Preschool education

Two articles to read:

Starting well: Benchmarking early education across the world.

Vital Voices for Vital Years

Went to the PCF Teachers’ Convention Exhibition and was amazed by what the kindergartens’ teachers are doing in the classrooms. If the children are learning all these prior to their entering Primary One, then I think it’s time for us to reflect  how we can better smoothen the transition.

 

 

 

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@ 32 weeks

I’m constantly tired because I could not have a good night of rest and am suffering from backache. The result is I would be in need of a nap after lunch, as if I’m back in the first trimester.

There’s much to do, both MLS and school. The spirit is willing (sometimes not) but the body is absolutely weak. Couldn’t concentrate on the task before me and thoughts stray.

I’m craving for sushi and went to a cafe near our neighbourhood. The decor is simple, much like those found in Chinatown, Boston and we were pleased with the sushi. Decent pricing and fresh food. The menu resembled the ones that we had in Boston.

Sushi Exchange
Blk 89 Bedok North St 4 #01-109
Opening Hours
Sun–Mon: 3pm – 9.30pm
Tue–Sat: 11.30am – 9.30pm

This pic shows a very tired me. This is just the beginning. Meanwhile, have some sushi.

@ 31 weeks 5 days

Faith is 1.5kg and mommy is 59kg! That means over the course of 2 weeks, I have gained 2 kg and the baby only about 200g??? Dear Faith, could you pls absorb more? Dr Poon said she is on the small size but otherwise healthy and has normal heartbeat. Amount of water is good (whatever that means) and Faith has turned in the right direction although it’s still not head-down. And, I have passed the culture test.

BP:111/74
Wt @ home: 58kg

And to show how ignorant the mommy is, the mommy has no clue what a NB pyjamas looks like (because she doesn’t wear one) and why there is a need to have it. We have officially 4 sets of clothes for the NB and my sis screamed,”Huh?! Cannot!” And the whatsapp conversation with her created quite a lot of laughs for me, realising that I really do not know a lot about baby stuff. It’s ok ya? It’s a learning process.

And time to get more stuff for Faith!

Dr K Tan showed this clip to us and forgot the intention behind doing so. In any case, it entertained us.
For a gloomy Monday.

@ 31 weeks

Suddenly, I felt I’ve put on quite a fair bit of weight. Felt heavy and a bit clumsy already and this is only the beginning of 31st week! Sometimes, I feel like I’m a whale…BIG. The left thigh area is sore and has enlarged. My arms are more fleshly now and even my face has become wider. Oh! Goodness gracious me and I still have a few more weeks to go!!!

Satisfactory Saturday

Had a most fulfilling Saturday. After a somewhat sleepless night (waking up at 2am to 4am), we went to Frankel Ave to have a good breakfast. I need to eat well in the morning to keep my sugar level well in balance. Normally, if it’s just a slice of bread, I will tend to see stars an hour later. So, it’s The Swiss Backer we went cos I was craving for croissant, good croissant.

I like it that this cafe commences business at 7.30am. Not many operate at this hour. We were there at 8am and it was empty. Ordered a Rosti breakfast and Croissant sandwich. I must say that the Croissant sandwich is a winner. It’s buttery and crispy on the outside and the combination and ham and cheese didn’t disappoint.

 

It was an idyllic morning indeed. We had a table outside and it feels good to have a quiet breakfast and reading of newspaper before the busyness unfolds before us.

The Swiss Backer
97 Frankel Avenue

9am. After breakfast, we went to Parkway East Hospital to pre-register for the bed. Finally, we got down to doing it. I need to go read up more and maybe pack the bag soon.

10am. Run errands.

11am. Back to mom’s to get the grocery which she bought for me. Mom has made my life so much easier. I wouldn’t be able to do grocery on weekday mornings and with her helping to purchase, I could cook at home.

12pm. Zzzzzz. I’m too tired.

