S.E.A.A’s Out: A Preschool Outreach Programme

Ho Puay Ling and Finjie Koh are SIT-Wheelock College students studying for a degree in Early Childhood Education. They interned with the education team at S.E.A. Aquarium from Sep to Nov 2016, helping develop and execute school outreach programmes. They wrote about their experience below.

Children’s minds are like sponges. Their capacity to learn is amazing, which is why it is never too early for children to learn about marine life and taking care of our planet.

Hence, we designed an outreach programme for Kindergarten 2 students – called S.E.A.A’s Out.

This 45 to 60-minute programme has four segments, including a sharing session and storytelling. These segments are accompanied by visual teaching materials to help children learn better.

preschool outreach
The children were first introduced to the different marine life found at S.E.A. Aquarium. Picture cards were used to help the children better focus their attention and make them feel more involved in the activity.

During the storytelling session, the children participated actively through dramatisation using stick puppets and headbands as props. The story was an adaptation of “Tessa and the Fishy Mystery” by Carole Douglis. It was specifically chosen as it brings out the essence of marine conservation from a first person’s point of view. This, together with dramatisation, allowed the children to put themselves in the shoes of the various characters.

preschool outreach
In this segment titled “I belong, I do not belong”, students were taught what belongs in the ocean (marine life) and what doesn’t (trash). At the same time, they were provided with concrete examples of how they can help to protect the environment.
preschool outreach
In “Recycle Me!”, students were introduced to the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. They sorted items according to what they are made off, and placed them into miniature replicas of recycling bins. Through this activity, students learnt the importance of recycling, how it helps the environment, and protects marine life.

The outreach programme was very well received by the schools. Many of them feedback that it helped their students better understand environmental and marine conservation, as well as the concept of recycling, and how to go about doing it. The schools were thankful to S.E.A. Aquarium for conducting this beneficial outreach programme.

As David Suzuki said, “Unless we are willing to encourage our children to reconnect with and appreciate the natural world, we can’t expect them to help protect and care for it.” We indeed have to educate children with the knowledge we know, instill them with the skills to think critically and the compassion to care for the environment before they could see that environmental protection requires the collaborative effort of every individual.

This outreach programme has met its objectives. All in all, the students, schools, and us all had an enriching experience. Despite the short session, the children were visibly excited and engaged which was evident in their active participation. The response from the preschools we went to were so good that we have expanded the programme, to Nursery 2 and Kindergarten 1 students as well.

Taking this opportunity, we wish to thank all participating schools and S.E.A. Aquarium for their collaboration with SIT-Wheelock College.

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