Chinese holiday programmes at Kidstartnow!

While Mittens is taking fruitful (hurhur) Chinese classes at one of the most popular centres in Singapore, Abacus did not enjoy it and cried for almost 9 months and now has an aversion to it. So when I heard about the holiday camps at KidStartNow, I decided to give it a try, and thankfully he really liked it. I briefly mentioned it in an older post here.

This June we will be attending the June Superhero Camp with them again, and I’m excited to see how their new centre in Bedok will be like.

This June the theme is on Superheroes!

This June the theme is on Superheroes!

If you are interested, do go to their website for more information, and here is a very informative post from mummy Says Happy Mums on Kidstartnow and the upcoming holiday camps.

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Not a sponsored post!

Giveaway! 10 pairs of tickets to eXplorerkid Dad & Me Health & Adventure Quest!

rise and shine expo

Join the Dad & Me Health & Adventure Quest specially organised to strengthen father-child bonds!

Work together to overcome a series of simple obstacles, solve health related questions, and bring home freebies and goodie bags!

Date: Saturday, 23 May 2015
Venue: eXplorerkid @ Downtown EastTicket price: Special Family Pass $40 (2 adults and 2 kids)

More info about the event can be found here.

GIVEAWAY! I have 10 pairs of tiekcts to the Dad & Me Health & Adventure Quest to give away! Simply use this Rafflecopter to enter, and answer the question: What is the date of this event? Don’t forget to leave your email address!

Rise and Shine Dad & Me

Sibling Rivalry (2015 edition)

It was a very brief encounter, for a mere minute or even less. We were in an elevator when a family with two boys walked in. The boys looked like they were 8 and 16, and were doing as brothers always do – annoying each other by poking or jabbing or something like that while half stifling laughter and half telling the other to stop it. One of the parents said something to the effect of, “Eh enough already lah boys!” before they walked out of the elevator. For a split second I thought I’d had an out of body experience!

That short moment made me realize, that siblings, no matter what age, or no matter how large an age gap, will always be there. To play with, to be friends (if not best friends with), to spend nights together, and most importantly, to annoy each other. Having someone to annoy is so much better than going through life alone, isn’t it?

Unfortunately siblings themselves don’t always see it that way. Sure, fighting or annoying each other is common and even a healthy thing, but it can be so emotionally draining for everyone. I find that the most difficult part of having three kids is only that they are sometimes constantly bickering! If they are in good spirits and playing well together, it is bliss. But when they are not….

Some of the things I have been trying to do to minimise the conflict is:

  • Get the kids to vocalise their wants and needs instead of resorting to physical pushing or snatching, or grunting and making other noises that does not communicate anything (“You know how to speak right? Say something!”). Or coming to me saying, “MUMMYYYYYY so-and-so this-and-that”. I especially love it when they do that in a whiney tone. Not.
  • I’ve realised that there tends to be more conflict when they are bored or have fewer options. If they are fighting over a particular toy, sometimes all it takes is introducing a new toy, and one of them would have forgotten the previous toy. Or they might fight over the new toy too, but just proves that with kids you sometimes really just can’t win. Especially when toddlers are involved.
  • Get the kids to recognise the tipping point when playing becomes annoying, or when teasing should stop. Something like “You’re a cow” could be funny the first time, but down right annoying and rude if it’s said 5 times in a row in a mocking tone.
  • Make sure that each child feels like they have sufficient attention, that their bucket is filled. With Mittens, as the eldest child, I suspected that he was always subjected to more baby activities than he’d like, and he was constantly antagonising the others, possibly because he was bored with all the baby stuff, or just not getting enough appropriate attention. I found the above Family Rules image which I really liked. (Find the original here, or click on the link above for the webpage where I found it)

All of this is very much work in progress, with some hardly progressing at all. Some even REgressing (good God).

What are some of your best tips for handling sibling rivalry? I would love to hear them!

Sparkanauts 

After a brief haitus at the end of last year, Scout continued with her Gymnademics classes early this year, and they have now rebranded themselves as Sparkanauts. She is now in the Pilot class, and we have been attending classes with this wonderful centre for coming to 1.5 years! How time flies. You might also like to read my previous post on Sparkanauts here.

