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Why Teachers ‘Eavesdrop’ on Preschooler Conversations to Spark Play-based Learning

Chatsworth Preschool -Mini Chef Students
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Looking for a school that inspires a love for learning through play-based learning? From cooking experiences to watercolour painting, Chatsworth International School nurtures autonomy, language development, curiosity, creativity and problem-solving skills in children

You might be tempted to think that play-based learning is an excuse for teachers to take a more hands-off approach and simply supervise. But that’s certainly not what happens at Chatsworth International School! While the curious Kindergarteners chat with their friends over lunch, the passionate teachers at Chatsworth pay close attention to topics of their conversation and use these as opportunities to further expand their knowledge.

chatsworth international school - mini chefs brownies
Image Credit: Chatsworth International School

During lunch one day, a teacher at Chatsworth overheard a conversation between her three-year-olds. As they took turns to share about cooking at home with their families and their favourite food to eat, this sparked common interest among the children and was key in paving a fun path of inquiry into the five senses through unique cooking experiences. People may presume science concepts start in a laboratory, but in the early years, children learn science through real-life experiences, starting with melting butter in a pot.

Pretend play has numerous benefits for children

The teacher resourcefully put together a fun play-based area called ‘The Five Senses Mini Chef Kitchen”, where children had a mix of pretend play to invent recipes and cook real food from recipes they chose from cookbooks available in their classroom. Children even got hands-on with some culinary classes called ‘Mini Chef in Action’, where they shared thoughts on the study of the five senses and learned how to prepare recipes of interest. They even had the opportunity to get a tour of the school’s kitchen, where chefs talked about how to use the five senses to cook safely in the kitchen.

chatsworth international school - mini chefs group
Image Credit: Chatsworth International School

What better way to make this authentic learning even more memorable than putting together The Cookbook, a beautiful documentation full of reflections, experiences and recipes that the students cooked up in their mini chef kitchen. Not only did this engaging experience allow the students to use all five senses to explore food and acquire new skills, but it also facilitated the development of language, mathematical skills, fine motor skills and science while they played and explored!

Building on children’s natural curiosity

On another occasion, the kindergarten teacher at Chatsworth shares how her students’ experience with water led her to read them ‘Water Princess’ by Susan Verde and ‘Water Witcher’ by Jan Omerod. These stories taught students the importance of water. They developed an empathy for families that don’t have water and learned how the lack of rain impacts their lives.

They listened to ‘Come on Rain’ by Karen Hesse and Jabari Jumps which inspired them to play, splash and be curious about the water. To put this into practice, the teacher set up “The Water House”, where they used water for pretend play, experimented with water beads, cared for plants and reproduced a daily routine in a water house using water for cooking, doing the dishes and doing laundry. They even transformed their reflections about water into beautiful paintings using watercolours, pigment powder and pastel crayons.

Play-based learning equips children for the future

Image Credit: Chatsworth International School

At Chatsworth, preschoolers have a voice, choice and ownership of learning. Rather than just creating opportunities for them to play, the nurturing teachers take it one step further by truly tapping into their interests. To put their learning into practice, children get to create works of art and celebrate their milestones with their friends and family, thus boosting confidence and self-esteem. As they interact with their friends and the world around them, these crucial experiential learning experiences at Chatsworth set the stage for emotional intelligence, creativity and problem-solving abilities, all of which are essential for future success.

So, if you’re looking for a preschool that will nurture your child’s holistic well-being and develop future-ready skills, why not book a tour to see Chatsworth’s play-based classes in action? We’re pretty sure your child will be excited to go to school every day!

Chatsworth International School, 72 Bukit Tinggi Road, Singapore 289760, [email protected], Tel: (+65) 6463 3201,

Brought to you in partnership with Chatsworth International School

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