- Beatriz Dela Cruz is a teacher at Brighton Montessori's Mountbatten centre.
- Sally Pang is a curriculum manager at Pat's Schoolhouse
- Carrie Lupoli is an internationl consultant in parenting and education, and the spokesperson for Mattel Fisher-price Joy of Learning in Southeast Asia. She also co-founded and manages the children's special needs consultancy, Live and Learn, here.
Playing seems like a waste of time. I'd rather let my kid do something more academic.
Carrie: The brain is the only organ that's not fully developed at birth. It's a blank slate. And the most amount of learning occurs from birth to age five. What you learn at university doesn't even come close to what you picked up in those five years. It's the most important time to learn foundation skills. The only way your kid can learn so much is through play. This is because it gives her abilities that she can't get elsewhere, like social, communication, motor, cognitive, problem-solving and character skills.
It also teachers her cause and effect. For example, she learns hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills when she plays with building blocks. You build her language skills when you talk to her. If the block fall, you help to deal with her emotions, like frustration. Let her take the lead and you simply respond. Your child will automatically develop the skills.
There was a study done on people between 30 and 50 years old. It found that character skills are what determined their success, not cognitive ones.
There are so many who can read and do maths but aren't successful. The ones who are have love and empathy, are adaptable, can control their anger and behaviour, as well as solve problems. They also wait for delayed gratification.