Patience needed


It was a fine evening. The weather was great and the children yearned to go outdoors.

We did that and got the girl to bring her bicycle along so that she could practise riding it.

The hubs and I took turns but I ended up getting frustrated.

Frustrated that her feet kept slipping off from the pedals. Frustrated that she kept looking down while trying to balance instead of looking straight ahead.

Less-than-encouraging words departed from my tongue and attacked her. In exasperation, she stopped in her tracks and screamed.

I have hurt her.

Oh, what an impatient mom I am. That was only her second time learning to ride the bicycle. What was I expecting? That she could get it in two attempts?

It’s time to do a bit of self-reflection.

Dan’s first lesson at Sparkanauts

A few weeks ago, Dan started attending the Baby Cadet classes at Sparkanauts and of course, I was thrilled about it. A couple of reasons really. Faith attended the then Gymnademics when she was slightly more than a year old and I know she had benefited from it. So I have had good impression of the classes. Also, I was less adventurous with Dan and we are mostly at home. Granted that we can definitely learn at home but with more household chores to do and a preschooler to teach as well, I do think I have neglected Dan a wee bit. It’s just more difficult to balance now.

So when Dan was invited to attend a few classes at Sparkanuts, I was more than happy. At last, he could learn more stuff! If you have not already known, Sparkanauts is a centre of excellence built on the belief that learning should start early for each child to achieve their full potential and their lessons reflect that belief. Their curriculum combines play and exploration with learning resulting in holistic brain development that is made fun and engaging.

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For the first lesson, we were told to be present at least 15 minutes before the commencement so that he could play and get used to the environment. I was thankful for this arrangement as I know he could take a while to warm up to strangers. The instructors were really patient and gentle with him and it didn’t take him long to trust them.

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Within ten minutes, Dan had warmed up and was happily interacting with the instructor. How nice!

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The class started with a welcome song and introduction of words based on a theme. Besides these, music, mobility and mathematics are also part of the curriculum as they stimulate the baby’s mind, thus creating the learning foundation for their developmental journey.

First time on the trapeze bar (which helps strengthens the fine muscle tones like hands and fingers) and stayed on it for the required period of time. I was so proud of him!

At the end of the session, the main instructor briefed the parents on what we could look out for to help our kids in terms of their physical mobility so that we could continue to work on it at home. We also received the Child Bonding Package which includes materials that we could go through with Dan for the week to reinforce his learning.

So the first lesson went well!

Stay tuned for the round up of the four sessions next week and I will also be conducting a giveaway for a complimentary trial lesson for 3 readers. Next week, next week!

Sparkanauts @ SAFRA Toa Payoh
293 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh
#02-01
Singapore 319387
T: (65) 62590307
Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm
Website: www.sparkanauts.com
FB: https://www.facebook.com/Sparkanauts/

 

A morning spent at a terrarium workshop

“Oh no! I’m late! I’m late!”

I was panicking as I drove to Hortpark. There was a traffic jam caused by an exit closure due to the SEA Games and I had to think of an alternative route to get to my destination. Alas, there was still heavy traffic along the way and I contemplated turning back home. However, the little girl was adamant on going and kept insisting that she wanted to go to the garden. Thankfully, I heeded her advice. Because both of us had great fun that morning. image Faith and I were invited to a terrarium workshop by the good folks at Actualyse. The workshop itself was conducted by Cath of The Plant Story. By the time we reached the indoor open concept cafe, we were half an hour late and we went straight to making our own terrarium.

imagePhoto: Actualyse

In simple term, a terrarium is a low-maintenance indoor garden in a glass container and is ideal for people who don’t have the time to care for a garden or just don’t have a “green thumb” like yours truly. What you would need is a clear glass container and plants suitable for terrariums. To start making the indoor garden, you would need gravel or small pebbles, charcoal pieces, potting soil and some decoration pieces.

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Initially, I was a bit worried that Faith might not not be up for the job and would create a mess instead but decided that I should just let her try. I must say, she did well! She was careful at every step, perhaps sensing her mama’s anxiety and in the end, she created and decorated her own garden without much mess!

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Obviously, she received help from me who was actually clueless as to what I should do. Thankfully, I met very helpful participants and fellow moms who guided me along.

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Photo: Actualyse

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This is the end product and I must say the little girl was proud of her work!

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Please don’t drop it!

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Photo: Actualyse Can you sense my joy and pride?

It was a short one hour session (minus our half-an-hour lateness) but both Faith and I had a good time of bonding through working on the terrarium. If you are interested, you should definitely find out more about this workshop whose DIY kit starts from $35/- and workshop fee is at $10/pax or $20/pax for a private session. You can also have the option to add a hand-made Murano glass animal to further personalise your gardens. Everything is provided for. You just need to get ready to play with dirt and not mind the mess (not a lot actually).

