Archive for the ‘Early Childhood Education’ Category

Getting preschoolers in math early

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018
Christina Andin (fourth from right) with the mentors for the Accountant Junior programme.

DURING early childhood, infants and toddlers develop 700 neural connections every second. This period has long been accepted as the most critical point in neurological or brain development.

Experts say this sensitive period of development must be utilised to start children on the right path to be successful in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and other content areas. Once these neurological pathways are developed, they go through a pruning process, in which synapses that are not used are eliminated.

Based on this, the Faculty of Psychology and Education at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS)

has taken on an initiative to focus on creating STEM activities, particularly in the area of Mathematics, for preschool level (nursery and kindergarten) children under the STEM Mentor-Mentee Programme driven by the National STEM Movement.

“The Faculty of Psychology and Education produces graduates who are recognised in the field of Psychology and Education.

“We have five programmes: Science and Mathematics with Education, Social Science with Education, Economic with Education, Education with Teaching English as a Second Language and Early Childhood Education.

“The programmes train teachers for the said particular areas. Thus, we have strong connections with schools as we are producing future teachers,” said senior lecturer Dr Christina Andin.

Why mathematics?

Christina said research confirmed that the brain was particularly receptive to learning mathematics and logic between the ages of 1 and 4, and that early mathematics skills were the most powerful predictors of later learning.

“Early math skills are a better predictor of later academic success than early reading. Basically, we hold this findings as justification in the paperwork for this STEM project.”

For the STEM Mentor-Mentee Programme, Christina collaborated with fellow lecturer Dr Connie Shin.

“She is from the Early Childhood Education programme and I am from the Economic with Education programme.

“Our study is about the learning of numbers among preschoolers. We used money as a medium to learn mathematics because it provides a perfect, authentic opportunity to explore mathematics.

“Each coin and paper money has an assigned value. These can be used to engage kids in techniques of sorting, counting, comparing, measuring, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and, eventually, using fractions, decimals, percentages and more,” Christina said.

“Accountant Juniors”, the name of the project, illustrated the ambitious mind to be“like a professional”.

“As we know, an accountant is a professional who performs accounting functions, such as audits or financial statement analyses,” said Christina.

Accountant Junior also has some integrated learning objectives, such as introducing and familiarising children with money, value and the concept of trading, developing social skills, and practising negotiation skills, turn taking and sharing.

The activities provide opportunities for working out problems and experimenting with solutions.

“The development of the modules involved several stages,” said Christina.

“The first was to determine the content to be taught, where we referred to the latest syllabus of Early Mathematics by the Education Ministry. Then, the writing of the lesson plan, which provides important guides for teachers on how to implement the teaching and learning activities. Following that was the creation of the teaching aid as a tool for teaching and learning activities.”

As the concept is based on games, there are five games within the modules that range from simple money-counting activities to more complex money calculations.

The games include an activity called “Know Your Money”, where preschoolers get familiar with coins and paper money. This activity is divided into three sub-activities, namely “Pancing Wang”, “Many or Little” and “Pay by Price”.

Activity 2, “Wheels of Dreams (Needs and Wants)”, is based on the theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow. Through this game, children will learn about the concepts of cheap and expensive through identifying of price tags.

Activity 3, “ATM Machine (Addition and Subtraction)”, relates to the introduction of value in money to children. Children will be exposed to activities that involve addition and subtraction.

Activity 4, “Monopoly (Plan Your Money)”, is a board game where players are involved in making purchses and saving money. This game applies the concepts of addition and subtraction, as well as enhances cognitive, affective and psychomotor aspects. Kids will distinguish between earning, spending, saving and sharing money. The money used per player is below RM10.

Lastly, Activity 5, “Spend and Save”, introduces to children as early as 4 to the usage of 10 sen up to RM10.

“We implemented Accountant Junior in real classroom settings. This involved the pre-test and post-test. The pilot programme was held in Ranau, Kota Belud, Labuan, Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Penyu in Sabah, involving 15 kindergartens, with the presence of 375 preschoolers,” said Christina.

