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Sibling Relationships & Self-directed Play

19 Sep 2019

What is self-directed play?

Self-directed play or unstructured play can best be described as play-time that occurs on a child’s own terms. The unstructured nature of this play means that there is often no specific outcome for the playtime. Children simply play at their own pace and are driven by their own curiosities. Rather than using toys created for a specific purpose, children engaging in self-directed play typically use their own creativity to turn objects into fun games and toys – think cardboard boxes, tubes, and other materials. This child-led play is characterised by creativity and improvisation, and is not led by adults. But that doesn’t mean that parents, friends, and siblings can’t all get involved! In fact, encouraging self-directed play at home is a great way to improve sibling relationships.

The benefits of self-directed play

Self-directed play benefits a child’s overall social, emotional, cognitive, and physical skills. More specifically, it helps improve
  • Independence: Self-directed play encourages children to foster independence, whilst keeping them safe within a controlled home or school environment. 
  • Creativity: Self-directed play is innately creative, as children use their imaginations to develop scenarios and storylines, allowing them to think outside the box in increasingly inventive ways. 
  • Problem Solving: As children move through self-directed play scenarios, they learn to overcome problems and challenges in a natural way, by finding solutions through problem solving.

How can self-directed play be used to improve sibling relationships?

As well as fostering qualities such as increased independence, creativity, and problem solving capabilities, self-directed play teaches children how to manage their emotions through improving their social intelligence. Because of this, self-directed play can be used as a tool to improve issues such as sibling rivalry, and foster better sibling relationships. When siblings engage in self-directed play together, they learn to overcome their differences in opinion through an increased capacity to accept and respond to feedback. Free play lets children hone skills like assertiveness, negotiation, cooperation and sharing, which are essential in building healthy relationships and friendships. This is done through communicating feelings effectively with each other during play, nurturing empathy.

Ways to encourage positive self-directed play among siblings

If you feel that you would like to start to encourage free play among your children at home, there are various ways you can assist in promoting a happy experience for your family: Give choice: Allow your children the freedom to decide when they want to engage in self-directed play together, as well as the nature of the game. Remember that unstructured play is self-motivated, meaning that sometimes your children may not be in the right frame of mind to play.  Expectations: Before starting, make sure you set some basic expectations and ground rules for your children to follow. Try doing this together with your children to give them a sense of ownership over the play. This includes making sure they understand what is acceptable and what isn’t, in terms of behaviour towards one another.  Give them space: Remember, self-directed or unstructured play occurs on your child’s own terms. This means giving them the liberty to decide the nature of the games they play. Avoid getting involved as much as possible. This means trying not to give them ideas about what to do and how to do it. Giving them agency over their play will encourage them to try to make it successful Get the Older Child/ren Involved: Get your older children involved in play by letting them know how much their younger siblings look up to them.  It’s important you encourage your older children to show leadership qualities, and teach their younger siblings what they know in the process! Share the love: Often times sibling rivalry may occur when siblings compete for parents’ affection and attention. Ensure that you provide each child with quality alone time both before and after play. When your children feel that they have received their fair share of attention, they will be more willing to share and cooperate with each other.  Garden International School’s Early Years Centre (EYC) encourages self-directed play through a range of multisensory learning opportunities for students. Find out more about our EYC by taking a virtual tour, or making an enquiry today. 

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Sixth Form Curriculum: Year 12 & 13
Year 1 & 2

Key Stage 5 (age 16 to 18)

Year 12 & 13 Curriculum

Introduction

The GIS Sixth Form promotes academic excellence in all students, offering international AS and A Level qualifications. These are delivered by outstanding teachers with knowledge and expertise in Key Stage 5 education, who are always ready to go the extra mile to set their students on the path to success.

However, our philosophy of education goes far beyond that. We are proud of our bespoke Sixth Form Diploma which allows students to enrich their studies beyond the formal curriculum, develop leadership skills and nourish a love of learning. In Sixth Form, we recognise the need to equip our students with the soft skills that will prepare them for like beyond our school, and are proud of the opportunities our students have to do this as part of our THRIVE Programme, GIS electives and through our extensive CCA programme.

Underpinning everything we do is our approach of academic care. As well as the care and support of their tutors team, our students complete lessons in Social and Emotional Learning to promote the wellbeing and understanding of others that helps support their success both during their time in GIS and beyond.

As a result of our track record of academic excellence, holistic approach and skills-based education, it is not surprising that GIS Sixth Form students are sought after by the world’s best universities. 

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

Students can select from a wide range of A Level subjects which are recognised globally and support our students’ progression to universities in a wide range of countries. These are taught by subject specialists who inspire students to explore their passions and provide rigour and challenge to develop higher-order thinking skills.

