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Building life skills from a young age
Shortlisting suitable preschools for your child?
In academia-driven Singapore, knowledge and certificates are often top priorities for parents. But should this be your primary concern when looking for a preschool? In our experience, while it’s necessary for young children to learn basic language, counting and psychomotor skills, another set of abilities can carry them much further through life – life skills. And this is one set of skills that’s best developed in their preschool years.
What do we mean by life skills? This is knowledge that goes far beyond academics – it’s how your child makes confident decisions, gains independence, takes on responsibility and communicates with others. Simply put, these are the traits that can help to positively shape your child’s life.
At My First Skool, our curriculum is focused on two areas of a child’s development – kick-starting their academic abilities and nurturing important life skills through daily interactions and routines that will see them excel in life.
This is how we incorporate character building skills into our lessons.
1. Honing decision-making skills
Often, parents decide what’s best for their children – what to eat, where to go, what clothes to wear, and more. This can lead to children simply relying on adults to make decisions for them. When a child transitions into adolescence and adulthood, this lack of decision-making abilities can translate into bigger issues as they are faced with more important decisions like choosing a specialisation to pursue in school, selecting the best job offer, etc.
In our classrooms, children are empowered to make decisions on a daily basis. At our Early Years Centres (EYCs), one such activity is giving children a choice of two pasta sauces, then asking them to pick their preferred one. And in our learning corners (which involve role playing), children get to choose what roles they would like to play.
These small decisions are gradually expanded into bigger ones as children grow older and gain more confidence in this essential life skill. In addition to feeling more confident, children also learn to think and communicate more with peers, teachers and parents.
2. Learning independence
It’s common to see children relying on adults for many things in life. After all, wherever they are, children are usually accompanied by adults – whether it’s their parents, a helper or their teachers.
However, developing an over-reliance on adults can negatively affect a child’s ability to be independent – and this can prevent them from pursuing opportunities later in life, such as taking on overseas attachments, furthering their career away from home, living independently, and more.
This is why it’s important to develop this crucial skill from a young age. At My First Skool, our children are provided with many learning opportunities during daily routines that build their sense of independence, like clearing their plates and cutlery after meals, taking turns serving food to classmates, and setting up their mattresses at naptimes.
Best of all, these activities also help children to develop other essential life skills, such as teamwork and respect – for example, by cleaning up after meals, children often gain newfound respect for wait staff at restaurants and cleaners at hawker centres and food courts.
3. Nurturing a sense of responsibility
Speaking of responsibilities, many parents assume that children are too young take on responsibilities, so parents pack their children’s bags, remind them of their homework, and more. But developing a sense of responsibility is essential for the years ahead, when your child is expected to take responsibility for their grades, behaviour, choices or friends, and much more.
At My First Skool, we believe it’s important that children get an early start in building this life skill. How do we make this happen in our classrooms? One example is when our teachers invites a child with taking care of a plant or pet in school. When placed in this position, children quickly learn the importance or responsibility and become more comfortable and confident with taking on responsibilities. Children are also trusted with the responsibility of marking their attendance during certain lessons such as being the little monitress or monitor of the day, helping to take class attendance, etc.
These activities (and others) truly give children the feeling of being a “big boy” or “big girl”, making them feel empowered to take responsibility for their toys, attendance and more.
4. Conflict resolution
When children get into arguments, it’s common to see adults stepping in to intervene and “prescribing a solution” such as asking children to stand in a corner or making them shake hands and be friends. While the solutions may be viable, the prescriptive nature of these solutions means that issues are only settled by the adults in the room.
What happens when adults are not present? And what about when young children grow up into adults and need to manage conflicts themselves? Children need to learn how to negotiate and create win-win situations for all parties involved.
At My First Skool, we take a proactive approach to teaching children how to resolve conflicts. When children get into a disagreement, our teachers ask the disagreeing children to talk to one another and resolve the conflict – all the while, the teacher observes the interaction and guides children with relevant and empowering questions, whenever needed.
Through these interactions, children learn to resolve disagreements and make peace in a calm, effective and collaborative manner – by listening to their peers’ opinions, taking deep breaths to manage their emotions, and using other conflict resolution strategies that they have learnt from their teachers.
As a result, our children develop excellent communication skills and are comfortable with using negotiations to achieve a win-win outcome for everyone involved.
Learn these life skills (and more) at My First Skool
Is your child equipped with the character-building skills needed to blast through life? Register now or speak to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 6509 7887 for more information on how My First Skool can get your child ready for a truly outstanding life ahead.