To fulfil the basic concept of the mentor-mentee programme, the kindergarten and nursery teachers took on the role as mentees and university students as mentors.The students are from UMS’s Early Childhood Education programme.

“They are the future kindergarten teachers. Therefore, engaging them in this activity will indirectly expose them to the real world of teaching and learning in the kindergarten context. This is important in producing teachers who have the passion for STEM education,” said Christina.

UMS second-year Early Childhood Education student Phreoza Dayzency Missie said: “The programme is all about exploring early mathematics and exposing preschoolers to financial literacy and money skills. We observed that lower primary schoolchildren often have problems dealing with transactions at their school canteen and thought of teaching them to count by using games and activities.

“The 12 of us mentors, students of the Early Childhood Education Programme, have worked with 33 mentees — kindergarten teachers. We’ve been thinking of turning the games into software applications, so that we can run the programme in Sarawak and the rest of Malaysia too.

“The age of 4 to 6 is very critical to instill understanding of numbers and relate it to problem solving.”

And has the Accountant Junior mentor-mentee programme been successful?

“This is only the starting point for the STEM Mentor-Mentee Programme at UMS. A lot of things need to be done, especially in involving the rest of the three components of STEM, Science, Technology and Engineering,” said Christina.

“We are also in the process of developing the module for ‘Natural Lab’, where we use the eco-campus environment as a medium of learning science concepts among pre-schoolers.

By ROZANA SANI.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2018/03/344979/getting-preschoolers-math-early

First music-themed playschool to open in Sabah

Monday, February 19th, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: The first ever music-themed playschool in Sabah is finally open for intake in March and it is offering a special discount to the first 30 children to register.

Located at Jalan Punai Tanah, Likas (opposite the Chung Hwa Kindergarten and next to the State Education Department building), the ECC (Every Child Can) Playschool Plus is open to children aged two to four years old and provides full-day daycare service. The playschool will be using music and arts as a medium of learning for students.

According to Madam Lily Yong, the Chief Operations Officer for ECCPlayschool Plus, “music has been proven to be able to stimulate brain development, especially in young children. Therefore, ECC Playschool Plus provides creative and interesting thematic classes with lessons using musical instruments, such as piano, violin, singing and phonics, as well as arts and crafts activities.”

Lily adds that early exposure to music and arts early in their lives will help develop creative and cognitive skills in children. Furthermore, this will also help prepare the children’s minds for academic learning in the future. In addition to that, Lily notes that picking up skills early in life, especially in learning musical instruments, will help instill discipline and build solid characters from young.

On top of that, ECC Playschool Plus teachers are also highly trained and qualified in the field of creative arts and music. To ensure the children’s health and safety, the playschool also hires full-time registered nurses to monitor the children’s health and plan nutritious meals for their growing bodies.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/21804

Ensuring access to early childhood education

Thursday, February 15th, 2018
Ong (fourth from right) and Wang (second from right) at a scholarship presentation held in Kelantan.

Ong (fourth from right) and Wang (second from right) at a scholarship presentation held in Kelantan.

AFTER receiving the National Woman Entrepreneur Award 2009 for her outstanding achievements and contribution to society, especially in early childhood development, Datin Seri Dr K H Wang who is co-founder of Smart Reader Worldwide, was inspired to realise her vision to ensure that underprivileged children have access to quality preschool education in their formative years.

She contributed the prizes received to initiate the One Child One Hope Education Scholarship programme. Since it started, the programme has funded more than 500 less fortunate children nationwide for their preschool education.

Each child in the programme receives complete education benefits, including the provision of school fees, uniforms, shoes, schoolbags, books, worksheets and various other learning materials.

More than RM500,000 worth of scholarships have been distributed nationwide and through numerous charity establishments such as Yayasan Sultan Kelantan Darulnaim, Yayasan Tuanku Syed Putra and Yayasan Diraja Sultan Mizan.

To date, Smart Reader Worldwide has also organised various fund-raising events.

These include a grand charity concert in 2012 to an exciting family cycle-and-run event in 2017.

“Providing children with quality education during their formative years allows them the opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Wang.

This is supported by Smart Reader Worldwide Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr Richard Ong.

