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PJ Mask

PJ MASK AT THE PARK

PJ Mask isn’t fiction, it’s real (as if)! I’ve just seen Owlette and Catboy at the park early this morning discussing their next BIG plan. Their real identities are covered for safety reasons. Some times, they are dressed in civilian attire to hide under the radar.

This morning, they travelled on their scooter to the park.

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OWLETTE AND CATBOY’S ADVENTURE AT THE PLAYGROUND

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Playing pretend with his big sister! So now Arnold is steering the ship! Ahoy!

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And Sonia is checking out if there are any pirates out there! Keep safe, stay safe.

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Sonia loves the swing as much as I do!

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Just watching this pair of siblings interacts make anyone smile.

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Grandma on nanny duty!

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BENEFITS OF PLAY PRETEND

All kids play pretend. Sonia and Arnold do that a lot! At the nearby playground, they pretended they were in a ship. On the swing, they pretended they were flying. On the rock wall, they pretended they were Spiderman, etc. They called the leaves “treasures” and stones “diamonds”.

I like it when they experience walking in someone’s shoes. It helps build on their social and emotional skills, and also their self-esteem! Playing pretend calls upon important cognitive thinking skills that they will use in every aspect of their life. And by playing with them allows me a chance to positively enhance their learning experiences and strengthen my relationship with them. Bonding. Especially for Arnold, play pretend helps with language development. I find opportunities to extend on language skills by paraphrasing what he said using more descriptive language and exchanging conversations using expressive language examples. Do not underestimate your child’s ability to learn.

Above all, play pretend is fun and enjoyable.

 

LEARNING ON THE MOVE

PJ Mask

I always find any opportunity to teach my kids new things along the way. There are always some kind of learning materials in my bag and today I took out some new Chinese characters we had just learned not too long ago. It was revision on the move!

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This way, it makes learning less stressful and more fun!

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After all the fun, it was time for breakfast. We ran to the nearest hut and “chop” the seats. And from my multi-purposes bag, I took out a microscope. They like all kind of “scope” – telescope, microscope, stethoscope…

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Sonia tried using opaque objects (e.g. leaf) and it didn’t work. She later tried water and saw how the molecules looked like.

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Arnold is giving it a go too!

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After a while, I realised they enjoyed playing with the dropper more than the microscope.

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So more water for the Owlette!

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WORKING OUT THE LITTLE MUSCLES

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Arnold offered grandma a shield and she made good use of the shield to shield the sun.

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It was a beautiful day and all of us had loads of fun at the park! What not to like?!?

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Learning about body parts for preschoolers

LEARNING ABOUT BODY PARTS

After our episode of numbers, addition and subtraction, I’ve decided to change subject for a while. We will be learning about body parts! This may sound really simple but reading/spelling them isn’t. I don’t expect Sonia or Arnold to learn spelling at this tender young age but at least get exposed to those words. Learning about body parts can be really fun!

Learning about body parts for preschoolers

For Arnold’s sake (he’s only 2), I printed and laminated the body parts so he could fix them like a puzzle. Both Sonia and Arnold had so much fun with this and repeated the same activity at least 10 times. While they fixed the simple 3-piece puzzle, we talked about body parts and what they were used for. For example, I used my eyes to see; I used my nose to smell, I used my ears to listen, etc.

When I asked “what do you use your hair for?” Sonia’s answer cracked me up – “hair is use for making princess pretty”. LOL… too much princess movies already -_- I told her that the correct answer was “hair keeps you warm”, but she insisted that “hair is used to make girls pretty”. Well, that’s not wrong too!

See, simple activities can be really engaging!

Learning about body parts for preschoolers

My two-year-old has really short attention span. Not too long later, he went upstair to play with toys, while Sonia learns to write.

Learning about body parts for preschoolers

We practiced writing simple words…

Learning about body parts for preschoolers

And learned more about our head, eye, ear, mouth and nose.

Learning about body parts for preschoolers

 

CLICK, SAVE AND PRINT

Designing learning worksheets for my children has now become my new hobby! I love creating personalised activity sheets for them and wouldn’t mind the trouble as long as they learn something from it! If you are interested in the worksheets, you can download those printables below. I hope you have as much fun doing them with your kids as I had with mine!

Learning about body parts for preschoolers Learning about body parts for preschoolers Learning about body parts for preschoolers Learning about body parts for preschoolers Learning about body parts for preschoolers Learning about body parts for preschoolers Learning about body parts for preschoolers Learning about body parts for preschoolers

And here’s the 3-piece puzzle I mentioned earlier.

Learning about body parts for preschoolers Learning about body parts for preschoolers

Have fun!

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Tuition for primary, secondary and JC. English.

I’M NOT KIASU BUT I SEND MY KIDS FOR TUITION

Tuition in Singapore has always been a hot topic! When I was little, my parents sent me for tuition and enrichment classes. Funny, but thinking back, I had never resisted going for any enrichment classes my parents sent me to; in fact, I enjoyed attending them all! They never once force me into learning something I don’t want. And when I grew older (sec 1 onwards), I actually requested to attend tuition classes for subjects I was weak in. I guess I felt more responsible for my grades and future, thus more eager to get help from the right people. In the nutshell, tuition did me well! They build my foundation right from young and with strong foundation in my core subjects, it got me through my entire education journey with ease (even as I moved on to get my Bachelor and Master degrees). It’s not just all talk! I have results to prove! I graduated with Dean’s Awards! No dear, I am not trying to blow my own trumpet. What I’m trying to tell here is that tuition worked for me (and many other kids out there) and parents shouldn’t see sending their children for tuition as a form of “kiasu act”. No, it isn’t! There is an average of 40 kids in a primary/secondary school class and every child learns at a different pace, so how can one teacher ensure all her students understands all her teachings in class? We can’t blame the teacher! She has so much on her plate, too little time, and too many children under her care. Sure, it will be nice if the Ministry of Education (MOE) can revise their school policy and perhaps have lower student-teacher ratio (smaller classes), but I won’t get there. That’s another topic altogether. We cannot change the school’s policy overnight, but we can get help for our kids!

 

DO YOU KNOW

Do you know – a 2008 study showed that about 97 per cent of Singaporean students enrolled in tuition and enrichment classes compared to only 49 and 30 per cent of primary and secondary school students who did so in 1992.

This is an unfortunate result of the pressure cooker education system that school kids are constantly facing in a meritocratic society like Singapore. And I constantly remind myself not to send my kids for tuition just to keep in trend but to classes that are beneficial to them, and most importantly, they enjoy attending. Again, I am not kiasu, I’m just being prepared. If they need help, and I can’t help, I employ help.

 

IS GOING FOR TUITION USEFUL?

Tuition for primary, secondary and JC. English.

Truth to be told, my kids are only 2 and 4 years old. I send them for age appropriate classes (for example, Right-Brain Training Classes). But eventually they will get there, be in a class with 40 other students and vying for the teachers’ attention. I will be happy if they can catch up with school and need no extra help from tutors, but if they are unable to, I will not hesitate to send them for classes, good ones!

