In teaching kids about swimming , not only is theory is important , but so is the practicals . So unless kids start getting their feet wet and show what they can do in the pool , they are not going to learn much about swimming .
We believe that providing knowledge is just the first step , but more importantly , is the application of that knowledge for the benefit of mankind . So teaching kids about Science in many enrichment programs is not good enough . Kids may be able to do well on paper and theory but unless they get to experience the application of the knowledge , it is a close second to the swimming lesson above . We are not talking about nuclear fusion here , for we certainly don’t expect kids to experiment with them .
We develop curriculum for kids age 5 to 12 years old in Singapore . However unlike other Science enrichment program providers in Singapore , we are not focusing on Science alone but in totality , combining both Science and Mathematics , Technology and Applications , through the design and build methodologies , which we felt offers a lot more challenges and excitement to kids .
The process of learning is not about acquiring knowledge like most Science enrichment programs . Knowledge alone is not enough but we want kids to apply that knowledge in the design and build programs so that kids get to experience it themselves . It is the experience that we want kids to have so that they can better appreciate the knowledge and technology , and how it is applied in everyday life .
For example , kids may be taught that wind energy can be used to do useful work and to light up homes . They may have heard or seen videos how this is done . In the activities for kids , kids get a chance to design and build windmills (or pin wheels) themselves and to show , and experience how wind energy lights up a bulb .
Kids are naturally curious and we want kids to explore and to learn with our guidance about the things around them . Instead of spending time playing electronic games and computers , we want kids to play and learn in a fun way , at the same time interacting and socializing with others . Having seen how teachers and trainers conduct enrichment lessons for preschoolers and primary school kids , we develop our our own training methods , processes and curriculum that allow kids
- to play and have fun
- to discover
- to learn
- to think
- to design , build and construct , and
- to interact with others
Our views about kids and how the society has changed came from 2 authors , Dan Roam and Dan Pink , which trigger us to focus on kids .
Dan Roam | The Back of the Napkin
First is Dan Roam , author of the book “The Back of the Napkin” . Similar to Montessori teaching and training for kids , Dan focus only on ONE of the senses … VISION , which is the most important of all the senses . If you walked into a classroom full of kindergarten kids at age 4~6 years old , and ask 2 simple questions ;
- How many of you can draw ?
- Next question , how many of you can read and write ?
The answer is obvious because all of them can draw but very few can read and write at that age .
Now , let’s assume 10 years later and we approach the same kids who are now age 14~16 years old and ask the same 2 questions . Now suddenly we realize that these 14~16 years old can no longer draw but surely all of them can read and write . It seems strange that when we acquire new skills , we dropped our innate skills of drawing .
In another analysis , Dan did a simple test about coloured pen people . Basically there are 3 types , “Black” , “Yellow” and “Red” . “Black” pen people are people who are very comfortable with drawing using metaphors about ideas and concepts . “Yellow” pen people are people who tend to high light missing and important information . Last , the “Red” pen people are people who are very data driven , detailed and focused .
So when Dan had an opportunity to interact with a few hundred teachers from the education industry in one of his seminars , and when he did the pen test on them , not surprisingly , 95% of them are “Red” pen people .
A lot of people might think that they can’t draw , but the reality of the “Black” pen people is this . If you are teaching Physics in schools , how do you describe electron and protons or even the magnetic fields where they cannot be seen without drawing to the students ? In order to translate ideas , concepts we need to make use of models and drawings to elaborate and this is the area of visual thinking that we need to encourage our kids to do . The power of imagination is very important in Science and we make use of our eyes and our mind’s eyes (brain) to do this
Dan Pink | A whole new mind and Drive
Now , we introduce another author , Dan Pink who talks about the right brain of key importance in the 21st century . New ideas and concepts is key because business no matter how large they are , if they cannot find new ways of doing things , they will go the way of the dinosaurs . Now watch the video below and why we have to focus in using our right brain , now that we have more or less mastered our left logical brain
Now this is where we stepped in . Kids are like sponge wanting to know more , unlike adults . In a kindergarten classroom , when you ask for volunteers , everyone will raise their hands until we have to start having rules to see who gets to do first (unlike adults of course) . Kids are naturally very creative but when we start putting them in a structured schools and trained by “RED” pen people , you can imagine what happens . Rules , structure and system are necessary but they can also hinder creativity . They may help push up the national average performance which is important , but those kids at the high end of the creativity spectrum may be pulled down . One size does not fit all .
So it becomes very important for kids to learn to SEE clearly , IMAGINE further , THINK deeper , EXPLORE and to TRY . You never know what they will uncover at the corner of the boundary ….but that’s what we need to compete in the 21st century