1.30pm. Woke up. Time to prepare food for Cell Group tonight! It would be chicken pies and Ginkgo Barley with Dried Beancurd Skin Dessert. Thankfully, the hubs was around to help with the raw ginko nuts if not, my time would not be enough. This time round, I had a better management of the pastry dough when doing the chicken pies. Certainly, practice makes perfect regardless of the weather. But the humidity is really a killer! I was in the kitchen till 5pm, standing throughout and the heels hurt a lot. Must remind myself to wear some sort of slippers to ease the pain.

6pm. Prepare dinner. Mee Tai Muk!

7.30pm. Had a wonderful CG session today, praising God and discussing matters close to our hearts. I’m happy that they liked the food too. This made the work worth it. =p

11pm. Wash up and Zzzzzz….

Seasons of life

I don’t think I have ever felt so apprehensive before.

Been through different seasons of life, from a student to a working adult to a girlfriend and eventually to a wife of a wonderful man. At each stage, I have embraced it despite the joys and pains but this time around, I actually felt fearful.

The main reason being that I do not know what might happen. This upcoming role is so new to me, one which is not my ambition from the start but yet a crucial one. I’m not saying I don’t want this role, not at all, but I mean I don’t exactly know what I need to do, not at my current stage. What kind of a mother do I want to be? What will our parenting style be? Do I stay at home or be a working mom? Will my decision affect my family in a bad way? How will my family benefit from my decision? Would I do a lousy job? Could I stay at home the whole day and be sane? What role do I play in the society? Could I be a blessing unto others? How will my social circle change? 

I want to play it cool. I don’t want to fuss over things. There are many questions posed by the November 2012 mummies FB group in anticipation of the delivery. I read and I sweat. I’m not ready.

What will the future entail?

In the Delegation and Self-Management class today, the prof came up to me, congratulated me and asked what I intended to do after the baby comes along. I…I…don’t know. “It’s good to think about it now.”

And I know I’ve been procrastinating…in a lot of things. My work, decisions to make. I did procrastinate in the past but not to such an extent. And then I read something about this phenomenon.

Some people procrastinate because they’re perfectionists. They delay because their standards are so high they can’t possibly achieve them. Others may procrastinate because they’re afraid to be wrong or because they once were wrong and can’t forget it.

Perhaps, I should just take a step at a time.

God answering our prayers may not always be a good thing

Thought I should archive Ken’s reflections to the cell group via this platform. For keepsake.

I’ve been prompted to write this email to share my thoughts on prayer. It is something that I have been thinking about partly because of Alpha and the things we shared and discussed on after listening to Nicky. And I feel prompted to share my thoughts.

Perhaps there is one of you in the email list that might benefit from my own clumsy reflections, or perhaps I am the one who needs to write it all out so that I have a better understanding of my own thoughts. Or perhaps there is a misunderstanding in my thoughts that God thought you could help to reveal.  Either way, bear with me. And if I am mistaken on anything, do help to clarify so that my own muddled thoughts do not lead others astray.

I have three main points:

1)      God answering our prayers may not always be a good thing

2)      We pray by seeking God’s Will

3)      Surrender is not the same as Sanctification

  Continue reading

Deli Turk

We finally made time for a good meal to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary! On the actual day itself, we were down for WPS and decided to bum at home. The hubs has suggested a lot of other stuff like staycation and this and that but all proposals were rejected. kekekek. I think as long as we are happy in our marriage, that is good enough. Having said that, I remember the facilitators at the marriage course have reminded us to make an effort to have dates and surprises throughout the course of our marriage so I think I should just accept some of Ken’s proposals in future.  =p

This Turkish restaurant has been around for many years and is tucked in a corner of Upper East Coast Road. You probably will miss it if you are travelling along the road. I have a craving for such a cuisine and tasked Ken to search for one and we are glad we found this! The staff were friendly and we didn’t feel any pressure in ordering anything beyond what we wanted. I have read rave reviews about their dessert and decided to give it a try. Of course, how can one go without lentil soup when you dine at a Turkish restaurant? (Lynn’s thinking)

Lentil soup, rich and creamy but a tad salty.

Karisik izgara tabagi / mixed grill combo
Such tender meat!!

