Do you believe in the benefits of providing early education to your children, something that conforms to your kids’ learning styles?
Some parents are not sure about sending their kids to preschool, as it seems to cut short their carefree childhood days. Evidence suggests otherwise.
“There’s increasing evidence that children gain a lot from going to preschool,” says Dr. Kathleen McCartney, dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“At preschool, they become exposed to numbers, letters, and shapes. And, more important, they learn how to socialise – get along with other children, share, and contribute to circle time.”1
There are many advantages of exposing your kid to quality early childhood education programmes (Preschool Enrichment, based on various kids learning styles). It results in confident kids who develop early language skills, take a keen interest in books, and generally have higher I.Q. What’s more, early developmental stimulation will give your little ones all the essential skills they need for “big boy/big girl” school.
In Singapore too, most parents insist on laying a strong educational foundation for their kids.
However, the questions many of us have on our minds are: What is the best way to go about this? What learning style suits my kids? How do we provide our little ones with a holistic learning enrichment that is fun, engaging and intellectually stimulating at the same time?
Kids’ Learning Styles: Traditional Learning vs. Critical Thinking
In this 21st century digital world, the old world’s rules hardly apply. Once upon a time, memorising things carried great value. Today, information can be easily accessed, so remembering facts and regurgitating them has limited real-world value.
What we need today in terms of preschool education is a strong foundation for kids in concepts beyond the usual math or English enrichment. At the same time, children should have fun learning how to become creative little problem solvers, while not just committing facts to memory.
In this context, here are six areas of preschool learning that your child should be exposed to:
1. Logical Deduction Skills:
This area of learning encompasses comparing, ordering and finally measuring objects by attributes such as size, length, weight and volume. Comparing makes children pick up common attributes for like-for-like comparison (comparing objects that are similar to each other or that fall in the same category). Putting objects in order helps children make logical deductions about different objects, and is the foundation for counting.
Once this faculty is sharpened in your child, she will be able to talk about the relative difference between 3 objects or compare things by different attributes (Mummy, your cup may be bigger than mine but contains less water).
2. Conceptual Understanding of Mathematics:
1,2,3, 4… Counting is one of the first things kids learn once they start speaking. They start applying this skill whenever it catches their fancy—for instance, while climbing up the stairs.This area of learning focuses on numbers and operations.
It prepares children for conceptual understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, rather than knowing how to calculate quickly without knowing how to apply them to solve problems.
3. Spatial Recognition Skills:
In our physical world, everything exists in space — and exploring space (which kids love doing) involves movement. Are you turning left or right in the corridor? How do you teach kids movement of objects on maps? Why is your kid writing letters or numbers in reverse? This area of learning strengthens their visual processing skills and teaches kids the idea of perspective: that the same object may look different from another point of view.
These skills have been shown to be important in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
4. Skills of Articulation:
This area covers language and effective communication skills — the basis of the entire education system and is a valuable life skill. Here, little ones learn how to achieve clarity of thought through the articulation of concepts.
Children learn these concepts and express them in their own words. It turns them into articulate and confident little speakers!
5. Knowledge of Shapes:
Like words and numbers, shapes are one of the first things children need to learn: the egg is oval, and the toy house is rectangular. Learning about basic shapes prepares the child to learn concepts of geometry when they move to higher classes. They learn about 2D and 3D shapes and symmetry. It also adds to their spatial recognition skills when they can mentally visualise objects in 3D or understand mirror images.
This sharpens their power of observation when they can assemble shapes to make new ones (2 triangles and a square can make a rectangle, trapezium and also a parallelogram).
6. Essential Life Skills:
All the above skills become even more powerful when kids learn essential life skills, such as critical thinking skills (ability to review information and challenge assumptions to solve problems), paying attention, having self-control, and developing inter-personal skills.
This area of learning can also evoke further interest in science and general knowledge in your preschooler.
The Innovative KUNO Method of Learning
Japan’s famous KUNO method focuses on the above six learning areas under its preschool learning methodology. It is an established enrichment programme renowned for grooming well-rounded preschoolers who ace the entrance tests of prestigious private primary schools in Japan.
The programme was founded by Mr Yasuyoshi Kuno who devoted all his working life of over 44 years to early childhood education. He is a recognised early childhood education expert, and advises the Osaka City in Japan in its education reform. He believes that children who have mastered foundational concepts and learned critical reasoning and logical thinking will enjoy learning and solve problems independently.
Kids’ Learning Styles: Here’s How KUNO Facilitates Experiential Learning in 3 Stages:
1. Group Play Experience:
During structured group play, children are first introduced to new concepts as they work through problems that mimic real-life situations.
When children work collaboratively, they formulate their own strategy (with guidance) rather than follow a fixed formula, learn from observation, learn courtesy like how not to interrupt others, and learn to articulate their own point of view.
2. Hands On Experience:
After group play, children are stimulated to learn and discover answers with individual sets of hands-on activities that reinforces what they have learnt during group play.
During the process, they learn to see things from different points of view, to experience and overcome setbacks before finally figuring out the answers on their own. This also cultivates grit and resilience.
In this phase, the learning output is measured. During the final step of learning, children complete worksheets and teachers may approach each child for a short question-and-answer session.
This crystallises children’s understanding of concepts, encouraging the little ones to internalise them. Once they are able to share what they have learnt, children grow in confidence.
Under the KUNO learning method, the above 3-stage process has been designed to:
First: Achieve mastery of concepts through play to pique children’s interest in the concept,
Second: Once interest is piqued, children get a better grasp of the concepts through hands-on experience and iteration, and
Finally, they share what they have learnt with others.
At this stage of their learning journey, children have limited real-life experiences. Experiential learning, therefore, gives them that experience which then makes learning memorable as they learn from their own observation and not from someone else’s teaching.
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Here’s Why Experiential Learning is Beneficial:
The KUNO learning method helps develop children who are confident and inquisitive and have effective communication skills. Once they have gone through this experiential learning programme, children are empowered with a sharp analytical mind that helps them grasp concepts and understand problems with cognitive flexibility. In other words, they become effective problem solvers.
Finally, this method helps build a solid foundation in intellectual, emotional and social abilities of children before they move to primary schools. This makes life-long learning much easier for them, transforming them into resilient, adaptive learners with a flexible learning mindset. This helps to set the kids’ learning styles.
Keen to check out this acclaimed learning method for your child? Is this your top choice amongst the kids’ learning styles? Sign up for Term 2 (March & April) now and avail of $50 discount on lesson fees. (For new students only, and quote “KUNO x TAP” when signing up.)