Featuring Ms Alicia Lim, ECDA Fellow and Executive Principal of PCF Sparkletots; Ms Ava Wang, ECDA Fellow and Preschool Learning Academy @ Temasek Polytechnic; and Mrs Ang-Oh Chui Hwa, ECDA Fellow and Principal of Far Eastern Kindergarten.
Respect, kindness, courage, honesty… You might want to instill such values in your children at their early years – but do you know which methods are effective?
Meet Ms Alicia Lim who used storytelling to impart values and enlighten her students about character development.
There are also other different ways to weave lessons about values and morals into children’s daily life.
Here are three tips on helping them develop the strength of character:
- “Storytelling is one of the best ways to inculcate virtues. Stories can ignite children’s imagination, strike their emotional chords and help them grasp the concept of these virtues.”
Inspired by her kindergarten teachers, Ms Alicia Lim feels that she can give back to society as an early childhood educator and a teacher trainer that supports children’s moral and character education.
Ms Lim believes that abstract topics, such as character development, should not be taught academically to children but in a more interactive style that allows them to model the behaviors they see around them. For that, storytelling works best for teaching values as children are usually receptive and keen to listening.
“When children keep stories close to their heart, the messages of these stories will inspire and shape their characters,” said Ms Lim. Hence, good stories not only provide joy to the children, they also strengthen their understanding of human motives as well as introduce them with new encounters.
- “When we teach young children how to solve problems, they grow up to be more resilient, resourceful and ready to face any challenge.”
Developing a classroom culture that promotes problem-solving approach will help to equip children with the necessary skills required to combat societal challenges in the future.
That is why Ms Ava Wang finds every opportunity to encourage her students to become independent thinkers and not to rely on others to fix their problems.
However, every child reacts differently when they experience a challenge, it is therefore important to guide them to use the right coping mechanism needed to tackle various situations.
- “Like shaping a clay pot, character takes time to develop before it becomes strong and beautiful. Everyone, from the teacher to the family, has a part to play.”
As for Mrs Ang-Oh Chui Hwa, engaging young minds and shepherding young hearts are best achieved during early childhood.
Avoid rewarding children’s behaviors with stars or stickers, but focus on teaching and encouraging them on how they can contribute and help those in need.
Children learn to better appreciate values from doing small acts like donating their savings, and “that is how their characters can be moulded,” said Mrs Ang-Oh. “When one’s character has been well-moulded, it will hold its own against life challenges and soon it will be a work of art, with its own character, strength and beauty.”
About ECDA Fellows
The ECDA Fellows are a select group of exemplary early childhood professionals with high levels of leadership and professional expertise. The sector as a whole benefit from their extensive experience and deep expertise. The ECDA Fellows work closely with ECDA to train and mentor other early childhood professionals. They will also develop sector-wide resources for professional development, curriculum leadership and sector partnerships.