After being a parent, I suddenly see myself mingling with more friends who are parents too! Some have kids who are already teenagers and they have so much so share! Through our own “parent-meeting-session” I concluded that majority parents see improvement in their child’s school grades and self-confidence after attending tuition for approximately 4-6 months. For me, acquiring knowledge is important, but more important is my children’s emotional health. If, for example, my girl can’t cope with her school work, or can’t speak good English, and starts withdrawing herself from her friends because she feels inferior, that’s NOT healthy. I want my kids to be happy!

So is going for tuition useful? I say “YES”!

  1. For academic purpose. Like it or not, schools and kids in Singapore are graded and ranked. Some times, some kids are just too afraid or embarrassed to ask questions in class, but are more comfortable to discuss in smaller groups with a tutor.
  2. A tutor can impart knowledge that may not be taught in sufficient details in school because there is only that much time for English class, for example.
  3. A tutor can target and work on the child’s weakness but a school teacher cannot do the same with every individual student.
  4. Finally, it helps the child to build on self-confidence.

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT SUBJECT I WOULD FOCUS ON

Tuition for primary, secondary and JC. English.

There are many types of tuition or enrichment classes (whichever you call them). Just to name a few, Chinese, English, Math, Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physic, Ballet, Piano, Violin, Right-Brain-Training, Drama, Painting, and the list goes on…

Among all, I personally feel that ENGLISH is the most important subject, and one that I will give much emphasis to! It is important in both my children’s education and career.

We all know that English is an International language. It is used in all the aspects of communication whether spoken or written in most part of the world, and definitely in Singapore. English is a prerequisite for further study. You cannot go for further study outside your country without the knowledge of English. Even if you want to emigrate to an English speaking country, it is compulsory for everyone to pass the  IELTS test.

For the sake of their future, I will do all I can to help them succeed in life. And I will start with teaching them good English. It will eventually help them with the rest of the subjects since math and science are all taught in English.

It is easy to help preschoolers with school work but as their school curriculum gets more challenging into Primary 4, 5, 6 or even way into J1 and J2, you might need some professional help.

 

WESA’S CHOICE

Again, I am not kiasu, I’m just being prepared. Just like how I have already done my homework on enrolling my kids to the primary school of my choice (hopefully theirs too), I’ve also checked out on some tuition centres which I would give five stars to ✩✩✩✩✩

When it comes to tuition centres, there are more supply than demand, so parents, take your time to choose the right one for your child. The most popular centre may not have the best teachers. In my opinion, a good tutor beats a branded school. Well, you know what’s best for your child.

I have recently chanced upon DO Applied Learning and have visited their centre to make enquires. DO Applied Learning is nested in the East side of Singapore, near schools such as Tao Nan, CHIJ Katong Convent, Ngee Ann, Victoria, St Patrick and more.

I know what’s in your mind now – again, I am not kiasu, I’m just being prepared lah! These tutors can help transform your child into a black belt practitioner of the English language! They have helped many students in their PSLE, O’Levels, and A’Levels examinations, and more importantly, beyond the classroom, way into their careers. The tutors teaches English using Applied Learning methodologies and encourages students to ‘Learn By Doing’, which are in line with MOE’s direction. MOE has announced with it would be supporting all secondary school to each develop an Applied Learning Programme by 2017.

Tuition for primary, secondary and JC. English.

 

DO Applied Learning

Where are classes conducted?

Classes are conducted at Block 86 Marine Parade Central #04-302. Same building as Popular Bookstore.

 

Are classes in groups or conducted on a 1-1 basis?

Their English classes are usually conducted in small groups of no more than 6 students per class.

 

Who is teaching the classes?

Lessons are taught by Mr. Daniel Ong, a former Public Service Leadership Programme (PSLP) officer, who served stints in the Ministry of Education (MOE), and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). During his time in service, Daniel explored practical ways to improve the quality of education for our future generation through participating in major projects such as the national review of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). Beyond this, he was also involved in drafting documents and speeches for Cabinet Level Ministers. Daniel was also a multi-year Dean’s Lister at the Singapore Management University where he graduated Summa Cum Laude (With Highest Distinction). Above all, he is one teacher with great amount of patience and lessons are never boring.

 

How to sign up for lessons?

DO Applied Learning invite students to first register for a free trial lesson before enrolling with them. I like that the tutors are more concern about the students than mere business. I’ve seen centres encouraging parents to pay upfront tuition fees for a year to enjoy some 20% discount. That’s pure business, but I don’t fault the tutors there. It’s the centres’ management team behind the marketing gimmicks, no? Anyway, at DO Applied Learning, you don’t have to pay upfront school fees for a year or whatnot. In fact, they want you to go for a free trail class before deciding whether to continue attending classes with them or not!

If you are interested in attending classes at DO Applied Learning, do quote “LOVEWESA” to get a 20% discount off the first month tuition fee!

 

Facilities in the classrooms

DO Applied Learning classrooms are fully air-conditioned, and they provide free wi-fi connection (and laptops for students) to search for information, when they are practicing their exercises.

 

Are there registration fees, learning material fees, or any other hidden fees?

No, there are no other fees besides tuition fees. And yes, they provide all the learning materials for the students.

 

What are DO Applied Learning tuition fees like?

S$200 per month for upper primary (2 hrs x 4 lessons per month)
S$220 per month for lower secondary (2 hrs x 4 lessons per month)
S$240 per month for upper secondary (2 hrs x 4 lessons per month)
S$260 per month for JC (2 hrs x 4 lessons per month)

What I really like about DO Applied Learning is that there are no hidden cost. They provide all the learning materials for the students. No additional charges are required apart from the monthly fees. Yes, there is also NO registration fees.

You can find out more about DO Applied Learning on their website here, and on their Facebook here.

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Casting Call - Fresh Farmers 2

Casting Call for Fresh Farmers 2 on Toggle

Hi everyone!

Filmat36 is currently in the midst of casting for children and their guardians for an Info-Educational show for Mediacorp Channel 8, titled “小农夫 2, Fresh Farmers 2”.

Fresh Farmers 2

This is the second season following our previous series “小农夫, Fresh Farmers” that can still be viewed at Toggle.

小农夫 2 Fresh Farmers 2

http://tv.toggle.sg/en/shows/fresh-farmers-1/info

小农夫 2 Fresh Farmers 2

They are inviting mandarin speaking children between ages 5 to 9 to join them for an exciting learning adventure on the farms where they will take on challenges with a parent/older sibling/relative with hands-on activities in a farm in Malaysia. In each episode the children will learn a bit more about agriculture and build bonds with their friend and parent through the games.

Do contact Venessa Lim at 93689690 or drop an email at venessalimxs@hotmail.com for more information!

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2015 11 28 - WESA Family - MIL or Monster-In-Law1

If you grew in Singapore, you must have been to the Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, and/or River Safari before. Or at least to one of those destinations! Even if your parents haven’t brought you there before, your school would.

I personally have been to all of those places with my younger brothers and planned to take my kids there too! We had some of our fondest memories at the wildlife parks. Family times, then, were so different from today! I remembered learning about animals at the zoo, looking, touching, and smelling them. Today, there are plenty of mobile apps, teaching tots about animals. However interactive they are, nothing beats looking, touching and smelling the real stuff.

