In this six part series of ‘Raising A Wholesome Preschooler’, Kristie Lim, Principal & Co-Founder of Mind Stretcher Education Group share with us what encompasses a wholesome preschooler.

Education is more than just a paper-and-pen exercise. Our education scene has also evolved with the times to move closer towards cultivating students with the ability to speak confidently in the presence of a crowd. Primary 1 and 2 students often have ‘show and tell’ sessions. More of such presentation exercises will be introduced when children progress to secondary school, junior college, polytechnic and university. In the working world, one cannot escape from making the occasional business presentation.

It is a sad fact that many Asian children are not equipped with public speaking skills and lack confidence when they stand in front of a crowd to speak. The inhibitions grow even stronger as they get older.

Just like learning a new language, such skills, when taught to children from young, become second nature to them.

public speaking and confidence building in childrenConfidence in speaking starts at home. From the onset, parents must encourage their children to give their opinions and views on a wide variety of topics. I find that a good starting point is at the dinner table. Very often, when my family sit down to have dinner, I would ask my children about their day at school. If there is something interesting, we discuss it. Every member of the family is encouraged to give his or her views.

Another way to do it is just pick up an article in the newspaper and ask everybody to express his or her opinions on the topic. You could even start an interesting conversation by asking your children what they thought of the movie you have just watched together. There will always be parts of the movie that spur discussion or even debate!

What has this got to do with public speaking?

The purpose of this exercise is to get children to think from different angles. Coupled with the sharing by different family members, they will learn to see the same issue from many different perspectives.

Confidence in speaking has everything to do with having a good grasp of the content and being able to handle any situation on the spot. Hence, the chance to critically think through many different issues in a non-stressful setting, such as during family bonding time, is important for a child to slowly and gradually develop the confidence and ability to speak in a structured, logical and coherent manner when asked to present in front of the class.

Having the platform to practise public speaking or to express oneself freely during one’s early years is critical. Learning is best achieved when it is gradual and unconscious. During the pre-school years, there are not many avenues for a young child to hone their public speaking skills. Mind Stretcher’s new pre-school morning programmes, which are starting in 2014, aim to provide that platform.

During every lesson, students will be encouraged to stand in front of the class and express themselves in one form or another. Given such exposure, they will become confident speakers in no time!

Raising A Wholesome Preschooler Series
Part 1: What Makes A Wholesome Preschooler
Part 2: Vocabulary and Phonological Awareness
Part 3: Word Recognition
Part 4: Bilingualism
Part 6: Character Building & Moral Education

By Kristie Lim, Principal & Co-Founder of Mind Stretcher Education GroupKristie Lim, Principal & Co-Founder of Mind Stretcher Education Group
Kristie is a double-degree holder from the National University of Singapore and the University of London. She is both a trained accountant and a lawyer, and holds a Certificate in Early Childhood Education. Since leaving the legal profession, she has immersed herself full-time in Mind Stretcher. Besides being in charge of operations, she also helps develop the curricula for Science and Mathematics. Her eldest son is the 2012 President’s Scholar and a very outstanding all-rounder and perennial prize winner at Raffles Institution and the very prestigious Wharton Business School.

For more information, go to www.mindstretcher.com