A Level
(Cambridge & Edexcel)

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

The range of opportunities that our students benefit from beyond their taught curriculum causes them to really stand out. Our wider learning programme gives students the opportunity to get involved in things that they enjoy, build a sense of community and develop skills that they will use in later life.

Bespoke Learning

GIS Diploma Programme

At GIS, we believe in the importance of a holistic education, which is about more than just achieving fantastic A Levels. We believe it also needs to prepare our students for the future, enabling them to develop a broad knowledge and a wide range of skills. For this purpose, we have developed our curriculum, offering an extensive choice of electives that will help prepare students for the next steps and life beyond school. Our GIS Sixth Formers are given the opportunity to complete the GIS Diploma or the GIS Diploma with Honours.

A GIS Diploma is awarded to students who:

A GIS Diploma with Honours is awarded to students who:

Secondary Curriculum: Year 10 & 11
Year 10 & 11

Key Stage 4 (age 14 & 16)

Year 10 & 11 Curriculum

Introduction

The Secondary School curriculum at GIS focuses on supporting young confident adults to reach their potential, in line with our GIS Learner Skills and our commitment to ensuring academic care for all.

Our Year 10 to 11 (KS4) curriculum is designed to meet the academic, personal and cultural needs of our students and better equip them for future challenges, while at the same time creating enjoyable learning environments that inspire and motivate. Students begin to select courses that appeal to them and follow a broad range of examined and non-examined subjects that prepare them for success both in and out of the classroom. Alongside examined subjects, students follow courses designed to develop them as individuals through Social Emotional Learning and a range of elective subjects. The Year 10 and 11 curriculum creates young adults not only with strong academic credentials but who are also well rounded individuals ready for the next stage of their learning.

Our focus on involvement outside the classroom alongside academic excellence aims to create the opportunity for students to become world changers in both their local and global communities.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

Our KS4 taught curriculum provides students with a balanced yet bespoke programme of study at GIS. At its core is a personalised combination of International GCSE qualifications that all students undertake and enhanced by our elective program. To ensure students are well rounded with successes beyond just academic achievements, the programme offers all students in KS4 a range of bespoke GIS elective courses as well as the study of Social and Emotional Learning. This balanced robust curriculum ensures students are well prepared for our our outstanding GCE (A Level) programme in Key Stage 5 (Years 12-13) or study beyond GIS. As with all other Key stages academic care remains central to our ethos with regular curriculum time allocated to the pastoral system and supported through contact with tutor groups.

Core Subjects

Option Subjects

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

Our KS4 wider curriculum supports students in their engagement, enjoyment and personal personal development as they move through Years 10 and 11. A wide range of activities are available that take place beyond timetabled lessons enable all students to gain engage in our school community and develop as individuals.

Bespoke Learning

GIS Elective Programme

At GIS we believe in the importance of a holistic education that is more than just achieving fantastic IGCSEs: it also needs to prepare you for the future, which requires a broad knowledge and wide range of skills. For this purpose, we have developed our curriculum, offering an extensive choice of electives that will extend learning and help prepare you for your own next steps and life beyond education.

Secondary Curriculum: Year 7 to 9
Year 1 & 2

Key Stage 3 (age 11 to 14)

Year 7 to 9 Curriculum

Introduction

The Secondary School curriculum at GIS focuses on supporting young confident adults to reach their potential, in line with our GIS Learner Skills and our commitment to ensuring academic care for all.

Our Year 7 to 9 (KS3) curriculum is designed to meet the academic, personal and cultural needs of our students and better equip them for future challenges, while at the same time creating enjoyable learning environments that inspire and motivate. Students follow a broad and balanced range of subjects that are linked to the National Curriculum of England and Wales but modified to create courses appropriate for an international education.

Our focus on involvement outside the classroom alongside academic excellence aims to create the opportunity for students to become world changers in both their local and global communities.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

Our KS3 taught curriculum provides students with a broad and balanced approach to study at GIS. A range of subjects are followed that gives learners a solid foundation to build upon in later years and ignite a passion for learning. Alongside delivering strong academic foundations, our KS3 taught curriculum is supported through our academic care provision. Students are supported by one-to-one conversations with subject teachers and tutors about their learning.

Core Subjects

Option Subjects

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

Our KS3 wider curriculum supports students in their engagement, enjoyment and personal development as they move through Years 7 to 9. A wide range of activities are available that take place beyond timetabled lessons enable all students to gain engage in our school community and develop as individuals.

Early Years Curriculum: Nursery & Reception
Nursery & Reception

Early Years Foundation Stage (age 3 & 5)

Nursery & Reception Curriculum

Early Years

Our EYC learning environment, both inside and outside, is well-resourced and offers a wide range of multi-sensory learning opportunities that are linked to the UK Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum. We balance play-based learning with the teaching of fundamental literacy and numeracy skills, PE and music lessons, as well as social and emotional skill development.