So far, I’ve brought Sonia and Arnold to the Zoo and Bird Park. Next on our list is the Night Safari!!!

What about you? Have you and your family been to Singapore Wildlife Parks at Mandai?

 

#MyMandai

Singapore now celebrates moments that matter with wildlife parks at Mandai. From now till 29 February, you are invited to share your treasured personal experiences at any of the world-renowned wildlife parks at Mandai through #MyMandai, an online photo-sharing event.

So start contributing photos to #MyMandai on mymandai.com or on Instagram with the hashtag #MyMandai, and witness your precious experiences form the foundation of a digital mural. The mural will be installed physically at Singapore Zoo for public viewing for two months, from 1 February to 31 March.

The first 1,000 photo submissions will be rewarded with a SGD 10 Wildlife Reserves Singapore voucher each, which can be used in any food and beverage establishment across Jurong Bird Park, Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari. In addition, each week, a winner with the most interesting photo submission will receive a SGD 100 Wildlife Reserves Singapore food and beverage voucher.

 

SHARING MEMORIES THAT MATTER

#MyMandai has received a stream of heartwarming contributions, each with its own story to tell. Here are our submissions:-

#MyMandai

I look forward to see yours too!

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Benefits of Beading

Not too long ago, I was browsing on Taobao, looking for a foot spa machine for my FIL when I came across images of beads for crafting. The colours and shapes were captivating enough for me to click on them! That was when Sonia (my three-year-old daughter) walked in and squealed with excitement “Mummy, this is VERY nice! Are you buying them for me?” Before I could even reply, she went on telling me which type she prefers and why she liked them more, etc.

And so we lost focus. We didn’t buy a foot spa machine that day, instead we bought a few boxes of beads and some elastic cords.

Benefits of Beading

We have a few other boxes of beads in brighter hue but we have both decided to use pastel coloured beads today.

Benefits of Beading

Benefits of Beading

 

 

If you follow my blog, you will know how much Sonia enjoys crafting! She loves drawing, painting, pasting, stringing, stacking, and what not. So when the boxes of beads arrived, you could imagine how delighted she was! Beading is one of our favourite mother-daughter activities! We can spend an entire hour (or even longer) making bracelets and necklaces. For her, beading is pure fun but what she doesn’t know is that, she has benefited so much from the same activity. I know what’s your next question – “How can beading be beneficial?”

Click on highlighted text to purchase.
Keywords: 女孩手工串珠儿童玩具

 

BENEFITS OF BEADING

Benefits of Beading

 

Beading is an excellent leisure activity which can promote children’s development in many ways!

 

#1 FINE MOTOR SKILLS

Benefits of Beading

 

They learn how to grab! Yes, “grabbing” is a skill. Remember what school teachers always repeatedly tell you about practicing pincer grip with your child? When picking up smaller beads, children use their pincer grip, thus strengthening the small muscles of their hands. And when they are grabbing larger beads, they use a different grip. They use their thumb, pointer and index fingers, similar to holding a large crayon or marker.

Many components of making a beaded craft increase strength and coordination in the small hand and finger muscles. They work on in-hand manipulation skills. For example, picking, pinching, shifting, moving, rotating, and transferring the beads. These will help improve dressing skills (zipping her jacket, buttoning her blouse), and writing skills as they learn to better control their pencils during colouring and writing activities.

 

#2 VISUAL MOTOR SKILLS

Benefits of Beading

 

Here we talk about hand-eye coordination. Threading beads onto a string involves bilateral coordination of the child’s hands, and requires their eyes and hands to work together. Similar skill is required to play sports, read and write. Sonia did a great job with threading beads but I can’t say the say for Arnold (my almost two-year-old son). The elastic cord seems too challenging for him. I did a quick search on the Internet and learned that toddlers his age are using pipe cleaners for threading activities.

Pipe-Cleaner

 

I might get some of those soon, so he can participate in the same activity when jiejie is making her necklace!

Click on highlight text to purchase.
Keywords: 毛根

 

#3 COGNITIVE SKILLS

Benefits of Beading

 

In layman term, we call them “Problem-Solving Skills”. It is the ability to process information, reason, remember and relate. Sonia will need to think how she wants to design her necklace, for example. What colours to use, what pattern to adopt, what size, how many beads required, etc. By answering these questions, she develops her planning and problem-solving skills.

 

#4 COUNTING SKILLS

Benefits of Beading

 

My girl has little interest in numbers so I made use of activities she likes to introduce numbers. I asked her how long her necklace is going to be? How many beads she needs to form the particular design? How is she going to sequence her beads? My intention was to motivate her to think through these functional math problems and hopefully enjoy math more! The next time, I will include number cards so she can learn to recognise numbers with the digits.

 

#5 DISCIPLINE AND PATIENCE

Benefits of Beading

 

To complete making a necklace or bracelet, your child needs to be discipline. She needs to be organised, focused and patient. These are life skills that will come in handy as they grow older. And I will like to emphasise the importance of patience in life because patience transforms relationships, helps you to be empathetic, helps acquire positive attitude, and makes you healthier! Patience is an important tool in overcoming frustration. It allows us to suspend judgment long enough to make informed decisions, thus paving the path to a happy and peaceful life. I wont’ go at length preaching about “patience” because this could well be a blog post by itself! Anyway, what I am driving at is that beading can help cultivate patience in your child!

Benefits of Beading

 

Here’s how her final product looked like! Very pretty, I thought! And very symmetrical. She did that with some help but I hope someday she would be able to complete making a necklace on her own.

Benefits of Beading

 

Last but not least, beading can provide your child with a sense of accomplishment. It is plain fun and fun is good for kids!

I’m already considering a Beading Party for Sonia’s fourth birthday!

Have fun bonding and beading with your children!

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2015 had been an awesome year for WESA. Along the way, we learned so much. Parenting two toddlers was fun and enriching! We’re truly thankful for all that we have and all that we can give. It was an exciting ride and now, we look forward to the next roller coaster ride ahead of us. Bring it on, 2016! And to everyone out there, have a happy new year!

 

Click on below image to read blog post.

WESA HEALTH TALK - POTTY TRAINING WESA KIDS PLAY The Flu Bug Father's Day

Manners and Etiquette

2015 06 30 - WESAplay - Cool De Sac Why you need to read to your child everyday Arnold OOTD 1 2015 07 03 - Puppet Craft for Kids sponge painting with kids

2015 07 07 - WESAplay - Photographic Memory Game
siblings

Arnold OOTD #2 2015 07 17 - WESA Family - Airport 2015 07 18 - WESA Family - Gardening and playing bubbles flying off tonight

WESA Travel - Adelaide 2015 08 06 - WESA Travel - Top 3 best breakfast places in Adelai 2015 08 12 - WESA Travel - Himeiji Garden 2015 08 13 - WESA Travel - Hahndorf Farm Barn Chocolate Chip Muffin Almond and Chocolate Chip Muffin 2015 08 18 - WESA Travel - Hahndorf, Adelaide 2015 08 24 - WESA Travel - Kids' friendly malls in Adelaide 2015 08 31 - Gardens by the Bay

2015 09 08 - Parents' Day at LV WESA BEAUTY
WESA Bakery - Chocoffee Macarons CK Encounter Fresh Lovewesa

Snowskin mooncake Australian International School

 

 

 

 

 

2015 10 12 - Friso

2015 10 17 - Arnold's first playdate at the SEA Aquarium

S&A OOTD #22015 10 22 - WESA Parenting - ReadingCover2015 11 23 - WESA Bakery - Pandan Cake

2015 09 08 - Parents' Day at LV2015 11 28 - WESA Family - MIL or Monster-In-Law1Kids' STYLEPrintBest play mat in town

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2015 10 22 - WESA Parenting - Reading

THE KIASU PARENTS

Start reading at birth

Hubby and I have introduced books to Sonia and Arnold since birth. Yes, since birth. In fact, we were already reading books to them when they were still in my belly (I know lah, we’re kiasu but we can’t help it).

