(English) At Footprints, our Early Childhood Programme covers key developmental stages for students aged 1.5 to 5 years old, starting from Nursery, with our students graduating from Kindergarten just as they are reaching the age of 6. Child development and pedagogical experts worldwide agree that this developmental stage of children is the most important stage of all, as it has the biggest impact on the future wellbeing, social, emotional and academic development of students.
Within the last century, Early Childhood Education pioneers and scientists have stressed that children in this age group learn best through play and creativity, in an enabling environment that is suited to their current physical development stage. Recently, the latest evidence from various world-class research institutions has proven that pushing children too early into academic learning actually harms their future academic performance in later years. It’s also been scientifically proven that children who have had the opportunity to learn through play, in an enabling environment, have much greater capacity to reach their full potential not only academically, but also socially, emotionally and physically as well.
“The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.” Maria Montessori
For this reason, over the past year our Early Childhood Programme at Footprints has been steadily shifting its focus away from early academics, to play-based early childhood pedagogy instead. Our teachers have all been undertaking professional development and learning on the teachings of early years pioneers such as Maria Montessori, Jean Piaget and Rudolf Steiner. They have also been encouraged to dive into their own curiosity and creativity, and to undertake research on best practices in Early Years learning. Through this process our program has collectively decided to begin the trial stage of the implementation of the International Early Years Curriculum (IEYC), beginning in the study year 2022-2023.
The International Early Years Curriculum (IEYC) is a world-class educational resource developed by Fieldwork Education, and provides our Early Years teachers and staff with an incredible array of resources, tools, ideas and training sessions that are developmentally appropriate for age groups Nursery to Kindergarten. At Footprints, our Early Years teachers currently use the IEYC for around 60% of their lessons for class cohorts of Nursery, PreK1, and PreK2. All of our teachers are also strongly encouraged to dive into their own creativity, and develop their own learning resources and activities as well.
For Kindergarten, currently our students follow the IEYC for 30% of their lessons, as Kindy students at Footprints still need to make progress for Stage 1 of their Cambridge studies. However, our teaching and academic staff are able to find significant links between the Stage 1 Cambridge outcomes and IEYC Units. As we progress through the implementation, our Kindergarten team is confident that they will be able to steadily find more and more time for students to engage in play-based learning, whilst still being on track to meet their future academic outcomes.
“Play is the highest form of research.” Albert Einstein
Finally, our joint IEYC and Cambridge curriculum is also complemented by our own Schoolwide Learner Outcomes, which our management and teaching staff developed as cornerstones of learning for all Footprints students, from Nursery to Year 12. Our ECP programme follows the child-friendly version of these SLO’s, which are as follows:
Child Friendly School-Wide Learner Outcomes
When I finish school, I would like to become:
A curious explorer who always learns new things about the world.
A kind person who listens to people and shares my own ideas.
A problem solver who can bravely face challenges..
A smart thinker who questions the world around them.
A mindful learner who cares about the world around them.
A brave human who will make my school, community and world a better place.