Activity-based inquiry is foundational to students' academic, social, physical, and emotional development. Through hands-on, inquiry-based learning, students develop their knowledge of the world, communication, critical thinking, and self-management skills. Activity-based inquiry at the Western International School of Shanghai (WISS) helps our students explore social interactions with people and the natural world in a safe and enjoyable environment.
Play is also crucial in supporting children's well-being and emotional health. It helps students build self-confidence, provides opportunities to channel their social anxieties, and allows them to explore their creativity.
The outdoor learning experience is supported by purposefully designed lessons with the objective of a joyful and fruitful learning experience. From the Early Years to Secondary School, students at WISS can use the lush green campus environment as their natural classroom and playground. From picking pumpkins in the Bamboo Forest and running through an obstacle course to using natural materials as part of their learning experience. Participation and engagement in these activities offer students an excellent opportunity for physical exercise, fun, authentic real-life experiences, and learning about their natural environment.
Students at the Western International School of Shanghai engage in daily playful and activity-based inquiry. Young learners don't differentiate between subjects or between work and play. "Play is the work of children ."When children are allowed to explore their world through meaningful activities, they can learn an unfathomable amount about their world. (Maria Montessori) Our youngest students in the Early Years may not know they are learning as they go about their daily school lives to explore, discover, and question. Experienced teachers work alongside the children, guiding and pacing their playful inquiry, always with an awareness of the next steps each child needs to take in their development as part of the learning journey.
Contributed by Heidi Steinbring, Primary Years Program Coordinator (EY) and Inga Bela Primary Years Program Coordinator | Western International School of Shanghai.
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