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She just loves running up and down the room sometimes!

Although she is still sticky to me during the class and sometimes refuses to participate in certain activities like the trapeze swing, she enjoys the classes and looks forward to it every week. She will even ask to go for the class, and act like she is so poor thing because it’s not time to go for class yet.

There are actually 16 segments in each Pilot class, and here is a glimpse at what some of the segments are:

1. Welcome Song

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Part of the Welcome Song

 

 2. Review of previous weeks class

Reviewing the words we learnt last week, then the children will be asked to match the words to the pictures.

3. Warm Up Song
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Warm up song – today they are using ribbons

4. Trapeze
Wheeeeeee

Wheeeeeee

5. Action Rhymes
Incy wincy spider

Incy wincy spider

6. Mobility Circuit

The kids love running around, of course!

The kids love running around, of course!

7. Theme Song
The drum seems to be the most popular instrument for Theme Song time!

The drum seems to be the most popular instrument for Theme Song time!

Theme song time

Theme song time

 
8. New Words

WUDDDDDDDD. Told you everyone learns something every week.

9. Piano Notes
Sparkanauts piano notes

Piano notes – they are even taught to bow before the class before sitting down. Too cute!

10. Alphabet Actions
Sparkanauts

Now that they are old enough, one letter is reinforced each week during the lesson. Today it is Y Y YYYYYYYY.

11. Encyclopedia Knowledge
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Each month there is a theme, and every week there will be a short activity based on the theme. This week it is leopards.

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And so we are colouring cloud-like markings this week, and learning to distinguish leopards from cheetahs and jaguars.

12. Gymnastics – often the teachers will also share on what the activity is trying to achieve, and what we can do at home to help them hone the specific skills.
Of course this is just the DEMONSTRATION part, and we don't actually use dolls during the class....

Of course this is just the DEMONSTRATION part, and we don’t actually use dolls during the class….

13. Balance Station
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Learning to jump from heights onto a spot, jump from spot to spot, walk along a balance beam, just all part of the Balance Stations.

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More balancing stations. Looks like fun right??

14. Story Time
Before story time is parachute time.

Before story time is parachute time.

Sample of storytime

Sample of storytime

15.Mystery Box

16. Musical Math

Sparkanauts

More music time! Today we are using music to reinforce patterning.

 

As mentioned in my previous post, after each class you get emailed a “Bonding Package”. I love these documents because you can print out what you want, or just refer to what has been taught before.

I love that the new words we learn each week also come with a Chinese translation!

I love that the new words we learn each week also come with a Chinese translation!

As a brief part of the lessons in the previous month, one of the topics was shapes, and the children were introduced to rhombus, trapezoid, octagon etc. The Bonding Package also included one sheet each on the shapes, which I printed out and briefly gave it to Scout to do as she pleased, so I didn’t sit down with her to do the coloring, although I did repeat the key words a few times. A few days later, she was just randomly was cutting some paper and she made a “ap-oid”. I was shocked because it really looked like a trapezoid! It just proves that kids are sponges.

I also intend to print some of the song sheets from the class out, so that Yeye can play the piano with her.

I also intend to print some of the song sheets from the class out, so that Yeye can play the piano with her.

I also happened to be going through the Bonding Packages from previous years and I had absolutely NO recollection of the key words learnt at all, so I think the package is a real value add to the classes. So far, both boys have joined us in the class for a short period of time each, and they enjoyed participating and helping their little sister in the class. And after each Sparkanauts session, they are genuinely interested to know what we learnt today, and all three will gather around the iPad while I go through the Bonding Package. In fact this week, after I mentioned we learnt about orcas, blue whales, dolphins and porpoises, Mittens went looking for one of his Geronimo Stilton books which also touched on the topic, to read up more on it. I wish we could have a mixed age class for all the kids together, but no matter, they still benefit since I share the materials with them!

