Many parents think that the main purpose of enrolling their child in a preschool or kindergarten class is to socialise them and encourage them to interact with other children in a polite and respectful manner. While developing these social skills is necessary to enable them to engage with others in a formal education environment, as one of the best kindergartens in Bangkok, we go far beyond that, taking time to develop more than just our students’ social skills.
Areas of Childhood Development
There are four primary areas of a child’s development. Each of these areas play a crucial role in a student’s ability to excel in their studies once they reach the age of formal education.
The best kindergarten schools know that these developmental areas work in conjunction with each other to enable the child to fully engage in their lessons and get the most out of their education. These areas of development are:
- Social and Emotional
- Movement and Physical
- Cognitive Learning, Thinking and Problem-solving
- Language and Communication
Think of how you deal with colleagues at work as an example. During a meeting, you might be called upon to deliver a presentation on a new product. The product is still in the concept stage so you have to draw a picture and give a description that provides additional information about the product. You are effectively using physical skills to create the picture, and your language skills to provide additional information.
Then, a couple of your colleagues challenge the need for such a product and ask you to list the reasons for its development. You have to use your social and emotional skills to try and ease the situation, while using your thinking skills to come up with a list of reasons for its development.
As you can see, you use these areas of development to solve problems you encounter every day. The same is true for your child each day throughout their formal education. If they haven’t developed all of these skills equally, they may not be able to get the most out of the next stage of their education. They may not have the fine motor skills to figure out how to work a writing implement for example. Or a deficiency in their communication skills might prevent them from telling the teacher about the problem they’re having, which may cause a feeling of frustration, and a lack of emotional development may cause them to act out their frustrations and disrupt the class.
The best kindergarten schools know that to develop a child’s social skills without developing the other three areas can severely limit the abilities of a child to contribute to their own education.
Play as a Developmental Tool
So, how do you engage small children who may not have interacted with anyone outside of their family before? You start by simply encouraging them to play. Play relieves stress in children, ignites their creativity, and increases their happiness.
Play is also an invaluable tool for encouraging children to start interacting with others. By closely monitoring this interaction and gently discouraging inappropriate behaviour, children start to develop their social skills.
The type of play can also help develop other critical areas. Playing with blocks helps them develop their motor skills, particularly their hand-eye coordination and their spatial awareness. Playing with shapes and colours, for example, being asked to find colour matches, helps them develop their cognitive and problem-solving skills. Engaging in games such as “Simon Says” helps them become aware of the limits of their body and develop physical skills by imitating examples.
Even sitting quietly and having a story read to them can help develop their language and communication skills. Children will be encouraged to ask questions about the story and give their opinion on it. Knowing they’ll be asked their opinion encourages them to listen more carefully to the story and helps develop their cognitive skills as well.
Structured Daily Programme
At Raintree International, as one of the best kindergartens in Bangkok, we have discovered that the development of the four fundamental areas can be achieved through a closely monitored and structured series of games and activities. These games and activities are designed to be fun and engaging for the child, thus encouraging them to be adventurous and reach beyond their comfort zone. This also helps the child reach out to other children and begin to develop friendships and learn to share.
Our day is divided up so that the children can become used to following a routine and practicing daily habits. This helps make the structure of a formal education less confusing and easier to adjust to when they first enter primary school.
Kindergarten is a time when everything can be turned into a lesson. The key is having qualified, professional teachers that can recognise when a student is having problems understanding something and can take the time to give them additional attention.
These teachers can turn lunchtime into a discussion about a child’s favorite foods and why some foods are better for you than others. Or a plane flying overhead will spur a lesson about travel to other countries and how they differ from where we are. Children will also get in the habit of developing good personal hygiene by following the examples of their teachers and other children around them. The best kindergarten schools make learning a constant and pleasurable experience for children which only encourages them to want to learn more. Make an appointment to visit the best kindergarten in Bangkok at Raintree International School and learn more about how the professional educators at Raintree can help your child develop and meet the challenges of their future education.