How does “learner-led play” work? Nexus International School (Singapore) demonstrates this through the usage of a simple fairy tale in the Nursery classroom.
While it’s not uncommon to see preschools in Singapore using the play-based approach to learning, Nexus International School’s (Singapore) Early Years Learning Hub takes it one step further with “learner-led play”. Put simply, the school allows children to take charge of their own learning by exploring their own unique curiosities. This method helps Nexus build confident, creative, and independent learners from a young age.
To further understand how “learner-led play” is carried out, we take a sneak peek of a session with Nexus’ Nursery learners.
What can children learn from Goldilocks and the Three Bears?
There are lessons to be learned from stories, such as childhood fairy tales like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. But if you think that the lesson is conveyed along the lines of “…and the moral of the story is…” at Nexus, then think again. Nexus’ Early Childhood educators are using this well-loved tale to achieve several different learning goals in the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme curriculum.
Upon entering the classroom, Nexus’ Early Years learners are greeted by the many play stations that have been set up by their teachers. The most eye-catching one is none other than the station with the storybook and several toy chairs, beds, bowls, and the bears themselves. Learners are allowed to explore this station at their own pace. They reenact parts of the story and learn how to sort the toys according to their sizes: small, medium, and large.
Another group of learners kept themselves busy at another station, where they found colouring pencils and paper. They practise drawing Goldilocks and other animals of their choice in three different sizes: small, medium, and large as well.
There’s also a station with building blocks, which fascinates the learners as they discuss what the three bears’ houses would look like. There are also three toy houses of different sizes at the station, which the learners use as models as they create their own houses with the building blocks.
But the concept of sizes isn’t the only thing that Nexus’ learners picked up from the story. Each station also has vocabulary flowers which the Nursery teachers use to expand the learners’ word banks. The Early Years learners can pick up new words as they explore and play at each station. On top of that, drawing and playing with building blocks enhances their motor skills, whereas reenacting the story develops their creative and communication skills.
Children learn best when they are engaged and invested in learning
Children are naturally curious; and play is one of the ways they use to explore and learn about the world around them. As such, Nexus’ educators go to great lengths to create a safe, nurturing, and fun environment for their Early Years learners to play and learn in. Every lesson and activity, just like the Goldilocks and the Three Bears stations, is carefully planned and crafted by observant educators who understand how children interact with their learning space. The theme (or story) and stations are designed based on the learners’ interests and play preferences, so that it’s engaging enough to capture their attention.
When children are given ownership of the learning area, they understand that they can explore at their own pace and express themselves creatively. Knowing that this is their learning space, children feel a sense of belonging and are empowered to take care of the space and enjoy the learning experience as well.
Interested families can find out more about Nexus’ Early Childhood education approach via its website, or sign up to visit the campus – physically and virtually – on its Early Years Open Days.
This post is in partnership with Nexus International School (Singapore).