Inquiry-based learning encourages students to ask questions and investigate real-world problems. This type of learning is a holistic approach to education aimed at building a strong academic foundation as opposed to the monotonous approach of traditional kindergartens in Singapore.
An inquiry activity is typically a self-directed learning process. In a way, teachers serve more as a guide to what the students want to learn. Allowing students to control the learning process makes them more likely to be engaged, curious, and receptive to new information.
Inquiry-based activities can help young star learners develop important soft skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and social skills, which make up a strong foundation for kids as they move up. These activities also allow students to explore their interests and discover new ideas. These activities can be adapted to different levels and interests so that all students can benefit from them.
Inquiry-based activities can be invaluable to a private preschool in Singapore’s teaching toolkit if effectively utilised. It gives opportunities for children to explore their own questions and come up with creative solutions to
Five Major Steps in Inquiry-Based Learning Activities
There are several holistic approaches teachers can take in inquiry activities, but a general framework in a preschool is often used in their learning journey, which are:
The first step is to help students identify an inquiry, which might be a question they have or a problem they need to solve. This is the start of the learning process as teachers must draw out the student’s curiosity by guided questioning or letting the student’s natural curiosity take over instead of directly presenting them with a problem.
In this stage of the inquiry process, teachers must provide students with an avenue for organising and categorising their thoughts through lists on the chalkboard, visual aids, and more.
After students have gathered all the necessary information, they need to investigate and deduce their own hypotheses or opinions on the subject or problem from their experiences and breadth of knowledge.
The fourth step is to help students test their hypotheses through projects, minigames, or other interesting methods. This is the most stimulating part of an inquiry activity that requires them to engage their cognitive skills and explore their creative potential, as the student explores different solutions to solve the problem they identified in step one.
Star learners can then reflect on the process and discuss what they learned from their experience. This is an excellent opportunity for teachers to evaluate students’ progress and provide feedback.
Benefits of Inquiry Activities
Inquiry-based activities are not only fun and engaging, but they also have long-term benefits for students:
- They help students develop the skills to think critically and solve problems independently.
- Additionally, inquiry activities can help students become more creative problem solvers and better communicators through each of the steps of the inquiry activity.
- Finally, inquiry activities provide an authentic learning experience that qualified educators can use to deepen students’ understanding of a subject.
Furthermore, inquiry-based learning is an effective teaching method that engages students and encourages them to be curious, ask questions, and think critically. It’s an excellent way for dedicated teachers to foster a more holistic development in their students and develop essential skills while exploring their own interests and discovering new ideas.
Inquiry activities are not just for brain development; they’re for emotional development because they can potentially open up students to being wrong about their initial hypothesis.
Five Engaging Inquiry Activities for Kindergarteners
While the general framework can work for learners of all ages, there’s no reason for it not to apply to kindergartens in Singapore. So here are five inquiry activities that you can use with your kindergarteners:
Plan a Playground
There’s nothing more engaging to kindergarteners than play. So allowing students to plan out their own playground, complete with slides, swings, and other equipment would push them to be engaged and think systematically about how to design a playground for maximum fun! This activity also promotes a self-directed learning approach that encourages students to learn more about themselves by thinking about what they like and how they like things to be.
As kindergarteners, they’re slowly being introduced to the world outside of their own homes. And one of the very first things parents expose them to is animals in their community or at the zoo. Have students choose their favourite animal and do research to learn more about its habitat, features, and diet.
Some students learn best by doing. So, arranging hands-on activities such as growing a garden can be extremely useful in keeping them engaged. It should also aid in developing their motor skills.
Write a Story
Have students write their own stories based on what they’ve learned in class. This allows an outlet for creative expression while helping them become confident communicators. Adding a collaborative effort to the story can also help build a sense of community within the classroom and aid in their social development.
I Know/ I Wonder Game
Select a topic for the day and tell each student to write one fact about it on a piece of paper. Then, on another piece of paper, have them write about what they have yet to learn about the subject. Finally, collect and read them all out loud and watch how their collective knowledge answers each other’s questions. This way, inquiry-based learning also fosters social development since it gives students the opportunity to learn from each other and engage in meaningful discussions together.
Is Inquiry-Based Learning for Your Child?
Engaging and developing kindergarteners’ minds through a play-based curriculum that involves inquiry-based activities is key for brain development. Inquiry-based activities help children explore, question and think critically to extract their own understandings. While traditional instruction styles are effective, this model of teaching encourages the students to really use their brains to learn new things.
This type of learning helps deepen the understanding that the student can gain from a lesson by growing their brain function in ways that were not possible with one-way instruction. It helps unlock not just a child’s cognitive skills but also their creative potential.
Inquiry-based activities can provide meaningful learning experiences where young minds can thrive while building a strong foundation for future success! In a way, including inquiry-based learning in children’s daily activities can help them reach their maximum potential.
So, if you’d like to prioritize your child’s holistic development, find a preschool in Singapore that offers inquiry-based activities. With the right inquiry activities, your child can not only develop their cognitive skills but also explore their creative potential and develop essential skills that can help them in life!