These days, children are spending an increasing number of hours staring at their screens. A recent CNN article reported that an average nine-year-old spends up to two hours each day looking at their screens. Meanwhile, the time children spend outdoors is decreasing rapidly.
Research has shown that the benefits of playing outdoors far outweigh the negatives. Children get exposed to Vitamin D, which helps in building their immunity and bone health. What’s more, this gives them the chance to exercise and develop cognitively.
MindChamps Tanglin is more than aware of this fact and has integrated the great outdoors into their daily lessons. Here are a few ways preschoolers get to enjoy the outdoors at MindChamps Tanglin.
An integrated curriculum
The centre believes that children are naturally drawn to playing outdoors. Thus, they try to hold as many outdoor lessons as the weather permits.
Their playgroup and nursery one classes get to look forward to outdoor lessons daily. Here, a variety of activities that integrate literacy, numeracy and the current theme for the term is conducted to make the learning experience fun for the kids. A good selection of outdoor play materials is also available for the kids such as bikes, planters, sprinklers, shovels, rakes and pails, among others. This kind of play helps to develop their fine and gross motor skills.
Designated days for different forms of play
MindChamps Tanglin also has different outdoor activities on different days of the week to ensure that the kids never get bored.
Mondays are cycling days, where kids bike towards cones or play games using Stop and Go signs.
On “water play” Tuesdays, kids use nets to catch foam letters or transfer coloured balls from one bin to another.
On Wednesdays, they do Art and Craft outdoors such as bark rubbing and painting with leaves or stones.
Thursdays are for playing games such as catching balloons using paddles, games of tag and hopscotch. Fun activities such as this help to increase number retention as well as show kids that math can be fun.
Fridays are dedicated to planting activities such as seed planting, watering plants and doing simple weeding. Handling plants help to inculcate the love and appreciation for nature in children.
Daily activities are held outdoors at MindChamps Tanglin
The kids also have fixed outdoor schedules in the morning to allow for play and exploration.
Teachers conduct Show and Tell classes, storytelling and pool play sessions outdoors. They also hold special events outdoors, such as the recent MindChamps @ Tanglin Kindness Movement which was celebrated in conjunction with National Day.
This was a fundraising event to help disabled citizens of Singapore, and the kids pitched in by baking personalised cookies and decorating canvas bags to sell to the parents. The kids came to school dressed as community helpers, emulating those who have served our country.
Aside from the health benefits that the outdoor environment provides to the kids, MindChamps Tanglin also realised that the kids are more motivated and participative when lessons are held outdoors. Through outdoor lessons, the children get to develop their physical, cognitive and social skills while learning about the importance of fostering a love for Mother Nature by caring for the plants and observing the life and movement of tiny critters.
Written by Steffi Wee