You now also have the option of purchasing some of the flash cards from Sparkanauts, and Scout loved “playing” with them. She wanted to go through them as if she was the teacher, then she instructed me to stand up and start singing the closing song that is sung at the end of each lesson. Then we had to sit down, and do flash cards, and stand up sing closing song. Repeat! It was hilarious. Mittens also likes playing with the flash cards, getting them organized in numerical order, learning how to shuffle them, and then “teaching” Scout the key words. The boys are of course also learning lots of new vocabulary. Even I am! Don’t laugh, I’m sure not everyone knows what a cetacean and sirenian is!

We are "playing" with the flash cards at home.

We are “playing” with the flash cards at home.

 

As you might know, Sparkanauts is located at SAFRA Toa Payoh. Outside of the Sparkanauts classrooms there are books and a decent size waiting area, so on occasion when the boys need to wait for Scout’s class to be finished, they can occupy themselves in the waiting area. Outside of the centre there is also plenty of space to run around, and quite often some of the space is also occupied by a book and learning resource company. If not, there is a swimming pool, plenty of seats near a  huge screen TV, and a McD’s as a last resort.

The weekend classes can get a little crowded, especially since the children are usually accompanied by BOTH mummies and daddies, which makes it even more of a squeeze, so if you can, attend a weekday class. Even the car park can get a little crazy, but they do have a valet which is worth not having to wait 2 hours for a parking lot. As there are a few other enrichment centres at SAFRA Toa Payoh, it can also get crowded during certain times on weekdays, although nothing like the weekends.

I’ve always maintained that if there is one class you would like to put your child in, you should definitely consider Sparkanauts. But if you do go for a trial class at Sparkanauts and feel overwhelmed, don’t worry, it’s natural. After all, there are 16 segments in each class! I have to admit that I was exhausted after the first 3-4 lessons! I still find myself getting a bit of a workout from all the activity during the class.

 

Also, if you like holiday programmes like I do (sometimes it’s such a hassle going for weekly classes, especially when you have a few kids!), Sparkanauts will be oragnising two different holiday camps that will have plenty of the physical activity that they are so well known for, as well as reading, writing, mathematics, science, and hands on activities in the gym space, AND a field trip! The child will also get a booklet with all the wonderful details that they have learnt, with the learning objectives and activities from the week, as well as bonding activities, and if it is anything like what they have for their regular classes, it’s going to be a very useful and informative pack! Find out more information here.

Stamps Around The World Poster

Underwaterdiscovery

AND, if you are interested to sign up, quote “MummyEd blog” for a 10% discount!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A day in a life a.k.a. what DO we do all day?

Ever so often, someone will ask what I do the whole day, and/or comment that I “must be” very free, especially since I have a helper at home.. Or they ask why I need to have a helper, since there are others (whose kids go to child care or to a school with extended hours? Hello??) who don’t need one. Sometimes it’s hard to give a straight answer, because I don’t know where to go about starting to tell them all the hundreds of things I do a day, while trying to restrain myself from giving a sarcastic answer.

Perhaps they think that being at home with the kids means waking up at a leisurely time, having meals without having to rush, having the time to visit the newest hottest cafe in between shopping, going for manicures, pedicures, attending events, dinners with friends, etc. Well, the reality is far from that!

Join myself and 23 other mummy bloggers write about their day on Mum in the Making’s Day in a Life blogtrain!

 

So what do we do all day? Here’s what a typical day is like.

7am – Alarm rings. I stumble out of bed, and wake up Mittens. We have to be in school by 750am on Mondays (so I might let him sleep until 730am on Monday mornings). If we’re up early he goes early for silent reading. We get ready, he has breakfast if he’s feeling like it, and we skip and hop across the overhead bridge to the school. We are so lucky to be living so close to the school! Sorry kids, for “depriving” you of the experience of taking a bus. But I’m sure we’d all rather sleep in more!!

740-750am – I arrive back home and collect Abacus to bring him to school, which starts at 8am. Sometimes he is not even dressed or had breakfast, but we still have time to do so. It would be easier if he came with me to send Mittens to school, but he usually likes to play with his toys for a while before he starts his day. If Scout is awake, I will get her changed and she’ll accompany me to the school. We walk all of possibly 100 metres to the school.