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Through that session, I got to understand Faith a tad more. That she can be an orderly person and is capable of understanding and following instructions and attempting more difficult tasks (at her age). I should never underestimate a 2.5 years old girl! It is much like what the founder of Actualyse, Isabelle Loo, believed in, that each one of us has a unique blend of capabilities and skills, and in setting up actualyse.com, a one-stop education and learning resource portal, she hopes to help people discover the best ways to nurture and unleash that talent.

It’s a reminder to me as a mom, to respect Faith as a unique individual, and to help her discover and nurture her talent(s).

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It was indeed an enriching and fun session, thanks to the good people of Actualyse who organised it for us. You could get yourself updated on the latest news, information and trends on education and learning via the Catalyst Library at actualyse.com and perhaps, for a start, register and find out your own unique strengths smarts through their simple Multiple Intelligences quiz?

image Photo: Actualyse

The Plant Story HortPark, Singapore. 33 Hyderabad Road (Off Alexandra Road) #01-01 (Beside the Lawn) Singapore 119578 Opening hours: 10am to 7pm daily. Closed on Wednesday and major public holidays.

CO-OP ’15 #1

Our weekly playdate resumed in 2015 with the first session just over. I promised to dutifully record every session so that I could track the children’s progress.

For the first few sessions, the moms have agreed to go with the Chinese New Year theme since the festival is just round the corner. It would be fun having them learn the words of the greetings and related items together as a group.

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Mummy Ade led us to sing a new ‘Welcome’ song and started introducing the CNY items such as couplets, red packets, dragon and lanterns. She even prepared a worksheet for the little ones to match the pictures to the words. Hah, she’s very much a teacher at heart!

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The beauty of our sessions is that the children are accompanied by their mums and the latter could guide the young ones into working on the tasks and at the same time, reinforce some of the learning.

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Following that, I read the book ‘Lanterns and Firecracks – A Chinese New Year Story’. It’s really a treat to see the children automatically sat before me as I started to read the book aloud. The kids knew what to expect!

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After the story, Mommy E got us to work on making a craft. Obviously, the children won’t be able to work on it themselves but I must say they did a good job in pasting the straws on.

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Proud of their work!

imageThis time round, we managed to take a decent photo off the kids. Say cheese!

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Next up, Mommy Tri gave the kids Chinese lessons by sharing with them the names of the items commonly associated with CNY. The children were all ears. Awesome job! We should have more Chinese lessons!

imageThe children learnt to ask for red packets respectfully. But I think Faith only knows how to utter ‘Gong Xi! Gong Xi!’ properly.

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Practical life segment includes matching of cards, picking up of pom pom balls with tongs, working with shapes, rolling balls with playdoh and cutting.

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We also celebrated our first birthday for the year. Belle turned 2YO! Yay!

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A simple totoro-themed cupcakes for the children but I have them packed into boxes because it’s too near to dinner time and I didn’t want to spoil the appetite of the kids! So, this is our first session. The kids definitely needed time to warm up since they have not met up for a month. That’s a long time for young people! Hopefully they would enjoy themselves more with subsequent co-ops.

Playdate resumes!

Our playdate resumed yesterday as the school term starts. It was only C and I but it was still fun!

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Our theme for this whole term is on colours so we got the kids to do leaf printing using Crayola’s washable paint. But before that, we got the kids to pick the leaves themselves and put them into a bowl. The little children needed some coaxing and much guidance to just pick up the leaves!

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 We settled at a sheltered area and set up our stuff – picnic mat, crayola paints, paper plates and wet wipes!

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Obviously, the kids needed much help from us. Little Faith didn’t like the idea of mess and I had to coax her to get her hands dirty for this task. And then, I saw the great difference between Ray and Faith. The boy painted his legs and hands as well while Faith looked on with disgust. Hah!

This is the next thing she did. Went to get a piece of wet wipes and cleaned her hands. No help required!

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3rd pic: Guess which piece belongs to Faith and Ray respectively?

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After the art session and cleaning up, we went on to Practical Life where we got the kids to scoop some jelly-like balls called water beads into their bowls.

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Gotta get hold of more of these water beads! Good to teach about colours and texture and use them for other teaching purposes.

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Getting ready to move to another site for our tea-break!
Reminder to self: teach Faith to wear her own shoes.

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We love the view of the reservoir. So we had a mini picnic here but had to move on since it was getting real hot!
Reminder to self: bring a hat along!

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Our last stop is at the nearby playground where the children made noise with the branches and the metal parts of the playground and expressed their artistic ability by drawing pictures on the sand.

Looking forward to the next playdate!

PME teacher seminar

Last week, for four full days, I was working real hard at the PME teacher seminar in HK. This is the first time that such a seminar is conducted in HK and I’m thankful that I was nominated to attend.

