Kiddy123 interviewed Datuk Jared Lim (JL), the chairman of Hi-5 World, Dr. Catherine Martin (CM), Script Producer for Hi-5 Q World and Julie Greene (JG), Creative Director and Executive Producer of Hi-5 World.
Can you tell us briefly about Hi-5?
JL: Hi-5 has been around for about 15 years now. It started with a cast of 5, all with different personalities and the target audience is children who are preschoolers. The program has strong educational theory and we put them together with music to make learning fun and more enjoyable. The advisors of this program are Helen Martin and Dr Catherine Martin, who both are specialists in early childhood education. Today, Hi-5 is very well known not just in Australia, but also everywhere around the world.
How did the idea of having Hi-5 House of Learning come about?
JL: Well, we have an incredible team of amazing people who have been working with children and specialists in early childhood education. We also have experienced people who work in the media for many years. We decided that not only we should reach out to children through TV programs, but rather with something that is more practical. Making the best of the tools and people that we have, we decided to open up Hi-5 House of Learning so that children are able to get a more experiential learning to develop necessary skill sets.
We believe with how much the children already know about Hi-5, it would be easier for them to connect and be excited to learn thus, making learning fun for them.
What is different about Hi-5 House of Learning compared to the conventional early childhood learning centers?
JL: Children are born pure and they have the skills required in them. They need the right way of learning to bring out these skills. Here, we not only concentrate on left-brain learning, which is the analytical and rational side of the brain, but we also put a lot of focus on the right-brain learning where creativity and artistic skills are more pronounced. Children who are conditioned with rote learning can lose these skills and this is what we’re trying to avoid because by exposing children to experiential learning, they are able to become independent thinkers and nurture their passion towards what they like to do instead of them being forced to do something.
As opposed to this rigid way of learning, Hi-5 House of Learning teaches children to learn through play, discovery and hands on activities. This flexible way of learning allows children to find out the answers on their own terms because here, there is no one right answer. It also allows the children to explore their own mind and be independent, rather than becoming a follower of a conditioned system of rote learning.
Here, we use other intelligence that children have. We don’t just tell them what something is, we show them. For example, we can teach a child how does a cat look like and how to spell the word cat. For many centers, it may stop there because it’s enough for the child to know what a cat looks like and they concentrate on whether or not the child can spell the word cat. At Hi-5 House of Learning, we allow the children to explore the other intelligence that they have by knowing what a cat is in every aspect. We show the children how a cat feels like by letting them touch is, what a cat likes to do, how does a cat move, what are the different types of sound a cat can make and so on.
This experiential learning taps into every intelligence the child has by exploring their senses, their ability to react and respond and provide their own ideas or questions based on what they have learnt.
That is fantastic. Julie, as creative director and executive producer of the show, how do you integrate the objective of the show into Hi-5 House of Learning’s curriculum?
JG: I’ve been involved with Hi-5 for 10 years while Catherine has been with Hi-5 since the very beginning. Everyone at Hi-5 is very passionate about what they do and a lot of care has gone into making the show a wholesome edutainment program for children. We don’t just look into educating children on how to learn, but we also focus a lot in developing their social and emotional skills.
Jared’s idea of bringing Hi-5 learning to children is very visionary because it will transcend from the TV screen to being one to one with children.
Having worked behind the screen, I’m very excited to be able to integrate what we bring to the children on TV to real-life learning in conducive and healthy environment. We use the same concept of positive learning that is the objective of the TV show and bring this into the curriculum through children’s education theories to ensure a wholesome learning experience for the children. We not only focus one aspect as Jared has mentioned, but we use the child’s other intelligence and senses to let them have a positive learning experience that will stay with them for a long time.
Thank you, Julie. Dr. Catherine, can you explain to us briefly about Hi-5 House of Learning’s curriculum and its framework?
CM: Having worked in early childhood education field, I know that children do not think the same way as adults do. At times, we might even think that they think illogically. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. We need to know how to use their way of thinking when we’re teaching them so that they will be able to understand things their way. This is important because there is no right or wrong when it comes to learning, but the conditioning makes it so.
At Hi-5 House of Learning, we use children’s educations theories to develop our curriculum, namely Gardner’s and Piaget’s theories. We believe that children learn best when we work using these theories. Children are sensory learners, especially at the early stages of their lives. They learn most from what they see, what they touch, what they hear and they also learn through their body. So here, we want to use that and maximize their learning experience through experiential learning. It’s not just about knowing what something is, but experience things around them through body movement, visual arts, images, music and so on.
Like Jared has mentioned, we use a lot of experiential learning through play and discovery. Children have what we call a perception rule; they perceive things as they see them. For example, if we were to show a young child a photo of a cat, they will know it’s a cat. But if we were to show a photo of a cat that has a rabbit mask on, the child will say that it’s a rabbit and wonders where did the cat go. So we use this perception rule to conduct a flexible way of learning to allow the children to discover the answer they’re looking by themselves rather than we tell them that it’s a cat wearing a rabbit’s mask.
As was shared with you (Kiddy123 was given Hi-5 House of Learning edupack), we based our curriculum on the Hi-5 Learning Wheel. This wheel taps into children’s other intelligence, as previously mentioned by Jared, and making use of children’s every sense that they need to learn and develop important skills. This learning wheel is based on Gardner’s theory, which is the Theory of Multiple Intelligences that states there are seven distinct types of intelligences among them are visual, kinaesthetic, musical, and linguistic.
We model our syllabus based on each type of these intelligences to give the children at Hi-5 House of Learning a wholesome and total experiential learning.
Thank you for sharing with us. I’m sure our readers will find a lot of great things about Hi-5 House of Learning. And thank you so much for your time.
JL: You’re very welcome. And thank you for the opportunity.
CM: Not a problem. And thank you to you too.
JG: You’re welcome. It’s been a privilege to share Hi-5 with you.