I Can! @ Springdale is a programme that equips its Primary One students with important life skills for their schooling years ahead.
"Children thrive on being given responsibilities. We shouldn't assume that they are too young to be able to do things. If we don't let them explore and try, we will never know!" said Mrs Lee-Koh Siew Cheng, Principal of Springdale Primary School.
As children enter Primary One, it is important for them to learn essential skills that will equip them to be independent and confident learners. Springdale Primary School, which started in 2013, has a strong belief in the potential of children to be self-directed learners.
To prepare their pioneer batch of students for primary school, the school came up with the I Can! @ Springdale programme. This programme helps students acquire important skills that would equip them for school life ahead, through three hands-on and exciting modules - Life Skills, Effective Collaboration and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
"As a parent myself, I think it's important to teach these basic skills and not assume that children will pick them up along the way. We need to start now and not wait till bad habits start to form," said Mrs Lee-Koh.
Learning Life Skills
The primary school environment is often bigger and more complex compared to pre-school centres. To ease the transition from pre-school to primary school, Primary One students are taught basic life skills in the first term. For example, how to wear their school uniforms properly, tie their own shoelaces, keep their wallets safely and tidy up their desk for the next lesson.
In the Life Skills module, students learn basics such as cleaning their classroom.
"We don't have a buddy system where older students will guide the younger ones, as we are a new school. So we thought we should teach our pioneer batch of students to be more independent, such as learning to pack their bags, buy food and return the plates and cutlery on their own," said Mrs Lee-Koh.
With two co-form teachers guiding the students during this class, there is a higher level of teacher-student interaction during such hands-on activities. Students also become participative and very excited to do even simple chores, such as handling a broom or wetting a cloth to clean the classroom. At school celebrations, such as Chinese New Year, some Primary One students were even given the opportunity to be emcees, to build their confidence.
Developing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Skills
"We recognise that students these days would be familiar with digital devices like the iPhone and iPad, but not laptops, which are more predominantly used for learning," said Mr Low Yew Fai, who was involved in developing the I Can! @ Springdale programme, and also the Head of Department for Mathematics.
Primary One students are also taught word processing skills, which are much needed in today's technologically advanced society.
In this ICT module, students are taught how to set up the school's laptops and log on using their usernames and passwords. They then learn basic word processing and how to work on online assignments from the school's Learning Management System.
"They must see ICT as a tool for learning, and not just for play," said Mrs Lee-Koh, who hopes that the students also learn to take care of the equipment and use them responsibly.
Practising Effective Collaboration
Teaching students how to communicate and work effectively as a group is an important aspect in life. To do this, teachers would act out the different ways of making eye contact, speaking clearly and using body language. After observing positive and negative examples, students would then try it out for themselves.
By taking on different roles during group discussions, students learn social skills that they can apply in other classes and in their relationships with others.
Further along in the programme, students also take on different roles in group discussions, such as recording the points of discussion. They also learn how to manage their voice tone and volume during discussions, so they would not disturb other groups.
"Once we teach these skills right, they can be applied during other subject classes throughout the year," said Mrs Lee-Koh.
Find out more about Springdale Primary School!