“Authentic Learning Experiences that Cultivate Lifelong Passion for Learning”
Charmaine Teo
Director & Curriculum Coordinator of Mustard Seed Early Learning School

mustard-seed-1Stepping into Mustard Seed, one will notice how children’s works are valued; the walls of the school are adorned with children’s art works and writings. In line with its school philosophy, the environment here has been created to be aesthetically welcoming, yet provocative.

A sister school of Between Two Trees Preschool, Mustard Seed Early Learning School provides drop-off playgroup and enrichment programmes for children aged 18 months to 6 years old. The curriculum is designed to help young children foster creative thinking skills, explore, discover and master the three domains – Language Arts, Math and Art.

Charmaine, the Director of Mustard Seed explains, “Although these programmes offered are subject-based and taught in its own entity, it is interdisciplinary as well. For example, through our Language Arts programme, children learn reading, comprehension and test skills. These skills will come in handy when solving mathematical sums, as they need such skills to understand the content of the problem sum.” She adds “During our class, it’s not just about the teacher giving instructions. We always pose children questions to provoke and scaffold their thinking and inferring skills.”

Below are the four core programmes offered by Mustard Seed:

Language Arts – Be an Early Reader and Creative Writer!
The Language Arts teacher, Mei, starts the lesson with some simple warm-up activities such as skywriting, where children say the sounds of each letter of the alphabets while writing it in the air with their fingers. She moves on to simple drawing and colouring, and asks the two girls in her class to talk about what they have drawn, and write something about it.

Due to the small class size (of six or less), every Language Arts class is rich in content and tailored to the individual learning needs of each student. Essentially, Mustard Seed’s Language Arts programme is designed to provide a holistic approach to learning the English language – besides general English concepts like phonics and reading, the programme also covers penmanship, test skills, storytelling, and creative writing. Teacher Mei reminds the girls, “Remember, big nice letters, with a finger space in between.” To end off the class, Teacher Mei asks each child to select a book from the well-stocked library area, for some read-alouds.

Mustard Seed also offers an intensive and accelerated Language Arts programme for non-native English-speaking children who need to pick up the English language very quickly. The programme has proven to be very successful – the children (from Germany, Italy, Vietnam and China, to name a few) started off with being unable to read and/or having limited/no English but they are now capable of reading, writing and speaking English fluently, and are able to assimilate into the international schools (in Singapore) very well.

art-studio-session1Art Studio Hour
During Art Studio Hour, children are given the freedom to choose what art medium they want to use, and what they want to draw. Unlike a typical classroom setting, where the teacher demonstrates and the students follow, activities here are highly child-directed and initiated. Hui Hua, the Art teacher, starts the lesson by recalling what they have done in the previous lesson (The children drew self-portraits and used clay to outline their face shape).

Hui Hua, who holds a Masters degree in Art Therapy explains, “Mustard Seed’s Art lessons differ from others in that the children are offered choices, which is a powerful empowerment tool. At the same time, the children are also given the freedom to express themselves and forge their own sense of identity, as an artist and an individual.”

Math – Be a Math Whiz!
Children are exposed to engaging and creative ways of learning Math at Mustard Seed. Manipulatives such as bottle caps and shells, and board games are used to help them learn math concepts in a more interactive manner. To integrate children’s understanding and ability to apply Math concepts, learning is not just confined to the classroom. From time to time, lessons are brought outside of the classroom. Children will take a walk outside to the nearby pet and fruit stores, where they can experience Math in daily contexts. Besides math concepts, test skills such as reading and comprehending mathematical instructions are also taught and developed, thus ensuring their readiness for primary school education.

project-playProject Play ̶ Learning Naturally
A holistic playgroup programme that caters to toddlers from 18 to 36 months old, Project Play offers a bite-size B2T programme in a small group setting. Although the main focus is on early literacy and numeracy, children are also exposed to other learning domains such as visual art, music and movement, Science and technology, while developing their motor skill and social skills as well, during the two-hour class. Project Play also serves as a good learning platform for the children to develop their independence and slowly transit from home to school life.

Where small seeds grow to Be Extraordinary!
Mustard Seed aims to provide authentic learning experiences to each child through the development of the whole child, and in so doing, have each of them grow up to Be Extraordinary!

For more information, email them at info@mustardseed.sg