“Kunefe”
“Kadayif” the fine shredded pastry flakes
stuffed with unsalted fresh mozzarella cheese and baked in oven served with
honey syrup and cream. You have to order this.

Signature and complimentary tea, Turkish tea. Have to forgo Turkish coffee, so strong that it will keep you staying awake the whole night.

Deli Turk Turkish Cuisine
Address: 162 Upper East Coast Road, Singapore
Website: http://turkishcuisine.com.sg/

@ 29 weeks 6 days

Gynae visit.

G: You need to eat more. From the last visit till now, you only put on 1kg. By right, at this stage, you should put on 500g every week.

L: (in her heart) I think you need to change your weighing machine. Not accurate. =p

So, Dr Poon checked the position of Faith who has not turned ‘head down’. One of her feet is near to the water bag which can be dangerous if she kicks hard and breaks it. I would have to be admitted to the hospital immediately should that happen. Other than that, Faith is growing fine and has increased in weight from 900g previously to between 1.2kg to 1.4kg. Ok, right? As long as she puts on healthy weight, it doesn’t matter how much the mother puts on. Unfortunately, Faith’s head is not at the right angle for us to see and we couldn’t capture a good image of it.

Wt: 57kg
BP: 119/67

Decided to try 过桥米线 at NEX because I had wanted to try this for a long time! I had my first bowl in Suzhou in the 90s when I was there for my work attachment and it was such a delightful meal, and on top of that, a big bowl too! The portions in China were obviously bigger as compared to the one here (actually rather pathetic) but I must say the soup base is good. There is a story for this dish and it was explained on the wall of the restaurant.

And so since Dr Poon has asked me to eat more, I shall attempt this big bowl of noodles (actually not really big, just that the bowl size is big).

What you need to do is to dump every ingredient into the piping hot soup, let it cook for a while and then you can eat it! At $8 per bowl, it’s a tad pricey, I feel.

Restaurant: HonGuo 红锅
Address: NEX, 23 Serangoon Central, #B1-75, Singapore 556083
Tel: 6634 4675
Website: www.katrinahldgs.com/honguo.html
Opening Hours: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

Compare this to the one we had in Kunming…

Rushed back to work after that. But first of all, let’s buy some treats for them! Tarts! I must say they are good and received good reviews from my colleagues.

Fancy Delight
NEX Shopping Mall
23, Serangoon Central, #03-K21
Opens from : Monday to Sunday 10am – 10pm or while stock last
Delivery Hotline : 6469 4606
Website : http://www.fancydelight.com.sg/index.html

Joe and Dough

I have taken a liking to artisan bread since my days at Boston. These types of bread are not mass or factory-produced but are hand-baked by the bakers themselves. Naturally, special attention is paid to the ingredients and the process, and a return to the fundamentals of the age-old bread-making tradition set artisan bread apart from soft, preservative-laden commercial ones.

[Source]

When A got us to visit Joe and Dough, I was excited. Browsing the website, I was enticed by the photos of the bread and pastries and was looking forward to the visit.

We went to the outlet at Suntec City (just outside Carrefour) instead of the one at Hitachi Tower. It has an inviting environment and I felt as if I was transported to a cafe in another country. The owner, a primary school friend of A, showed us great hospitality and welcomed us with pastries and coffee. According to him, this outlet is actually a franchise. He actually started off with the cafe at Hitachi Tower whose clientele is mainly professionals and expats. He was, first and foremost, more interested in bringing in coffee beans and serving good coffee to his customers. He also looked for gaps in the F & B industry and saw that not many cafes served artisan bread and quality baked goods. That basically set the way for him and his gf and after he graduated from college in Australia, they set up the cafe.

Of course, now people are more aware and educated about the food and coffee that they consume, having travelled much and studied and worked abroad. They are also more willing to part with their cash for quality sandwiches such as those served in J & D. Pricing and branding are important to keep the business thriving and the cafe is now undergoing rebranding.

The owner definitely has a flair for the business and the industry and he shared with us the many concepts that he abides in. The F & B industry is not an easy one and many disappeared within a few years. So, instead of focusing on just cafes, he also owns the production factory of the bread and pastries and they supply to many cafes in Singapore. I was surprised!