“We are delighted to see the accomplishment from the scholarship awardees after they enrol in Smart Reader Kids.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2018/02/11/ensuring-access-to-early-childhood-education/#Mez2mkE31jGE1DSG.99

Engaging teachers to advance childhood literacy

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

Raising reading proficiency to 85 percent by balancing support and accountability for educators

Challenge:

The governor of Brazil’s third-largest state, Minas Gerais, committed to a bold vision: by the age of eight, every child would be reading and writing—all within the next four years.

That aspiration was particularly ambitious, given the school system’s enormous scale and low starting point. As of 2006, only 49 percent of eight-year-olds were reading at grade level. Nearly three thousand individual schools would be involved, and many would need to make huge leaps of improvement from year to year.

These improvements could only be generated through the direct efforts and sustained commitment of 15,000 teachers and system personnel dispersed throughout vastly different and socioeconomically disparate regions across the state. Altogether, 130,000 students would participate in this new program.

Discovery :

The McKinsey team worked closely with the Department of Education, a consortium of local businesses, and funding partners to develop an integrated, teacher-focused intervention program.

Research, discussions, and McKinsey’s experience from previous work indicated five critical success factors:

  • building a common vision for change, by including teachers, parents, schools and regional departments, so all would become active participants in the transformation
  • creating clear and objective measurements of progress
  • gaining the commitment of schools and regional departments through written agreements (“performance contracts”)
  • improving relationships with schools and providing tailored support
  • creating a management and monitoring structure to ensure transformation occurred in every classroom

These factors were incorporated into the plan and all contributed to its success.

The implementation included three major steps. Because the system is so complex, the first step was to raise awareness and build momentum for change. Work was needed at multiple levels, including the state, regional departments, individual schools, and surrounding communities.

The goal of universal literacy was widely evangelized. Every school would make a difference; every student would be helped to succeed. Meetings helped mobilize each group in turn:

  • the central team, with 2,700 participants, included superintendents, directors, specialists and teachers
  • the regional team, with 12,000 participants, included directors, specialists, education secretaries, regional, and central teams
  • school directors, teachers, and parents from 4,000 schools

Altogether, about 1 million people were mobilized to support the program, named “Escola Viva, Comunidade Ativa” (Living School, Active Community).

The second step was to set clear, meaningful, and fair performance targets to align incentives and efforts across the system. Every school received its own set of improvement targets, which were then agreed in collaboration between school leaders and system officials. Each principal signed a performance contract based on these targets, and teachers in schools that met their targets were eligible to receive up to one month’s extra salary.

Performance was tracked in “results books” and online. Schools and experts analyzed the resulting data to learn from schools making the most progress, and to send help where it was needed most. Schools with the largest performance gaps received the most direct guidance and tighter accountability, while higher-performing schools enjoyed greater autonomy—as long as they continued to meet targets. This required the state to build up its own ability to intervene directly with schools needing attention, something they had not done before.

Third, to build capacity at all levels of the system, the state focused on giving teachers what they actually needed. For example, the state provided high-quality teaching materials for each lesson. The instructional guides in these sets proved so effective that many private schools and other school systems adopted them. The Education Department also gathered feedback from schools and teachers on their needs, challenges, and progress in implementing the literacy program.

Impact:

The results have been remarkable. In just four years, from 2006 to 2010, the percentage of eight-year-olds reading at grade level jumped from 49 to 86 percent.

by Mona Mourshed @  https://www.mckinsey.com/our-people/mona-mourshed.

Read more @ https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/social-sector/how-we-help-clients/engaging-teachers-to-advance-childhood-literacy

Coding for pre-schoolers

Sunday, December 17th, 2017
Lee and the children playing with Code-A-Pillar, which resembles a caterpillar. — The Straits Times/Asia News Network

Lee and the children playing with Code-A-Pillar, which resembles a caterpillar. — The Straits Times/Asia News Network

EVERY child plays with toys, but coding may well change the way children play.

All 250 Kindergarten 1 pupils from the 13 Skool4Kidz pre-schools gathered at their respective pre-schools with family members for an “Hour of Code”.

During that time, the children practised coding skills using programmable toys.