Why we did what we did? Because we believe by doing so, we can build close bonds with our children and provide a window into a world of literacy that they will eventually enter.

 

SONIA’S MILESTONES

Is that an ant?

From the day Sonia said her first word, till she learned how to string a proper sentence, and later manage a paragraph, we never stop reading to her daily. Yes, everyday, every single day, we read to her, no matter how tired we are because it is the best way to instill love for and interest in reading.

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I’m glad we persevered because today we reap what we sow. In her free time, she wouldn’t ask for toys or to watch cartoons, but pick books and sit by her bed to read. Sometimes quietly, other times aloud. She’s three-year-old and doesn’t know how to read those prints on the books (yet) but she knows the stories by heart and will recite them in her own words.

Reading books

So what she knows? A lot, actually. And we are so proud of her. Sonia knows the names of her favourite books. She knows how to hold a book correctly, turn pages, recall familiar words and phrases, pretend to read, and make up rhymes or silly phrases. She can also predict what might happen next in a story. And she knows we read from left to right, not the other way round.

Reading

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And I’m glad to see how Arnold rub off good reading habits from Sonia. He wasn’t exactly reading; just flipping and seeing pictures but that’s a good start.

We do not develop literacy by only reading, we take it out to the streets, supermarket and everywhere else. Sonia can recognise some prints on the street, stop signs, and familiar store signs. We help her to see how text is already a part of her daily life. Point out the name of her favourite snacks. And show her the labels on clothing.

When we are out and about, we play games involving letter and number recognition. She always screams in delight when she sees words containing alphabets that make up her name (S.O.N.I.A). She also always point out words that contain “W” and “E” because she recognises hub and my name (Winnie & Edmund). Learning was fun and we will leave it that way. Developing text awareness should never be a chore.

READING ACTIVITIES WE DO AT HOME

Reading

#1 – REPETITION AND RHYME

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

WHAT TO DO

  • Pick a story with repeated phrases or a poem you and your child like. For example, read:
    3 little pigs
    WOLF: “Little pig, little pig, let me in.”
    LITTLE PIG: “Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin.”
    WOLF: “Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down!”
  • After the wolf has blown down the first pig’s house, your child will soon join in and mimic after you.
  • Read slowly, and with a smile or a nod, let your child know you appreciate his or her participation.
  • As the child grows more familiar with the story, pause and give him or her a chance to fill in the blanks and phrases.
  • Encourage your child to pretend to read, especially books that contain repetition and rhyme. Most children who enjoy reading will eventually memorise all or part of a book and imitate your reading. This is a normal part of reading development.
  • When children anticipate what’s coming next in a story or poem, they have a sense of mastery over books. When children feel power, they have the courage to try. Pretending to read is an important step in the process of learning to read.

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#2 – ACT IT OUT

Acting

Children grow as readers by connecting feelings with the written word.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • A short story or poem. It could be from a book or something you invented.

WHAT TO DO

  • Read the story slowly to your child, and bring all your dramatic talents to the reading. The key is to ham it up!
  • Suggest acting our a favourite line. Be sure to award such efforts with delighted enthusiasm.
  • Ask your child to make a face the way the character in the story is feeling. Remember that facial expressions bring emotion into the performer’s voice.
  • Be an enthusiastic audience for your child. Applause is always nice.
  • If you child is comfortable with the idea, look for a larger setting with an attentive appreciative audience. Rope in the grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins. Perhaps an after-dinner “recital” for family members would appeal to your child.
  • Mistakes are a face of life, so ignore them.

MORE LITERACY ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOLERS

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  • Younger children love rhyme, rhythm and repetition. They also love patterned and alphabet books. When you’re looking at these kinds of books, encourage your child to turn the pages and talk about what she sees. Use your finger to guide your child’s eyes from left to right across the page as you read, and point out certain words or phrases. Ask questions about the pictures, and ask your child to point to different things.
  • Children love reading the same book over and over again. You can make the most of this by asking your child to direct book reading – for example, ‘Where do we start from?’ Every so often, stop reading and ask your child what he thinks will happen next.
  • Link books with real-life experiences. If you’ve read a book about playing in a park, you might like to take your child to the local park and point out swings that look like the ones from the book.
  • Visit the library with your child, and encourage her to choose books she’d like to take home. I take my kids to the library once every fortnight to borrow new books. Having new books every week breeds excitement about reading!
  • When you’re out and about with your child, take a book along as well as a toy. We always keep books in the car and both Sonia and Arnold always pick them up!
  • Read books with rhymes to help your child develop awareness of sounds and words. Dr Seuss and Pamela Allen books are a hit with many children – try The Cat in the Hat or Doodledum Dancing.
  • Teach your child the separate sounds in his name. For example, ‘Sonia’ has three sounds – sss-ooo-nia’.
  • Make touch cards for babies and toddlers with objects they like to look at and touch – soft fabrics, wool, foil, paper that rustles. Then look through the book together and talk about how each page looks and feels.
  • Expose your kids to BIG ideas. Instead of the usual “How was your day?” kind of conversation, talk to them about something you read that was interesting. It stretches and excites your children and helps them prepare to enter the world of reading with more understanding.

More activities for kids can be found here.

Have fun reading with your children! Remember, READ & REAP!

 

Ciao!

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Australian International School

Last Wednesday, 23 September 2015, I got invited to a  GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY OF THE AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL EARLY YEARS CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE. I’ve never been to an international preschool in Singapore, and so, out of curiosity, I accepted the invite. Besides, both Sonia and Arnold are in their early years and I thought it would be beneficial to check AIS out! Nothing to lose, right?

I was half an hour early (to avoid traffic jams on PIE and CTE) so the place was quite empty but soon after, guests started streaming in and the event started right on time.

AIS

We were first greeted with a short performance by the school’s choir team, some speeches by AIS principal and finally (the most interesting bit) a presentation on this $200 million Early Years Campus for students from 18 months to 6 years old. You can expect a campus complete with the widest range of state-of-the-art facilities! I’m not exaggerating any bit.

AIS EARLY YEARS CAMPUS FACILITIES

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Inaugurated in a ground breaking ceremony by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, MC (Ret’d), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and Lady Cosgrove, this specialist early years campus will offer children access to a 22 m swimming pool, 470 m² multi-function hall, 5 library and learning resource centres, 9 arts and language specialist classrooms and a dedicated parent café, all in one centrally-located facility. I.M.P.R.E.S.S.I.V.E. I know!!!