Breakfast time! Usually we have something simple, store bought pastries, or peanut butter with bread, ham sandwhiches, etc. Once I made buttermilk pancakes. We were all late for school that day. Gua gua gua.

Breakfast time! Usually we have something simple, store bought pastries, or peanut butter with bread, ham sandwhiches, etc. Once I made buttermilk pancakes. We were all late for school that day. Gua gua gua.

805am – 2 kids down, 1 to go! If Scout is not awake yet, I have some time to have my breakfast, or go for a quick run, or I might try walking up some flights of stairs. I’m so unfit and need to lose all that baby fat. Actually I think since baby is coming to 3 years old now, I have to take ownership and stop blaming her. I need to lose MY fat from all that eating.

 

Sometimes even at this early hour I ‘m already ready for a nap!! Thankfully there is always coffee, and the husband has trained all the kids (yes, even the baby) and calls them barristas and they know how to make coffee with a little bit of supervision :)

2-3 times a week we will head to buy groceries, and Scout is an expert at using the self-check out machines at Fairprice. We aren’t in a rush, and it’s enjoyable to only have to look after one kid because there’s no one to fight with. Hurray!

We are usually home by 9am. If we’re not running errands, then we’ll just be at home having breakfast and playing. Today I am checking up on the translation and meanings behind the (apparently) commonly used Chinese idioms so that Mittens and I can learn it together, while the girl plays stamping.

This is for BOTH Mittens and myself. We are BOTH learning!!

This is for BOTH Mittens and myself. We are BOTH learning!!

950am – We leave for school (yes, all of 100metres away too) for Scout, and usually the hubby leaves for work at the same time. He walks too.

Sometimes we like to skate to school. This was during CNY!

Sometimes we like to skate to school. This was during the school’s CNY celebrations!

1005am – 3 kids down, woohoo! If I’m not running errands at this time, I’ll be at home catching up on work, emails, blogging, and whatever. Sometimes I’ll head out for a spot of shopping (I file that under “Errands”, of course), because I love going early in the morning when it’s not crowded. But I also have to figure out what’s for lunch, so either I have to give all the instructions to my helper before I leave, or I will ta bao lunch.

1200noon – The younger two kids finish school at the same time, which is super convenient. I can head down 5 minutes before they’re due to be released, and we’re home by 1210-1215 depending on how fast they walk.

1215pm – Lunch time. Usually it’s a hit or miss. Some days they are full from snack time in school and don’t eat much, sometimes they gobble up everything. I don’t really sweat it, but it’s definitely good if they can eat more!

1230-1pm – Woohoo! Nap time for me! I mean, the kids. Who am I kidding, on some days, I really need this nap, despite a coffee in the morning. Usually Scout is kicking and screaming, which just confirms that she needs it, but all the better because it means she’ll sleep even faster! Lately Abacus has made my job so much easier and will just declare he needs a nap and go down without any resistance. 

On occasion, I will let Abacus go without his nap especially if I want him to sleep super early that night night. I know, I’m so manipulative! Most days he will have an hour, an hour and a half. Scout sleeps about the same amount too, which really annoys me because she’s 2 years younger!

130pm – After a 5 minute nap or longer if I’m really lucky, I feel a bit recharged (better than nothing!), and I head out to pick up Mittens. If I’m really unable to drag myself out of bed, my helper will pick him up from school.

145pm – He’s home and has lunch after a shower. Why are primary school kids so sweaty?? After lunch is homework time, and it’s nice to have some peace and quiet to do homework with him without the younger ones playing or fighting for attention or whining. Occasionally Mittens and I might pop out for lunch with hubby, but his work is rather erratic, so it’s hard to have a lunch date.
3pm – Hopefully the younger ones are awake by now, otherwise I would have started waking them up by 230pm. I still want them to be sleeping at a decent hour at night.

If the kids haven’t run off to play with their own toys, I try to get them to sit down and do a little “work”. It’s hard to do anything with 3 kids clamouring for attention all the time, but I really should be doing more with them.

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One day a week we leave the house for art class at Rush-Me-Not or Sparkanauts at this time, although I hate commuting and would rather be at home. Even though I drive. I’m just lazy!

On that note – so glad we don’t and don’t feel compelled to have any other “enrichment” classes.

