Mr Jeff Sze
Political Assistant to Secretary for Education
As the special vacation for schools begins, like many parents, I would like my child to make good use of her spare time and stay motivated to learn. Yesterday, my daughter and I made wind-powered cars with paper plates, toilet roll tubes and craft paper. We then had a race to see whose car was faster when driven by wind power generated by some handy gadgets (such as portable electric fans, hand-held fans and books). After the game, to enhance my daughter‘s understanding about wind, we discussed how wind-powered cars could accelerate and read a book about wind. We had an enlightening, meaningful and joyful afternoon.
To support kindergartens (KGs) in helping children learn at home, the Education Bureau (EDB) has prepared the “Strategies for Kindergartens to Support Children’s Learning at Home” which incorporated some implementation experiences of schools for KGs’ reference. Seminars have been held to explore practical strategies and share experiences with KGs on the principles of supporting students’ home learning, taking care of children’s needs and parental participation. Moreover, the EDB has launched the Gift Book Scheme and the Do it Yourself Handicraft and Learning Package Scheme (Learning Package Scheme). Under the Gift Book Scheme, each student of KGs joining the KG education scheme has been given one book in each of the recent two school years to cultivate their reading interests and promote parent-child reading. The Learning Package Scheme offers a grant of $50,000 or $80,000 to successful KG applicants to encourage their creativity in designing enjoyable activities that cater for students’ interests, abilities and learning needs. Schools may provide learning resources or materials for parents to play games with their children at home. Children can learn while having fun and interacting with their parents. By utilising the resources provided by the EDB, KGs have designed interesting and meaningful games to help children stay curious and motivated to learn. Here are some exemplars:
Games integrating household items
Many KGs put an emphasis on fostering children to explore their surroundings through observations and comparisons through play. Some schools design games using small building blocks, balls and toy cars whereby children observe the rolling and sliding of objects on a slanted surface made with tissue box or other household materials. Children can discover interesting phenomena in everyday life through repeated attempts and comparisons. Children are also given paint, clay or cellophane in three primary colours. With the assistance of their parents, they can observe the effects of colour mixing.
Children are used to exploring their surroundings with their senses. Some KGs thus provide materials that can enrich children’s sensory experience in a home environment. For example, under the guidance of parents, children observe how chocolate or orange beverage power dissolves in water. They can also compare the difference through touching, tasting and smelling the powder before and after the dissolving process. Some KGs provide children with a loofah brush for observing its appearance and texture. With their parents’ help, children can compare loofah brush to other brushes at home and learn the difference in textures and functions.
Using the craft materials (e.g. paper strips, cotton string and decorative stickers) provided by schools, together with small gadgets (e.g. spinning tops, plastic stamps and modelling clay) and common household items (e.g. drinking straws, paper cups, and toilet roll tubes), children can make handicrafts (e.g. fans, pinwheels and string telephones) to develop their fine motor skills.
Activities connected to life experiences
Children’s learning should be connected with their daily life. What they learn should be relevant not only to their living environment, but also to their life experiences.
Some schools enable children to learn about cultural customs by giving them materials and ingredients for making decorations or food during festive seasons. For example, children may make fai-chun and rice cakes before Chinese New Year for their families and elders to show love and care. Some schools give narcissus bulbs to children and let them look after the plants and observe their growth. All these activities are meant to enrich children’s life experiences.
Besides quiet activities like making crafts and reading, there are vibrant ones like musical and physical games which parents and children can play together at home. Some schools provide children with small musical instruments (e.g. maracas, tambourines and castanets) and gadgets for physical games (e.g. small balls and bean bags). Parents can sing and play the instruments with their children to help them develop sense of rhythm. During storytelling, parents may engage children to role-play, as well as use instruments to add sound effects to create atmosphere and inspire imagination. Schools also design parent-child physical activities based on the content of stories to enhance children’s gross and fine motor skills. Instructions for games, such as roll and pass, throw and catch, and obstacle dribbling are also prepared for parents. Both parents and children enjoy engaging in these physical activities.
To help children develop their compassion and kindness under the epidemic, some KGs prepare materials like craft paper, crepe paper and decorative stickers for children to make cards for their parents. Parents may join their children in making cards or gifts to extend their warmest regards to medical staff or sympathy for relatives and friends who have been infected.
Online learning resources for primary and secondary schools
As for primary and secondary schools, in order to encourage students to make good use of the vacation for learning, the EDB has compiled a variety of online teaching materials developed by the bureau and relevant references for teachers. There are learning and teaching resources recommended for various key learning areas, as well as subjects and curriculum areas for teachers’ adoption in accordance to the school contexts. Moreover, a wide range of learning and teaching resources, including short videos, animations, e-books, are available on the EDB Educational Multimedia to support students’ continuous online learning. Teachers may also visit the EDB’s One-stop Portal for Learning and Teaching Resources for suggestions and examples on designing learning and assessment tasks. They may select books and curriculum resources which are conducive to students’ self-directed learning at home, thereby helping students consolidate the knowledge acquired and stay motivated to learn.
Early vaccination for all
As the epidemic remains severe, the best holiday activity for students who have not been vaccinated is to get vaccinated as early as possible. It is important for all students not only to get vaccinated, but also to get fully vaccinated. Besides upholding a balanced daily routine, students should help out with household chores and exercise more often so as to maintain physical and mental well-being. May I wish all students an enjoyable and fulfilling special vacation.
20 March 2022