All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
Have you ever thought about the role of play in your child's growth? In this article, we look at the benefits of different types of play for children and how preschools in and around CapitaLand properties incorporate play into their curriculum.
Growing up in the digital age, the childhood of today’s children is very different from that of their parents' and grandparents’. One thing that hasn't changed for generations, however, is that children play. We’re not talking about playing games like Roblox or Minecraft, but play that requires them to interact with physical objects, the world around them, and other children, all of which help them to develop social skills, situational awareness and more just by playing.
Yet, play is often seen as frivolous, a ‘waste of time’ compared to academic growth. This is because playtime—especially unstructured playtime—is more often than not given as a reward after proof of academic achievement rather than something that a child intrinsically needs in order to grow. This is not the case in Finland, which is regarded to have one of the most revered school systems in the world. Before the age of seven, the Finnish education system emphasises on promoting the health and well-being of children, who are encouraged to be creative and play. Contrary to how preschools in Singapore tend to focus on academic progress in their curriculum, Finnish children do not receive formal academic instruction before the age of seven. Through play, children learn to be patient in tasks, in shaping how they react to failure—important characteristics that affect their predisposition towards academic work.
In Singapore, one of the most important factors considered by parents when choosing a preschool is the effectiveness of the academic programmes in the curriculum. However, the amount and type of play integrated in the curriculum should also be an important consideration as scientists have discovered that play is significant in improving the ability of a child to prepare for life.
Do you consider play as an important factor to consider when choosing a preschool for your child? Read on to explore the various types of play that different preschools in CapitaLand properties provide in their curriculum and the benefits that these programmes can bring.
Josiah Montessori (Aperia, Kallang, Plaza 8 @ Changi Business Park)
Play at Josiah Montessori is serious business—they encourage children to use their senses to interact with the world around them and learn about it. “Our environment allows children to be curious and engage in activities that are related to their daily lives, making learning applicable, process- and experience-oriented, and shifting away from the conventional ways of being theoretical,” says Wendy Tan, Founder.
In their sensorial activity corner, toddlers fiddle with blocks to learn about shapes, size, and weight that help them develop mathematical concepts. Pre-schoolers also interact with each other in pretend play; it’s common to see them mimic everyday scenarios such as being at a coffee shop—one of them pretends to be a hawker selling food, and one of them pretends be a customer eating. “These interactions encourage them to be independent and empathetic learners who are able to share and care for those around them,” Wendy says.
If you’re visiting the preschool, you might see three- and four-year olds folding clothes or setting a table—activities that may seem like chores to adults, but are actually fun ways that children learn independence. Above all, Josiah Montessori creates a safe and loving environment for children to discover themselves and grow in confidence in who they are.
Twinklekidz (80 Bendemeer and Plaza 8, Changi Business Park)
If your child enjoys the arts, you may want to consider sending them to a preschool where performing arts are part of their curriculum. Twinklekidz, with locations at 80 Bendemeer Road and Plaza 8 @ Changi Business Park, has a unique arts integration programme that fosters imagination, creativity, and cognition. “Play is a natural instinctive act for children to develop understanding of the world they live in,” says Susan Loke, CEO. "Between art and play, children are able to innovatively and creatively express their knowledge, skills, and application of what they’ve learnt in the classroom.”
Parents also join in the playacting fun with their kids in various in-class experiences. By having this performance platform, children learn to express emotions and communicate ideas through non-verbal language and body movements. This shared experience builds parent-child bonds too. And it’s not just acting—storytelling and singing are other creative arts the kids participate in. “Most importantly, children enjoy learning when fun is incorporated into the activity,” says Susan.
Little Bunnies (Infinite Studios, one-north)
As their name suggests, children at Little Bunnies are encouraged to play and learn outdoors in a green environment. Their definition of green doesn’t just mean being out in the fields and trees—the preschool also emphasises sustainability, teaching kids to think green as they interact with nature. They teach children to save water, not to waste food, and care for the environment. Located at Infinite Studios in Mediapolis, their classrooms are made of many natural materials and incorporate plants to bring the outdoors indoors to reinforce a natural learning environment.
Playing outside can help children to strengthen their bodies and get in the habit of living an active life. It also teaches them to assess risk as they navigate their environment. “Children need to use their gross motor skills and practise balancing and running while feeling the nature around them,” says Jane Mayo, Founder.
This is especially important today as many children and adults alike spend more time looking at screens, and are becoming disconnected from nature. “Being outside doesn’t mean a walk to the shopping mall, but spending quality time in nature listening and exploring—observing insects, looking at the skies,” says Jane. “All of these simple things help us understand the rhythms and patterns of the natural world.”
Pat's Schoolhouse @ Kent Ridge (The Chadwick, Singapore Science Park 1)
Children are curious at heart. Drawn to people, animals, objects, or anything that catches their eye, they actively discover the world around them. As much as they are adventurous, their environment needs to be safe for them to explore. Pat’s Schoolhouse at the Chadwick located at Singapore Science Park 1 creates a nurturing environment where children are encouraged to be curious and be happy explorers.
Giving children plenty of time for uninterrupted play triggers their natural ability to make meaning and absorb new inputs. “When children are exposed to a new environment, they will be wary of its unfamiliarity at first. This is where they should be given the time to explore the surroundings (e.g. playground) and take mental images of the different play instruments available (e.g. swings and slides),” says Donna Tan, Senior District Manager. “They will gravitate towards them once comfortable.”
Using the environment as the third teacher, they take on a constructivist approach to play, which focuses on creating intentional, meaningful, and inquiry-embedded play-based learning experiences. “Inquiry and play is a joyful partnership. Play is a safe and familiar way for them to understand the world they live in,” says Donna. By empowering curiosity, creativity, and confidence in children to learn holistically through unhurried, pleasurable caring experiences, children are ready to take on the world with minimal intervention by adults.
Every child is curious and playful. They seek out new experiences by interacting with people and the world around them. Whether they play pretend with friends, run around outdoors, or play with toys, these activities are part of their holistic development—mental, physical, and social. As seen here, there are many different forms of enriching play, and because each child has their own interests and play styles, parents can look for preschools that cater to your child’s personality. These preschools featured are conveniently situated in or around CapitaLand properties so you can rest assured that your children are in good hands, just a stone’s throw away.
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