As part of its innovative curriculum, Living Sanctuary Kindergarten (LSK) houses a special neighbourhood dedicated to providing meaningful learning experiences for its preschoolers.
Step into the LSK neighbourhood and you will be marveled by its innovative learning centres that mirror a realistic local neighbourhood.
Tapping on children’s love for pretend play, the LSK neighbourhood was built on the theme of “community” to facilitate collaborative and effective learning among preschoolers. Renowned for implementing innovative curriculum, the LSK neighbourhood is the product of LSK’s Centre Principal Mrs Elsie Tan-Chua and her passionate team of early childhood (EC) educators.
The LSK neighbourhood comprises ten different learning centres. From a well-equipped family clinic to a fully-stocked supermarket. Each learning centre captures a familiar community space, with labelled items to provide holistic learning experiences for the preschoolers. Through pretend play in the LSK neighbourhood, LSK preschoolers are encouraged to recreate real-life scenarios such as grocery shopping, visiting a salon cum massage parlor and ordering food at a restaurant. They also take turns to play the different roles required to manage the different shops (e.g. a waiter at the restaurant, a cashier at the supermarket).
As they maneuver through these scenarios, the preschoolers build their communication and social skills, while heightening self-confidence. They apply lessons learnt from their parents to solve problems and educate their peers on how to perform certain tasks more effectively. The preschoolers also learn to respect and appreciate one another’s opinions and efforts. They also widen their vocabulary as they read off the menus and shopping lists.
LSK also has a Science Centre, established to introduce physical science ideas, plants and animals to the preschoolers. There are about 20 different science activities for children to explore at the LSK Science Centre.
PEER SHARING FOR EC EDUCATORS
Peer sharing is another form of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for EC educators. Elsie strongly believes in the power of peer sharing as an intimate and effective way to network and exchange ideas with fellow EC educators. Peer sharing inspires and sparks innovation ideas that benefit preschoolers and EC educators alike. Through sharing, EC educators can better understand what works and what can be improved in their practice. They will take away practical tips for application in their own preschools.
With this strong belief, the LSK neighbourhood has been opening its doors to inspire the sector with its innovative practices. Elsie has been working closely with the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) to conduct peer sharing cum learning journey sessions for EC educators from different centres, to support them through their CPD journey.
During the peer sharing session, Elsie shared the importance of establishing learning objectives for each learning centre. She reinforced the PRAISE learning dispositions under the Nurturing Early Learners Framework (NEL Framework) and how these learning dispositions have been purposefully embedded within each learning centre. PRAISE aims to inculcate positive learning behaviours in preschoolers. Through a simple activity, Elsie also helped the various EC educators gain a clearer understanding of the rationale behind each of the LSK’s learning centres.
Using her preschoolers’ experiences in the LSK neighbourhood, Elsie highlighted the important role that EC educators play in facilitating children’s play. Effective facilitators do not linger throughout the children’s play. At critical moments, they step in to ask key open-ended questions which guide the children to the next level of learning. Children are then encouraged to negotiate their next course of action and determine the outcome of a scenario.
Elsie shared that organising peer sharing sessions has benefited her team at LSK. Through preparing and facilitating the sessions, her team of EC educators has fostered closer bonds. It was an opportunity to share their knowledge with other EC educators and learn from them as well.
When it comes to advancing their own professional development, Elsie encourages all EC educators to “look beyond the courses offered in the market”. CPD can be conducted in a variety of modes, ranging from web-based learning to learning journeys and peer sharing. Elsie also encourages EC educators to frequently engage in reflective practices to raise the quality of their personal EC practices.
EMBARK ON CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TODAY!
To find out more about peer sharing and how to make it part of your CPD portfolio, log into One@ECDA .
You can also download a copy of ECDA’s Prospectus to explore the full list of CPD courses that you can sign up for! The Prospectus is updated on a quarterly basis so do check back regularly for the updated list of CPD courses.