How Parents Can Nurture Early Learning in Singapore

Parents understand how crucial it is to develop a solid foundation for their children at an early age. As the adage goes, parents know best and so are trusted with the task to nurture early learning by providing their children with a safe and comfortable home environment as well as the tools to navigate through preschool.

Early Teaching for babies

To help parents with this, a guide was formulated by the Ministry of Education partnering with preschools and their teachers to come up with a curriculum framework for kindergartens in Singapore. This was meant to highlight how children learn and develop as well as the outcome of what parents should expect at the end of their kindergarten experience.

Before children even set foot into a classroom setting, parents should already encourage their kids to have a love of learning. They can help to do so by instilling a sense of positivity around learning and building confidence in their children. It is helpful to teach them to explore the world around them and express themselves creatively while balancing out negative behaviour and emotions to maintain friendships. This will be very beneficial to the child in the long run as it makes for a seamless transition into preschool.

Understanding Your Child

It is essential that parents must fully understand your child. Parents have an innate insight into their children better than any school, curriculum or teacher ever can. Their sense of connection and observation allows parents to understand the competencies of their children, who they are and what they are capable of. In doing so, parents can create a meaningful experience in guiding their young by developing the way in which they learn.

One way in which parents can nurture early learning is that they can create an environment of encouraging curiosity. Children should be safe to explore, wonder, question and try to make sense of their world. Only by doing so, they will begin to discover more.

Parents can help their children succeed by allowing them to do things. Only by actively doing, children are more likely to understand and retain information readily. Invite them to participate, explore and experiment by taking on new skills and concepts using real-life objects and experiences.

love for nature

A parent can also motivate their child to become competent learners by honing their child’s thinking and reasoning skills. Children can continually build on their knowledge using existing experiences. The more they process their thoughts, reflect and try to understand how the world works, the more evolved their skills become.

Parents can facilitate their children’s learning through meaningful and relevant learning experiences such as:

    • Engaging the support of their children’s teachers by sharing valuable information about their interests, needs, daily experience and progress.
    • Diligently attending parent-teacher conferences or filling up periodic parent questionnaires to help teachers create an enriching learning experience.
    • Understanding your child’s strengths, weaknesses and how you can complement their learning and development at home through seeking out teacher’s help in your child’s progress.
    • Encouraging your child to ask questions and explore
    • Engaging your child in learning through purposeful play
    • Having authentic learning through quality interactions by asking your child to speak about their experiences, express thoughts and feelings as well as how they overcome challenges

Learning Areas

In order to meet their child’s true potential, parents should look into nurturing their young holistically in various areas of learning to encourage curious, competent and active learners.

There are 6 areas of learning that the kindergarten education in Singapore tackles:

    • Aesthetics and Creative Expression is the exploration of the environment and creative indulgence of play and self-expression through music, movement and art.
    • Discovery of the World allows children to ask questions through observations and make sense of the world around them.
    • Language and Literacy expose children to language-related activities such as role-playing, singing, rhyming and reading.
    • Motor Skills Development influences physical activity, agility and coordination
    • Numeracy helps children understand and apply mathematical concepts in their daily lives.
    • Social and Emotional Development allows children to develop healthy self-esteem by managing their emotions and allowing them to form healthy relationships later on in life.
Smart kids

Adding on to these areas, learning dispositions that develop positive behaviours and attitudes are taught in the kindergarten curriculum as well. These include:

    • Perseverance is where a child keeps working through a challenging task or situation until it is complete and does not give up midway.
    • Reflectiveness allows a child to think back on the day or certain events and make their conclusion on how to approach a situation by generating alternative ideas and gaining new knowledge.
    • Appreciation is the ability to recognise the points of view of others and respect them with the belief that everyone is different and have unique qualities.
    • Inventiveness promotes flexibility in the way a child thinks and does things by exploring different solutions and ideas to new challenges.
    • Sense of wonder and curiosity gives children the confidence to question the things around them and piques their interest in discovering the way the world works.
    • Engagement in a child seeks out new opportunities proactively and allows them to immerse and enjoy completely in the learning process.

Learning Goals

Parents need to understand that we should not focus too intently on specific learning areas and academic performance at this early age. Instead, parents must develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions to enable life-long learning in their children’s lives.

This involves nurturing their curiosity, social skills as well as building their self-esteem and confidence so children are eager and willing for that next stage of preschool learning.

What Parents Can Expect From A Kindergarten Education

Finally, parents need to prepare their children for formal education. This is where a kindergarten or preschool comes in.

At the end of kindergarten education, parents can hope to achieve for their child to be someone who exudes confidence and has a strong sense of moral compass, understanding the difference between right and wrong and the consequences or rewards that go along with certain behaviour.

Parents can also expect their children to blend in with other students and teachers by being adaptable, primarily contributed by their varying experiences at school. Children should also have learnt a thing or two about being resilient since they would most likely encounter setbacks during their time in school, making them emerge stronger and better for it. Children would also have come into their own a little more now as they try to find their footing and place in the world.

Critical thinking skills are also very present as these early learners work out how to make decisions independently and communicate their thoughts and ideas effectively. They should also understand how to take responsibility for their actions and aim to be constantly curious and reflective as individuals as well as ask intelligent questions in their pursuit of learning.

Social Skills for Children

Singapore’s preschool education system is also designed to allow children to be active contributors by teaching them the skills of working together effectively in a team, taking initiative and calculating risks while being innovative and always striving for excellence. It emphasises how children can be concerned citizens, civic-minded and play an active role in the community by being informed and helping better the lives of others around us.

The key fundamentals and desired outcomes when it comes to preschool education in Singapore can help parents better understand how they need to nurture early learning.