To many three-year-olds, attending nursery in Singapore is a major milestone in their young lives. Instead of being at home most of the day with a caregiver, attending nursery school puts them in the company of their peers and teachers. This affects nursery children’s social skills as well.
It is not surprising then that your child will need time to adapt to the new environment. By believing that he/she will thrive at nursery is the first step to a happy transition and tear-free separation from you.
While attending nursery school in Singapore, your child is likely to develop social skills. A child with strong social skills will have the knowledge of how to behave in social situations and when communicating with others. These skills will help your child to manage the relationships that he/she will form during the rest of the preschool years and beyond.
Here’s how your child will develop socially during the preschool years from nursery level onwards.
Social Skills Children Learn in Nursery in Singapore
1. Language skills
We use language as a way to express thoughts and ideas, wants and needs, and likes or dislikes. As your child prepares for nursery, he/she will need to have a good grasp of language which consists of a broad set of terms or words commonly known as vocabulary. Your child should be continuously developing his/her own vocabulary and using it as a natural part of communicating in his/her everyday situations.
One way to increase his/her bank of age-appropriate words is through theatre and the performing arts. To further enhance language skill in a way that doesn’t feel pressurised, parents may turn to performing arts enrichment programmes such as MindChamps’ Champion Mindset Theatre, which has a holistic and organic approach focusing on the journey of “becoming” throughout the acting process. Apart from refining your child’s language and vocabulary, this programme concentrates on developing the key areas of Confidence, Creativity and Collaboration through “hands on” and experiential activities, allowing your child to truly “become” different characters, objects and emotions in each lesson.
Alternatively, if your child is more reserved to taking the stage, there are various MindChamps enrichment programmes that can expose him/her to the four key essentials of language development – reading, pre-writing, speaking and listening.
2. Respect for self, others and properties
Young children, when placed in close proximity to other children, will gradually learn how to show respect for themselves, others and properties. Sharing, taking turns and being patient when waiting for turns, embracing differences, not outcasting or bullying people who act or appear different are some examples of how children show respect.
Your child will learn to stand up for himself/herself and not be talked into doing stuff that he/she knows is wrong. You child will learn to not interfere with items that do not belong to him/her. These are to be respected by asking for permission when borrowing and returning them in good condition.
Being in nursery school in Singapore provides children with plenty of opportunities to be more mindful of others and things around them. Some children naturally develop a sense of respect early on while others need more guidance in this area. With patient guidance and examples, your child will get the message on being respectful.
3. Encouraging class participation
Depending on the character of your child, your child may find it difficult to participate actively in class, preferring to observe from the side or back. Group activities in nursery school encourage collaborative and participation skills which improves children’s social skills.
For example, children in MindChamps PreSchool discuss in groups on the learning topics and brainstorm together with the help of their teachers who facilitate lessons using the Enquiry Teaching and Learning™ approach. This unique approach is developed to emphasise the focus on getting your child to be curious about subject topics and ask questions that lead to an enquiry exploration.
The teacher can make a point to call on your child for questions that are a matter of opinion rather than ones that have a right or wrong response. You can partner your child’s teacher by assuring him/her that he/she will not be punished or scolded for responding with the wrong answer.
4. Friendship skills
Friendships are one of the earliest and most important skills your child learns in preschool. At three years old, your child begins to gravitate towards his/her peers, looking for play partners. Making friends can however be hard, especially for young children who may not know how to share their feelings or emotions with others.
Your child at nursery level will have plenty of opportunities to experience all the aspects of friendship, which are beneficial to his/her overall development and learning. Friendship skills are honed as children collaborate in in-class activities, go on excursions and do free play together. Along the way, your child will find good friends and learn to be a good friend.
5. Conflict resolution and flexibility
With friends, there are bound to be conflicts. Learning how to manage conflicts calmly is not something that can be easily done, especially by very young children. Talking it out, controlling anger, staying calm, compromising and learning to forgive require a great deal of emotional awareness.
Children who can look at a new situation with positive light will be considered flexible to others and are easy to be around. Being flexible works well in groups and helps your child change the agenda of his/her play to accommodate others. Your child will know that people who disagree can remain as friends.
As your child grows, he/she will learn to be more aware of crafting his/her responses so that it does not come across as hurtful to the other party and find ways to resolve and flex around disagreements.
Children doing enrichment programmes at MindChamps and nursery at MindChamps PreSchool are guided with activities to help them develop their emotional intelligence.
Your child will work and play in cooperation with other children. Working as a team requires your child to set aside some of his/her own needs and wants to accommodate those of others. He/she should know or have a good understanding of what it means to work or play cooperatively with others. Teamwork is the kind of skill that teachers and classmates can model and influence in school through many fun and hands-on games and activities.
Through these experiences, your child will realise that winning is sometimes not an individual effort, but the ability to effectively work in a team.
7. Following instructions
Following instructions is not just an important learning skill, it is an essential life skill. It is important for your child to be able to take direction and follow instructions in a school setting.
Children who struggle to follow instructions are likely to experience a variety of consequences. They may have to redo their work, get hurt or get into trouble for misbehaviours. Learning to follow instructions needs to be reinforced through your child’s education. Many activities and games in nursery are designed for this sole purpose. By following instructions closely, your child will pick up some good listening skills along the way too.
Nursery school provides ample opportunities for your child to grow and work on social skills that will stay with your him/her for life. Social skills are a critical element to helping your child succeed socially, emotionally, personally and even academically.
Written by Karen Chen
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