Ricky Wadi, like any other four-year-old, loves running around. However the mere mention of school and Ricky stands still, breathing heavily. Asking him the reason for the sudden stillness and he replies “I can’t run and climb at school. I’m always in the classroom,” he mumbles with a downcast look.
Like Ricky, many children are stuck in a rigid system of learning daily, with minimal activity being displayed. As parents place higher expectations for their children to grow academically, the importance of play, and even exercise are lost.
However, not convinced that gyms and space to run around freely are facing a shortage in Singapore, TheAsianParent dug and unearthed one centre that has just about the most eye-catching gym equipment on the island!
Chinese Kindergarten, run by Mrs. Wong, is located at 256 Outram Road. The children have a total of 32 gym lessons and these lessons are greatly anticipated weekly.
Mrs Wong cites confidence as the real development in gym lessons. “Physical growth of course is happening but behind it all, confidence begins to grow as well” she explains. The 30-minute lesson initially sees resistance from the shyer group of children but eventually the fun of it cracks thru the shy shield and the children begin to lose themselves in the extreme fun. If you’re thinking it’s only a gym lesson, then you are wrong! At the end of the year, a gym performance is usually held by the K2s where the children show off their cartwheels, etc.
A sense of achievement is also achieved within a child when he/she is able to climb anything that initially proves to be a challenge. It took about 2 years to get the programme on the road and today, gym instructors come in every Wednesday to give the kids a run for their money. Mrs Wong remembers a success story of a boy, now in P2, who was selected for the school’s gym team in P1. His agility and ability stem from the good background in gym that he received from Chinese Kindergarten.
Everyone benefits – Not Just Physically
The thematic integrated programme has not only the children thinking out of the box but the teachers as well. Stimulating the child to learn more, also has an effect on the teachers and the whole experience becomes more engaging. The staff usually sees changes in the children in terms 3 and 4 as term 3 usually signifies the transition, of settling down, completed.
Mrs Wong, the principal at Chinese Kindergarten remembers seeing a boy who upon entering the school, was timid and refused to speak much but by K1, had already blossomed into a confident little boy who could manage a speech by himself!
6 years as a principal and Mrs Wong has seen dozens of children who upon enrollment enter the school innocent, cute and shy. By the end of K2, the same set, of children, is mature with developed social skills and an aptitude for EQ. She understands that together with academia, physical development should also be credited with importance.
Chinese Kindergarten, with it’s miniature rock-climbing equipment, ‘Spider-Climb’ and slide is facilitating children’s learning in a unique and interstng manner. Kids like Ricky, if enrolled in such centres, will probably grow silent when the mere mention of home is brought up!
Check out Chinese Kindergarten!