Mention the words ‘provocation and three-year-old’, and the image of a cross-armed child saying, “No, I don’t want to!”, will probably come up. But, in ISKL’s educational jargon, a Provocation is something deeper and much more positive, especially for early childhood education where it is used to provoke thoughts, ideas and action with young learners.
“A provocation is an invitation for children to learn, create and build – using different materials that are open-ended and hands-on. We want our students to think and wonder about all types of possibilities,” says Rhonda Griffin, an ES Prep Reception teacher at ISKL who is spearheading the Learning Celebration programme with fellow teacher Jasmine Teh, and the rest of the team. “A learning celebration starts from the moment students walk into the classroom. As we interact with them, we will get to know who they are, their interests and their skills,” she adds.
After completing the first term, the Prep Reception/Prep Junior (PRPJ) faculty team identifies the common interests of students and begins the process of making their learnings more visible. For ISKL’s youngest learners, learning is about inspiring curiosity and learning through play. The Early Childhood Program (Prep Reception, Prep Junior and Prep Senior) is based on developing the child by cultivating social, emotional, cognitive, physical and creative skills. This is done through learning experiences and activities within structured and creative learning environments.
Students are guided by the principles of ‘The Melawati Way,’ which incorporates ISKL’s code of behaviour that encourages students to focus on ‘Taking care of yourself, Taking care of others, and Taking care of this place.’
“These early provocations observe how wonder is sparked and created in even the youngest learners – through intentional, open-ended learning experiences and engagements. Our students go through a two-month process of investigation, inquiry, and a discovery of living ethically,” says Rhonda. “We provide whole group provocations through in-class engagements, field trips, mixed-age interest groups, individual and collaborative work. Their learning will culminate with a Learning Celebration in April where all their handmade artwork and assignments are displayed for everyone to see”.
Students attend three different provocation events in the beginning of the second term, where they learn to apply the principles of the Melawati Way. The first Provocation event is based on the first principle, where they learn to take care of others, and the topic chosen was endangered animals and conservation. The second Provocation was ‘to take care of this place’, where they chose to be community helpers by helping ISKL’s cleaning crew; and the last was based on ‘taking care of yourself' with dinosaurs and their extinction as the main topic.
In February, all PRPJ students went on a field trip where they were spilt into mixed-age groups of three, four and five-year-olds, and visited places around the city based on their interests – the National Zoo, National Science Museum and the Hang Tuah Fire Station.
Those who visited the National Zoo focused on ways to bring awareness to endangered animals. Students who visited the National Science museum were treated to an animated display where they got to explore and use all their senses learning about dinosaurs. The students also took part in activities like making dinosaur origami, discovering dinosaur bones, watching a movie about volcanoes and interacting with Dino Rangers. The Hang Tuah fire station visit saw fire marshal Encik Mohad explaining fire prevention and safety. Students experienced going in a fire truck, how to use a water hose and what to do in case of a fire.
The main purpose of Provocations is to encourage students to be critical thinkers, problem solvers and to be creative, as outlined in the School-Wide Learning Results (SLRs). “The reality is that our children are powerful and competent, and they have so much information to share. Let’s instil these ideals while they are young”.
Find out more about ISKL’s Early Childhood Programme here
Disclaimer: All pictures were taken before MCO.