It was truly stressful as we had to recreate what the instructors had shown us within a short time frame. Everyone was on their toes. No one had the time to chit chat or to have a break. The only real break was for lunch. Other than that, we were all working fast and furiously.

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It was great learning from the very experienced instructors though. The techniques were somewhat different from what I have learnt previously and it’s certainly enlightening. I’m truly humbled by the whole experience. Everyone around me was skillful and passionate about this craft and it can really be overwhelming.

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And at last, at the end of the 4th day, we could finally relax because it signaled the end of the seminar. You could immediately sense the relief among the participants and smiles returned on the faces.

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My fellow baking instructors with the experts.

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Fun shot. We are the only group who asked for that kind of shot.

Would I be an approved PME instructor? I’m not sure but what I’m certain is that I need to keep working at it and be good in what I’m doing. And if I want to make sugar flowers look real, I need to study them closely. There’s so much to learn!

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First attempt to homeschool Faith

Recently, I posted some pictures about planning activities to homeschool Faith and received requests from mommies who asked if their kids could join. Fact is, my friends and I were just starting out and we want to see if the kids benefit from the session. We are not preschool educators, just your regular mothers. One had worked in a childcare centre before while the other had gone through some online Montessori courses. Me? I was just an elementary school teacher. Nevertheless, we just came together, pooled our resources and experience and started a session for the kiddos.

We started off with Circle Time with C going through BLUE items since the theme is on the colour. Each child took turns to touch the item as C explained them to the kids. But I must say, the kids could not really sit still except for F.C.! Well done, little girl.

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The next time when the little ones could talk, I would use the Circle Time to talk about the day, weather and probably ask them to share about stuff related to a theme. I learnt this while I was doing my work attachment at Park Street School a few years back.

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After the Circle Time, I read a book on Shapes to them with a follow-up activity of getting themto recognise the shapes of items that I had prepared for them and then pasting them onto the paper (with shapes drawn). The peeling of the double-sided tape requires them to use their fine motor skills. Faith, being the youngest of them all, could not really manage this task well but got all excited when she saw the biscuit in its rectangular packaging. SIGH!

So, we changed the plan since we realised that the kids needed time out and decided it’s time for refreshment! Sab prepared fruits and we got them to sit down and feed themselves. What an adorable sight!

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We had physical activity next. Kids at this age really need to move. Okay, I know it was right after a snack but our activity wasn’t really vigorous. It’s just playing with balloons and fruits & balls relay (getting them to pass some balls and toy fruits from one container to another), an idea I got from Gymnademics. I must say the kids love to move, move and move!

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Counting the number of balls they could transfer. Faith, having had practice at Gymnademics scored in this segment.

The last part of this ‘programme’ is some stations on practical life which C learnt from her online course. Kids should learn simple real life tasks even from a young age. So we had scooping of woollen balls from one container to another, choosing and closing of container using the right caps and stacking of cups.

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In 2 hours’ time, the kids, as well as the mothers, were famished and it’s meal time again. We served bread for them and they gobbled them up.

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My dear girl didn’t have enough and ‘stole’ from her friend. SIGH!

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So, there you go. Our first attempt in getting them to learn as a small group. I’m sure there are many experienced parents who are also homeschooling their kids. Do share your ideas!

Fisher-Price® Early Learning Fund

Dear parents, we have good news!

Fisher-Price®’s much anticipated campaign – The Early Learning Fund – is back!

‘Play’ & ‘Toys’ are two words not conventionally associated with learning for our children. However, child psychologists have long recognized that toys are a catalyst for impactful, interactive learning with our child and can bring about meaningful learning opportunities at every age. In a bid to promote meaningful playtime between parents and children, FisherPrice® unravels their 2013 Early Learning Fund.

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The Early Learning Fund campaign is aimed at helping parents give their children a head-start
in life and Fisher-Price® has kicked it off with a five-month promotion to give parents the chance to win a S$10,000 cash scholarship when they purchase Fisher-Price® toys.

By purchasing any Mattel Fisher-Price® product that is $20 or above (excluding Thomas & Friends) and submitting the accompanying receipt, photo and completed form, contestants stand a chance to win a Grand S$10,000 Cash Prize or be among 20 Weekly Draw Winners to walk away with a Learning Hamper worth $1,000!

Weekly Draw – Learning Hamper

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For the 20 weeks leading up to November 30th, any contestant who submits an entry for the Early Learning Fund stands a chance to walk away with a Learning Hamper worth over S$1,000.

Grand Prize – S$10,000 Cash of Early Learning Fund

On 16th December 2013, a winner will be picked for the Grand S$10,000 Cash Prize, of which WeeklyDraw Winners are also eligible. The Winner for the Grand Prize will be published on The Straits Times on Monday 23rd December 2013.

