The day-to-day environment at NIVA naturally instills a love of learning as we share our own passion for learning with our students. NIVA students learn through well thought out creative learning activities. At NIVA, we teach through nurturing the child and conscientiously setting the foundation for the development of the mind and body. Children learn the essential basics of literacy in both English and Thai, mathematics, science and social studies. Students also learn to express themselves and enjoy creative experiences while learning art, music, and physical development activities. Additionally. NIVA students enjoy taking part in other practical life skills such as cooking, swimming, and other extracurricular activities.
5 Reasons NIVA American International Kindergarten uses Theme-based Learning
1. It’s more fun to teach and learn using a theme.
We believe fun is a key ingredient in learning. “If children are happy, they are confident, and so are teachers. This magic combination makes teaching and learning so much more effective. Children become inspired and wider-thinking. Teachers may still be exhausted, but now it’s an exhaustion that makes them feel fulfilled and valued,” she says.
2. It harnesses curiosity to motivate learning.
It’s the most natural way to learn. “A child or adult finds something that intrigues them, maybe a foreign stamp or a stone. They want to know more and so they start on a journey of collecting ideas and information. With the stamp, the child finds out about its source, the geography of its people, the music of their homeland, the art work within it. They investigate its richness, draw its setting, sing its songs, write letters to find out more, investigate in books and on the internet. The learning is never sluggish, but is vibrant and exciting.”
3. Educators transition to being facilitators of learning.
The teacher is no longer a provider of facts copied from the board and learned for homework. Instead, because the boundaries of exploration are far wider than the teacher can predict, he or she becomes a learning manager. A learning manager guides children while keeping open the opportunity for self-guided discovery.
4. It teaches children how to learn.
With theme-based learning, children are thinking for themselves, following the thread of a topic to explore and discover more. It gives them a taste of moving from one related area to another related area and one builds on another. It’s a way of learning throughout life.
5. It draws in the child’s family.
Parents more easily become partners in learning around a theme. The family, with its own interests and views, can more easily become involved, thus broadening the spectrum of the whole experience. When forced into the confines of a secondary school timetable, I still used a thematic approach in a once-a-week history lesson that grew from an old stone I found with the date 1694 on it. As a class, we invented an English family living at the time. On Parent-Teacher Night, I was told by one couple, We love Tuesday teatime because we find out what has happened with the 1694 family, and when we are out and about we look for more information and connections.
Theme-Based Learning is a Natural for Science Instruction
As a structure for integrating content areas, learning around a theme makes sense to children. It helps them make connections, to transfer knowledge and apply it. It fosters comparison, categorizing and pattern finding – building blocks of the scientific method.
For example, a theme that celebrates birds could include investigation of birds in the student’s environment, writing a paragraph about one of these birds, learning about the science of flight, practicing bird calls and integrating them in a song about birds, solving math word problems on how far birds travel or high they fly, making up a bird poem and bird dance, referring to non-fiction readings about bird communication, socializing, and growth from egg to bird – and the list could go on.
It’s effective, mainly because one part builds on another and thus reinforces it. The vocabulary, the investigation, children’s literacy work, their math, and their art and craft work, along with classroom displays of it all, flourish.