Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Embracing Play

My Wheelock College juniors wrote an article about the importance of play in the educational process

Nice article that summarizes the importance and how children learn through play. Hoping it will create a positive shifts of the mindsets of parents who still believe in academic works to prepare for primary One.

 In this article, it seems like a lot of credit goes to the government, we still need to find the root problem of why some parents and principals are viewing play a separate activity from school's curriculum.

"If they keep playing in preschool, they will have a hard time adjusting to the work they get in Primary School"
During the new KCF training, many parent-teachers feedback about how difficult the primary school's curriculum is. hence, creating a big gap between preschool to primary level. See, everytime we talk about early childhood curriculum, we all tend to somehow link to primary school, because one of the "imaginary" (not stated but we all want to achieve) goals is to prepare them for Primary One.

And why do I have such a imaginary goal as a teacher? Is just the everyday conversations with parents, listening to what primary school teachers have to say and the culture of the schools set by the leaders. Day by day, it somehow instill to me I need to get my students ready in Primary One and they MUST SHINE.

Guilty, guilty...

I have a bit Kiasu parent syndrome even before having kids of my own.

A lot of parents I met understand the importance of play, they want their children to play, believe they need to have memorable childhood experience. Ironic thing is, they also ask me about phonics, readings, mathematics... AT TODDLER AGE!!!

"I will just set more time for Play"
There is a requirement of 45 minutes outdoor time for children daily. But fortunately, my principal has always encouraged us to go outdoor as frequent as possible. There's countless of things to do during outdoor, and I get grouchy if I don't go outdoors to play.

In one of the comments for the article. the reader urge the government to give preschools a minimum amount of time to play, after observing that some schools do not even bring the children outdoor. So if all preschools need to set aside 2 hours for play, wouldn't all of us start to view play as a "outside" curriculum.

No, no... play is the curriculum, and curriculum is playing.

In fact, as a teacher, I still struggle in providing quality play for my students while trying to fit all activities into the time table given. Many time is given to routine care, but can I make routine care enjoyable and educational  for children too?

While I am still learning about providing play for young children, I also hope one day parents, educators and the government will work closely together to set a healthy learning atmosphere for children studying in Singapore.

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