The Funhouse system of education is centred primarily on our fervent belief that learning at this stage and age should be fun, that our children should be allowed to thrive and develop without ‘hot-housing’ and especially that each child should be recognised and valued as the unique individual that we all are.
Ours is not a system that places any great emphasis on just one method of child development, we are practitioners that have searched and combed to make sure we come up with a system that brings the best out of your children. Repeatedly we get asked if we are running a Montessori system and repeatedly we say ‘no, we are not’. What we however do have is a system that is a ‘funhouse system’. The ‘funhouse system’ is a collection and an adaptation of ideas – all ideas around child development issues that would be beneficial to the child has been researched and inculcated but our underlying method is centred around ‘the British early years foundation framework’ and ‘the Nigerian early childhood care and education programme’, as well as a firm understanding of Maria Montessori’s approach.
The British EYFS is a set of standards for learning, development and care of children from birth to five – with themes such as the unique child – that each child is a competent learner who can be capable and self-assured, building positive relationships – children learning to be strong and independent from a base pf secure relationships both with parents and with us, creating enabling environments – recognising that the learning environment is very vital and helping with learning and development –playing a key role in supporting and extending children’s learning and development.
The early years provision framework as set out by Federal ministry of Education are ideas and educational practices that stimulate the learning process through interaction with the environment using several learning equipments and materials. The ECCE is centred around effecting a smooth transition from home to school, preparing the child for primary level, inculcating social norms and values. Learning good habits as well as teaching numbers, letters. Colours, shapes, and forms all through play.
We have also read and trained on the Montessori approach and have adapted and inculcated this method into the ‘funhouse system’, we picked vital aspects of her curriculum and integrated it into our school systems and curriculum. It is important to note that despite this Funhouse Prep school is NOT operating a Montessori system of education.
The Montessori curriculum is classified into 5 areas. In each we picked out the most vital and relevant ideas and integrated them into our subjects. They are as follows:
The Funhouse Language Curriculum is designed in such a way that it fits into the stages of development moving from simple to complex. From the first stage after the child is born, the child learns to interact with people. From talking, calling words with known sounds, writing gradually falls in place as the child finds it fascinating to be able to read words in the language he or she understands in written form.
Our Language Curriculum emphasises on the teaching of the phonics 44 sounds. With the knowledge of phonic sounds the child gradually begins to match up sounds to form words sounds “a” and “s”, the child will discover that if the two sounds are joined, the sight word “as” is formed. This system is simple and easy as it encourages early reading.
In Funhouse however, knowing very well the emphasis parents put on the learning of Alphabets ABC, we have put in place the provision to learn the alphabets as sounds i.e from a-z and then later match them up with alphabets. That is why most parents will notice that their children can sing the alphabet song but cannot as yet identify them in upper case, but when they see lower case alphabets they call their sounds.
For the older children, they are introduced into grammar and all its complexities as well as comprehension, composition and other aspects of the english language without forgetting their foundation in phonics.
Most Funhouse parents tend to worry themselves that their kids cannot recite 1-100 when children in other schools do so. According to our curriculum, we move from simple to complex. We put emphasis on the fact that our children know numbers 1-10 and are able to apply them properly into their daily routine. It would amaze you when you see a child reciting 1-100 but cannot apply those numbers into practical life experiences.
Pupils in the early years are in the first stage of development so we take time to make sure that they are able to count and identify numbers and are able to relate the numbers they count into their everyday life. As they get to other stages in their development, their learning capabilities increase and they are able to understand deeper concepts.
Practical Life Exercises
This is the idea of integrating simple activities that adults perform daily in order to maintain and control the environment they live in into the child’s routine. There are a lot of activities outlined for this course and we pick these activities and fix them into the various subject areas as it deem fit. These activities are directly and indirectly aimed at achieving the following on the children.
Examples of the practical life exercises we do in Funhouse are
We have also integrated the Montessori system of 9 senses and materials to enhance the way our Funhouse children explore knowledge of the world. We recognise that environment plays a vital role in supporting and extending the child’s development and learning, and the whole funhouse learning environment has been designed with that in mind, we have strived to create a place that is both visually stimulating and relaxing.
The cultural subject encourages the child to learn as early as possible about the real world i.e the natural and cultural environment. Topics are picked from subject areas such as geography, zoology, history, biology etc. this aspect area reflects more into the child’s familiarity and understanding of his or her environment. Last term, the children learned about Nigeria’s Independence Day which is a part of Nigeria’s history. In fact the celebrations we mark, birthdays, holidays etc teaches the children the concept of time, days, years etc.
The curriculum is separated into themes which are fully integrated into every aspect of the funhouse life, the children learn about animals, safety, news delivery, sports and games, friendship, responsibilty, gardening, flowers, parks and recreation, rainforests, planets, colours, the importance of being charitable and so much more
Each Friday is dedicated to our theme presentation and the children are always delighted to participate and show what they understand by the themes. They make cake decorations, short plays, posters, newspapers, television and radio skits and much more depending on the theme that is being taught at that moment
Some of our everyday educational activities included, but were not limited to, dancing, finger-painting, arts and crafts; including decorations and sand craft, and lots of physical development activities like running, bike riding and ball-picking as well as the conventional teachings.
The role that all of the above methods of teaching and child development play in Funhouse curriculum is an ample one that will make our children to grow and develop into responsible young men and women that will fit confidently into any society and will play reasonable and relevant roles to move the Nigerian society forward as future leaders. Thus we the Funhouse Management and Staff, implore parents and guardians to continue to be patient with us and also assist us in the best way they can for the betterment of our children and to not forget that our motto is "fun whilst learning".