At UniSIM’s Born to Play and Learn conference, educators spent two days engaged in a lively discussion on how play and active learning helps aids in the development of the children. The many concurrent workshops provided many hands-on experience for educators to get their hands dirty and learn refreshing ways to engage the children.
Our team had a chance to share about Science of Play to the educators. As a site set up to encourage teachers and parents to use everyday materials for learning, this is a good place to look for ideas for active learning. This is one of the only local site putting together creative teaching and learning ideas which showcases materials that are easily available. It is also conveniently categorized into themes and has learning outcomes, guided by local curriculum framework, spelt out to aid teacher planning and parent‘s understanding.
This is indeed a site for educators by educators. Thus, all were encouraged to contribute ideas to grow the community.
Teachers were very eager to try out the various play activities, such as broad bean counters, floor maze using straws and coloured salt for making art.
As time run out for the workshop, teachers were still enthusiastically touching up their activities.
Look at their beautiful work!
As part of their Final Year Project at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Deborah and Rachel collaborated with Preschool Market on Project Able. Bond. Children, or simply, Project ABC. The aim is to improve the language and literacy abilities of children from low-income families, as well as encourage parent-child interaction. The project lasted six months and showcased four separate phases developed by Deborah and Rachel. The first phase involved the design of a literacy component for Tinker Kit; the second, the creation of a picturebook series; the third, a parent-child excursion to Central Fire Station; and the last, a celebration with the children. The theme of the project was “My Community and I”.
Before coming up with the concept, Deborah and Rachel did their research via surveys on children from Le Kottage and Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre to get a better understanding of the needs and abilities of children from low-income families.
Next, they sourced for schools that were willing to partner with them in their project and found Thye Hua Kwan Moral Childcare (MacPherson), My First Skool (Serangoon) and My First Skool (Tampines).
For the first phase of their project, Deborah and Rachel planned and designed literacy art activities and materials that went into the Tinker Kit. They then held Tinker Kit sessions with the children from the various centres.
For the second phase, Deborah and Rachel came up with four storylines for their picturebook series, Superheroes in the Community. The identified superheroes are police officer, fireman, paramedic and cleaner. Deborah and Rachel wrote, illustrated, edited and printed the series which is about how the superheroes protect and serve the community. They then conducted story reading sessions with the children from the various centres.
For the third phase, Deborah and Rachel planned a parent-child excursion to the Central Fire Station. They chose the Central Fire Station because they wanted to extend the children’s learning from one of the picturebooks in the series that they had created. Deborah and Rachel had also created a book of activities and songs for the excursion, which the parents and children could do together. During the excursion, the volunteer firefighters explained to the children and parents the equipment and vehicles that they use and the routines that they follow daily. The children and parents then spent some time exploring the fire station before returning to the childcare centre for post-excursion activities. Again, there were various activities the parents and children could do together.
For the last phase of their project, Deborah and Rachel thought it fitting to present certificates of participation to the children and their parents. They also gave each child a Tinker Kit.
They hoped that the children had a fruitful learning experience and that what was done could impact more children and families in the future.
On 15 June 2016, we joined parents and preschoolers of ELFA Child Care at their Family Carnival cum Father’s Day Celebration in support of the Start Small Dream Big project. The latter is an initiative by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) to inculcate the value of community service in young children. As part of the ELFA carnival, the preschoolers had the opportunity to operate stalls together with their peers. The do-it-yourself (DIY) stalls included food stands like Healthy Cereal With Milk and Chocolate-covered Bananas/Apples With Nuts, as well as craft booths like Pouch and Design Your Own Candle Holder. There was also an Animal Beanbag Toss game.
Specially prepared banners and posters were put up all around the school before the event so as to allow the children to communicate to the parents what were the activities planned for that day.
With the markers and paints provided, the children unleashed their creativity as they delved into designing their own pouch or bag at this booth.
The preschoolers have also prepared handmade items to be sold, such as paintings, pencil holders, keychains and magnets. Each was a one-of-a-kind item. Parents had purchased coupons to be used in the carnival and showed their support by participating in the aforementioned activities and purchasing the handmade items. The net proceeds from the carnival would be donated to ARC Children’s Centre, which provides children with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses with a joyful and healthy environment.
The preschoolers excitedly promoted their booths, attending to the parents who came to show support as customers. They appeared confident in how to run the business and impressed the parents with their superb mathematical skills when they communicated how much money to collect for each item!
Joyfully tending their booth together
Posters of merchandise on sale were put up around the school
We had the opportunity to speak to Peter, who was supporting the Design Our Own Candle Holder booth along with his son, Philip, who is in K2 this year. Peter said that his son has been looking forward to the carnival as well as Father’s Day Celebration, and had reminded him that he should come to the carnival.
Philip and his father Peter working together to make their candle holder
Another parent, Cheryl, said that she supports such events and thought that it was “very noble of the school to do something like that” for charity. The Family Carnival and Father's Day Celebration presented an excellent opportunity for parental engagement, while at the same time contributing to a good cause. Cheryl thought that it was good to expose children to such initiatives at a young age.
The Family Carnival started in the morning and continued well after lunch. A portion of the day was dedicated to celebrating Father’s Day, with performances by the preschoolers and a No-Cook Healthy Breakfast competition.
The children presented what they have prepared for the celebration, performing for their parents who were among the audience
Fathers and their children worked together to prepare healthy and nutritious no-cook breakfast. Many came up with innovative twists to their breakfast and presented them in creative ways!
Preparing a no-cook breakfast
From the carnival activities to the celebration of Father’s Day, ELFA had given its children and their parents an eventful and meaningful day. We hope these memories would be valued and cherished by all, especially since the day was for a good cause.
Team @ Preschool Market
We are just very passionate for the Early Childhood sector!