|Teachers handmade toys for children at Tan Thinh kindergarten in Dinh Hoa District, Thai Nguyen Province. — Photo baothainguyen.org.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — As part of a national programme to promote physical activities in preschool, teachers have been encouraged to make handmade toys for children aged five and under who attend kindergartens.
"It's necessary to have many kinds of toys to stimulate and excite children," said Truong Thi Viet Lien, deputy head of HCM City's Education and Training Department's preschool education division.
The toys provide a stimulus for walking, running, crawling and throwing activities, she said.
Besides toys bought from the state's budget and those made by teachers and parents, kindergartens have been told to set aside "toy corners or spaces" at schools and encourage children to play both outdoors and indoors.
Funds from the school budget are used to make the toys, but the teachers receive no extra salary to do so. State funds to buy toys are limited, according to education officials.
The handmade toys must meet safety and durability standards, as required by the Ministry of Education and Training.
At Nguyen Cu Trinh Kindergarten in the city's District 1, for example, children play a variety of games outdoors, including throwing balls into holes of varying sizes and walking on handmade rope bridges.
Le Minh Thao, a teacher at the school, said that she and her colleagues learned how to make toys from information found on the internet.
"Children need different kinds of toys because they can get bored easily," she said.
Nguyen Thi Kim Thoa, the school's principal, said that nearly half of the toys had been made by teachers and parents.
"These toys have helped us save costs because the ones in stores are expensive," she said.
In the past, the school had only a slide and swing, and very few toys.
Many of the children would play only 10 or 20 minutes and then get bored, even though the Ministry of Education and Training's regulation allows them 60 minutes of recess, she said.
Specialists at the city's Department of Education and Training have also told teachers to tailor the toys to appropriate age groups.
"Through physical activities, children learn skills such as team building, perseverance and cleverness," she said.
At Thoa's school, obesity among children fell 35 per cent by the end of the 2014-15 academic year compared to the start of the year.
Hoang Thi Dinh, of the central government's Department of Preschool Education, said that 188,414 sets of toys had been made by teachers and parents during the 2014-15 school year.
That was an increase of 30,787 compared to the 2013-14 school year, when the national programme on promoting physical activity began.
Seventy-five per cent of 14,203 kindergartens in the country now have yards with sets of toys. The number of classrooms with toys has reached 75 per cent.
Dr Nguyen Ba Minh, head of national preschool education department, said that entertaining activities must be included in preschool activities.
"This programme has helped kindergartens, especially those with small areas, to create an environment with plenty of toys," he said. — VNS