Mandarin is taught as an additional language through a combination of discrete teacher-led sessions, and as part of continuous provision, with our outstanding teachers encouraging authentic and natural language acquisition amongst our youngest learners.

Throughout their time at EYC, our young learners have opportunities to follow their interests and take ownership over their learning. This is encouraged through first-hand experiences that create a sense of awe and wonder for children, inspiring them to learn more about the world around them.

Children’s brains develop connections faster in the first five years than at any other time in their lives. This is the time when the foundations for learning, health and behaviour throughout life are laid down. In fact, by the time they turn five 90% of their brain will have been developed.

Our curriculum and approach are designed to ensure that a strong foundation is laid down to support your child’s further development throughout their life.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

Our Early Years offering consists of carefully designed opportunities to learn through play, directed curriculum and wider learning opportunities such as Jungle School, gardening and cooking.

A Unique Child

Prime

Specific

Mandarin

Jungle School Programme

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

Even at EYC, we offer a broad curriculum, with the aim of igniting passions and developing new interests amongst our children. We offer swimming, Water Play Days, Woodwork, Cooking, Trips and CCAs. We also offer our Jungle School programme. Unique to Malaysia, this is a hands-on programme based on the ‘Forest School’ approach in Europe. At Jungle School, our EYC children are able to learn about nature, explore and take risks is a safe and controlled environment and learn to become responsible citizens of the earth who respect and preserve her resources.

Primary Curriculum: Year 3 to 6
Year 3 to 6

Key Stage 2 (age 7 to 11)

Year 3 to 6 Curriculum

Introduction

This stage builds upon the foundations laid in the Early Years and Key Stage 1, preparing children for the next phase of their education. English is taught daily with a strong emphasis on the development of speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. The development of practical, mental and applied mathematics is achieved through our mathematics lessons.

In Years 5 and 6, French and Spanish are added to the World Languages programme. Students can decide to continue learning the Asian language they have been learning or replace this choice with one of the European languages. Either way, they will still have the opportunity to learn the other language as part of the language club programme after school. Homework is provided throughout the school, and is aimed at consolidating skills taught at school and encouraging parents to play an active role in their children’s education.

Children’s progress is assessed throughout Key Stages 1 and 2 to ensure we have a good understanding of their ongoing progress, individual abilities and to ensure their future needs are met.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

The Primary Curriculum follows a topic-based, cross-curriculum approach to learning with the British National Curriculum as it’s foundation. Soft skills are developed through a set of bespoke ‘Golden Threads’ that are carefully interwoven throughout the curriculum.

Subjects taught in our topic curriculum are:

Specialist Teaching subjects are

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

In Year 3 to Year 6 we offer our students wider learning opportunities to encourage them to learn new interests and skills beyond the classroom including:

Primary Curriculum: Year 1 & 2
Year 1 & 2

Key Stage 1 (age 5 to 7)

Year 1 & 2 Curriculum

Introduction

The first key stage of school welcomes children from Early Years into the Primary School and encourages each child to continue their development and maintain the fun, active approach to learning. Information Communication Technology (ICT) is used to support the learning process. Classroom-based learning along with a broad co-curricular programme and education outside the classroom ensure we provide a holistic education for your child.

The majority of learning takes place in the nurturing environment of the classroom facilitated by the classroom teacher and assistant teachers. Specialist teachers support the teaching of Art, Music, ICT and Physical Education. In World Languages, students learn Mandarin or Bahasa Malaysia – the national language, helping them to develop the skills and passion to learn an additional language in depth. Students also have the opportunity to explore other languages as a part of the language club programme which happens after school. Science, History, Geography, Design Technology and Drama are taught through our exciting Topic Curriculum which is underpinned by the ‘Golden Threads’ of Intercultural Learning and Social and Emotional Learning.

GIS utilises both the classroom and education opportunities outside the classroom to provide a programme that develops World Changers. At GIS we believe that our responsibility goes beyond producing outstanding academic results. We are fully committed to providing a holistic, well-balanced education.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

The Primary Curriculum follows a topic-based, cross-curriculum approach to learning with the British National Curriculum as it’s foundation. Soft skills are developed through a set of bespoke ‘Golden Threads’ that are carefully interwoven throughout the curriculum. The subjects taught in our topic curriculum are: English, Science, Mathematics, History, Geography, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Art & Design, Design Technology

Subjects taught in our topic curriculum are:

Specialist Teaching subject are:

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

 

In Year 1 & 2 we offer our students wider learning opportunities to encourage them to learn new interests and skills beyond the classroom including:

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