I love Sparkanautssssssssss

I love Sparkanautssssssssss.

Proud of his artwork

Proud of his artwork

Depending on the weather and the dinner menu, we might head out to the playground anytime between 3-5pm. If we go earlier, we’ll come back early to prep dinner. My helper isn’t quite the co-pilot on cooking yet, so for some items I have to hover to make sure it turns out decent. If the kids are filthy from playing outside, we might shower before dinner, and I pray they don’t make too much of a mess at dinner.

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If it’s Fridays I am more likely to bring them out to the museums, parks, zoos, since we don’t have to rush back to be in bed by 730pm.

Friday at the Bird Park with the Flamingoes

Friday at the Bird Park with the Flamingoes

6pm – Dinner time! Shower after dinner, and the kids play or read books while I’m taking my shower. I prefer for them to read because if they start playing it’s hard to get them to settle down, but of course they prefer to play rather than read.

I love how the kids love their books and will naturally gravitate towards me if I'm reading one.

I love how the kids love their books and will naturally gravitate towards me if I’m reading one.

7-730pm – 930pm – Start reading time. The earlier the better, because my target for bedtime is 730pm. It used to be 8pm, but Mittens can sleep for a whole 12 hours, so ideally he should be sleeping at 7pm to wake at 7am! I might do lights out at 8pm and Mittens will be asleep in 5 minutes, but if the other 2 had long naps they might not sleep until as late as 930pm. The husband usually has to make an extra effort to be home in time to catch them before they go to bed, and even then I’m usually chasing the kids to bed. I’m anal about their sleeping hours because it’s for their own good.

Once they’re asleep, I might start oiling them with Young Living oils, especially if they have not been feeling well. The hubby calls it marinating the kids :D

And then I’m finally free! Hallelujiah! Time always passes faster when the kids are asleep, and this is my time to catch up on work, making photobooks of our holidays, surfing, blogging, planning for the next holiday, and generally just enjoying the PEACE.

There is never enough time to do anything. Sometimes by the time I think of going to bed it’s already 1130pm, and then by the time I get Mittens up to have a pee, check all the diapers, etc and make sure all everything is settled, I only get settled into bed past 1230am. If I’m lucky, no one will wake up for milk, nightmares or anything, and we can all sleep through to the next morning. On some nights though, they might wake up one after another, someone has peed in his bed, someone needs milk etc, which leaves me knackered the next day!

But there you have it, I am very lucky to have some alone time each day, but I would hardly call it “very free” what right??? And even though I have quite a bit of time with them, there never seems to be enough time to squeeze everything in! 

 

If you would like to read on how other mothers, SAHMs, WAHMs, FTWMs, PTWMs, and everything else inbetween spend their day, hop on over to Mum in the Making’s Day In a Life!

Next up on the train is Miss Growing With The Tans!

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Adeline is a part-time chauffeur, and a full-time entertainer to her almost three-year-old son, Noah. She dreams of having forty-eight hours in a day, supposedly so that she can finish everything that she wants to do, but actually, she just really wants to sleep more. She blogs at Growing with the Tans  and do pop by her blog tomorrow to see what a typical weekday looks like for her.

 

 

Reflections on Greentree Montessori

Note: It might look like the centre is pretty empty, but this was because I only captured shots in which there are few or no children, as I strongly respect the privacy of the other children and do not wish to compromise their security.

 

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The first time I heard of Montessori was when one of my friends took up a Montessori diploma after she graduated. At that time I didn’t have much affinity for kids, so it was completely foreign to me. Fast forward to many years later, after I started staying at home with the kids, I started becoming very interested in all kinds of educational approaches (e.g. Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, etc…), homeschooling etc. home learning and activities and anything else I could occupy the kids with. In a way, it was because I felt since I was at home with them, I should be doing something useful. If they were going to waste their lives away watching TV, I might as well have gone back to a regular office job, right? :p

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Recently we were invited to an observation session by Greentree Montessori. Until I received the invite, I had not realised that we had never had the chance to experience a real Montessori setting. Even after all my reading and interest! So I was of course excited to be invited to an orientation session, and bring along Scout.

