At the Canadian International School (CIS) Kindergarten, we pride ourselves on making sure each of our students are given a strong educational foundation in an environment that is friendly and supportive and nurtures creativity and a sense of wonder.
One of the key elements in meeting this objective, is the extensive inclusion of ‘outdoor learning’ in our Kindergarten curriculum. This is because we firmly believe it offers young children important learning benefits crucial to their development.
Why outdoor learning is important:
1. Some learning just can’t happen indoors
Most early childhood learning can be done indoors but essential components like running, climbing, chasing and exploring the world, can only be done outdoors. Outdoor green spaces also provide young learners with exposure to sights, sounds, tastes and textures unique to the outdoors.
2. It enhances development
Substantial research shows that outdoor play leads to transformative learning in our children. When children are outside they are quickly inspired to get active and run, jump and climb. These activities in turn vigorously spark brain development, sharpen social and gross motor skills, and generate strong academic performance.
At CIS, our strong focus on ‘outdoor learning’ for Kindergarten students, recently prompted us to develop an amazing new Outdoor Discovery Centre at our Lakeside campus. Popular features of the centre include an abundance of leafy trees, lush herb and vegetable gardens, moving water, natural tunnels, grassy hills, a sound garden and lots of different creative spaces. The huge tricycle and running track are also firm favourites!
Much more than a playground
The reaction to the Discovery Centre by our CIS and wider community has been remarkable. One of the main reasons for its popularity is because it supports our youngest learners in ways that extend far beyond a traditional playground. Thanks to the numerous state-of-the-art features, the new space actively facilitates early learning in a range of disciplines including mathematics, literacy and science.
Mathematics and literacy support
By playing with water, sand and loose objects such as sticks, stones, mesh and rope, our young children learn to calculate, measure, invent, analyse and test theories. This not only helps them to develop their creative thinking and problem solving skills, but also their communication and research skills. Meanwhile their literacy skills are developed by writing and creating shapes in the sand and leaving letters for their friends in secret places in the gardens.
Through our herb and vegetable garden, children pick up early science skills and learn about the importance of health and nutrition as well as the role the natural environment plays in growing our food. This is particularly important in Singapore where so many children live in condos and therefore don’t always get the chance to interact with plants, the earth and watching things grow. First hand interaction with nature also helps us to raise the next generation of global citizens. By tending to our gardens, our children learn to appreciate – and in turn CARE about – the environment.
We are extremely excited about this new centre. Thanks to all its fabulous features, our young learners can now more than ever before, enjoy a wide range of state-of-the-art facilities all specifically designed to help them in ways that they will learn best.
To experience first hand our great new Outdoor Discovery Centre, sign up for our next Open House at www.cis.edu.sg/kindergarten. This page will also give you detailed information about our entire Kindergarten programme.