Australian International School (AIS) New Campus

Australian International School (AIS) New Campus

 

Drop Off Point

Drop Off Point

 

AIS_Play_Area

Play Area

 

SwimmingPool

Swimming Pool

 

Balcony playground

Balcony Playground

 

Classroom

Classroom

 

Gymnasium

Gymnasium

 

Parent Cafe

Parent Cafe

 

DO YOU KNOW

Under MOE regulations, Singaporeans are not allowed to enrol into International schools. So why am I even telling you about these?

BECAUSE while Singaporeans are NOT allowed to enrol into International schools (for primary and secondary school levels), they are allowed to enrol into International Preschools (or so I was told by the PR personnel at AIS). So ‘yeah’ on that!

The campus, set to open in 2017 next to the existing AIS facility at Lorong Chuan, will house teaching and learning for an enhanced Early Years curriculum that launches at AIS this coming January. This progressive curriculum includes daily maths, mandarin and literacy lessons, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) Speech and Drama Program, structured Physical Education under the SMART Steps Perceptual Motor Program and weekly violin lessons taught by specialist teachers.

Music and Dance rooms

Mezzanine

HIGHLIGHTS

I was particularly attracted by AIS’ focus on music and arts and wished Sonia’s school provide such classes for the students too!

If your children love music, your budding musicians will thrive under AIS’s new music program, including weekly violin instruction from 3 years up and the Orff Musical Literacy Program starting from age 2, which uses improvisation, composition and a child’s natural instincts to create music.

TAKE A WALK INTO THE CAMPUS NOW

There are so much more and I felt this video clip crafted by AIS will give you a good idea of the campus, facilities, as well as their school curriculum. Take a walk into the campus now ->>

If you would like to take a walk into the current AIS campus, for real, you can join their October Playgroup session on Wednesday, 28 October for a morning of play and interactive learning, including indoor and outdoor sensory activities, storytelling and musical time guided by their Early Years curriculum specialists. FREE OF CHARGE! Just RSVP ais_events@ais.com.sg.

To schedule a school visit, click here.

2 YEARS OLD NURSERY

nursery-image

Image from AIS website

ABOUT

  • Early 2-year-old Nursery class is led by 1 teacher and 2 assistant teachers with a class of 15 students (maximum).
  • Uses play-based program to teach Math and Literacy
  • Practice speaking Mandarin for about 20 minutes daily
  • Daily exposure to art, music, drama and physical education programs

A TYPICAL DAY IN NURSERY SCHOOL AT AIS

8.30am – School starts. They will head straight to their purpose-built Nursery classroom and join their friends in engaging with shapes and numbers on the light table.

9.00am – Head to the engaging learning areas where teachers will lead the class. If they are learning about weather, for example, the teacher might introduce “The Weather” through a song; the kids will get to play dress-up and play pretend.

10.00am – Morning tea time!

10.15am – Outdoor Physical Activities (PE). The outdoor experiment has been set up for sensory play.

11.00am – Mandarin lessons through story telling and songs.

11.30am – Toilet time. Children do not need to be toilet trained to join the Nursery class.

11.45am – Lunchtime

12.30pm – Rest and relaxation. In other words, nap time.

1.30pm – Storytelling time! The teacher will bring a new basket of books into the class for the children to choose from. This will encourage an early love for literature.

2.15pm – Music and movement activities

2.45pm – Home sweet home! Parents start to arrive 15 minutes before home time and the whole class and their parents take part in singing a goodbye song. What a lovely way to end the day at school!

You can find out more about the Nursery programmes here.

3 & 4 YEARS OLD PRESCHOOL

A TYPICAL DAY IN PRESCHOOL AT AIS

8.30am – Head straight to the lockers outside classroom and unpack schoolbag

8.45am – Units of inquiry and developing cognitive skills

9.30am – Outdoor Physical Activities (PE)

10.15am – Morning tea!

10.45am – Mandarin lessons

11.30am – Storytelling time!

12.30pm – Lunchtime

1.00pm – Rest and relaxation. In another words, nap time. Kids are responsible for making up their own bed. If they choose not to sleep, they can read a book or just laze about.

1.30pm – Music sessions

2.00pm – Kids head to the Early Years Inquiry Centre to delve deeper into specific subjects and develop the foundation of reading and writing. The teacher will story tell and later continue the learning in the classroom the next day.

2.45pm – Developing community connections. Everyday, parents, grandparents and the wider community are invited to read a story to the class at the end of the day.

2.55pm – Home sweet home

You can find out more about the preschool programmes here.

FEE STRUCTURE

I hope this post has given you an insight on AIS Nursery and Preschool programmes. This is an awesome school and if you live near Lorong Chuan, go visit the school with your child. They have a fantastic curriculum and better still, an A.M.A.Z.I.N.G campus coming 2017. If you have just given birth to a little ‘goat’ baby, the Early Years Campus will be up just in time for Nursery!

School fees are not cheap but it’s worth it. You can check out on their school fees schedule here.

AIS CONTACT

A | 1 Lorong Chuan, Singapore 556818
T | +65 6653 2958 (admissions)
T | +65 6664 8127 (general enquires)
E | admissions@ais.com.sg

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2015 07 07 - WESAplay - Photographic Memory Game

In my previous post on DIY HOME ACTIVITY #1 | PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY, I shared some DIY learning activities that we can do at home at very little cost, or some times, no cost at all. But after a while, my kids got tired of the activities and so I started working on another photographic memory game. It is relatively low cost too.

I’ve created some printables you can download (scroll to the end of the post for printables), so all you need to do is to print them out, cut the objects, and laminate them. You can choose to use velcro tape or not at all. I used it anyway, because, for some reason (I don’t know what) Sonia likes pasting and removing them. I just thought it was practical since the velcro tapes kept the print-outs in place (less messy).

Photographic memory gameYou will need two sets, one for yourself, the other for your child. At Sonia’s Heguru class, her teacher uses a picture of a wardrobe with 4 hangers. I twist it a little and used a house with 6 windows.

Here’s how the game works:

  1. I started with 2 images, and increase it along the way. I pasted Sonia and Arnold on two random windows, show it to her for 10 seconds and flip my card over.
  2. Now she is supposed to paste the two pictures on the correct window.
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After I showed her my card for 10 seconds, I covered my card and told her to paste the two images on the correct window.

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When she was done, she proudly showed me her ‘answer’.

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I’d pass her mine and she did the comparison – “mummy, mine is the same as yours. I correct!”

Try to get your kids involved in every step. They like taking charge! To keep Sonia motivated, we took turns to be the “teacher”.

Sonia was comfortable with 2 images, so we moved on to 3, and 4 images. I realised she started pasting the images on wrong windows at ‘4 images’. She could do 4 images at Heguru but not at home, and I wondered why. It didn’t take long before I realise – in class, she was given 4 spaces and 4 objects; at home, I gave her 6 spaces with 4 objects. She needed to remember which window to fill and which to leave blank. This was more challenging but I felt it was doable. Anyway, I gave her some hints and moved on (I didn’t want to discourage her, she was waiting to paste the entire family on the house).

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With some hints, she managed to paste the images on the correct window.