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The Greentree Montessori Children Hub at Jalan Mata Ayer is a lovely house in a residential estate. It is very old school and very cosy like someone’s home. The first thing that greeted us was a large garden with some old trees, and once we stepped in we saw many cages of hamsters! Scout was absolutely delighted.

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We sat down for a while, and I was asked to sit in an area to observe while the children in what is known as the “3 hour uninterrupted work session”. Essentially It looks as if the kids are all randomly doing their own thing within a 3 hour period, but while some kids get free play (of sorts), a few might be tasked by a teacher to a specific task to work on alone for a period of time, and the teacher might rotate her attention between the children. So each child is allowed to decide, within reasonable limits, how long he wants to work on a particular task, rather than be dictated by a timetable or have to follow a teacher’s direction.

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The kids in session reminded me of what it’s like in my home, with three kids each doing their own thing, or sometimes playing together, or clamoring for attention. I was impressed by the teacher’s patience and ability to multi-task, and took a mental note of her calm demeanor – if she can handle 10 kids at a go, 3 kids at home for me should be no problem right?? For more info on the 3 hour work periods, this site shows a very lovely and well shot time-lapse-kinda video of a boy in session in school.

Scout loved observing the kids, and after a while she helped herself to some puzzles, and then to some paper and crayons to do some drawing. I loved watching the kids each working independently, one girl was tasked to work with brown prisms (click for more technical info on brown prisms), which are like blocks of different thickness. She was probably 5 or older, and decided to build a tower. One or two other kids periodically joined in as observers, and they decided they wanted it to be really tall, so they went by themselves to fetch a real ladder, and were soon climbing up and down it.

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I am pretty sure that in another school the kids would have been told off, and before this incident I would probably have done the same at home. It was a really good reminder for me that we often need to let go of the limits that we set on the kids, and allow them to really grow into who they could be. I thought I am pretty liberal in a sense – often I find myself in situations where people are worried about my child’s safety, like knocking their head on the table top, or falling off a playground installation, and I’m not worried because I know they will be fine or a little bump won’t do them any harm. Obviously I still need some reminders, prompts and pointers!

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As Mittens is growing so quickly, especially now that he’s in Primary 1, I have to constantly remind myself to let the reins just loose enough so he can discover the world for himself, while still keeping it tight to keep him close to my heart. With 3 kids to manage, I know I am sometimes more restrictive with them because it’s just easier if everyone just does as I say. So I’m thankful for the reminder on this day that children need their independence in order to grow into independent kids – sounds like stating the obvious, but it is true isn’t it? As parents these days we are so guilty of sheltering our children too much.

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One of the integral parts of Montessori education is Practical Life* – not working on worksheets or playing with toys, but emulating skills that are used in every day life. Children do not necessarily need the latest toys, but can find immense joy in exploring and working with ordinary household items, muffin trays, spatulas, etc. An interesting aspect of Montessori Practical Life, is that they are tasks that are considered “work” for the children, because it isn’t just ordinary masak-masak (Bahasa Malayeu for “play”, what we say colloquially for playing) but rather something more purposeful and some of the items like knives, scissors, glass etc need to have special care so that the children do not harm themselves.

 

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When I was at Greentree, I saw some girls having a little omelette snack, and later I learnt that they had cooked it themselves. With supervision, of course. In my home, kids get involved with some cooking, usually eggs too, on weekends breakfast when there is less of a rush, and they can get started as soon as their neck is strong enough. Of course the babies are just carried to observe, while the older ones can now crack eggs, beat them, add milk, etc. There might be shells and even egg all over the place, and sometimes they enjoy the process of cooking more than they enjoy the egg!

Last year, as part of a media invite, I was asked if Mittens would be allowed to wield a pair of scissors on his own. I was surprised! I have been allowing Scout to use scissors independently since I can remember, and now at age 2.5 years old, she doesn’t need any supervision. We use regular scissors, although the tips are generally more blunt. Last I checked, all 8 fingers and 2 thumbs are intact.

