In our family, we learn through play and we play a lot! We didn't have much time for formal learning for Emma since both hubby and I are working full time. Emma seemed to be learning lots from school and progressing well, so we weren't too worried about her learning until her new teacher for K1 came along earlier this year.
Emma's previous teacher was gentle, nurturing and was cautious not to kill the interest to learn. On the flip side, she can be quite lenient on the kids. Her new teacher is strict and has higher expectations on the kids. So, we ended up getting feedbacks to give Emma more home practice and even enrichment class. At the start, we were quite worried that Emma was behind. I tried to practiced more with her but it was really hard with Avalyn around. I lost count of the time that I wanted to do some learning with Emma but all we want was to rest and play. So, I've been thinking what's really good for Emma.
I believe in building up the strong foundation of intangible qualities and values such as love for learning, curiosity, creativity, humility, perseverance, courage and cheerfulness over academic learning. I was a late boomer who only topped the class at Primary 4, so I always think there's hope to do better with a good attitude.
However, I'm also realistic enough to know things are unlike before. I'm not talking about competitiveness. I'm talking about the syllabus and pace of learning. I heard much about school expecting students to have the basic foundation at primary 1 so it might be hard to follow the lessons of the child has a weak foundation. Since we are less than 2 years away from primary 1, I hope to supplement her learning with some extra class to build her foundation.
Emma has been attending Kuno Method since Feb and I like how they help children from 3-6 years old to learn. Kuno Method offers a renowned and premium experiential learning method from Japan in a fun and interactive way.
They aim to help the children build a strong foundation for primary school, acquire logical & lateral thinking with a structured curriculum & in-house challenges & puzzles. With a strong thinking skill, it encourages the children to engage in independent learning that help them in their jump to Primary school education. The programme is new to Singapore but it isn't something new. It's over 30 years and has solid track record in Japan.
It follows a concept-based curriculum that focus on the following 6 concepts:
1. Comparison, order and measurement - fundamental concept behind units of measurement i.e. size, length, weight and volume
2. Numbers and operations - conceptual understanding behind addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
3. Spatial recognition - up-down, left-right, grid positions and movement of objects
4. Geometry - 2D shapes, 3D shapes, symmetry, systematic, counting of shapes in geometric shape
5. Language and effective communication - key words to articulate concepts learnt, verbal reasoning practice
6. Other essential life skills - psychomotor skill, social skills, reasoning skills, memory, thinking of out the box, science and general knowledge.
All these concepts help to build up the foundation for learning. Each lesson focuses on one concept and it's different concept every week. During the 75-mins lesson, the teacher brings the children through interactive group play, hands-on manipulative, one-on-one dialogue and worksheets to help the children understand the concepts. They have low student-teacher ratio and so far it has been 1 teacher:3 students for her class. There's an assistant teacher if the class size increased. The maximum teacher:student ratio for K1 is 1:6.
Emma really enjoys the lessons and always look forward to it. Kuno Method isn't a maths class or a tuition centre. It's also not a right brain training centre. I see it as a holistic enrichment class while Emma sees it as an art class. I'm not sure why she thinks so, perhaps she just can't relate such fun learning to any other classes that she has in school.
They train memory by "grocery shopping", teach concepts through games and play puzzles. It's no wonder Emma doesn't feel like she's learning - this is what we call purposeful play!
Thank you Kuno Method for introducing the unconventional yet organic way of learning. I look forward to develop Emma's love for learning and thinking in the months to come!!
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