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Endless Discoveries with Active Learning

by Eddie Rayner

A part of the globally acclaimed Kïdo Group of Schools, Safari Kid Nursery in Dubai continues to evolve and expand, underlined by an exciting new curriculum launched by the group globally, the ‘Kïdo Early Years Programme’, which has its foundations on the British EYFS framework.

The programme covers a range of subjects, including literacy, maths, science, and art, and uses thinking and problem-based learning to help children develop a diverse set of skills. Thinking-based learning encourages children to look beyond the obvious and explore multiple perspectives to any situation, while project-based learning involves extended, multidisciplinary activities that develop all-round skills across several development areas. While such approaches have been applied in primary education, Kïdo is applying it in the early childhood space for the first time.

Thinking-Based Learning, a book written by Dr Robert Swartz, Director of the National Center for Teaching Thinking (USA), is a core aspect of the new approach at the nursery. It is an attempt to move teachers away from the old style of teaching, which is content-based, with students memorising subject matter by rote or via textbooks and then showing they have retained the information in tests.

This fresh approach to the curriculum encourages students to develop thinking strategies so that they can draw conclusions for themselves. Known as active learning, it allows young people to approach content more deeply and richly. “One of the more important ways in which Safari Kid works with children concerns decision-making,” Dr Robert explains. “Safari Kid helps them to develop a strategy where they consider the options, the consequences both pro and con, and then weigh those together to make a good choice. The curriculum also steers youngsters toward searching for answers from their environment and multiple sources including on the internet, and of course, when they do that, the important thing is to figure out whether the information they are getting is reliable and accurate. They’re learning critical thinking skills, and they’re learning how to use them in both their schoolwork and in the wider community.”