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Proudly comparing her card with mine and declared that she had won! “Mummy, see, I win again, Sonia win, mummy lose.”

We eventually moved on to 6 images. By then, she required more hints. Even I find it challenging. I know, there were only 6 images, but after working on the same images so many times, I got confused.

I used pictures of our family because I knew Sonia would be excited to see people she knew in prints. You can do the same or used generic pictures of animals, vehicles or what not. Anything that engages your child, really.

You can do this activity with your child too! It is fun and works their right brain, why not?

 

Click below for printables:

Memory Game - Who's in the house Objects you can use

 

 

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“Colour inside the lines!”

Is that a good thing?

Inside or outside the lines

Hundreds of parents had debated if colouring inside the lines is right or wrong. Will colouring inside the lines damage the kids and stop them from being creative?

So should the kids colour inside or outside the lines?

I say, BOTH!

WHY COLOUR INSIDE THE LINES?

Colouring inside the lines helps children practice their fine motor skills, as does cutting, pasting, threading yarn through holes on cards, putting together puzzles, and many other activities. They work on their hand-eye-brain coordination. These types of motor skills is a good thing to develop early. Besides, it helps to teach children about control, discipline and restraint, and as well, teaches coordination and interpretation of parameters. This helps the children to define things.

Early this week, we just did painting and I got Sonia to paint inside the lines.

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I drew a few animals and asked her to paint inside the lines with whatever colours she liked.

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Whenever I ask for a smile, she shows me this cheeky face. Maybe to her, that’s a smile.

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The blue-red-blue feathers on the right were painted by me. I was trying to show her how to paint inside the line, and so, did a demo. The rest was done by her. Though she stills paint outside the line, that’s fine. She’s only three, so give her a break!

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I really liked her choice of colours. She alternated blue after a different colour and I thought she was being creative until I saw the peacock image on her book – she mimicked the choice of colours used. Still, I was proud of her!

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She was proud of her work too!

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Besides using paint brushes, I gave her other tools, such as a sticks with sponges. Sonia used that stick to dab on the ant head. This time round, I took her book away and she chose the colours by herself. She knows that ants are black in colour but still, she likes her ant to be pink and blue! “Lovely” I said.

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Again, proudly showing off her work.

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She painted a crocodile too, and this time in green. I asked her “why green”. She said “ma ma, I tell you, co-co-da is green and nai nai favourite colour is green, you know”. “Yes, I know, sweetheart! Keep painting.” I replied.

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I realised, the more she practiced, the better she is with staying inside the line.

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Polka dots are her favourite! She loves circle, anything round, and she calls them ball-ball. The bigger circles were done using a big paint brush. She dipped a generous amount of yellow paint, placed the brush on the paper, gave it some pressure and turned it (with some assistance). The little pink dots were easy. Just dap and print.

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There you go, this is Di Cat. Why “Di Cat”? Because she said the name of the cat was “Di”. I didn’t come out with that spelling, she did. “How to spell ‘Di’, Sonia?” I asked. She said “‘D’, ‘I’, no more.”

WHY COLOUR OUTSIDE THE LINES?

“It is our imagination that gives shape to the universe.” – Barry Lopez

Creative thinking and artistic energy are essentially good qualities. They enable us to discover new solutions to old problems. They allow children to view things differently and to express their inner feelings in new and exciting ways. I try to create an environment that encourage my kids to be creative. Sometimes, I lay the table with colouring materials and drawing blocks and my only rule is “do not drop the paint on the floor” (because I had to scrub the floor, no?). I do a lot of “wild” painting, colouring, and crafting with my kids because I know, as they grow, the more they learn and thrive for perfection, and I will see this trait disappearing.

Some months ago, I did abstract painting with Sonia. “Draw something that is “happy” and leave her to fill in the white void.

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She squeezed paint directly onto the paper and started painting.

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That’s her ideology of something happy.

Next, I told her to paint something sad. She did the same thing, squeeze paint directly onto the paper and started painting, this time round with her brushes and fingers. Fingers – because she accidentally touched the paint and decided not to waste it, so she wiped them off the paper. And since her fingers were already soiled, she decided to use her fingers too!

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Sonia’s idea of a “SAD” painting. I can understand that ‘blue’ is a gloomy colour but why yellow? She said “too sad, so I used lair-llo yellow“. For some reason, I really like this piece of work (that’s why I chose it to be my header image).

CONCLUSION

So I do BOTH! Some days, I set boundaries and we colour inside the lines. On other days, we have no boundaries (except to minimise mess, so poor mummy doesn’t need to scrub the wall or floor, too much) and allow the young minds to explode!

Parents, you know your child best. Just do what you feel benefits your child most. Ignore the noise and you will be fine. I don’t think your child will be “damaged” if you choose to let them colour inside the line or outside the line, or perhaps, do both.

Have fun painting

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My children attend Heguru (right-brain training) classes once a week and I see that they have benefited from them. If you haven’t heard of the Heguru Right-Brain Training programme, you can read more about their activities here.

One hour of right-brain training exercises is anything but dull and boring. In fact, Sonia enjoys her Heguru lessons there and looks forward to class each week. While I can’t replicate the entire programme at home, I can DIY some activities at home at very little cost, or some times, no cost at all (just use existing materials).

 

PM 1

In class, the teachers train the child to look at and recall images consisting of different colours and shapes. You can create your own Mandala image.

  • Create your own Mandala image (see below image ‘Sheet 1’).
  • Have your child look at the Mandala image for 10 seconds and memories the colours.
  • Ask your child to fill the colours in ‘Sheet 2’.
  • Have your child to look at the Mandala image again. This time round, she needs to remember both the shapes and colours. Ask your child to close her eyes and see the after image in the mind. Repeat this 3 times.
  • Then hand your child a blank piece of paper to draw out the image and colour it.
Mandala Sheet 1

Mandala Sheet 1

Mandala Sheet 2

Mandala Sheet 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PM 2

  • Use colour blocks or lego. You will need 2 sets of blocks or lego – one for yourself, another for your child.
  • Arrange the bricks and show your child, then give her a set of blocks or lego to replicate what she saw.
Colour blocks

You can use colour blocks or lego. I would recommend blocks for younger children and lego for 2 yrs and above.

Arnold tries to replicate what he saw earlier.

Arnold tries to replicate what he saw earlier. Concurrently, he’s strengthening his clumsy fingers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PM 3

  • Tell funny stories using flash cards – be creative. You can also use toys to tell a story.
  • I would do 3 cards with Arnold and at least 6 cards with Sonia.
  • Here’s a funny story I did with Sonia yesterday after school. Try to create a funny and dramatic story as it has a greater impact on memory. It will be easier for your child to remember the story and hence the cards.
    The tortoise gave a balloon to the zebra who took a rocket to see the queen eating a sock under the moon.
  • After telling her the stories, I will go through the key words with her and flip the cards over so she doesn’t see the pictures.
  • Now ask your child if she remembers the cards in sequence. Turn over the cards as she answers. Have fun!
  • Your child might need some cues along the way. Try to use connecting words to prompt them instead of telling them the category of the ‘word’. Example of connecting words “put on”, “flying to”, “see a”, “above the”, etc. Try to refrain from telling your child the category of the ‘object’, for example, “it’s a kind of fruit”, or “it’s something you can drive”.
  • Gradually increase the number of cards depending on the progress of your child.
  • After a few practices, ask you child to make her own story. You can start by making a story for the first 3 cards and get her to make a story for the next 3 cards.
Funny story

Funny story

 

Enjoy these activities with your children!

