Our learning approach is a multi-faceted approach.
We do not subscribe to one singular approach for children, but rather, incorporate the best elements across different approaches (Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, Montessori), and ensure that our activities and products cater to different styles and preferences of learning.
We believe learning happens under all kinds of environment, at any time, in many varied ways, and through different kinds of activities.
And at the core of them all, are the principles on Respectful Parenting (more on this below) which we strongly believe in.
Below shares the principles of these different learning approaches, and how we integrate them into our learning activities.
Our learning approach and activities are mostly Reggio-inspired.
The Reggio Emilia Approach is an innovative and inspiring approach to early childhood education. It values and believes every child to be strong and capable, and filled with potential and an innate deep curiosity which drives their interest to understand the World around them.
1. Children are capable of directing and leading their own learning based on their own interests.
- All of our learning activities should be 100% child-led and carried out according to the child's pace.
2. Children develop strong communication and socio-emotional skills through their interactions with others. They seek out knowledge and understanding of the world through their own explorations, vs getting them directly from the adult.
- Our PoP Play Workshops enable all children to be an equal participant with other children at play; and provide an opportunity for close interactions to help develop their communication and socio-emotional skills.
- Our learning activities enable children to learn through hands-on experiential play; vs simply providing the information.
3. The Hundred Languages of Children
This is an amazing (and my favorite) concept behind Reggio Emilia - children use many different ways to learn and understand the World, and to express their thoughts and creativity. A hundred different ways of thinking, discovering and learning through multiple approaches - drawing, painting, music, movement, pretend play etc... Each of these hundred languages must be valued and nurtured, and these languages are ways of learning for the child.
- We emphasize hands-on discovery learning through our activities that enables the child to use all their senses and all their languages to learn.
- Our learning activities take on a multi-faceted approach to learning, incorporating sensorial play, culinary play and outdoor play.
The essential crux of Waldorf-Steiner method is that it encourages a broad curriculum where learning is encouraged for the sake of learning, instead of for the sake of scoring on a test/exam. This is the biggest selling point for me behind the Waldorf method.
1. Children are taught through imitation, real life examples and hands-on activities as educational approaches rather than verbal instructions.
- We don't believe in flash cards, flash cards in our opinions strongly contradict the Waldorf method. If you are learning about plants, would you rather an adult flashes 20 cards at you and expects you to remember them; or would you rather go out to the gardens to experience and learn?
- For eg, our Letterland activities (refer to Letterland Aa and Letterland Bb examples) introduce alphabets in a fun innovative way, vs flashing alphabet cards at the child.
2. The impact of sensory experience in early childhood is considered vital. It helps to foster healthy development of imagination and creativity, together with artistic activities such as storytelling, music, drawing and painting.
- We love sensorial play! And we strongly advocate for it to be integrated in a child's life. I have seen how focused and interested children ranging 1 to 7 year old are when they are involved in sensorial play. All our learning activities, especially our PoP Play Workshops, integrate a huge element of sensorial play.
- We experiment and play around with different sensorial bases in our activities, according to the themes of that month. We mostly use natural and food-grade sensorial bases in our sensorial play, such as colored rice or pasta, oats, beans, natural home-made play dough etc.
- We integrate art and crafts elements into our learning activities. Our Nature-themed and Letterland activity sets include coloring, painting and play-dough modelling activities.
3. Academic education is de-emphasized before the age of 7, and parents are asked to limit exposure to TV, social media, computer or video games.
- We consistently encourage parents to limit exposure to electronic devices to a minimal level. We had developed fun and interesting activities to enable you to engage your children in a more meaningful way, vs plopping them in front of the TV.
- We emphasize that children should learn at their own pace and in a play-based method vs hard-core learning.
4. This approach is largely built upon active parent participation in all areas of learning.
- The intent of the learning activities which we developed is to enable you to engage and bond with your children through meaningful activities.
- Our PoP Play Workshops mandate that the child must be parent-accompanied. You play a big part in your child's learning process, through your encouragement and participation.
We adopt the Montessori method largely at home in creating an optimal learning environment for the children, and in the materials which we utilize for our learning activities.
1. Montessori is child-led learning. It stresses the need for freedom and independence for the children, with careful preparation of the environment. Creating spaces and using objects that are easily accessible to the child is key.
- Child proof: Ensure the learning environment is child-proof so the child can freely explore within. This cultivates spontaneous learning, vs an adult following the child around and stopping him from touching this and that.
- Low Shelves: Openly displaying the work and learning materials, which are easily within reach for the child encourages independence in learning such that the child can reach for these materials to work with them any time he wants.
- Small tables and chairs: If the chairs and tables are lightweight, your child can freely move them into different rooms fostering independence. He does not need to depend on you whenever he wants to be at the table to do writing/drawing/painting work.
- Various sized trays or baskets: Each activity or work goes on its own individual tray. This helps to ensure proper organization of the learning materials, and also encourages the child to focus on one tray at a time instead of being distracted by multiple activities and materials around.
You can read about how we created T’s play space at home here.
2. There is a huge focus on practical life work for the child. Daily household items are also used as the core materials in activities.
- We highly encourage introducing elements of practical life work in your child's learning. Let him wipe his own table, sweep the floor, wash his toys, prepare his snacks. You will be surprised how much he might enjoy these activities. Our learning activity sets (refer to our Printables) also incorporate culinary play in every theme, as part of practical life work.
- We use daily household items (such as whisk, spoons, ladles etc) in our activites ( refer to our Facebook or Instagram). We also use loose materials such as paper clips, ice-cream sticks, wooden pegs etc; and recycled materials such as toilet paper rolls, bottle caps etc, in our activities and PoP Play Workshops.
3. Let the child self-correct. This is an important concept, and also sits in very nicely with Respectful and Positive Parenting principles where every child is to be respected as independent and capable individual.
- It can be so easy and intuitive to correct the child before he has had the time allowed to recognize the mistake. Sometimes the child might take a few mins, sometimes a few hours, sometimes days... Be more of an observer in this. It's okay if the child tells you the skies is green. Prompt him towards self-correcting: "oh is it?", "Is the grass green as well?", "So you say the grass is green. Do the skies look the same color as the grass?". It will be more fulfilling for both of you when the child has the ability to self-correct.
- This concept builds confidence and self-awareness in the child, and enable him to realize he is an independent individual capable of learning.
Respectful parenting. You will find that we use this term a lot. It also goes by positive parenting, conscious parenting, peaceful parenting. The overarching theme is a respect for children as individuals, and to treat them with the same importance and positive regard as you would want to be treated.
It's a huge topic, but a topic worth understanding and having much deep discussions on. We created an infographic awhile back (you can download it here) to explain the basic concepts of Respectful Parenting using P.E.A.C.E.
P: Positive Parenting
E: Embrace Emotions
We incorporate these principles not only in how we facilitate the learning activities at home, but also in our day-to-day interactions with the child. And we encourage you to do the same.
There are just so many elements and layers to what Respectful Parenting is about. We talk about Respectful Parenting in detail in our 3-Part blog posts (read here). We would love to hear your opinions and thoughts on this, so feel free to drop us a message or email if you want to discuss.