Sarah Cao, a five-year-old pupil from the Yishun Orchid Spring campus, described how she played: “I put together parts in the order I want the toy to move – so straight, then left, then right.”

Take, for instance, the Kibo robot. It contains wooden blocks with instructions that children can scan in order to tell the main body what to do. And BeeBot, a bright bee-like robot that teaches children problem solving, logical thinking and teamwork.

The robot has four directional arrows on its back, along with a “Go” button. It is placed on one of 25 numbered squares on a mat and the children tell it which square they want it to go to.

The children had to think ahead, by planning all the moves involved in getting the robot to the desired square.

They also had access to Code-A-Pillar, which resembles a caterpillar. Children used codes to programme the toy.

The Hour of Code is a global movement that received the support of former United States president Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and can be organised by anyone.

This is the first time a pre-school in Singapore has participated in the movement. The Skool4Kidz children prepared for it by practising coding every day between 4pm and 6pm in school, for the whole of last month.

Skool4Kidz paid S$17,500 (RM53,375) for the toys, training and equipment.

Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, was guest of honour at the event at the pre-school’s Yishun campus.

He said getting young children familiar with coding will make them comfortable with future technology. He added that “early childhood is a good opportunity for children to learn things that will be useful for their future, through play”.

Liam Zachery Chung, a five-year-old pupil at the Yishun campus, agreed.

He said: “When I use these toys, I need to think more.”

— The Straits Times/Asia News Network
Read more @
https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/12/17/coding-for-preschoolers/#KY7oF5bDkR4uQtcg.99

Kamalanathan: Violence not the solution

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

Kamalanathan (right) signing the plaque at the launch. Looking on is Prof Chiam.

Kamalanathan (right) signing the plaque at the launch. Looking on is Prof Chiam.

EXPOSURE to violent behaviour during the early childhood years can cause the victim to replicate the same acts later on in life.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk P Kamalanathan said violence is never the answer, especially when it comes to disciplining young children.

“The early childhood years are a crucial stage for personality development,” he said during the launch of the National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Week 2017 recently.

He also said that this applies to all including parents, educators, family and everyone the child is exposed to.

“Children might use violence to get what they want.

“So, ECCE educators should strive to be role models for their charges and provide age-appropriate interventions, that do not include violence, when needed,” he added.

Our children should have the right foundation for healthy mental health development, he said, adding that this will also help instil effective negotiation and problem-solving skills.

ECCE Council president Prof Datuk Dr Chiam Heng Keng said the council is concerned with the amount of violence being perpetrated towards preschoolers.

“There is strong evidence to suggest a link between a child’s formative years and the expression of violence in their later years,” she added.

The theme for this year’s National ECCE Week was “Children’s Well-being Through Violence-free Early Childhood”.

This year’s theme was chosen in view of the increasing incidence of violence among children in our country and the vulnerability of children in their formative years to negative experiences.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/10/29/kamalanathan-violence-not-the-solution/#hJWB0qPkTgzk5BCS.99


Raising awareness on violence in early childhood.

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

THE Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Council is organising the National ECCE Week 2017 from Oct 21 to 28.

The theme for the week-long event is “Children’s Well-being Through Violence-free Early Childhood”.

ECCE Council president Datuk Dr Chiam Heng Keng said: “This year’s theme is chosen in view of the increasing incidence of violence among children in our country, and the vulnerability of children in their formative years to negative experiences.”

“In carrying out the activities to promote a violence-free early childhood, the council is also raising awareness among educators, parents and society of the need to provide young children with environments that were free of such acts for the well-being of the nation and its future,” she said.

These include activities for childcare centres, preschools, art competition for preschoolers, poster competition for college and university students, showcase on violence-free early childhood, walk for violence-free early childhood, futsal competition for ECCE students, and a seminar on the subject in Sabah and Sarawak.

For more information, contact the ECCE Council at eccecouncil@gmail.com or visit eccecouncil.org.
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/10/08/raising-awareness-on-violence-in-early-childhood/#MXLHWt1qYRXdte80.99

Children wowed by nature’s wonders

Saturday, October 14th, 2017
A pupil from SJK (C) Hun Bin making friends with a walking stick insect during the Crawlies, Let’s Go activity at Entopia.

