Shaping those first five crucial years is a shared responsibility between parents and early childhood educators. Many decisions have to be made.
Several considerations should be taken into account to ensure your child has an outstanding introduction to the world of education.
- It is the child’s first experience of a school
- Brain development in the first five years is crucial to future success and development
- Early Years is the most important time in a child’s life. A structured, personalised learning environment supports their natural thirst for learning and encourages future risk-taking and development
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a leading curriculum framework for international primary education. Designed for schools with students aged 3 to 11, the PYP focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside.
“I treat the children as the confident capable learners that they are and I listen carefully to them. There is an atmosphere of trust and care in our classroom and that’s really important to me”.
Nurturing independent learning skills, and encouraging every student to take responsibility for their learning, the PYP at GEMS (Singapore) develops students’ academic, social and emotional well being, while simultaneously focusing on international-mindedness and the development of strong personal values.
The learning environment is crucial. Academic research identifies its significance as the ‘third teacher.’ At GEMS (Singapore), the Early Years team are constantly thinking of ways to modify the environment to facilitate new experiences, to provoke higher levels of engagement and to reflect children’s shared ownership of the learning spaces.
“My classroom environment reflects the most important people in it-the children! It reflects their thinking, their comments and their creativity. The children and I create the classroom environment together based on their ideas and interests. At the moment there is an airport and an aeroplane in my classroom because that’s what the children felt we should create to find out more about our current PYP Unit of Inquiry. This role play will be important in helping them to discover all the planning and preparation that is needed as part of a journey. The children asked for it, they researched it and they built it because they will be the ones to use it”.
We recognise that play is a child’s natural way of exploring the world around them. It is very important for our educators to offer these experiences for the children to nurture a greater sense of confidence and well-being.
Early Years Programme is a concept-driven programme that develops effective approaches to teaching and learning; empowering young people for a lifetime of learning, independently and in collaboration with others and preparing a community of learners that engage with global challenges through inquiry, action, and reflection.
The most authentic form of inquiry starts with a child’s personal interest and wondering. What follows is an unwavering commitment to find the answers to their own questions. Sometimes children share their inquiry with others and a “snowball” effect takes place, bringing with it a multitude of questions, ideas and theories.
Here at GEMS (Singapore) the educators do not plan for these inquiries and they may not always connect with what’s taking place in the classroom, but they are borne of genuine interest and authentic curiosity. They are truly student-driven, with educators playing the role of facilitators.
Student’s inquiries create various opportunities to talk about aspects of science, mathematics, language, personal and social education, and importantly to make connections to the different strands of the school’s curriculum, within the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) framework.
Book a personalised tour today to find out more about the school’s Early Years programme: (+65) 6808 7300 / www.gwa.edu.sg
By Lynn White, KG2 Educator & Grade Level Leader