Lunar New Year Celebrations

As we approach the Spring Festival there is a lot of energy and excitement throughout the school.

Here, at SIS we really enjoy celebrating the Chinese New Year, China’s most important festival and holiday time.

 

On Saturday, we had fun at our Discover China Day, when lots of parents and students joined us. Prek1 students performed Xin Nian Hao on the stage,a traditional Chinese song.

To celebrate the arrival of the new year, we made firecrackers, lucky hongbao, paper dragons, dumplings, Fu decorations or try Chinese calligraphy. We also invited parents to come in our classrooms and share their knowledge about this wonderful celebration. On the last day of school, we all watched the Lion Dance in the sports field. Here are some photos from this week.

I wish you all a very happy and wonderful new year. See you back to school on Monday, February 3rd.

Gong xi fa cai!

Benefits of Reading Aloud

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Benefits of Reading Aloud

It was exciting to see that so many parents led Reading Aloud activities to our students in the PreK1 classrooms during last week’s SIS International Week. Reading aloud to a child is one of the most important things we can do to promote children’s future reading ability. Whether we choose a book from your home bookshelf or one from library, sharing this special read-aloud time with a child is beneficial in numerous ways. Here are five great reasons for Reading Aloud to children.

  1. Reading aloud a book to children creates a lifetime interest in reading. Children generally enjoy being read to, which encourages them to see and experience reading as something fun and positive. If we start reading to our children while they are young, they will be much more likely to grow into the habit of reading. 
  2. Reading aloud to young children extends their attention spans. Unlike watching TV, reading or being read to promotes a slower unfolding of events and ideas. This encourages children to listen, pay attention and concentrate, which after a while can increase their overall attention span.
  3. Reading aloud builds stronger vocabulary as it lets children regularly hear new words in new story contexts, that build their vocabulary and helps them for a stronger language development.
  4. Reading aloud strengthens the power of children’s imagination. When we read to our children, they visualize and imagine the story’s events in their minds. Through the pages of a book, children are able to experience events and situations that are outside of their own personal experiences. 
  5. Reading aloud with children provides bonding time with parents-children. The quality time spent together benefits bonding and strengthens relationships, making it easier for children to develop their social, communication and interpersonal skills. 

International Week

At Shekou International School we foster an appreciation for differences and commonalities that unite us as human beings on a shared planet. 

This week we celebrated the diversity of our school community and learnt about traditions of our families. Parents were welcomed in the classrooms to be guest readers, to introduce traditional games, dances, songs, to share with us a traditional craft, an introduction to language, a cultural story or a traditional delicacy.

The week ended with a joyful and colourful International Day Parade. The children took pride in their nationality and learnt more about their identity. What an awesome community we are part of!

Developing Early Years Thinking Skills through Technology

PreK1 classes has been using tech to facilitate our learners’ curiosity, thinking skills and research skills. This article is an exemplar of how one class does it. Classes may do it differently, but the inquiry and learning goals are the same.

First, language of thinking have been explicitly modelled with visual prompts, like “I wonder…,” “I Inferred…” and “I observed.” Open-ended questions are asked, as well.

 

We have then showed the children remnants of past technology, like an analog land line phone and and an old cinema reel projector, asking questions to unlock and connect poor knowledge.

An RC car and an emergency light was shown next, asking students what they think those are. Some pointed to the installed emergency lights in the classroom. A screw driver was presented next, as we have discussed first safety assessment in handling tools.

The children then, with supervision, explored what is inside the RC car and the emergency lights, asking questions and verbalising their wonderings as they explored.

 

 

 

Literacy in Early Childhood Education

What is often simply dismissed as meaningless scribble scrabble or even making up words, are meaningful and fundamental components of literacy for young children. The fine motor and hand eye coordination skills required for writing are developed as they experiment with mark making. Young children are practicing pencil grip which progresses from larger muscle groups that translate to better precision, coloring in lines, drawing with detail, and improved letter formation. Mark making is young children’s way of communicating, expressing themselves, and experimenting with the new knowledge that marks have meaning (alphabet, numbers, words, books, etc.). Whether it is writing their name to identify their work or create a drawing that representing their thinking, scribbles are the foundation for the process that leads to writing as a form of communication.  

In our classrooms, we provide students with a multitude of opportunities for developing their fine motor and prewriting skills. Sensory experiences to strengthen their fine motor skills and pencil grip. A multitude of mark making materials – chalk, markers, crayons, pencils, paintbrushes. And a wide variety of surfaces from chalkboards and whiteboards to paper and cardboard.  

Prereading focuses on such things as our names and books. From cubbies to rest time bags, students see their, classmates’, and teachers’ names everywhere! It helps them with identification, recognizing the first letter, and differentiating between upper and lowercase. From name plates to magnetic letters to sensory experiences, our learning spaces are overflowing with investigated exposure to the alphabet. As we read books, we model for students how to care for books, turning pages, and reading left to right. We talk about parts of the books, authors, and illustrators. Also picture walks where students identify what they see happening without needing to know the words. 

As the school year progresses, we revisit and reflect on these initial samples to offer students increasingly varied and extensive experiences to cultivate their writing and drawing ability. Drawings begin to be identified when they write their names and label what they create. Letter, notes, and cards are written.  

Structuring the environment for students by Mariana Florea

The school environment needs to have a range of clearly defined areas to encourage inquiry, investigation, exploration and play, both indoors and outdoors. These may include spaces for reading, writing, art, construction, imaginative play and science, with a wide variety of appropriate resources in each.

Particularly for young students, interactions in and with these spaces stimulate them to become active learners. They need extended periods of time and as much space as possible to explore, investigate and play with a variety of materials in order to learn about themselves, other people and the world around them.

The learning environment provides opportunities for children to make choices and decisions, use materials in imaginative ways, ask questions, work collaboratively with others, develop understanding and sustain their interest.