“So often we hear about the importance of allowing children to play freely, but often this is misinterpreted as structured or supervised play,” notes Kate McAlister, Co-Principal at YIC, ECE who explains a core YIC, ECE philosophy is to allow children to be the instigators and drivers of play where they follow their own interests and curiosities with teachers ensuring a safe school setting. In addition to academic learning, Ms McAlister says ECE places particular focus on allowing children to develop their social skills. “We work hard to provide a stimulating environment where children feel safe to use their innate ability to learn and discover their creativity to innovate and explore,” says Ms McAlister who believes that unstructured play provides the creative foundation for future learning. For example, instead of seeing STEAM (science, technology, engineering mathematics and art) topics as a challenge, children that make discoveries through their own curiosity are more likely to embrace the concepts of STEAM with enthusiasm and resilience. “The skills and knowledge considered so important to be successful in the twenty first century can be introduced in a subtle way through early childhood play,” says Ms McAlister. “Every day at ECE we see little scientists at work, ECE children
As part of Yew Chung’s philosophy to encourage parents to actively participate in their children’s learning journey, Ms McAlister says the ECE helps parents cope with the pressure of preparing their children to thrive in the future. “There is a tendency for parents to feel pressured into signing their children up for multiple extracurricular activities, so we work closely with parents to see if this is really necessary,” explains Ms McAlister. “Parents get labeled as ‘tiger’ or ‘helicopter’ parents and this not helpful,” she adds. To provide a solution, though non-judgmental dialog, ECE education professionals help parents to identify and rationalise what they want for their children. “Of course, all parents want their children to be successful, but the main priority parents arrive at is for them to be happy,” concludes Ms McAlister.