A pupil from SJK (C) Hun Bin making friends with a walking stick insect during the Crawlies, Let’s Go activity at Entopia.

NUMEROUS fluttering butterflies welcomed some 100 pupils from three primary schools to Entopia in Teluk Bahang, Penang.

The pupils from SK Tanjong Tokong, SJK (C) Hun Bin and SJK (T) Azad had a wonderful time during their exploration trip.

They connected with nature at the farm’s Natureland living outdoor gardens and The Cocoon indoor discovery centre during the trip organised by Eastern & Oriental Berhad (E&O).

The children were thrilled to be able to get up close with a millipede, bearded dragon, scorpion, sugarglider and stick insect.

image: https://secure-ds.serving-sys.com/BurstingRes/Site-123521/WSFolders/10921466_1/images/default_image.jpg

image: https://bcp.crwdcntrl.net/5/c=5593/b=44289793

“Their response to such learning experiences is a joy to watch.

“We hope to roll out more of such outings under the Think Green umbrella,” she said.

E&O started the Think Green programme four years ago.

It continues to work closely with the Consumers Association of Penang and schools in the vicinity of Seri Tanjung Pinang in Tanjung Tokong.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/metro/metro-news/2017/10/14/children-wowed-by-natures-wonders-100-pupils-learn-about-insects-at-entopia/#PDoD7CvdQPeDsudD.99

Raising awareness on violence in early childhood.

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

THE Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Council is organising the National ECCE Week 2017 from Oct 21 to 28.

The theme for the week-long event is “Children’s Well-being Through Violence-free Early Childhood”.

ECCE Council president Datuk Dr Chiam Heng Keng said: “This year’s theme is chosen in view of the increasing incidence of violence among children in our country, and the vulnerability of children in their formative years to negative experiences.”

“In carrying out the activities to promote a violence-free early childhood, the council is also raising awareness among educators, parents and society of the need to provide young children with environments that were free of such acts for the well-being of the nation and its future,” she said.

These include activities for childcare centres, preschools, art competition for preschoolers, poster competition for college and university students, showcase on violence-free early childhood, walk for violence-free early childhood, futsal competition for ECCE students, and a seminar on the subject in Sabah and Sarawak.

For more information, contact the ECCE Council at eccecouncil@gmail.com or visit eccecouncil.org.
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/10/08/raising-awareness-on-violence-in-early-childhood/#kiI9BuF4U8Xcp573.99

Prof: Bright ideas can come from children.

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017
Making his point: Prof Anil giving his keynote address at Pangkor Dialogue 2017.

Making his point: Prof Anil giving his keynote address at Pangkor Dialogue 2017.

IPOH: Children are often brimming with ideas and they should not be brushed aside, said renowned grassroots innovations scholar Prof Anil K. Gupta.

They should be treated as a source of ideas as there is much to learn from them, he said.

“Children are naturally creative, we just need to pay attention to them.

“Everyone is a potential innovator and inventor,” he said in his keynote address during Pangkor Dialogue 2017 yesterday.

Among the ideas were a walking aid suitable for stairs, shoes with vacuuming abilities and a modern Swiss Army Knife with a projector function.

The professor also called on countries to collaborate in creating a networking system to pool ideas and innovations.

“We need an open source know­ledge management system. We should no longer just think of ourselves but also others,” he said.

Countries, he added, also need to learn and work together or risk being left behind.

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said he managed to turn his town, which was once listed as the second most obese city in the US, into one of the fittest.

Cornett said Oklahoma was built around cars and there were no pedestrian-friendly walkways.

The city, he added, was also known as the fast-food capital of the world.

“In 2007, I called upon the people in the city to go on a diet. We also created jogging and biking trails.

“In 2012, we were on the list as one of the fittest cities in US,” he said in his keynote address.

Cornett said no one talked about obesity but he had to start getting people to do so, in order to bring about changes.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/09/13/prof-bright-ideas-can-come-from-children/#ceLSR41g628gGMGw.99