At Greentree, the children are encouraged to do everything themselves, from helping themselves to drinking water, to getting dressed, and even to cooking. They hone their skills in scooping, pouring, buttoning, etc., and often you will find that the materials used might be breakable – I really love and respect this philosophy that entrusts the children with care and responsibility. Of course the materials might be child-size, shelves are deliberately at a height which make it easier for children to reach objects, and other adjustments are made so that they are all age appropriate.

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Dr. Maria Montessori started her first school more than a hundred years ago in 1907, and many schools today offer “Montessori”. But did you know that any establishment can use the “Montessori” as part of their school name? Some schools follow Dr. Maria Montessori’s core philosophies more closely than others. At Greentree, I learnt that 2 of the core philosophies they follow are that the children are together in a mixed age group, divided between 2 groups from 18 months to 3 years old, and 3 to 6 years old; and the children also have an uninterrupted 3-hour uninterrupted individual working periods during which learning can take place.

I would have definitely preferred for my three monkeys to have had the chance to thrive in a Montessori environment, but the preschool most convenient for us (and with 3 kids convenience is really important!) offers a generic curriculum. Although the school uses a few Montessori activities and materials here and there such as the moveable alphabet and wooden puzzles, the kids are lucky to have teachers who constantly awe me with their passion and love for their kids.

So if you are considering a Montessori environment, and it is important to you that they follow closely to Montessori principles, I would suggest you do your homework carefully and ask the right questions. And a word for the feint-hearted, you might need to stop helicoptering and learn to let go, but for many children, I’m sure you will not regret it once you see them thriving.

 

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, which included monetary compensation for the time taken to write my reflections and the cost to travel across the island to visit the centre. But as always, all opinions are 100% my own, and what I took away from the session was far more than what anyone can pay me really :)

 

* Because Practical Life Exercises are meant to resemble everyday activities, it is important that all materials be familiar, real, breakable, and functional. The materials must also be related to the child’s time and culture. In order to allow the child to fully finish the exercise and to therefore finish the full cycle of the activity, the material must be complete. (Source: http://www.infomontessori.com/practical-life/introduction.htm)

Greentree Montessori

45 Jalan Mata Ayer
Singapore 759130

#03-11A Sembawang Shopping Centre, Splash Park
604 Sembawang Road, Singapore 758459

 

Charitable Mugs for Mother’s Day for you?

When I was in Secondary School, I wanted to be either a Marine Biologist, or work with the Prisons. I know that those are two very random ideas, and eventually gave them up because I’m not much of a water and sea person, and the pirhanas at the Van Kleef Aquarium and other ugly fish were far too unappealing for my liking; and I couldn’t imagine myself actually working IN a prison. So I did the next best things by taking up diving, and taking a criminology module while in University.

I have always taken a keen interest in Yellow Ribbon and similar initiatives such as restaurants like Eighteen Chefs and Breakthrough Cafe, and organisations such as The Helping Hand. So when my friend mylilbookworm shared with us the initiatives by the Gethesemane Bible Presbyterian Church, and I read the post by our friend Growing With The Tans about the mugs she printed from The Gethsemane Care Ministry (TGCM), I knew I had to share this with everyone.

TGCM recently started printing mugs, and they make excellent gifts for all kinds of occasions, birthdays, teachers’ day, anniversaries, and of course, Mothers and Fathers Days! The mugs range from about S$7-11 each, which is very reasonable for personalised mugs. Take a look at some of the samples of the mugs. Do also check out what Growing With The Tans printed!

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Do contact them if you are keen to print some cups and mugs that go to a worthy cause!

The Gethsemane Care Ministry (TGCM) was set up in 2005 by Gethsemane Bible Presbyterian Church. It is a Gospel outreach (non-profit & self-sustaining) to those who are enslaved by the bondage of drug addiction. It serves to improve the life of the residents by providing livelihood and preparing them to integrate back to society. The services provided include: Disposal, Removal, Painting, Cleaning, Transport, and recently added, Printing of Mugs. If you need any of these services, please feel free to contact them at 62816356 / 93372337. Your patronage of the services offered by TGCM will go a long way in helping this ministry to continue to be viable and effective in rehabilitating the ex-convicts. The testimonies of the residents can be found here.