A push towards holistic learning in schools

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It’s important for school children to be exposed to a range of activities and develop holistically as individuals of good character. See what local schools are doing to contribute to that.

The Education Minister has called for the importance of primary schools to offer pupils a range of activities and programmes early on so that they have access to a variety of experiences before deciding to specialise in one area. This move is seen as a push towards holistic learning from primary school level all the way towards university, where it is already being implemented in the form of cross faculty modules etc.

Learning from everyone
Speaking at the official opening of Horizon Primary School in new estate, Punggol, Education Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat says, “In a globalised village, pupils will benefit greatly, learning from experts and professionals in our community. Teachers are central to learning in school but a child’s education is not complete without the close involvement of parents, as well as the input of other experienced and talented members of society who are willing to share.”

Building character
Commenting on Horizon’s unique programmes, Mr Heng credited the school for laying a strong foundation and doing the groundwork to develop programmes and activities that instill and promote good values in the short span of three years since starting operations in 2009.

He highlighted I-LEAD, a programme which encourages every child to confidently take charge of his own life and care for others. This programme teaches kids as young as seven to make informed decisions and lead responsibly which will eventually develop good character.

Parents playing a part
Mr Heng also hailed the work of parent volunteers who have been actively engaged as partners of the school, working hand in hand by conducting workshops organised for students in both academic and non-academic areas.

He adds that all the hard work have borne fruit, as parents in the area are eager to enroll their children into Horizon Primary School and the current enrollment figure stands at 740 pupils.

What is important to note is the shift towards a more holistic way of learning and an admission that experience in multiple areas have many benefits to a child’s development.

Too young to specialise?
Specialisation can come after. Besides, the rate of development ranges from child to child, with some people only finding their specialisation when they are in their 30s. So we can’t expect for our kids to know or discover their specialty before they even hit 10.

Other schools have also embraced this philosophy and are now offering unique physical activities during P.E. One school in the East offers ultimate Frisbee, inline skating and bowling as part of their P.E curriculum. Apart from exposing these students to various activities, it also helps them learn new skills and participate in sports they might not have had a chance to otherwise.

Primary School Education