I was very surprised because the cap was raised to $5 (previously it had always been $2) and the traffic was the lowest out of three years. 6 May was smack in the middle of school exams so a lot of our friends could not make it. But hey, things have a way of turning out, so we’re good.
What blew my mind was how the Children’s Craft Fair (CCF) has become such a opportunity for self-directed learning :
“In its broadest meaning, ’self-directed learning’ describes a process by which individuals take the initiative, with our without the assistance of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identify human and material resources for learning, choosing and implement appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes.” (Knowles, 1975, p. 18)
Self-directed learning is the goal of CCF. And the goal has been so quickly reached. Children who have been part of the fair for at least 2 editions took charge of their own learning. They learnt how to use tools including iron for bead creations (travel iron works best for young ones), and light carpentry (a ready child can saw, drill and hammer under supervision). I was encouraged by parents’ attitudes to choose to watch and observe. Some facilitated a learning process. None touched the kids’ works. In fact, parents who did interfere with the process had to remove items from the fair. We really were jittery about whether our children could deliver the goods, and make without our help. Of course they delivered, even last minute work, on the day itself. None fell short!
I will never get enough of watching children take charge of entrepreneurship too. Some of the quietest ones surprised their parents by getting out of their booths to walk around and sell their goods to strangers. One booth’s kids were already good friends. Their dynamics were such that they helped one another sell items. They were the first to sell out. There are more stories I could say of kids who haggled, negotiated, bargained, learnt packaging, pricing, the necessity of rejection, perseverance, resilience… In a nutshell, Singapore needs more exposure and experiences for parents to see their children at work!
Another change this year : we separated our booths into 2 rooms. The smaller room this year was used for booths that included children with special needs. The smaller space meant less noise and sensorial overwhelm. The homeschool community in Singapore has always been inclusive – children of all needs exist within families, and families within communities. We don’t practice segregation by age or abilities. Instead, we find ways of learning about one another to help everyone succeed.
As usual, I count every CCF edition successful because our children made progress. They were confident, self-directed learners. They did themselves proud. My children say they want to join CCF every year. They also don’t like adults’ ideas and hope we get out of their way to learn. Bliss…
I want to thank Singapore Art Museum for another year of partnership. (A shout out to Eunice Poh, my heroine!) CCF is always on SAM’s Imaginarium open day. We are so proud to be part of an annual event that develops children’s love and appreciation of art. (Look out for our review of Imaginarium 2017 coming soon.)
Next year’s in charge will Eve Sam, an expat homeschooler in Singapore whose heart for children and self-directed learning is just as big. Watch this space.
– Dawn Fung
organiser of CCF 2015-2017
(All photos on this page by Eve Sam)