He definitely knows his stuff and he went on sharing about his views for about 3 hours! Whoah! I was actually more interested in the food (sorry, I’m not very business-inclined) and in the end, I bought the Bacon Mushroom Melt sandwich and the blueberry yogurt tart for breakfast the next day. I’m definitely going back for more!

[Source]

@ 29 weeks

Dear Faith
I hope you are growing well inside the womb. I can sense that you have been practising Muay Thai every evening and each day, every 2 or 3 hours, you would want to have your presence felt. Mama has been quite amused by your actions at times and I couldn’t help but burst into smiles.

Papa has bought you a book and he has made a commitment to read to you every night. He wants the best for you and he grew up reading since he was very young so he hopes to impart this good habit to you too. He chose this book for you and I can see that you have been responding well to each story that was read to you. We will read to you this same book when you come out. I’m sure you can identify with it.

Meanwhile, stay happy inside. Can’t wait to meet you face-to-face.

Finally got a full length mirror to capture the growth.

Michelle’s speech

I always find B. Obama’s speech powerful and inspiring. Michelle’s equally wonderful. This one is personal, uplifting and motivating.

Chicken Pie

So, I’ve been rather disappointed by the chicken pies that I have bought recently. My complaints: the crust is too hard and thick and the filling is oh-so-very-little. Economic downturn is it? Must the filling also be reduced?

So, I decided to make my own chicken pies and hopefully, they will turn out fine (remember, I’m still trying to make friends with my oven). After googling for some recipes, I’ve decided to modify this.

For the pastry:
200 g unsalted butter
250 g all-purpose flour/plain flour
110 g plain yoghurt
1 tsp sugar
1 egg yolk
A pinch of salt

Put all the ingredients into the mixing bowl except yoghurt, and mix to a crumble. I used my fingertips. Add in yoghurt and mix to a dough. Dough will be very soft so you would need to keep it refrigerated for at least 30 mins. Alternatively, you can use puff pastry.

Filling:
113g diced potatoes (about 2 1/2 potatoes)
1 big onion diced
70 g mixed vegetable (depends on how much you like)
Sliced canned mushrooms (amt up to you)
2 chicken breast diced (depends on how much you like)
1 tbsp corn starch or potato starch mixed with 2 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/5 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper


Heat abt 2 tbsp of oil and fry potatoes with abt 118g of water and 1/2 tsp salt until soft. Set aside.

In a clean wok, heat 2 tbsp oil. Fry the onion until transparent. Add mixed vegetable, mushroom, chicken. Fry for a while to break up chicken. Add in potatoes. Add in abt  118g of water and cook for abt 5 mins. Add in salt, sugar and pepper. Add in the cornstarch and stir to thicken mixture. Set aside for later use.

 



To assemble, roll out the dough, cut the size required and place in a pie case. Have to be fast since the dough is soft and the butter melting! Poke holes on the base using a fork and place filling on top. Cut another piece of dough to cover the top. Poke a few more times using fork on the cover of the pie and brush with 1 beaten egg. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 30 mins. I baked mine at 170-175C for 40 minutes. 

Next time I do it, I will put more filling since I could have a rounded top as compared to a flat one. Aesthetically, there is a need to improve!! This portion yields about 7 chicken pies.

Art & Craft for Faith

In my boredom (not that I have nothing to do, on the contrary I have tons to do but cannot bring myself to do them), I decided to do up something for Faith.

Amateurish effort with minimal stationery (I really ought to bring my craft materials back from parents’ home!) but nonetheless…

Next, I would like to do a mobile to put by her cot but that will require a lot of work. Perhaps not…

LS Kindergarten

I must confess that I know very little about the world of kindergartens. Most of the time, I wonder what they are doing. I know from some CG members that it is not easy to be kindergarten teachers (I could empathise) so today is a good chance for me to find out more.

One of our team members managed to get us into Living Sanctuary Kindergarten and this school was being mentioned by PM Lee before in one of his speeches so it would be a privilege to get to know more by visiting the school ourselves.

