“Papa”, “Mama”, “Outside”, these were some of the words that the teachers of Marymount Kindergarten could hear from the Lily’s classroom. I glanced around the class and noticed the classroom was filled with little ones who were fiddling with toys or little ones bursting out in tears.

This was Marymount Kindergarten’s first batch of playgroup students. I wondered how the children felt- to be in a completely new environment with unfamiliar faces. In the midst of my thoughts, I heard the loud wails of a child. “Outside” as he pointed towards the direction of the classroom door. I picked him up in my arms, placed him closer towards my chest, cajoled him while I made used of the surrounding noises and items to catch his attention. Eventually, he calmed down.

The playgroup programme began on 1 February 2019 as a 3-hours programme for a group of 13 children. As a start, the children were split into two smaller groups to allow the teachers to better cater to each child’s needs. With increased attention, familiarity and interaction, the children found themselves settling in as they began to feel at ease in a completely new environment. After a couple of days, the children were gathered together as a class of 13.

In the first two weeks of the programme, the parents were given an opportunity to join their children in their classes. Parents played a huge role in assisting their children in their daily needs, increased interaction between teacher and parent and helping their child to settle down. To further assist, the parents had filled up the “Get to know your child” better form, which served as a guide to the teachers to understand the child’s likes and dislikes. This was definitely a handy notebook to help their children settle down.

While familiarity and comfort was in progress to assist the children in settling down, one did not forget the necessity of a routine. The children were led through a programme that began with music and movement – where familiar songs such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or “If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands” were sung and introduced to the children. Children were then brought outdoors before they had their snacks. Lessons were conducted based on the theme and children were introduced to songs, stories, different materials and experiments to catch their attention and to enhance their five senses. Simple words were used and continuously repeated to increase their familiarity and understanding of concepts. Thereafter, they were brought to the indoor gym for some crawling activities to enhance their motor skills before they ended the day with the Chinese programme.

As the children started to settle down, parents began to leave the classroom and entrust the little ones to the care of the teachers. The teachers of the classroom continues to cater to the attention and needs of each and every child, interact with the child and provide a safe, fun and loving environment for the child through the programme. We are definitely looking forward to watch the child grow in the six learning areas throughout the year!

By Mrs Christina Ng

Photos - Settling In Playgroup-compressed