The primary aim of the Gurusthanam Playschools’s programmes is to nurture a growing independence along with positive self-esteem and self-image and instil in children a love of learning through their earliest experiences. Gurusthanam Playschools’s offers programmes from Pre -Nursery to Upper Kindergarten and also provides a dedicated Learning Support programme for children who need additional help to learn.
The curriculum of each programme has been carefully structured and planned and includes the Oxford Reading Tree from the United Kingdom, Maths, physical education lessons on a weekly basis, computer work, cooking and science, art and craft, speech & drama and music.
Small class size
With our excellent student to teacher ratio (two teachers to a class of twelve to sixteen students), each teacher has ample opportunity to follow each child’s progress in great detail. We are able to offer extra help in any area where it may be needed and to enrich the programme for those students whose ability necessitates it. Children are often divided into small numbers for certain areas of the curriculum and given the opportunity to work together in pairs or small groups, with the teacher present as a guide, mentor or observer.
Our Approach: Learning Centres
Each classroom is set up with various learning centres. Through these learning centres, e.g. Language, maths, art, research and etc.,the children are given the opportunity to explore and experiment. This enhances their development in all areas. Other centres may also be set up to coincide with the theme or topic of the week. Some centres will also be set up to build on the current interests of the children. The children are encouraged to explore each centre during activity and free play time.
Language and Literacy
We use the Oxford Reading Tree from the United Kingdom as our core reading scheme. This wide ranging scheme is supplemented by a selection of fiction and non-fiction works as reading fluency builds. The child progresses to basic literacy skills in Nursery and L.K.G to an understanding and enjoyment of text during U.K.G. Reading and language are coupled with individual creativity and fluency in writing skills. Conversation, drama and singing are an integral part of our whole language approach to the growth of literacy skills in the classroom as well as in the aesthetics programme.
The central focus of our maths programme is problem solving, building on a child’s intuitive insights and prior knowledge. We follow a language-based approach, similar to the methods used by Singapore schools for problem solving. The children gain their understanding of mathematical concepts and skills through the use of written and oral language. They are introduced to symbolic language gradually after experiencing ‘hands on’ concrete and pictorial materials to discover concepts for themselves. The teachers encourage students to talk and write about mathematics and children are stimulated to observe, discuss, explain and create mathematical solutions.
Physical Education lessons are held on a weekly basis, when the children learn to cooperate in groups and to work in teams. During this time they develop both fine and large motor skills, whilst having fun in the playground.
Computer work is integrated throughout the curriculum. Computers in the classroom allows each child regular access to the computer so that every student grows familiar with the technology, learning to think and write naturally with a computer. The Oxford Reading Tree language programme is stored on all our computers, enabling students to practise reading from a variety of media. For some children computers stimulate curiosity and develop a desire to learn that may not be evident using other techniques
Cookery and Science
The children enjoy regular science based activities through cooking. The lessons are great fun, encourage cooperation and promote healthy attitudes towards eating. Cooking classes provide natural practice for estimating, measuring, dividing and other related maths skills, observation, experimentation, language and number practice. For safety, children prepare the food in the classroom. The food is then taken to the kitchen for baking and returned to the classroom for the best part- eating!
Art and Craft
In these early years many areas of the curriculum are expressed through art and craft. This stimulates the children’s interest and at the same time develops their creative thought. Through these activities their fine motor skills, so necessary for later schooling, are developed. In each year group, the children are exposed to a wide range of materials and techniques appropriate to their development.
Visiting specialist teachers conduct EduDrama (speech and drama) and Music sessions once a week with each class.
Every child is a unique individual with his or her own strengths. At times, some children may need additional support and specific ways to learn in order to reach their potential and cope in an ever changing world. Within our Gurusthanam Playschools’s programme, we provide additional in-class support for those children who will benefit from this additional service.
The Orange Room
Gurusthanam Playschools’s we also conduct a specialised programme solely for children with additional needs. At all our Playschools, the Orange Room offers a unique opportunity for children who may not be able to access a regular pre-school class on a full-time basis. With a small class of six children and three adults, the children are provided with an individualised programme, with structured teaching in their specific learning style, and the opportunity to integrate into the other pre-school classes.
The Learning Support department also runs a social skills programme for children who may need extra help in this area. Our Discovery Tree programme has evolved according to the needs of the children who have attended over the time that it has been running. Some important skills frequently focused on include: recognising emotions, confidence building, risk taking, giving and following instructions, and self- leadership. This is a once a week programme designed for small groups.