Thinking Loft June 2011 Holidays Workshops

It’s holidays time again! And as a parent myself, I have already started to look at fun yet educational activities I can do with my daughter.

At the same time, I have also designed three different holidays workshops catered to different age groups and interest during the holidays.

Thinking Loft Kitchen Science – the kitchen is such a wonderful fertile ground to stimulate the natural curiosity in children.  And all children love tinkering with pots and pans and flour and generally making a mess!  I have therefore designed a 90min workshop whereby children get to bake their own cupcakes from scratch and at the same time be guided to think about why baking sodas is added into the cupcake dough.  To help them arrive at their own conclusion, we will also be doing a side science experiment using what else but baking soda!

Thinking Loft Fun Science – this year, we are still on the topic of optical illusion.  But this time round, the children will be making their own periscopes! And along the way, they will be explore the various properties of light and conduct their own experiments to find out what is transparent, translucent, opaque and reflective.

Introducing Maths Symbols – this is designed specifically for preschoolers.  Through kinaesthetic procedures, children will learn to create their own visual models (eg. venn diagram) to model the mathematical relationships between numbers and the relationships between numbers and symbols.

Parents who are interested in these workshops, please check out our website : www.thinkingloft.com to find out details on dates, timings and venues.

The Myth Behind Inquiry-based Learning

Like the phrase "Play-based Learning", the concept of "inquiry-based learning" has been much mistaken by parents and sometimes educators as well.  The essence of inquiry-based learning is captured in the old adage "Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.". Hence, inquiry implies involvement that leads to understanding.

However, most importantly, inquiry-based learning requires the child to have the right skill, attitude and frame of mind that allows him/her to seek solutions to questions and issues while s/he constructs new knowledge.

Therefore, effective inquiry-based learning is not only about asking questions. It involves a complex process whereby the child tries to convert information and data into useful knowledge.

As educators, our focus is on developing inquiring skills and nurturing inquiring attitudes or habits of mind whereby the child attempts to understand more about the natural world and human-designed world and construct their knowledge about it.

This is the pedagogy philosophy adopted by Thinking Loft.  We designed our classes, such as Kitchen Science or Fun Science, not so much about teaching the content of Science but rather to develop children’s inquiring skills and an inquiring attitude.  As one parent who has long been very supportive of Thinking Loft once told me "It’s not so much about what my son learn.  I just feel that you (Thinking Loft) have provided a wonderful environment that is so full of energy that it brings out the best of my son.  It is in this kind of environment that his mind truly flourishes."  It is this kind of support and understanding from parents which kept us going.

Just want to highlight that our Kitchen Science holidays workshop at Sengkang CC is full.  I’m recommending those living in the North East area who are still interested in our Kitchen Science workshop to go to Braddell Heights CC or Hougang CC instead.