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In this paper, I will be sharing two different memories which are significant to me where I remembered learning about movement, environment and community in an integrated way. Then, I will be analysing these two memories which stimulate and making connections in the areas of movement environment and community.
The two memories which are significant to me where I remembered learning about movement, environment and communicate has to travel back when I was about six years old and when I was twenty two years old. Both experiences occurred outside of school.
The first experience took place at the playground, which is located on the ground floor of my block. My siblings, my brother and my sister and our childhood neighbour will always get together on weekdays for playtime after school. Our most favourite game of all time will be playing hid and seek followed by catch. We were always on the move, running to hide at the places which we shall not be seen. Speed was really crucial for us as we would run away from the catcher and at the same time we had bend our body low so that the catcher will not see us. Sometimes, we had to run very quietly to make sure that no one would spot us. Once we found a safe place, usually we would be hiding behind bushes, we would stay still until the catcher came nearer, we would begin running until we were ‘caught’.
The environment was part of the experience as it provided the space for us to move about and hide. As we ran across rows of shops along the corridor, the community forms part of the experience in the game of hide and seek and catch. The neighbours were friendly and accommodating to let us play and running along the corridor and playground. This forms the big issue every time we wanted to play hide and seek as we were concerned how we shall not disturb our neighbours and shops while we enjoyed our game.
The second experience which was significant to me happened when I was in sun moon lake, Taiwan. My friend and I took decided to rent scooter to ride around sun moon lake. The movement we had in this experience was the going on a scooter ride. It was specially challenging for us as it was my very first time riding on a scooter. While practising riding on the scooter, I had difficulty balancing the vehicle. Moreover, the direction was different from Singapore thus it took us quite some time to familiarise with the direction. When we were more familiar with the scooter, we began our adventure. At the beginning, we rode extremely slowly as the direction of the road is different in Singapore, and gradually picked up the speed along the journey. The ride added to its difficulty level when it only allows a single lane on each road direction and there were frequent tourists buses and cars on the opposite direction.
During the journey, we stopped by at each attraction, which forms part of the environment. The lake was breath taking and it was the reason why we wanted to ride around the lake. We spent some time with the lake and its scenery. On our way back to the rental shop, we had to recharge our scooter. The people, which were part of the community, were helpful in replacing a scooter for us. They also provided the directions when we were not sure about the way to return to the shop.
The big issue in this experience was to be able to ride on a scooter so that we were able to visit the lake. Without the help of the residents staying at sun moon lake, we would not be able to appreciate the beauty of the nature.
In my first memory, I feel that my family have influenced me greatly. We spent most of the time together, thus we would play together. The community also influenced me and it provided us the space for our activity. In Singapore, due to the safety, some parents may not allow their children to play out of their sight. Families have expressed concern of safety even though they have preferred these places for play (Derr & Lance, 2012). However, I am grateful that my parents allowed us to play at the playground with my siblings and neighbours while they are in the house. As we build on relationship with the neighbours in our neighbourhood, we looked out for each other and we get to enjoy this experience.
My peers had encouraged and influenced me in my second memory. They had given me the moral support that I need and I picked up my courage to ride on the scooter. The people were also very friendly and patient to give me the time to practice on the scooter. Even though I had encouragement and support from my peers, I would not have accomplished if I were given the knowledge on how the scooter functioned. As an educator, we should focus more on the knowledge rich experiences so that environmental education can be translated into meaningful learning experiences than relying on the concept of teaching which relies on nurturance and empathy with young children (Fleer, 2007).
The two chosen memories were both experiential and placed-based learning. The first memory would contain more of experiential learning as we are constantly looking for a new location every time we hide and we learn a new hiding place by doing it. We would often hide behind the bushes and pretended that the bushes are the wall that nobody would see us. Children use these places as “remarkably responsive with a fantastical mixing of the material and the imaginary” (Derr & Lance, 2012, p. 118).
On the other memory, sun moon lake is a place-based learning environment as my peers and I explored the place together through moving around the lake on a scooter together with the help of the people at sun moon lake. The nature was there for us as we appreciate it. This made me reflect on how I can understand better how children perceived between nature and environment. Further research on how notions of nature and environment are socially constructed would define the home context with the available resources including play sites and family involvement such as gardening or visits to the gardens (Payne, 1998). The growth of an individual profile will encompass significant life experiences and this would be an important contribution into the research issues of how time and place impact the conceptions and values of nature (Payne, 1998). Relating it back to my experience at the sun moon lake, it did influence me on how I perceive nature and it develops me as a person.
In my first memory, the gross motor skill was featured. It was prominent that as we have to run, and hide against the time was we did not want to be ‘caught’ apart from that, we also did squatting and tip-toeing in our hide and seek activity. As for the second memory, my body and eye-hand coordination have to work concurrently as I rode on the scooter. Reflecting on my physical movement made me feel that I had the freedom to move around in the environment. As a teacher, I feel that I have to be conscious on how children have the ability to create space and social affordances. Initial findings suggest that all children have the ability of discovering affordances and forming their classroom environment (McLaren, Ruddick, Edwards, Zabjek, & McKeever, 2012). When we are engaged in play, it improves motor and cognitive skill and as well as attention capacities (Derr & Lance, 2012).
Safety procedures were considered when I was engaged my scooter ride in at the sun moon lake. The rental shop owner briefed us through the safety precautions that we need to know in case of emergency. Helmet was provided during our ride so ensure our safety and we were given emergency contact numbers just in case our scooter broke down. As for my first memory, even though we had the freedom to run around the playground and along the shops, we were aware that we should not be tampering the environment and disturbing the people around us. We also had to be considerate not to run into shops to hide as that would disrupt their business.
As I looked back on my past experiences, I see that movement, environment and community are closely inter-related to each other and how each area complement and influenced each other. I feel that there is a need to advocate parents and children to be engaged in movement, environment and community through spending quality time and interactions together. They could be spending time at the picnic, or taking a walk in the park. As an educator, we play a vital role as a facilitator and support when children are engaged in the processes of discovery and exploration (Young & Elliot, 2010) and we have to act on it display positive attitudes and learning towards movement, environment and community.
Derr, V., & Lance, K. (2012). Biophilic Boulder: Children's Environments That Foster Connections to Nature. Children Youth and Environments, 22(2), 112-143.
Fleer, M. (Ed.). (2007). Young children: Thinking about the scientific world. Watson: Early Childhood Australia.
McLaren, C., Ruddick, S., Edwards, G., Zabjek, K., & McKeever, P. (2012). Children’s Movement in an Integrated Kindergarten Classroom: Design, Methods and Preliminary Findings. Children, Youth and Environments, 22(1), 145-177.
Payne, P. (1998). Children's conceptions of nature. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 14, 19-26.
Young, S. & Elliott, S. (2010). Just Discover! connecting young children with the natural world. Croydon, Victoria: Tertiary Press.
Name: Loo Si Hui
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