Preschoolers learn Numeracy from Real-Life Experiences: A Supermarket Sale Day
In Term 3 of 2023, the children from N2 to K2 expressed their interest to dive deep into the exploration of supermarkets. To showcase everything that they have learnt, they took on the challenge of setting up a supermarket in the school. To prepare for the sale, they visited the mini convenience store located within Bullion Park Condo to gain insights on what a grocer does and how to purchase items from a shop. Subsequently, they visited the FairPrice Finest outlet located in Ang Mo Kio to learn about product categorization and the strategic placement of items on shelves. With the necessary items in tow, they then proceeded to set prices on their products. On the day of the event, the children showcased their hard work by not only serving and assisting parents and residents with their purchases, but also by handling the cash registers with ease. It was a fun-filled day for both the children and their parents alike!
Why real-life experiences are so important to children's learning?
According to Jean Piaget*, children actively construct their understanding of the world through interactions and experiences with their environment. They then encounter discrepancies between what they already know and what they discover in their environment. This means that children are not passive recipients of knowledge but instead actively engage with and interpret information to make sense of the world around them. Real-life experiences provide children with opportunities to engage with their surroundings and learn in a meaningful way. By experiencing concepts in a real-world setting, children can better understand how they apply to their daily lives and retain the information more effectively. This type of hands-on learning can help children apply numeracy knowledge, develop problem-solving skills, teamwork abilities, and mathematical understanding.
Navigating in the supermarket
At the supermarket, children were given a shopping list and they were tasked to purchase the items on the list. During the visit, they developed problem-solving skills in various ways. For instance, they navigated through the store to locate specific items on the list, scanned and double-checked items during checkout, and ensured that all the correct items were accounted for with close attention to detail. If an item were to be out of stock, they would have had to find suitable alternatives or adjust accordingly. These real-life experiences helped children to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, which will benefit them in all aspects of their lives. For children, the supermarket visit was not just an excursion; it was a mission where they had duties to fulfill and to learn to be responsible.
Collaboration and Teamwork
Some essential skills that children can develop through real-life experiences are collaboration and teamwork. At the supermarket, in order to find all the items in their shopping list, children needed to work together, communicate, and split duties among their groups. They also needed to help each other as a team. For instance, if a child were to encounter trouble in finding a particular item, they could ask their friends for help. They also learned to share responsibilities such as taking turns pulling the basket as it got heavier as they added more items in. This encouraged open communication and taught children how to ask for assistance when needed.
Application of Numeracy knowledge: Setup supermarket in school
Setting up a Supermarket in school helped children to learn a variety of mathematical concepts. For example, they needed to check the receipt to ensure that the total cost was correct. They also learned the practice of counting money, giving change, and calculating total money earned. Additionally, when setting prices for their items, children needed to have an understanding of the concept of pricing and how to apply it. They learned to consider factors such as the cost of materials and profit margins. Finally, when selling their items to parents and condo residents, the children had to calculate the total cost accurately and provide correct change if necessary. Through these real-life experiences, children developed a strong understanding of various mathematical concepts and learned how to apply them in practical situations. This type of hands-on learning can help young children develop a positive attitude towards Mathematics and see it as a useful tool in their daily lives.
Giving back to our community
After the sale, the children decided to use the profit to prepare gift packs for the community helpers, such as cleaners, gardeners, and security guards, in Bullion Park Condo. By giving back to the community, children develop empathy and appreciation for the people who work hard to keep their community clean and safe.
Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist known for his pioneering work in child development. He proposed a theory of cognitive development that suggests children progress through four stages of cognitive development, each characterized by a different type of thinking.