Learning can be fun!!!

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When Sonia was less than a year old, Meijia (a mother of 3 now), introduced me to Heguru. Her son, Gibson, was then only six months old and Sonia was two months older.

I went “W.H.A.T?”

My girl just learnt how to sit, she couldn’t articulate or string a proper sentence, she couldn’t stand on her own, let not to say, walk. She was a BABY! Yes, that was the word, “a BABY”. I wouldn’t expect her to sit through a one-hour lesson with her peers while the teachers work on their right brain. That was ridiculous! And so I thought it was until I met up with Meijia some one year later. I was pleasantly surprised at how Gibson was able to recognise colours and shapes and fit the magnets (they come in different shapes and colours) onto the Iroita sheet according to their patterns.

I

Iroita

He was also able to count and I thought I heard him mumbling to himself “1 + 2 is 3” while flexing his fingers, trying to count. I was I.M.P.R.E.S.S.E.D. Totally! And so, I enrolled Sonia for the Heguru Right Brain Training Programme when she was two.

Many family and friends had asked me if sending them to such classes were of any use (considering that my kids are still really young). My answer, a resounding “YES” (if you are referring to Sonia). And a “not too sure” (if you are referring to Arnold).

Heguru - Sonia's Class

Photo taken on my mobile phone on 28 May 2015 with Teacher Jade and Teacher Rhian. From Left: Abel, Sonia, Cyrus, Nicole, and Miki.

The pace of the class is exceedingly fast. In both Sonia and Arnold’s classes, we have two Heguru teachers – one main teacher and another assistant teacher who helps to provide a seamless transition from one activity to the other. Each class contains a maximum of six children. And only one parent or guardian is allow to accompany the child. Their classes last for an hour, sometimes, slightly longer. When lessons are over, there is a 10-minute parental guidance talk.

 

We weren’t allowed to take pictures in class during lessons for the obvious reason (kids get distracted too easily), else I would love to share them with you so you could get a better idea of what the kids are doing in class.

Here are some pictures I took of Arnold before class. They may give you a better idea of the classroom setting.

The bean bags in the bucket are used for physical activities, usually with Sonia’s class. The kids are asked to place a bean bag on their head and walk on a straight line.

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Arnold did well balancing the bean bags!

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See the calendar on the whiteboard? The teacher will always start with the date, weather, time and temperature. For example “Today is Monday, 25 May 2015, Sunny. The time now is… (speed reading) turning the hour hand – 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock…until…eleven o’clock. Turning the minute hand – 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45. The time now is eleven forty five am”. Holding a large thermometer, “the temperature now is 20 degree celsius”. There is also the BIG abacus – the teacher uses that to teach the kids how to count in ones, fives, and tens. Sometimes using it to do simple additions and subtractions. The yellow clock on the left is Arnold’s favourite ‘toy’. The teacher sitting besides the cabinet is the assistant teacher. Her job is to help ensure a smooth transition from one activity to another so that the stimulation to the right brain is continuous and intense. All the learning materials are kept inside that cabinet and the kid seating nearest to it is almost always being distracted. Unfortunately, someone has to sit at that unpopular spot and we all take turns to do so.

Arn

Arnold is holding on to the ‘name card’. Before the lessons begins, the students are required to pick up their ‘name cards’ and hand them over to the teacher with two hands. That’s manners and I like that they enforce on manners.

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See top right-hand side of the whiteboard – the proverb of the day will always be written there. This week’s proverb is “Seize the day”. The screen behind the kids are used for Mandala activities.

a

Cheers!

Activities in class

  • Link Memory (Right Brain Memorisation) – Making a funny story out of the cards and memorising them.
    Sonia: This is Sonia’s favourite activity (and mine too). We do this a lot at home too!
    Arnold: He very much crashes and eats the cards. But on good days, he seems to be able to identify the object on the card. For example, I would hold two cards before him and ask that he taps on a certain object. If he does it correctly a few times, I reckon he really does understand and is able to correctly identify the object. If it’s just by luck, I will know it.
  • Super Flash Cards – The teacher will read and flash various themes/genres of cards to the child. This, apparently, will enable the child to enter into the right brain level.
    Sonia: She would sit and concentrate while listening to her teacher speed-read the cards.
    Arnold: He wouldn’t sit still. Period.
  • Instant Memorisation – This training uses numbers. Weekly, the teacher will flash a set of 3 numbers, than 5 numbers to the child and they are supposed to memorise the numbers and write them on their paper.
    Sonia: At this stage, she is unable to recognise all the numbers, so she needed my help on this. I will hold her hands and write the numbers, concurrently asking her to recite the numbers after me. But it was through this activity that she started recognising the numbers.
  • Dot Programme – The teacher flashes very quickly big cards with dots in sequence and on a more advance level, answers to complex mathematical equations in dots. They use dots to introduce a visual concept of quantity and sequencing. After a few cycles of looking at the dots, the child will be able to understand quantity (for examples, 8 dots is more than 7, 100 dots is more than 50, and so on). And I felt that it is more meaningful than flashing cards with just digits (for example, 1, 2, 3) which are merely meaningless symbols to child at this age.
    Sonia: She would listen attentively. By now, she understands quantity but grasping the whole concept of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division is a challenge. Too advance for a three year old, I thought. But no harm exposing her to these early.
    Arnold: Too early to tell if he understands but again, no harm exposing him to numbers early.
  • Dot Bar – Heguru complement the Dot Programme with Dot Bar. They use grids and dots like below to introduce concepts like addition and subtraction.
    Sonia: For now, she’s picking the concept of simple additions. The teachers are working with the numbers 1 to 5.
    Arnold: The teachers are working with the numbers 1 to 3. But all he really wants is to walk to the whiteboard and grab the dots.
    Dot
  • Nummer Kaisten – They use ping pong balls in a box which is partially divided in the middle to teach them numbers. After placing 10 balls on one side of the box, the teacher will cover the box and shake it (so some balls can roll onto the other side of the box). She will then open one side of the box and ask the students to count the number of balls in it. If there are 3 balls on this side of the box, how many balls will there be on the other side? The students will then need to do some mental calculation (10 – 3 = 7 balls).
    Sonia: Her class works with 10 balls.
    Arnold: His class works with 5 balls.
    None of them could do mental calculation yet.
  • Right Brain Intuition Game –  ESP clairvoyance games. It is usually done using pictures – guessing the hidden item, shape, etc. Good if you guess correctly. To me, it’s a game of luck.
    Sonia: She enjoys guessing and feels good about it if she guesses correctly.
    Arnold: Randomly choose something. Sometimes, he gets it right, other times wrong, and he’s happy either way. This boy will give himself a clap no matter the outcome. Haha…
  • Singing and Dancing
    Sonia: Prefer singing than dancing. She’s a little shy lah~ I could tell that she wanted to dance along but was too shy (she would pull my hands to hold hers and want me to dance with her).
    Arnold: Totally enjoy every bit of it!
  • Mandala – A picture is shown on the screen for a few seconds and the child needs to colour and draw the same object as show on the screen.
    Sonia: They use three to four colours and Sonia usually identifies at least 2 colours correctly. Drawing the object out is a challenge.
    Arnold: Just doodle on the sheet.
  • Counting – Teacher throws a handful of paper clips on the floor and covers them. Students are asked to guess the total number of paper clips.
    Sonia: Her guesses are quite close to the correct answer.
    Arnold: They don’t do these in class.
  • Iroita and Tangram – The students need to find the right shapes to fit the patterns on the worksheet. It is similar to doing a puzzle.
    Sonia: She loves doing Iroita and Tangram and enjoys doing all kind of puzzles.
    Arnold: Merely plays with the shapes and attempts to eat them. Sigh… It will take a while, I guess. After all, he’s only one.

