Teachers’ perspectives on optimizing manipulatives in teaching 21st century skills in kindergarten
Keywords:Manipulatives, 21st century skills, Kindergarten, Children’s behavior, Teacher training, Learning tools, Teaching tools
Kindergarten teachers optimize manipulatives in teaching young children. These manipulatives can be tools in developing essential skills needed to meet the demands of 21st century society. A descriptive mixed method design was employed in this study. Qualitative data were gathered using interviews and classroom observations, while quantitative data were extracted from questionnaire and classroom inventory checklist. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, whereas qualitative data were transcribed, coded, and categorized by themes. Research respondents were the 25 kindergarten teachers from public schools (n=8) and private schools (n=3) in Pulilan, Bulacan. Results showed that teachers use manipulatives in the teaching and learning process as these provide many opportunities for children to learn and acquire different skills. Several manipulatives develop more than one skill, depending on their characteristics and nature. Moreover, skill development varies depending on the activity and type of manipulatives used. The research finds that manipulatives continue to be relevant and can be used to develop 21st century skills in kindergarten. However, teachers need to undergo training on the optimization of manipulatives that are readily available in the kindergarten classroom. Furthermore, there is a need for schools to invest in different manipulatives for use in kindergarten.
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