for the correct use of the language and should be affirming and supportive in encouraging children to express their thoughts. The best teachers listen to children and have conversations with them. Group dynamics: Children should work in pairs and groups, and have many opportunities to talk to adults and their peers. Child-centred lessons will feature children asking questions or extending ideas. Settings should provide experiences and support to enable children to develop a positive sense of themselves. Language-rich environments: Children also interact with materials and the environment. Much of incidental and life-long learning comes from children’s interactions with books and environmental print. As such, a variety of reading material should be put within easy reach and made accessible to them. They take time to listen to and to talk with children. They value what children say.

Principle 5: Learning through interactions

Play as a medium for learning Play is vital to children’s learning. Play is a vehicle for motivating children to explore, discover, take risks, make mistakes and cope with failure. It permits them to be involved in organising, making decisions, making choices, practising, persevering and expressing feelings. While it is important to encourage spontaneous and imaginative play in children, opportunities for structured play involving a rich use of language should be provided. This will serve to develop and extend: • creativity • oral and aural skills • language associated with numeracy and early environmental awareness • personal and social skills Adults should therefore value play as children’s work, and guide and facilitate play as a part of the learning process.

Principle 6: Learning through play

WE recognise that good practices are based on sound principles. Good practices, at home or in school, have the following features: • They start from the child. • There is a positive learning climate. • The learning environment is thoughtfully prepared. • The activities are purposefully planned and structured. • The resources are carefully chosen and designed. • Children’s development is observed and monitored.

Fostering a positive learning climate Meaningful learning will only result when children are encouraged to seek their own answers to questions in an environment that invites experimentation and exploration. Adults should ensure that all children feel included, secure and valued. The language used by adults should be encouraging, inviting children to ask questions and to take risks. They also need to ensure that children are guided to start taking responsibility for their own actions and choices. Parents and teachers should work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect within which children gain confidence and emotional security. The warm and intimate atmosphere conducive environment for optimal learning. The daily conversations at meal times and time set aside for sharing stories reinforce the positive dispositions towards learning. of the home provides the most

Practice 2: Fostering a positive learning climate

• joyful learners: they should find pleasure in doing what comes naturally to them • curious learners: they ask questions readily and spontaneously to find out about the world they live in • gracious learners: they should humbly seek to learn from and share with others

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