Do visit the Joy of Learning website for more details on how you can participate!

*Faith receives a Fisher-Price® toy to add to her expanding collection of ‘playmates’.

Joy of Learning Workshop

I had an overdose of caffeine and definitely, information.

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I was invited to attend Fisher Price’s Joy of Learning Workshop which was held this morning and to be totally honest with you, I was skeptical at first. Will it be another of those workshops which tries to entice you to purchase their products at the end of the session? I need to have an open mind, I know and boy, am I thankful that I went.

Perhaps I am just a newbie in this motherhood journey but I find myself soaking in all the information that I receive about parenting from various sources. Because my learning style leans more towards auditory, visual and kinesthetic, workshops suit me perfectly.

The workshop started at 9am but I was early and treated myself to a complimentary cup of Nespresso coffee (couldn’t decide if I want TWG or Nespresso). I figured I would need all the attention to take in the important information later.

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There wasn’t a real booth selling Fisher Price products wich was a pity because I would have wanted to buy something for Faith. It would be good use of time to browse the items for those who were early too but oh well, it’s really not a big deal.

The participants started streaming in slowly and we didn’t commence until 30 minutes after the stipulated time. It’s a tad disappointing but perhaps it’s just me – I’m not very fond of lateness. Ok, I need to practise mercy.

Thankfully, the presenter, Carrie Lupoli, got the workshop to a good start. She is IMG_1933one lively individual who shares her invaluable experience and knowledge with the audience. I was engaged throughout in this interactive workshop. I don’t think it is possible for me to consolidate my learning in just one post and definitely cannot complete it within a day because I have my responsibility to perform as a mother. But yes, I hope to share what I have learnt with you and it will be an on-going thing.

For a start, I’ll just share this graphic with you which I have gotten from Carrie Lupoli’s facebook page. Her page is a good resource guide so if you want to get updates, do LIKE her. 🙂

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First message: The first FIVE years of life is when the most significant growth and development occur in a human.

Questions to ask (myself): Who is the person in charge of facilitating this growth and development and how will he/she go about achieving the desired outcomes (which is ultimately his/her goals of parenting).

Food for thought and I’ll be back.IMG_4273

But one thing that I will certainly be doing (application) is to be consistent in documenting Faith’s milestones.

And no, I didn’t buy anything from Fisher Price (no proper booth anyway!) but I got a whole lot of parenting info from this workshop and a bountiful goodie bag to bring home. Certainly hope that Fisher Price would conduct similar events again. It’s worth the fee that one pays.

Disclosure: I was invited by Fisher Price to attend the Joy of Learning workshop for review purposes. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are mine. Where pictures or information belong to others, I will always try to have them credited as such.

Fisher-Price® Joy of Learning Workshop

Time passed so quickly. Faith is already six months old and ready for another stage of her development!

As the little munchkin grows, I find myself not knowing what to do to engage her at times. Being a new mother and a SAHM, I have to keep up with reading on relevant books and materials so that I could be well equipped in handling her. Thankfully there are workshops and online resources that reach out to people like me. Here’s one by Fisher-Price® that is coming up and I would be going for it. The following is a little information on it.

Fisher-Price Joy of Learning

The Fisher-Price® Joy of Learning Workshop is an interactive, informative, and practical workshop to arm you with a clearer understanding of your role as principal caregivers in this scheme of play and offer tools to better engage and nurture your little ones through joyful play activities. Recognising the irreplaceable role of play-based learning, when our little ones are provided with settings where they can readily interact with us whilst actively investigating, exploring and manipulating toys and items in their surroundings, they are not only ‘playing’ but developing critical skills for daily living and relationship-building.

Conducting the workshop is Ms Carrie E. Lupoli, educational and parenting expert, spokesperson for Mattel Fisher-Price® “Joy of Learning” in S.E.A and founder of Singapore’s premier private education agency – Live & Learn Consulting.

Four topics of interest will be covered at the Fisher-Price® Joy of Learning Workshop:

1. The Roles and Responsibilities of Parenting
2. Understanding Developmental Milestones
3. How Children Learn Best
4. Age Appropriate Play-based Ideas for Optimal Growth and Development

Date: Sunday, 9 June 2013
Time: 9am – 2pm
Venue: Raffles City Convention Centre
Fairmont Singapore & Swissotel The Stamford, Atrium Ballroom, Level 4
80 Bras Basah, Singapore 189560
Cost: $50 (inclusive of a goody bag worth more than $100)

This workshop is open to parents with children up to 5 years old and expectant mothers only. However, children are not allowed as it is a hands-on workshop for parents.

If you are interested, please email your name and mobile number to fisherprice@asiaprwerkz.com