Nov
19
2012

School of Tomorrow

If you are an avid reader of our blog, you’d know that Ethan was home schooled until his present age of 5. He will be 6 mid of next year and I think it is only fair to let him experience one year of pre-school in the company of friends. 

We have yet to register Ethan in any pre-schools as we are in a dilemma on which school to choose. Being a former childhood educator, I’ve been raising Ethan through the ‘learn through play’ method. 

It has never been a “sit down and study” kind of learning for us, but more on exploration and experiential learning. At the end of the day, what matters most is the knowledge that he is acquiring instead of the number of worksheet(s) he has completed.

Last weekend was spent sourcing for pre-school. I was disappointed as the moment we entered all the pre-schools, the Teacher-in-Charge will automatically show us what are their core books and also some additional reference and activity books. It was all about books, books and more books. None of them actually care to explain what type of activities or programmes are installed to nurture the child as an individual.  

I left all of those pre-schools feeling like a zombie. I can imagine Ethan being force lead into a one-way street. I can sense the rigid learning environment ahead.

Will children raised this way be able to meet the challenges of the competitive global market in the future? Is this how we prepare our children for the future? In this rapidly globalising and knowledge-driven world of work, anyone who is an innovative and creative thinker, open to new ideas and the vast opportunities for bettering themselves, is ahead of the game.  Being a lifelong learner is no longer an option, it is a necessity.

I was discussing this with a former colleague when he mentioned School of Tomorrow conference to be held in Kuala Lumpur on 20-21 November. Organised by the Beaconhouse Group, the event will use plenary and groundbreaker sessions as well as workshops to focus on innovative approaches and methods for early childhood and primary education. 

The key to being a lifelong learner is curiosity. As children, we are constantly amazed by our surroundings, fascinated by everything new.  As adults, we tend to lose that childlike inquisitiveness and cynicism often shuts our minds to the opportunities for learning that exist all around us, the dynamic element of life that presents situations and circumstances that help us acquire skills, knowledge and understanding that extend beyond the classroom.

It follows, therefore, that the foundations for lifelong learning are in the early stages of education where children can be inspired to become, above all else, enthusiastic learners. Early Years education needs to be truly holistic, engaging children in stimulating and challenging experiences in the context of their physical and social surroundings, and recognising that children are capable initiators of their own learning. A high quality early childhood programme that encourages active learning, problem solving, effective communication, creativity, social adjustment and participation has huge significance for their longer-term success in education and as future citizens.

Children who are given this fundamental start in life will, along the way, develop the essential social and interpersonal skills, as well as independence and self-confidence – all of which they will need as they progress through their academic journey and beyond.

Learning can no longer be confined to the time spent in a classroom and needs to a lifelong process of personal and professional development.

I will be attending this School of Tomorrow – Empowering Lifelong Learners conference this 20th & 21st November in KL. This conference will bring together scholars, educationists, classroom practitioners, policy makers and experienced professionals to re-examine conventional beliefs of what constitutes progressive teaching and learning.

I hope I’ll find the answer to Ethan’s education here. 

22 Comments + Add Comment

  • //

    sounds good! I did made some calls to few montessori. They told me they’ll start to teach a 3 years old to read and write. Aiyoo…..my interest in them just died off. I do alot of music movement for my daughter, and she’s enjoying it. I still think it’s too early for them to do something so academically!

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  • //

    Question to ask yourself: Why do we need to attend school? If those “outside” tuition or enrichment classes are effective, must as well drop school and continue to send for classes outside?

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  • //

    ya lor, I pun tak paham apasal all also relate to books and more books! but then guess that’s what we can offer at the moment la.. I am giving Princess a year trial for ‘school’, if she cannot cope, then we will have other options later.. hehehe..

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  • //

    lol the photo date October 28 . . . . >.>

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  • //

    Sometimes these preschools also susah. Too much play, parents not happy. Too academic, parents boh syok. Too balanced, too much to cover.

    Me taught Music and Movement at Beaconhouse for a few years… When they took over one school and tried to apply their Learn to Play, Play to Learn thing there, also susah bcos parents say not academic enough. Haha! No choice need to adjust a bit to cater to the community there :(

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  • //

    Can home school all the way? They say the international schools are not so academic or exam-oriented, better…

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  • //

    What Ethan will be in the future…?
    Uhmmmm..an Artist? or an Executive?
    hehe.. :-)

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  • //

    must teach me soon all your tricks :D

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  • //

    Ethan must be the kid with the most photos! I wish my childhood has as many photos as him!

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  • //

    I shared the same sentiments as you. Our education system are way too much exam oriented, and do not promotes creative and innovate thinking at all. A child learn through play and experiment, and should not only be judged by only exam. I’m comprehending on homeschooling, getting the syllabus and homeschool my boy. Please share the learnings from the conference. Would love to hear more from you!

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  • //

    I believe he will be really good in arts, just like you. :D

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  • //

    Ahahaha. Ethan looked absolutely too cute when he drew sth on the board. Stand on chair some more. <3

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  • //

    Didn’t know that Ethan has never gone to preschool yet he’s so smart!

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  • //

    Gosh, watching Ethan grow is like reminding me how much older I’m getting… Rise of the Guardians review

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  • //

    Luv this post…I agree with you that learning is not anymore confined to classroom border. Oh by the way…your son is very cute1

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  • //

    Maybe no need to go to school since all schools in Malaysia also focus on books, books and books!!

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  • //

    Ethan looks so young when he was a little boy, now also little boy lah anyway :P

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  • //

    Haha Merryn, I love the photo of Ethan on the phone, so so cute~

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  • //

    He’s so cute in all the pics!

    Agree with you on our education system. It hardly teaches the children to think!

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  • //

    Got a cousin home school her two children all the way to ‘O’ level and they are coping well. The kids do not have the privilege of having lots of friends & classmates and their only friends are from the church & violin classes & own relatives.

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  • //

    Do share on the outcome of the conference. :)

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  • //

    Ethan is so lucky that he experiences a lot with you.

    My son only enters kindie at the age of 5 and only a Kemas kindie but I don’t think he fell behind his peers at school now. In fact, he’s one of the top boy at both schools.

    Childhood should be about learning and experiencing and fun. Not about filling up workbooks from the age of 2.

    My salute to you, Merryn! :)

    [Reply]

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MeHome is where MY heart is.
I am a mother to two boys; Ethan and Ayden and a wife to Darling William. I'm a stay at home mum who blogs to break the monotony of life and to avoid feeling jaded. Would love to get to know all the Super Mommies and Daddies and Babies or Singles out there with the hope that we can learn more from each other. Most of all, I am a happy person, and I hope YOU are too.

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