JSM January 2020: Your Children Learn Best Through Play

The Junior Saints Mums held our first talk for the year 2020 on 30 January morning at Thinkubator to learn from Mr Joseph Wong, who spoke on the topic, “Your Children Learn Best Through Play”. Despite concerns about the transmission of the novel Coronavirus, close to 50 mothers attended the talk and learnt strategies to motivate our children through play.

Our speaker, Joseph, retired from the corporate world to pursue his lifelong passion of writing books that teach children leadership and life skills. His books proved popular among our participants at the end of the event. 

Joseph compared running a family to running a corporate team, and got the mothers thinking whether kids are born smart. Regardless of whether our children are born smart, it was agreed that children are motivated to learn best when they play and when they like their teachers—which include their parents.  We need to become their role models, heroes and champions, who nurture and communicate with them. 

And the best way is through a fun way—play.

Joseph gave some ideas on how to turn learning into play, in order to make children more motivated in doing their required work, such as having a rewards system, being observant, and discussing issues with them while shopping in the supermarket or at the hawker centre. 

Play needs to be spontaneous (not scheduled) and without performance expectation (i.e. no pressure of getting things “perfect”). 

Children will also appreciate it if parents were to tell them about their own working lives, bringing some of the challenges of our world into our children’s world.

Joseph then shared the 9 Habits of Smart Kids.

While developing the 9 habits is good, it is a real challenge for our kids to adopt these habits for the following reasons:
1. Children are required to read a lot, but
– there are digital distractions
– we are concerned about the choice of books
– we don’t know how to create a habit of reading
– they have too much homework
– we parents do not have a habit reading ourselves

2: Children need to learn from mistakes, but
– we live in a society that pressures them to be perfect
– we parents aren’t always there to point out the lessons from the mistakes
– we parents may rescue them too much

3. Children having to find values in everything, but
– we parents may not find the time to spend with our children
– we parents aren’t always there to draw out the value of lessons for our children
– children needing to juggle time, peer pressure, study time vs play time
However, Joseph challenged the participants to think creatively about how they could turn any bad habit to good habits through play using 3 key questions:
1. What f your kid does NOT have this habit today?
2. Is it a concern for you?
3. If so, how can you make it fun, such that your kid can start to adopt this habit?

Joseph then shared the top 10 skills that employers seek in 2015 vs 2020. In the interim of that 5 years, the skills employers seek have shifted substantially.

He highlighted critical-thinking, creativity, complex problem solving, and cognitive flexibility as key attributes that future employers would look for. 

How prepared are our children in these attributes?

One important way to build up these attributes in our children is to constantly engage them, but how we engage with them depends very much on their age group.

Our goals as a parent are to:
1. Use PLAY to engage our child
2. Be a HERO to our child
3. Make our child stay CURIOUS about everything

The talk was well-received, and the feedback from our participants was that they appreciated the many practical tips from the sharing.

If you are interested in our Junior Saints Mums’ talks, our next one will be held on 27 February at 7:20am to 8:30am at the Thinkubator in school. The topic will be “Math in the Real World” by Ms Faith Tan, an educator specialising in teaching Math.

Do look out for our online registration form closer to the date.