Nature-based learning, from playing with shadows and sunlight to exploring the National Orchid Garden, is all part of the Reggio-inspired SAS preschool experience
We know Sassy Mamas have preschool on the brain, and for that reason we like to keep tabs on what’s happening at preschools across Singapore. At Singapore American School, where the Early Learning Center welcomes children from 3 years of age, this has included opening a gorgeous Reggio-inspired learning space a few years back, and defining seven desired student learning outcomes:
- Content Knowledge
- Critical Thinking
- Cultural Competence
At SAS, the belief is that all of these learning outcomes can be furthered through nature-based learning experiences, giving preschool children ever more opportunities to engage with their physical environment. This is accomplished both through field trips (such as exploring the National Orchid Garden), and hands-on learning in the classroom.
For instance, have you ever thought about how fascinating windows can be for young children? Subscribing to the Reggio-Emilia tenet that environment is the third teacher, the SAS Preschool features multiple floor-to-ceiling windows that allow beams of sunlight to come streaming in.
One day, children might explore the concept of shadows while experimenting with sunlight. Then they might incorporate new elements – like colors or shapes – into their explorations. Soon they’ll realize that playing with light projections can turn them into “giants” who can touch the ceiling! Investigating properties like transparency and opacity also leads to experiments with how sound travels (or doesn’t travel).
“In these meaningful moments through the window, we observe children’s desires to communicate with one another. In their determination to send a message to someone on the other side, they attempt an array of different strategies that give us lots of avenues to explore,” explains SAS preschool teacher Katie Goggins.
Windows are just one example of the way natural surroundings become an integral part of learning at SAS. Did you know the school has its own 2-acre natural rainforest used by students of all ages as a “living laboratory”? SAS Preschool children also have two recess periods each day to ensure plenty of fresh air and natural movement to get the wiggles out.
There are infinite reasons why the SAS preschool experience is a special one for students, but there’s only one way to truly understand what sets it apart: visit and experience the community for yourself! If your family is thinking about applying to the Early Learning Center, the best place to start is by letting SAS know a bit more about yourselves. Click here to arrange a visit!