Sunday, September 25, 2005

Post Blogger Meet-up Podcast entry.

I just came from my first blogger meet up... It was most excited as I was interviewed for a podcast. Hehe.

There's a lot more I can say in regard to Quality Child Care Settings, but I will take a hiatus for a while. I have 5 weeks more before handing up another assignment, so that takes main priority.

The first assignment is (again) on Cross Cultural Communication! Although one assignment itself , it is more than 6000 words, (book review & making other resources). I think I can just die already!

The other is a file of Reflective Journals and I have to go searching for artifacts and articles in regard to the education context of current Malaysia. That will take up a bit of time. DZOF , who does PPS podcast reviews (at the blogger meet up) mentioned Smart Schools in Malaysia. I shall have to read up on that!

Since I have visited the first childcare setting, I decided I should another two, both Montessori trained, a Dr. Irene's play-based centre, and Kim's, the latter a Montessori based approach.

Now, DZOF the person who interviewed me for the podcast, asked me a few questions:

"Is a fully Montessori approach preschool centre in Malaysia is possible?"

My answer to him was as most of the Montessori centres currently are operating, the only answer to that is that it is totally and fully impossible to do that in a country like Malaysia.

If the centres want to do that, it has to look at what the primary school curriculum is and will be like and provide continuity for it. To fully immerse a child in a preschool that fully employs a Montessori approach will only lead to the child experiencing a culture shock that they will not be able to fully overcome when they enter Primary One.
As even most kindergartens have to done, as the child approaches the age of 5, the curriculum becomes more Montessori integrated and moving towards an academic teacher-directed focus.

By the time they reach 6 years, the classes diversify off to either employ a Malay or Chinese medium, becoming more academic and structured in their written work and activities. Though, that does not mean the teachers cannot employ a Montessorian approach in doing the lessons.

Montessori is only among the many approaches that teachers use, and is not the last and final means of approach to teaching young children.

To digress from the main topic, Mr. Chang, my lecturer at college noted to the class that since very young children are at a "Mythic Age" according to the studies set out by researchers, that teachers could tell the children fairy tales at a young age. However according to Montessori, fairy tales are not right for children, especially if they are not grounded in reality yet.

I will take the case off from telling fairy tales to children, until I am sure that they are.

He related a story to us about him telling the children (6 year olds) a story of Rapunzel who kept her hair long. So the children came up with these questions/statements:

1. Teacher, teacher, if the prince climbed up Rapunzel's hair, would it not be painful?

2. Teacher, teacher, if Rapunzel kept her hair so long, would she not have kutu in it??? smelly...dont wash hair one. If the prince climb her hair, sure all the kutu go onto him one ah!!!

Well, just be careful the next time you tell your kids fairy tales. You may have to answer off the weirdest questions!!

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