Year 1 B Ed Students organize morning of “learning through play” as part of ECAE’s National Day festivities

Press release
Published December 11th, 2011 - 07:43 GMT
During the event
During the event

In support of their studies in Human Development, Emirates College for Advanced Education (ECAE) Year 1 Bachelor of Education (B Ed) students invited KG 2 children from Al Jeel Al Jadeed Kindergarten to ECAE for play-based activities with a National Day theme. As part of their coursework, students had studied an educational toy for its value in holistic development as part of a play-based learning experience. ECAE students used this toy to facilitate play with the children, demonstrating playful activities based on the ADEC curriculum. These activities focused on language and literacy development, science and/or numeracy.

Dr. Lilly Tennant, Dr. Fiona Baker, Dr Patricia Stringer, and Dr. Mohamed Taha: faculty teaching year 1 B Ed students, highlighted the importance of play-based learning and of the opportunity to interact with KG children to understand child development. “The Year 1 students have studied the domains of development in early childhood and the value of play.  They have observed it on video. Now is a real-life chance to experience play in action in an organized setting. The students enjoyed communicating in both Arabic and English and were impressed by the children’s abilities in both languages. It was one of the most rewarding mornings to date for Year 1 students who described the play-based learning events as being highly engaging and informative,” said Dr. Fiona Baker.

Dr. Robert Thompson, Dean, Academic, further added, “ECAE is a teacher-training college and aims to enrich student teachers’ learning experiences through various associations in the education community, and most importantly, through practice-oriented teaching skills. The B Ed program we offer forms a strong foundation for a well-rounded teacher who is confident and knowledgeable about child development. This is the first course year 1 students receive at the college, building a firm basis of educational study, and demonstrating the value of play-based learning. We were very fortunate to welcome these KG children on campus. I was impressed by the enthusiasm and the energy of our students, as such collaboration is vital for the development of talented Emirati teachers for Abu Dhabi.”

Several college students requested more opportunities to gain a richer experience with KG children, and expressed their interest in working at the KG level.  “It was really enjoyable. I think that it was worth our time and effort to plan play-based learning activities.  So many teachers are textbook reliant.  If we take away the text, learn through play, and develop our own culturally based activities, the pay-offs are really big” said Ahlam Al Mosawi. 

“Most of us left with thoughts of starting our Practicum 1 experience next semester. It was extremely motivating for us to see our studies put our skills into practice, and to use this opportunity as a springboard for our observation in the upcoming weeks,” said Fatima Ahmed.

ECAE students ended the visit elaborating their pride of National Day with a youla traditional dance, with some of the KG children joining in. It was a natural culmination of what had occurred throughout the morning, and a strong message of support for the future generation of the UAE. The KG children were presented with complimentary student-made gifts and National Day presents.   

Background Information

Emirates College for Advanced Education

Emirates College for Advanced Education (ECAE) is an Abu Dhabi Government higher education institute affiliated with Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK). The college was established to offer Undergraduate and Postgraduate Degree Programs as well as Professional Development for in-service educators with a commitment to playing a key role in the modernization of school education in the UAE, and providing educational research solutions to the nation. The College currently offers a Bachelor Degree Program which is distinguished for extensive practicum and mentoring opportunities for its students. The medium of instruction at the ECAE is English. ECAE also offers a Master of Education and a Post Graduate Diploma in Education.

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