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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Preschool learning

is an over-used word. Love for learning can mean a thousand things. So what does it mean for us when it comes to preschool learning?

Our major
In our home, We nurture spirit of servanthood via responsibilities and other positive character traits that is age-appropriate.

i.e:When a child becomes 14- 18mths old, he is capable of putting soiled clothes in the laundry, helping the parents put clothes into the wardrobe, keep his own toys, and do simple clean-up after water spills. He is also capable of watering the plants.

When a child becomes 2 - 3year old, he is capable of making his bed, taking out and wearing his own clothes, cleaning up his belongings, toys or a bike, setting the table, washing and cooking rice, helping to carry simple shopping bags etc.

The list grows along with each capabilities but each child is encouraged to do so on a daily basis. Kids thrive on being given the responsibility to handle everyday chores, it gives them a sense of achievement. It gives them confidence and nurtures an outward-looking perspective in the long

Our outdoor activities are define by elements which are free and healthy, namely; sunshine, air and rain. We thrive on nature walk and gets our daily dose of perk-me-ups via what we observe or discover along the way. Kids can be in the public playground, shoveling sand, making up stories and creating anything they like. A child can ride a bike through parks, or checking out a man-made stream/lake. Or simply learning about science by watching leaves floating by the "long-kang" (drain). We could be sitting on tree branches and feeling its texture or thanking God for the rainbow he has made. We could be spotting an uprooted tree and take its roots home for our nature museum. Our discoveries and places we go are endless.

Child-directed, delight-learning approach
We have free slots, in and out of the house. These are time so precious and pertinent for the mind to explore and be fascinated by people, culture, arts, transportations or nature around them. We allow their giftings, a "natural bent" to develop and we shape it accordingly.

This is also the time we do our pretend-play, or imaginative play where problem-solving lifeskills develop, even in tiny 3-year-olds. These are times where no adult interferes except for areas where safety, health and moral boundaries are concerned. We don't even care to inject our opinion or an idea in their play. Well, sometimes maybe, but only for a lack of a complete vocabulary.

Its a child's play world and what they like to do, they are the leaders in the world of play. That is why they flourish and take ownership. A love for learning results. Adults may be interested in the product, but for a child, its process is all that matters, and we nurture that. True play is how a preschooler learns. Play converges with academic subjects.

We can do this, because we are a ratio of 1:2.

Parent-directed approach
Topics requiring the leadership of a parent are needful. Adults who has gained first hand encounter with a loving God are capable of giving love. Adults who has gained experiences in life, understanding and knowledge about particular subjects can give the same. It is essential that a global view is gradually presented to a child whose encounter with God is limited, and whose knowledge about the world he lives in is far from what he sees and touches.

Devotions are like opening gifts that is stored up in the Bible for us by our loving . Since we are made in the image of God, our goal is to be more and more like him.

We do devotions using contemporary materials that matches the developmental growth of each child. Topics like God loves me, God helps me, God makes me are foundational truth which expands to real-life application in a child's everyday circumstance. The above helps us sieve out topics like 'Loving our friends means no fighting', 'God helps me when I am afraid', 'Sharing our toys is loving', and 'Its okay to let others go first' etc.

Academic subjects are customised according to each to a child's giftedness. A well-rounded education is given when the child is introduced to subjects in the world when a child is developmentally ready, delights in it and finds purpose as he integrates it into his daily lifestyle. Developmental readiness has nothing to do with chronological age, but everything to do with individual confidence which coincides with specific tasks he is working on. Take readiness out of the equation, and the joy for learning goes out as well

We see numbers in our lives as well as letters on the roads, we see God in nature and in our difficult circumstances, we see Geography when daddy goes on business trip, we learn about compassion and thankfulness when we become fussy, we learn about science when we discover that things have various surfaces. We become little businessmen when we have a stall and sell things to real customers. Music is when they hear mummy worshiping God by the keyboard or when they make rhythmn. We see Art in the sky, when the clouds resemble something, or when the little hand mould 'playdoh' and splatter paint to look like galaxy by their own definitions! See how play is learning and learning is playing?

We impart the love for all people and all cultures like God commanded us to "love our neighbours". Compassion and empathy are the pillars of socialisation. Socialisation is creating meaningful relationships with people. Best of all, we love spending time with our family.

We are out everyday, observing and meeting different people of all ages, that speak both English, Mandarin and sometimes a little dialect. We see the workings of buyer-seller relationship. We participate in neigbourly relationships. i.e; when our neighbours pop in for a visit or when we visit them. We see how society functions in every unique situations we visit. The way we socialise is not confined by age or culture of people we meet. We learn to adapt and flow without compromising our moral code. This is what we do as parents-teachers and we hope our kids follow suit.

Nothing is hurried nor pressured into achieving. We debunk performance. We debunk peer pressure. We don't strive to be first in everything we do. Our goal is to exude a spirit of excellence in deeds or in thoughts, in all we seek to glorify our King.

Do you have goals for your preschoolers' learning? Does your family's learning goals align with the institute your child is enrolled in? Does such preschool exits?
Learning can exist right in your own homes. :)

Monday, August 02, 2010

Breakthrough: Greeting & Sitting

Our elder one has finally ventured out to initiate "hello" to his friends. My younger one has managed to keep his hands together and waited till our family finished our morning prayer.

2 little ones, 2 big breakthroughs to thank God for. Woo-hooo! Praise the lord!