November 18, 2011
What does it mean to encourage learning through play in the kindergarten years?
One K4 class’ visit to a hotel kitchen makes for a fine example. Last month, the four-year-old students had developed an interest in different elements of cooking and were invited to a behind-the-scenes tour of Jin Jiang Oriental Hotel’s kitchen as part of their studies. Accompanied by their teachers, the children put on little chefs’ hats and took a tour with the executive chef to learn about how things work in a large hotel kitchen.
At the bakery, the children observed the dough being made, smelled the freshly baked bread and saw all the different bakery goods in the shop window. The master baker came back to class with the children and, together, they made cream puffs for afternoon snack.
“We help children develop new skills in context,” says Sarah Zarzo, Early Childhood Education Co-ordinator at YCIS Shanghai’s Regency Park Campus. “The K4 students learned because they were interested in cooking, not because the teachers told them to learn.”
The children returned to class with new vocabulary for ingredients and measurements used to make the cream puffs. And because they were so excited to share the experience with their parents, the students decided to learn how to write a recipe. A delicious way to learn indeed!