“We advocate hands-on learning from a young age,” says Dr. Carol Loy, Kinderland’s director of curriculum and professional development.
“Not only does this innovative learning experience prepare children for formal schooling, it also equips them to become life-long learners,” she adds. Additionally, she says, children can be capable enough to handle more responsibility at a younger age.
Kinderland is constantly updating its curriculum to enable children to stay relevant in a changing society. One example of this is its new Self-Help Kitchenette, which combines active-learning and collaboration, and aims to encourage self-sufficiency. It also helps children connect what happens in the classroom to what happens outside the classroom. The approach is referenced from preschools in Japan, where children as young as age 2 are able to self-serve and self-feed.
The school’s dining area has also been given a revamp to include a counter where food is displayed buffet-style to extend practical experience beyond the classroom. Children as young as age 4 will wait for their turn and independently self-serve during meal times. There is also a tray-collection station, with tables set by and cleaned up by children themselves. This new structure and self-help system enables children to form their identity and build the confidence to develop independence.
“We continuously encourage children to be aware of life skills such as self-care and care of others, which gradually prepares them for good decision-making in everyday situations and in more abstract, long-term scenarios,” she says. Dr. Carol also encourages parents to try the approach at home. “Start by identifying what your child can do and then build on this. Working alongside your child is often helpful, as they can learn by watching you,” she explains.
Dr. Carol also encourages parents to try the approach at home. “Start by identifying what your child can do and then build on this. Working alongside your child is often helpful, as they can learn by watching you,” she explains.
For example, parents can allow children to manage simple tasks like helping to set the table before dinner or feeding themselves. “These are important skills, which will allow them to see themselves as being capable. As their independence grows, so will their confidence level, and they will be more open to trying out new skills,” says Dr. Carol.
From The Finder (Issue 292), June 2018
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