Wanting the best for their babies is a desire that comes naturally to many new parents. Even experienced parents who are deeply familiar with the unglamorous and often frustrating aspects of parenthood still endeavour to give their infants the best start in life.
It’s one of the reasons why many parents put a lot of thought into their choice of preschool and childcare centres in Singapore. They understand that this decision can have a huge impact on the developmental trajectory of their kids, and they want to partner with a childcare facility that can nurture the potential of their little ones.
If you share that belief, perhaps you’ve come across the term “intentional teaching” while searching for early learning village facilities in Singapore. Simply put, intentional teaching refers to the practice of using purposeful actions to help young children achieve developmental milestones. Intentional teaching is not exactly a new approach to caring for infants, but many parents are only starting to appreciate how it can foster the growth and development of their children in their earliest years.
Perhaps it’s a factor that you should also consider when looking for childcare options for your own kids. Here are some reasons intentional teaching is a good learning approach for infants:
It Aligns the Infant’s Experiences with Learning Objectives
Intentional teaching is a practice that keeps a particular goal in mind. A teacher, for example, can aim to teach a group of infants how to vocalise and express themselves. To do this, the teacher has to set a good example for the children. They can, for instance, narrate the activities of the child that they are interacting with, describe the activities of the other people in the room, and praise an infant’s babbling as an attempt at communicating.
Such actions give the child every opportunity to practice and improve the particular skill that the teacher aims to work on in the coming days. Almost every interaction that the child has with the teacher can serve as a building block for developing a particular set of skills, which they will practice soon enough once they begin kindergarten and primary school.
It Acknowledges the Needs and Interests of the Infant
Intentional teaching is a practice that requires the attention and participation of the teacher and the babies that they’re looking after. To nurture a child’s communication skills, for example, teachers have to pay attention to a child’s current level first and build up their capabilities from there.
Teachers also have to maximize every opportunity to expose the babies to a wide variety of words and sentence structures. If the infant needs to sleep or change their diapers, for example, the teacher can use these events to talk to them and narrate what’s happening around them. If the infant is attracted by colours, the teacher can use colourful toys and objects as the topic of their narration to gain their attention and get responses.
While infants can’t imitate complex sentences just yet, repeated exposure to language will make it easier for them to identify words and sounds as effective communication tools later on.
It Creates an Environment That Is Conducive to Learning
Aside from exposing infants to activities and practices that can help them reach their developmental goals, teachers also have to keep their young students engaged. This means making every effort to solicit responses and recognising the child’s attempts to join in the conversation whenever possible.
It doesn’t matter if the infant is simply babbling; the intentional teacher still pauses, listens, and acknowledges this attempt at participation. By consistently inviting the infants to participate, the teacher creates a space where they can practice their budding skills all they want without fear of making mistakes.
It Invites Infants to Engage With and Explore Their Surroundings
Intentional teaching doesn’t stop at student-teacher interactions. It also makes full use of the classroom environment and encourages infants to explore their surroundings as much as possible. For example, the teacher and infant can take a closer look at the toys in the room, perhaps ask open-ended questions about the item, and determine the answers to those questions together.
It’s also an option for the teacher to follow the child’s lead in exploring the classroom equipment and observe the infant’s reactions upon discovering the different qualities of a toy. In many ways, intentional teaching offers infants an opportunity to discover their environment in a safe way and use the tools that are available to them to hone their developing skills.
Intentional teaching is more than just a practice, as intentional teachers also have to build the right learning environment for the infants and toddlers under their care. Aside from interacting with a clear intention, teachers should have a space where they can respond to and engage with their charges whenever the opportunity arises.
Many childcare facilities in Singapore are designed to facilitate such interactions. Parents in the city-state, then, can have peace of mind that their infants are getting the best possible care, attention, and stimulation while they’re busy with their jobs and other responsibilities.