A high achiever who is difficult to work with in teams.
A straight-A student who suddenly struggles in class, fails a project, and does not know how to cope.
An excellent test-taker who lacks compassion toward others.
A hardworking kid who slogs away at worksheets but is unable to tap into his or her creativity.
A go-getter who rejects feedback.
These are all examples of what it is like to possess knowledge and mental acumen – without the positive behaviour, values and virtues that make a life-long learner and true Champion.
Everybody likes being right and feeling smart.
But simply achieving academic excellence is not enough – especially when today’s Singaporeans are better educated than ever and competition keeps growing. What will set your child apart is being exceptional academically and character-wise.
So how can positive behaviour be nurtured in kindergarten in Singapore?
MindChamps PreSchool’s curriculum and teaching methodology focuses not just on academics and knowledge, but more importantly, on values and virtues in children as well.
Developing positive behavior in kindergarten in Singapore
Teachers at MindChamps PreSchool embrace MindChamps’ pedagogical practice of 100% Respect, Zero Fear in their teaching and interactions with students, guiding them to become young Champions, distinguishable by the following 10 values:
- I am Confident
- I am Grateful
- I have Integrity
- I am Self-reflective
- I Focus on the Beauty in Others
- I Embrace Setbacks as Setups
- I Value Feedback as a Seed for Growth
- I am Creative
- I am Compassionate
- I am a Life-long Learner
Identify positive behaviour through positively-stated rules
MindChamps PreSchool fosters positive behaviour by setting “positively stated” rules.
Janice Lim, Assistant Director of Curriculum & Training (Early Childhood) at MindChamps PreSchool provided the following examples of positively stated rules:
- “Let’s use walking feet please” rather than “Don’t run”
- “Clean up when you’ve finished playing” rather than “Don’t leave the toys all over the room”
- “Put your shoes in the cubby hole” rather than “Don’t leave your shoes lying around”
To encourage confidence and teamwork, teachers invite the Champs to be involved in setting the rules by creating a poster of rules using simple words and matching pictures to demonstrate the desired behaviour. This also gives children ownership and pride in doing the right thing.
Teach character-building in every lesson
Kindergartens in Singapore are a great place for children to put values and virtues into action at an early age, whether it is through helping others, engaging in cooperative play, saying “Thank you” to show their gratefulness, participating in charity events, or accepting responsibility for a mistake and learning from it.
At every turn, MindChamps PreSchool encourages children to think about the consequences of their actions. Lessons are infused with values and character-building.
For instance, MindChamps’ Nature and Environmental Awareness Programme – which is developed in the curriculum through the exploration of themes: Me, My Family, My Friends, My Community, and My World – emboldens children to make a difference for good in the world around them.
Even Chinese class is chockfull of opportunities for character-building, as many lessons are drawn from the morals imparted in Chinese classic literature. The traditional tales are distilled in thought-provoking ways for young children to grasp important values and life lessons.
Guide positive behavior with questions
“While our teachers work on changing our Champs’ behaviour to turn the negatives into positives, they also hope to activate thinking in them along the way,” Janice Lim said.
The change in thinking will lead to longer term changes in their behaviour, which can be achieved by asking ‘fertile questions’ that set Champs thinking. ‘Fertile questions’ expect – and encourage – a response, and when phrased correctly, serve to reinforce the reason behind the request.
An example of a fertile question is, “Instead of leaving the wooden blocks on the floor, where is a better place to put them?”
This way, Champs are required to think of the right answer (“On the shelf”). In response, teachers will praise them for their thinking, and reinforce the behavior positively.
Put values and virtues into action in the community
When Champs showed love to needy seniors during Chinese New Year, they demonstrated compassion and a serving heart, and experienced firsthand how rewarding it is to bring joy to others.
Learning such values and virtues and putting them into practice brings out the champion in MindChamps preschoolers.
As their appreciation for all aspects of life grows, they are also better able to self-reflect, see the beauty in others, value feedback as a seed for growth, learn from failure, remain grateful, and compromise and get along with others.
Kindergarten in Singapore should not just be about getting young minds up to speed in academics when these young minds are capable of so much more. A strong sense of values and virtues will motivate a child to be successful in school and life.