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Stories: Children, Community, Future

Experiential learning for preschool children

“Crookooo…”, Huong, a teacher of Thu Phong preschool was imitating the sound of a cock in a game on science discovery for her three and four year old students.

The topic of her science discovery lesson is about animal. The lesson started with some practical activities, such as singing songs, watching videos and playing some games about animals. Students seemed to be excitied to play roles of their favourite animals and introduced their hobbies with their friends.

“I like dog the most. They often greet me when I come back home. They bark gau-gau,” happily said Long, a four year old boy.

Huong said: “The framework of education programs from the Ministry of Education are the mixture of different new subjects such as science discovery, emotion and social skill development or language development. At the first time, we did not know how to make plans in details to teach these subjects effectively. Thanks to ChildFund’s support, we applied the experiential learning method into these subjects. The results were much better than what we expected.”

“Experiencing practical activities such as playing games encourages the competitiveness of students in learning or participating in educational activities. With compliments from teachers and friends, they are active in develop their communication skills while obtaining new knowledge,” shared Thao, a teacher of Bac Phong preschool.

During her emotion and social skill development lesson for her four year old student, she showed videos and organized some games on saving water. Finally, students had a competition on washing hands with soaps.

“Preschool students like actions. They prefer playing games than siting at the place. They are very excited to experience practical activities and naturally remember the lessons very quickly,” added she.

The same was applied with the language development through literature subject. Learning about traffic means, children acted as the traffic means and learn new words relating to them. For example, the teacher can ask questions about the traffic means and integrate new words in the questions and then explain the meanings after that. They also can learn new sentences relating to traffic rules and apply it to make new sentences. This can help them to remember the knowledge longer.

Starting implementing the education project in Cao Phong district since 2002, ChildFund introduced the experiential learning method to preschools to help improve the quality of education through trainings.

Huong is the teacher of Tay Phong preschool for 14 years. After getting trained on the experiential learning method, she often organises lesson samples for other teachers at school and other schools in the district to learn about. She also discussed about it in the professional meetings among teachers to integrate the method in the school educational plans. Beside using available materials, Huong and her colleagues spent time to create more visual materials using available sources to use in their practical activities and decorate the classrooms. This will help students to see everything in new ways and stimulate their creativeness in study.

She said: “Since participating to ChildFund’s trainings in 2013, the teachers have more enthusiasm and become more active and creative in preparing our teaching plans and activities”.

“With ChildFund’s support, the schools had opportunities to raise their own issues and find the solutions that fit to address the issues. Therefore, they do what they want to do with full responsibilities and commitments to improve the education quality”, said Phuong, a specialist of Cao Phong district department of education.

With the direction of Cao Phong district department of education, Tay Phong preschool often shared the teaching methods that they learnt with other preschools in the district and province and support them to apply the experiential learning method in the subjects. Every year, the school organized a meeting inviting other schools to review the challenges and opportunities in applying the experiential learning methods, revising the educational plans and organising trainings for new teachers to remain the methods during the years.

“The guidelines that ChildFund supported was considered as our valued materials to develop our education plans”, said Phuong.

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