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Expert Advice: What do kids *really* need to learn in kindergarten?

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Through purposeful play and an emphasis on personal and social development, CIS Kindergarten teaches children the joy of learning

Whether you’re starting to think about your preschooler’s next steps or your little one has just begun kindergarten, it’s important to take a moment to think about what you can really expect your child to learn there.

Most educators will tell you that there is a worrying trend, particularly in Singapore, for kindergarten-aged children to spend too much of their time mastering the basics of reading, writing and maths. At Canadian International School (CIS) Kindergartenchildren do learn these skills but they also learn so much more.

Andrea Strachan, Vice Principal of the CIS Primary School, tells us about the key developmental areas the school focuses on to promote a love of learning and engaged, happy children. At CIS it’s all about giving them a firm foundation for future learning, and developing important skills that will help them achieve throughout school life and beyond…

kids playing with block at cis kindergarten

Personal and social development

Latest research shows the importance of early years learning and, just like at home, children need to feel safe and secure in order to flourish. CIS Kindergarten begins with nurturing students’ personal, social and emotional well-being, with an emphasis on learning how to get along and share with classmates while also establishing a routine, and learning how to respect and understand rules.

Learning how to learn

Little ones develop a love of learning through a focus on positive attitudes, habits and learning styles. In turn, this nurtures curiosity, self-organisation and reasoning skills. At CIS, there’s a real focus on developing persistence, curiosity, self-organisation and reasoning skills.

For instance, CIS Kindergarten students recently visited a hawker centre, providing an opportunity for them to try new food, talk to locals and re-create a mini hawker centre back in their classroom. They set prices, wrote menus, and talked to make-believe customers. Through processes like handling money, counting, reading, writing signs and menus, role-playing and collaborating, the children honed problem-solving skills and their ability to predict the actions and feelings of others.

canadian international school singapore students painting

Academic outcomes

Every child is different. CIS Kindergarten establishes key academic benchmarks that it works to help all children master (such as basic literacy and math skills), but it also works to extend children beyond these in any way they can.

Learning at CIS is individualised and the goal is to maximise each child’s potential, not for them to all memorise the same rote facts. Not all children will come out of Kindergarten reading and writing – particularly those processing learning in multiple languages who may need additional time to make sense of it all – and that’s ok!

At CIS Kindergarten children have the opportunity to learn and explore a broad range of subjects including learning a foreign language. They can enrol in the Chinese immersion classes in pre-kindergarten, while Junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten students can enrol in either daily Chinese or French language programmes, or the pioneering bilingual Chinese-English programme which goes all the way up to Grade 5.

canadian international school singapore students

Learning through play

Much has been written about the importance of learning through play, particularly in the early years. Scholars like Dr. Dorothy Singer of Yale University have emphasised ways in which we nurture learning when we play with children. Play makes learning enjoyable; children explore, take risks and learn to express themselves. It develops the child physically, emotionally and intellectually, and it’s been proven that by the age of 10 those who have “played” have developed a natural curiosity and expression.

CIS Kindergarten is based upon the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), in which learning is inquiry-led and play-based. So how does this really work? Literacy and numeracy learning is built into a daily routine, but your child won’t know this. They’ll come home and tell you they played outside while their teacher gave them different shapes and encouraged them to fill them with water while asking them which held the most, exploring the concepts of volume and capacity. Another child will play with some coloured toys and blocks and be asked to sort and classify them.

canadian international school singapore students exploring

Both campuses emphasise the importance of outside play and ensure youngsters feel the grass between their toes, whether they’re making letters with leaves, drawing in the mud or running. The Lakeside campus even has an amazing outdoor discovery centre at the heart of learning.

Start your child’s educational journey off on the right foot by ensuring your little one develops a true love of learning, mama! Why not visit one of Canadian International School Kindergarten’s open days at the Lakeside and/or Tanjong Katong Campus? Meet staff, pupils and parents and see for yourself where it all begins. Many dates available or book yourself on a personal tour.

Canadian International School Lakeside Campus, 7 Jurong West Street 41, Singapore 649414, Tel: (+65) 6467 1732

Canadian International School Tanjong Katong Campus, 371 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437128, Tel: (+65) 6345 1573

Brought to you in partnership with Canadian International School

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