Teaching and learning patterns have evolved, from rote-learning in the last century to self-paced learning, especially for young children. Many schools in Singapore and the rest of the world have moved from theoretical and performance-based learning to teaching children the skills that they need for real life. Preschools in Singapore utilise a similar type of education styles and practices to make children more aware of their environment, and keep them inquisitive and curious.
As the name suggests, the holistic approach covers multiple skills, teaching tools, learning objectives, and goals as part of a school’s education. It extends well beyond academic learning into the fields of social, artistic, physical, spiritual, and emotional development of each child in a formal school environment. It creates experiences and opportunities for learners to explore and requires learners to be active participants and explorers. The idea is to enable and challenge them to think critically and learn at a pace that suits an individual student’s temperament.
Here are the five benefits of a holistic curriculum in preschool education.
Literacy learning is a fundamental ability to understand and evaluate meaning through reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and representing. It acts as the main focus of achievement in all learning areas as students progress through the early, middle, and later years of schooling, including professional and personal life.
Learning at a preschool in Singapore includes comprehension sounds, words, shapes, sizes, and languages. Learners study these skills by communicating with peers, reading, playing with rhymes, board games, etc.
Early literacy development is significant for children. In a holistic curriculum, it is an everyday process. Moreover, children can also easily learn through simple activities like singing, talking, and playing games. For example, instead of showing the child a red disc, it is better to get a red frisbee and discuss the colour, shape and uses of that object. It will awaken an interest, while the child is enjoying playing with the frisbee.
Expressive Art Design
Expressive art is one of the most important ways to develop a child’s thinking, imagination, creativity, and the ability to use media and materials.
Expressive arts and design help children to explore and utilise these areas. It also provides opportunities and encouragement for leveraging their thoughts through art. For example, Montessori in Singapore education encourages students to use fingers to paint instead of a brush. It is more enjoyable for some students, and a good teacher enables creativity in this manner.
All these approaches to expressive arts help children represent and understand their interests, skills, and ideas, which further help their development.
Motor Skills Development
Motor skills are associated with muscle activity and define the physical movement and balance. It includes the six most important components: agility, balance, coordination, power, reaction time, and speed. A motor skill is an action that allows the child to use their muscles for movement. There are two types of motor skills:
- Fine Motor Skills
- Gross Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are the small movements, for instance, synchronisation of hands and fingers with eyes. It starts when a child is still a toddler and aids in intelligence growth and develops as they grow up. Some children will need encouragement to develop and master fine motor skills.
Gross motor skills are the larger movements in which a child’s arms, legs, feet, and entire body is involved. For instance, running, jumping, dancing, playing are Gross motor skills.
Such skills are part of the preschool education framework in Singapore. These activities work on building the learners’ confidence and prepares them for primary school. Once a child becomes more confident of their movements, their natural curiosity to learn more about their environment will take over. This will further enhance both confidence and learning. Moreover, developing these skills helps children solve complex problems in the future with ease.
Speech and Communication
Speech and communication are meaningful skills that young learners need to develop and master. The learning focuses on making sure that the students can clearly articulate what they want and express themselves freely. This can be achieved via instilling communication skills that
enable the learners to speak clearly and confidently in all aspects and areas of their lives.
Such skills are part of the holistic curriculum, and schools work on bolstering them by encouraging the students to read, talk, play music, tell stories, etc. Moreover, teachers utilise different modes of instruction in the classroom to encourage children to express themselves with words – this exercise is especially fruitful for naturally reticent children. For instance, instructors use thematic, practical, kinesthetic learning, etc., to identify what methods learners best respond to.
The holistic approach’s most significant benefit isn’t limited to cognitive development, it extends to the psychological, social, emotional, and spiritual growth of a child. It helps children to develop their overall skills and build their strengths. Since a young mind is susceptible to the environment they learn, it is important for parents to search for a good school. It is best to check a school’s website and visit the campus to inquire about how it steers holistic learning.