The P, Elsie Tan, received us warmly. It’s a pity that the school follows the holidays of MOE schools. Otherwise, we could have watched the lessons in action.  Basically, this private kindergarten follows closely the guidelines set by the MOE’s Pre-School Branch but focuses much on learning through play rather than churning out and having pupils to complete worksheets. She believes too that getting the children to focus too much on academic scares them away and instead of getting the children to be curious and interested in learning, the reverse could result. I am personally impressed by the amount of work and hands-on resources the teachers make for the pupils. They have different learning centres modelled after real-life environment (e.g. supermarket, airport, science centre, cafe, etc) for the pupils to take on different roles and learn about the community. What fun! Talk about authentic and experiential learning. This school has it! Of course, basic numeracy and literacy skills are taught.

One of the challenges that the school faces is the expectations of the parents. Some of them are not happy with too much much ‘play’ and wanted the school to focus more on academic. The P stands by the mission and vision of the school and such parents eventually pull their child out. Thankfully, the number of such cases is small and majority of them trust what the school is doing. This kindergarten is popular among parents and they even need to ballot or queue for the enrolment!

Truly, if you don’t agree with the vision of the school, why bother to enrol your child in that school and then give problems to the staff members?

I must say I quite like this school and LS Kindergarten has been visited by many PCFs and polys and they are sharing with some MOE personnel in the afternoon; they must have done something right. =) Maybe I should enrol Faith in this kindergarten in future?

Allow me to share my humble opinions on the skills children should acquire by the time they enter Primary School. These are thoughts after teaching my P1 kids and I hope that I will bear these in mind when I have my child.

1) Social skills (sharing with one another, taking turns, being patient, etc). I have had children fighting over the simplest thing because they wanted it first. They have very little concept on sharing and when I related this to the parents, their reason is, “He’s the only child.” No excuse for that. I have quite a few pupils who have no siblings and they are willing to share. It’s the parenting, folks.

2) Communication skills. I have seen a wide spectrum of the display of such skills, from whining and insisting his own ways to being able to articulate and reason with adults. Again, it’s the effect of what we do at home.

3) Basic phonics knowledge. A little will help a lot.

4) Basic numeracy skills. Real-life examples will help a lot. We don’t have to teach them the operations.

5) A love for reading. Reading opens their little world and causes them to be curious about the environment around them. It helps greatly in their literacy.

6) Handwriting skills. There is a proper technique, ya know?

7) Responsibility. Children need to be taught that there are no maids in schools. They have to learn how to pack their bags, put the books back on the shelf and to take responsibility for their own actions. Please don’t do everything for them! And be a role model. Traits are caught, not taught.

One of the things parents can do to help them in their linguistic ability is to speak in proper English and Chinese (or any language/MT) to them. It’s difficult to get them to understand the rules of language (AKA grammar) when all the while, they have been exposed to non-standard language. Colloquial English has its place but if you want your child to have a good start, speak properly!

Nursery

The hubs and I finally got down to clearing Faith’s room. I’m officially in my third trimester and before I know it, I will be swept by fatigue once again and will not be productive. Even for now, I wake up later than before since I can’t get to sleep early (she’s extremely active at night; I think she is still following Boston’s timing) and feel lethargic most of the time. And, we seriously need to transform the nursery from a storeroom (horrible parents!) to a proper bedroom for the little one.

Some ideas though hers will eventually be a simple one.

Source: jj cole collections

Source: Project Nursery

Source: Project Nursery

Source: Carters

Source: Carters

Source: Project Nursery

Happy Teachers’ Day

Happy Teachers’ Day to all you hardworking educators all there, who believe you can still make a positive impact on the pupils under your care. The 8 % increase in salary should have long been implemented, especially those whose starting pay was a few hundreds dollars and have been in service for a mighty long time, compared to the new teachers nowadays. It’s an adjustment of our pay, which means we have been underpaid all along. Please read and infer well, dear public. Having said that, the extra cash (I hope I do receive in the end) would be of so much help!

 

 

Have a wonderful rest, folks.