    Tangram

    Tangram

 

There are many more activities such as “introducing the day, date, time and temperature”, reading the Proverb of the day, reciting Chinese poem, morale education, telling imaginary story with the lights dimmed, peg memory, tangram, etc. And all of these are meant to train the right brain at an early age. It is quite unbelievable to think that the teacher can squeeze all of the above activities in an hour but they did, in rocket speed. Everything is done so quickly!

In fact, with a little bit of creativity, a lot of these activities can be replicated at home. I’ll be sharing some of the things I do at home with the kids next week.

If you are already thinking of enrolling your child for Heguru classes, request to attend an orientation programme. I did, and it helped me to better understand the programme so I wasn’t too startled on the first lesson (because the pace of the class was extremely fast and energy level was amazingly high throughout the entire hour).

You can find out more about the programme on their website, click here.

I hope this will give you a better picture of what the kids are doing at Heguru!

Cheers!

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19

My dad told me that I started attending school when I was two’ish. My husband said he started schooling at the age of five. We sent Sonia to school when she was 19-month-old. And will be sending Arnold to school when he turns 2. So why are we sending our kids to school so early?

For so many reasons!

  • Acquire social and good communication skills Children are able to express and articulate their thoughts, and be a good listener. Their communication skills are largely developed across their first few years, so we need to engage them in plenty of games and activities to hone their speech and language skills. Of course, they can do these at home, but being around older children in school will speed up their language acquisition. Besides, I also want them to have confidence speaking to people other than their family. And most importantly, socialise with kids their age.
  • Work well in teams This affects our children’s future opportunities for leadership roles. It is vital that we guide them on how to interact with others appropriately, as well as how to manage and understand their emotions. Sonia was the only child at home (before Arnold came along). She got all the attention and never needed to share anything. We couldn’t help but wonder what would she be like in a decade or two if she has problem working with people. Again, a school will set an environment for her to pick up such skills.
  • Lots of space and a conducive and stimulating environment – We didn’t want our children to cramp at home with five hundred toys within their reach, mindlessly moving from one toy to the other without learning anything out of them. Plus, they get so distracted too easily. The right kind of setting and vibe is needed to encourage learning. I like it that Sonia’s school has a room for science, a room for music, a room for physical activities and an outdoor play area. It is easy to concentrate and get into the whole learning wagon.
  • Positive peer pressure – Peer pressure can be a good thing. Sonia is a very fussy eater. She picks her food and refuses to try new things. Having a balance healthy meal is almost impossible, but thankfully she likes drinking milk and doesn’t mind taking supplements. Ever since she started schooling and mixing with her peers, she’s more open to trying new food and now takes a variety of food and fruits (though, still not as much as I would like her to, but good improvement). Just yesterday, she had rice with vegetable soup, boiled carrot, steamed cod fish, pork, fried egg and vegetables on her plate. And YES! She finished every bit of it!

I’m not saying that schooling is a quick fix to all our problems, but in our case, it is a better option and we are happy with our decision. Of course, raising the kids is still our job, not the teachers’. I take the kids out almost every single day because I believe they learn something more outside than just staying in the house. Even taking them out for grocery shopping can be educational. And every weekends are FAMILY TIME!

Here are some pictures of Sonia at school taken by her teachers –>>

school 2

 

She enjoys school a lot. She enjoys staying at home too. And she enjoys going out MOST! She will share with me what she had done in school and her adventures with her friends. Similarly, she will tell her teachers what she did at home with mummy and daddy, and the many interesting encounters she had over the weekends. Communication is the key. We try our best to nurture our children, give them space to grow, and equip them with the right skills for their future.

If you are school hunting now, I will strongly recommend Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park. It worked for us!

Here are some things we look at:

HAPPY CHILDREN
Before enrolling Sonia to Learning Vision, we went to at least ten other schools for viewing. The first thing we look at is not how grand the school is or how impressive their curriculum are. We look at the expressions on the children’s face. If they aren’t happy, we will strike the school off my list. Raising a happy child is our first priority. Learning should be fun, right?

SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT
Next, the school environment. Besides having a conducive setting, it has to be bright, clean and comfortable. The kids will be sitting and rolling about most of the time, so cleanliness is on top of the list. I’m impressed with how they kept the compound nice and clean. Even the toilets smells good!

SCHOOL CURRICULUM
When all of the above has reached its mark, we then talk about the school curriculum. It has to be decent, not overrated. Because we all know what a toddler is capable of doing. It has to be realistic and fun. Most importantly, NO HOMEWORK! Learning Vision fitted the bill.

AWESOME TEACHERS
It also helps that Sonia has a group of AWESOME TEACHERS! This year, Teacher Fasha is heading her class and she has been lovely. Sonia adores her a lot! She has an extraordinary level of patience, enthusiasm, creativity, and, above all, a love of early childhood education. She understands the needs of both the child and their parents. As the link between home and school, communicating effectively with parents is crucial and very important to me. She keeps me updated on Sonia’s progress, her eating habits in school, and more. Along the way, we build trust.

There are also Teacher Sze Ying, Teacher Gwen, and Gao Lao Shi whom Sonia adores and endearingly calls “my teacher, my teacher”. These teachers are able to control a classroom while always keeping things educational and fun. Managing a classroom full of young children can be very challenging. Hats off to these teachers!

We hope our experience with school hunting is of some help to you!

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shakers compressed

DIY musical shakers may look very simple but they require some fine motor skills.

STEP 1
Fill one quarter of the Vitagen bottles with rices and beans.
All three toddlers (age one, two and four) are capable of doing this. In fact, I think they enjoyed this step most. Our fourteen-month-old Tiffany impressed me with her ability to meticulously pick and place the rice grains/beans into the empty container without any assistance.

STEP 2
Seal the Vitagen container with scotch tape.

Only four-year old Heidi was able to seal the container with scotch tape on her own. Both Sonia and Tiffany needed help in this activity.

STEP 3
Decorate the bottle with stickers, papers, and whatever raw materials you have.
Sonia’s attention span was REALLY SHORT! By the time we started decorating the bottles, Sonia had lost interest in her artwork. She was playing with other toys… I finished up her shaker for her 🙂

Viola! All’s done.

What shall we do next?

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