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.

Individual­ised learning

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.

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