The Star Malaysia - Star2
The best start in life
YOUNG children are inherently strong thinkers and self-directed learners – imaginative, curious and cheeky.
Sadly, many schools have reduced learning to scripted lessons, where teachers talk at students and performance is measured using restrictive, standardised measures. This approach undervalues a child’s intelligence and limits his potential.
GEMS International School’s Early Years programme does it differently. It offers a rich curriculum within a well-resourced, enabling environment that optimises the intrinsic strengths of little learners aged three and four.
There are five key ways the programme offers little learners the best start in life.
The GEMS Early Years environment balances child-led exploration with formalised instruction by highly qualified and experienced teachers.
“Our individualised learning approach in the Early Years is not just about differentiated groups or benchmarking the child to a general developmental chart.
“It is personalised to every single child over the two-year programme,” says Craig Lewis, deputy principal of GEMS International School Tropicana Metropark.
Outstanding resources within an enabling environment
All Early Years classes are housed in one big open unit where children are free to interact and move around.
Specialised learning spaces such as role-play areas, iPad stations, reading nooks, writing corners and creative areas are spread across the learning zone.
Each area is designed to support child-initiated play and learning as well as the curriculum’s learning goals.
Dedicated teachers and delightful curriculum delivery “Children need to explore, find things out on their own and question things for themselves in order to engage in high-level thinking,” says Mollie Short, the school’s Early Years programme leader.
“We try to use the ‘fascination factor’ to grab children’s interest at the start of a new topic. For example, this week is about pirates. We left a trail of treasure leading to the sandpit. We dug up a treasure chest and a map. There was a message in a bottle from the pirate.
“These lead up to literacy work, to a book we’ve been studying. Straightaway, the children were engaged and had fantastic questions as we drew on their natural curiosity.”
Emphasis on good learning behaviours
The GEMS Early Years programme does not focus only on academic outcomes but on nurturing the child as a whole. Teachers are trained to bring out the best learning behaviours in children, helping them become responsible for their own learning in school and in life.
By addressing each child’s individual learning needs and negative behaviours from a place of trust and positive relationships, teachers are able to guide young children to make good choices inside and outside the classroom.
Parents as partners in the child’s learning process
Parents receive insight into their child’s progress – what their child does and achieves in school to meet the learning objectives – through the Online Learning Journey e-learning portal.
“Every child’s Online Learning Journey is updated at least once a week by teachers, and captures comments, photographs and videos relating to milestones that parents can celebrate and follow through at home,” says Short.
Visit GEMS International School at Tropicana Metropark in Subang Jaya or Pearl City in Penang today to truly understand the difference.
For more information, call 03-5036 8900 or visit www.gems. edu.my