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Whether it is watching kites soar in the wide blue sky, or building imaginary worlds with blocks, time and time again parents talk about how the Early Learning Center at Singapore American School is a home away from home for their little ones. In the Early Learning Center we believe children are curious, creative, and highly capable. Relationships drive our learning and together we co-construct understanding about ourselves, our community, and the wider world. Children and adults are active researchers, and our participation in the learning process positively impacts our lives and the lives of those around us. Together, we create an environment of possibilities that fosters meaningful inquiry, strong connections and rich understandings. Welcome to the wonderful world of preschool at Singapore American School.
“We unpack our bags and say good morning and hello to our friends.” – Sara.
As the buses arrive, preschool children are warmly greeted by their friends and teaching adults. Some children wait eagerly at the door to welcome friends, others explore learning invitations set up in the environment. There’s always something new to discover: a recycled space rocket, a rainbow beaming from a light projector, a family of snails.
“Everybody comes to connection time.” – Loki. Thirty-two children, two teachers and two instructional assistants come together to connect and plan the day. Preschoolers participate fully in their learning journey. Children and adults share stories, photos, videos, or artefacts from the previous day and discuss and plan the next steps in their project work. In the Preschool Learning Community 1 (PLC 1), children are making plans to launch their rocket to the moon with messages, while in Preschool Learning Community 2 (PLC 2) the group is designing a rain robot to catch and reuse rainwater.
“We like the slide and the bikes and we like playing there.” – Sasha.
The outdoor learning environment welcomes ‘big body’ movement and collaboration. Children work together to build castles, ride bikes, cross the wobbly bridge, scale the climbing wall, dig for treasure in the sandpit, and swing across the monkey bars.
“We are making a rain robot! – Cheo
The environment in preschool is rich with possibilities. During exploring time, the children and teaching adults explore their interests and delve into project work. In PLC 1, children write their names to post in a parcel to the moon, while in PLC 2, they trial pulley systems to transport water to the top of their rain robot. Some children change into swimwear and head outside. In the courtyard children investigate water, paint on the giant tiled wall with rollers and brushes, engage in a clay workshop, build obstacle courses, or erupt baking soda volcanoes in the sandpit. Inside, children paint, move objects along a conveyor belt, retell stories with puppets, make observational drawings, create messages which are passed to friends, climb the loft, build with wooden blocks, design models, and snuggle on the sofa with their favourite book. The environment is set up to encourage independence, and they readily access a wide range of materials to bring their ideas to life.
“We sit by our friends for a snack.” – Bekah.
Snack time is shared outdoors by all the members in the learning community. Children share stories from home, talk about the learning ahead, or ask questions about the world around them.
Move and Groove
“I practice my moves!” – Felix
This daily movement class allows children to learn to move safely and imaginatively, developing basic skills and confidence through rhythmic activities and dramatic enactment, music and dance, developmentally appropriate games and guided discovery. The goal of physical literacy and building a love for physical activity is paramount.
“We relax. We sit down. I bring in a book.” – Xavi.
The children cool down with water and meet for a story. The preschoolers often ask for their favourite books, The Gruffalo, and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! or bring a special book from home to share with their friends.
“We eat together. I like to sit with my friends.” – Raaghav
At lunchtime children choose to picnic on the large colourful mat or sit with friends at tables. Children talk about their day, their food from all around the world, and their families.
“We listen to our friends and teachers.” – Sasha.
Time is taken to reflect on the group’s learning each day. As they grow comfortable with one another the preschool children speak confidently about their learning, sharing their thoughts and wonderings. They also bring their own questions and ideas for the following day’s learning.
Library on Wednesdays
“You get some books to take home.” – Liam.
The library is a source of much joy each week, as the children share a story and borrow their very own books to take home.
“I sing song with some of the food names. We speak Chinese” – Ziyi.
Each day children learn Chinese through songs, stories and practical experiences. This is an opportunity to develop their spoken language skills and engage in cultural competency.
“We say goodbye and we walk to the bus.” – Grant.
The children and teaching adults say goodbye and thank each other for another wonderful day of learning together. All the preschoolers head home, eager to return the following day to see what new discoveries await.
** Come along for an exciting glimpse into the happiest place on the little red dot! the SAS admissions office is hosting virtual events for our early years program on 28 January 2-3pm and 9 March, 9-10am. Find out more about the school’s unique, curious, and capable learners, participate in an insightful panel discussion with principals and teachers, and learn more about the application process for preschool (three years), pre-kindergarten (four years), and kindergarten (five years). There are limited spots available so head to sas.edu.sg/admissions/tours/early-years to sign up. Details on the early years program at Singapore American School can be found at sas.edu.sg/academics/elc