Early this year, over 60 R.E.A.L International School Suria (RISS) students and seven teachers made a trip to Kidzania at Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya. There, students got the opportunity to perform different ‘jobs and professions’ pertaining to adult life in a safe, fun and child-friendly environment. KidZania is a chain of family entertainment centres that currently operates in 20 countries.
Each KidZania is a make-believe city that provides children and their parents a wonderful yet realistic world where kids between the ages of four to twelve can freely explore various business establishments and working environments such as a bank, police station, courthouse and fire station, among others. Best of all, kids get to role-play in their favourite profession and live their ambition so to speak; whether as a firefighter, nurse, police officer, radio deejay or journalist, to name a few.
Upon arriving at Kidzania in the morning, the RISS students were immediately welcomed and ushered in by the tour guide on hand, who was well versed and kept the children captivated and on their toes throughout the day. For many, the indoor theme park is a sight to behold for anyone who lays eyes on it for the first time – a functional city built to scale for children; complete with furnished buildings, paved streets, running vehicles, well-known landmarks and even a ‘thriving’ economy that feature leading international and local brands.
As in the real world, children perform these ‘jobs’ and are paid for their work. They could then use their earnings to shop or be entertained. Among the many real-life skills which the students learnt include keeping calm when flying through turbulent weather, withdrawing money from a bank and sanitizing their hands before preparing snacks. As with R.E.A.L, KidZania provides a similarly authentic and powerful learning experience by blending together reality with entertainment.
Excursions such as this allow students to understand and manage their world better. They acquire real-world skills, learn more about various professions and are introduced to the fundamentals of financial literacy. Whilst having fun, the students also pick up social skills, mutual cooperation and respect. As their knowledge and creativity grows through curiosity; they begin to be independent, develop vital decision-making skills and connect with their community better.
After a long but fun-filled day, the RISS students went home wiser and more inspired by what the future holds as far as their prospective careers are concerned. For some, burning new ambitions were forged upon gaining better insight on the jobs that adults do. In the end, these trips typify R.E.A.L Schools’ educational philosophy – one that champions fun, active and experiential learning.