“It is often said that children should be ‘winning at the starting line’, thus some parents would spend time and money investing in learning materials and courses for their children from the time they begin to understand things. I believe that children can learn when they start schooling, but the only time they can play is the 6 years before they start schooling. This is why I believe that we should provide our children a happy childhood without pressuring them to study.”
Elly Teh said with a smile, “A child’s childhood is very important. I want them to play hard. As for schoolwork, just let it come ahead after they formally start schooling.”
She pointed out that preschool children are able to explore through playing and practical experiences, and are able to strike a balance between play and learning. However, the traditional teaching methods emphasise on spoon-feeding of knowledge to our children and neglect the importance of “exploration and development through play”.
Elly Teh has two daughters and one son. Since they were younger, she has been emphasizing on learning through play. For instance, there are many types of toys, each of which has unique features to develop different skills in children.
“All children love toys, but have you ever wondered if buying toys for our children can benefit them? How about toys that do not have to be bought? Are they able to bring the same impact?”
“I like to let my children play with dough, because it is safe and less costly. When playing with dough, its soft texture and good plasticity allows children to create different shapes and is beneficial for the children’s brain development.”
The best thing is when parents play together with their children, which strengthens their relationship.
“Playing with dough frequently can also help in the child’s hand grip and finger strength.”
According to Elly Teh, the different movements while kneading dough are also able to train the child’s muscles and motor skills, as well as hand-eye coordination.
In addition, while creating different objects with dough, children are able to learn about various objects, thus inspiring their creativity and thinking abilities by recreating objects in daily life.
“Playing with dough is like playing with clay. It involves creation of three-dimensional art. It is more enlightening compared to two-dimensional art as it is able to strengthen the child’s knowledge on the concept of space, such as size, proportion, width, length, depth etc.
She said, “The child also has to combine various materials in order to complete an object that is slightly more complex. With this, the child is trained on mathematical concepts such as categorizing and combining items.”
For Children below 4 years of age, creation is more important than simulation. They do not need to create a nice or complete object, as the hands-on process and experience is the most important. “Allowing the children to freely unleash their imagination and creativity is far more important than simulating physical objects.”
Children’s biggest happiness is when parents allow them to experience diverse life experiences for them to learn from. Most importantly, children can have hands-on experience to explore the fun of creation. It is also the key to keep children away from 3C products (computer, communication and consumer electronics).