In a recent Parliamentary debate following the Budget 2018 announcement, Singapore’s Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng emphasised the importance of hands-on learning programmes in schools to cultivate the joy of learning in students.
As reported by the Straits Times, Mr Mg cited the Applied Learning Programme (ALP) which is currently available in more than 80 primary schools and all 155 secondary schools in Singapore as an example.
He explained how such programmes can play a key role in encouraging students to explore ideas, try out new skills such as basic coding, and simply be creative.
Said Mr Ng during the debate on his ministry’s budget,
Students learn by applying and by doing, and they learn beyond the classroom. They see for themselves how they can apply what they have learnt to the real world
One of the most important lessons to be learnt in school, according to parents
The move to place greater importance in hands-on learning in schools, in the next few years, seem to resonate well with parents today as they look beyond having their children get good grades in exams.
According to the results of a recent poll conducted by Parent Portal with parents of school-going children, 15% recognise the importance of exposing their children to hands-on learning throughout the course of their learning journey in school.
Apart from being able to apply what they have learnt in the classroom, other attributes that remain important to parents include the inclusion of values and virtues during lesson time, as well as the opportunity to discover their passion and interest.
For all these and more, it is important that teachers work closely with parents to reinforce the lessons and values taught in school and identify their students’ areas of potential.
Hands-on learning starts from young!
With the emphasis shifting towards hands-on learning in primary school, it would then be ideal for preschools to include basic elements of this in their curriculum.
This can take the form of age-appropriate activities such as art and craft, cooking classes, excursions, and so much more.
At MindChamps PreSchool, preschoolers aged 18 months to 6 years old are given plenty of hands-on learning opportunities throughout the school year. Some examples include:
- Learning to read and write through art and craft activities
- Understanding basic math concepts through Gourmet Moments classes and interactive activities
- Developing communication skills through Champs’ Discovery, which gives each Champ the opportunity to share their knowledge on a particular topic
- Going on termly excursions to learn real-world examples of concepts learnt in the classroom