by Hannah Connors

This feature was first published in Journeys Summer 2019.

This article was written by preschool teacher Hannah Connors.

In the early learning center we believe children are curious, creative, and highly capable. Relationships drive our learning, and together we co-construct understanding about ourselves, our community, and the wider world. Children and adults are active researchers, and our participation in the learning process positively impacts our lives and the lives of those around us. Together, we create an environment of possibilities that fosters meaningful inquiry, strong connections, and rich understandings. Welcome to the wonderful world of preschool at Singapore American School.


“We pack our bags and say good morning and hello to our friends,” says Sara.

As the buses start to arrive, preschool children are warmly greeted by their friends and teaching adults in their learning community. Some children wait eagerly at the door to welcome friends who have not yet arrived, while others explore the learning invitations set up in the environment. There is always something new to discover: a recycled space rocket, a rainbow beaming from a light projector, or even a family of snails.

Snack Time
“We sit by our friends for a snack,” says Bekah.

A time for making connections with each other, snack time is shared outdoors by all of the members in the learning community. Children share stories from home, talk about the learning ahead, or ask questions about the world around them.

Connection Time
“Everybody comes to connection time,” announces Loki.

Once the children have arrived we meet together to connect with one another and our learning. Thirty two children, two teachers, and two instructional assistants make up the learning community and come together to plan the day’s learning. Preschoolers participate fully in their learning journey. Children and adults share stories, photos, videos, or artifacts from the previous day, and talk together to plan the next steps in their project work. In the preschool learning community one, children are making plans to launch their rocket up to the moon with messages, while in preschool learning community two the group is designing a rain robot to catch and reuse rainwater.

Outdoor Learning
“We like the slide and the bikes and we like playing there,” quips Sasha.

The outdoor learning environment welcomes big body movement and collaboration. Children work together to build castles, ride bikes, cross the wobbly bridge, scale the climbing wall, dig for treasure in the sandpit, and swing across the monkey bars.

Story Time
“We relax. We sit down. I bring in a book,” says Xavi.

The children cool down with water, and meet together for a story. The preschoolers often ask for their favorite books, The Gruffalo, and Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus! or bring a special book from home to share with their friends.

“I sing songs with some of the food names. We speak Chinese,” quips Ziyi.

Each day children learn Chinese through songs, stories, and practical experiences. This is an opportunity to develop their spoken language skills and engage in cultural competency.

“We eat together. I like to sit with my friends,” Raaghav says.

At lunchtime children choose to have a picnic on the large colourful mat, or sit with friends at picnic tables. Children talk about their day, their food from all around the world, and their families as they eat lunch together with their teachers.

Reflection Time
“We listen to our friends and teachers,” say Sasha.

Time is taken to reflect on the group’s learning each day. As they grow comfortable with one another the preschool children speak confidently about their learning, sharing their thoughts and wonderings. They also bring their own questions and ideas for the following day’s learning.

Exploring Time
“We are making a rain robot!" says Cheo excitedly.

The environment in preschool is rich with possibilities. During exploring time the children and teaching adults work together to explore their interests and delve into project work. In preschool learning community one, children write their names to post in a parcel to the moon, while in preschool learning community two, they trial pulley systems to transport water to the top of their rain robot. Some children change into swimwear and head outside. In the courtyard children investigate water, paint on the giant tiled wall with rollers and brushes, engage in a clay workshop, build obstacle courses, or erupt baking soda volcanoes in the sandpit. Inside, children paint, move objects along a conveyor belt, retell stories with puppets, make observational drawings, create messages which are passed to friends, climb the loft, build with wooden blocks, design models, and snuggle on the sofa with their favorite book. The environment is set up to encourage independence, and they readily access a wide range of materials with which bring their ideas to life.

Move and Groove
“I practice my moves!” says Felix as he grooves!

This daily movement class is an opportunity for children to learn to move safely and imaginatively, developing basic skills and confidence in themselves both as a mover and student of movement concepts. The children gain knowledge and experience through a full range of rhythmic activities and dramatic enactment, music and dance, developmentally appropriate games, and guided discovery. The goal of physical literacy and building a love for physical activity is paramount.

Library Day on Wednesdays
“You get some books to take home,” says Liam.

The library is a source of much joy each week, as the children share a story and then have the opportunity to borrow their very own books to take home.

“We say goodbye and we walk to the bus,” says Grant.

The children and teaching adults say goodbye, and thank each other for another wonderful day of learning together. As they walk to the bus, the children speak to their teachers about the day’s learning, or their upcoming playdate with a school friend. Another teacher greets parents at the door and all the preschoolers head home, eager to return the following day to see what new discoveries await.

Thank you to the preschool children for writing this article with us.

  • a day in the life
  • early learning center
  • learning community
  • preschool
  • reggio emilia



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