It is impossible to know what the future holds for our children. But we can help them to navigate an increasingly complicated world by empowering them with important attributes like courage, confidence and creativity.
It is never too early to teach children how to develop such qualities, and some of the ways we do it may surprise you.
We want our pupils to understand what the Huili Value of Courage means and to always seek opportunities to put it into practice. This means trying new things and realising that every failure is an opportunity to learn. We strive to incorporate this into our daily teaching.
A great example of this is in a recent space adventure-themed activity we conducted in EY4. The children were asked to build a spaceship from a cardboard box. They presented several problem-solving opportunities, such as constructing windows, using scissors and selecting the best adhesive materials.
We granted the children independence to explore solutions. Rather than offering suggestions, our teachers simply posed questions, allowing them to decide on the best course of action.
In so doing, our pupils witnessed first-hand their own thinking processes. They learned from failures and mistakes and reaped emotional rewards for their successes. They also learned the importance of collaboration and cooperation.
We look to what excites and interests our children to develop lesson content. This comes from conversations and simply observing what inspires our pupils. In a recent animal-themed lesson, for example, the children could not stop talking about zebra stripes. This prompted the teachers to open the floor to stimulating discussion.
They asked questions like, "What if a zebra had leopard spots? Would the zebra still be recognised by their companion?” This introduced an opportunity for our children to think about basic concepts of colour and pattern.
One pupil had clearly been spending a lot of time thinking about colour and pattern after this lesson. In an art activity, she painted a panda in the colours of the rainbow. She explained to her teachers that the panda was eating M&M’s candies. Whatever colour it ate, the panda would turn that colour. One day it ate an entire package of M&M’s, which turned it into several colours.
We aim to create an open and inclusive learning environment in which pupils feel free to run with such vividly creative ideas.
Every day at Huili Nursery, we witness young, brilliant minds at work. They may be too young to recognise it, but they are stakeholders in their own education.
They play an active role in their learning; they even help to determine the content of our lessons. This builds confidence, courage and creativity — and with these qualities, they are sure to lead successful and satisfying lives. Long after they leave our nursery.