October 29, 2008
October 25, 2008
I noticed that K has been quite obsessed lately with squeezing his body moisturiser out of its tube, so I made him some puffy paints. I got 4 squeezy bottles from Daiso, filled it up with 1/2 cup of flour, about slightly less than half a cup of water and a few blobs of washable crayola paint.
Made pastel colours of yellow, green, blue and pink...
And K was so thrilled by his new art experience, that he made these expressions when asked to pose for the camera...
He was quite amused when the squeezy bottles started creating some rude noises, seems like he is quite into slapstick humour like his dad...
October 21, 2008
So naturally, one of the new words that we have heard recently is "Dump truck". I find it quite amusing how the word sounds when he says it.
The kids got to play with their own balloons that the mummies blew...
Attempted some bubble art on butterfly cutouts...
However, the kids ended up using paint brushes instead as we could not 'conjure' enough bubbles with the straws to be able to make imprints.
We ended the session with the kids 'bowling'. I think today's session was pretty good. It was not as messy vs the first session as there was hardly any snatching of toys and the kids were able to share toys with one another. I did not hear K saying "No, no, no.." to his friends when they were playing with the toys. Maybe, he now understands the word 'share' and appreciates being in the company of friends :)
October 13, 2008
My only gripe about the children's section of the library is the organisation. It is almost impossible to locate any book from the shelves, even with the details of the book from the NLB website. I shortlisted 3 books from the library's website but could not even locate one. I then spent half an hour trying to locate the books from the shelves, then finally settled for a quick scan for interesting titles.
K is into trucks recently. His interest started from a page from this book; Richard Scarry's Biggest Word book.
He has been asking me to read this book which I borrowed from the library; Truck Stuck by Sallie Wolf, for a few nights in a row. It is about a truck that gets stuck under a bridge and causes a terrible traffic jam that soon turns into a block party. When attempts to remove the truck fail, two kids, some balloons, and a dog save the day. Love the little text, rhyme and clever illustrations in the book.
I am so glad that he is finally able stay attentive to a book being read to him from start to finish. For a while, I was concerned about his short attention span. Guess it does make a difference when the activities that are 'K-centred' rather than 'mummy-directed'.
Been trying to teach him the concepts of numbers lately. Rather than letting him learn rote counting, we have started counting the different types of trucks while we spot them while in the car. Also introduced categorisation from the different types of trucks that we see. From dump trucks, pick up trucks, mixer trucks to trailer trucks and we get extremely excited when we see an automobile truck.
Got him these trucks to enhance his play activities:
This is just my adaptation of a child centred home-based curriculum, so as to get K more involved and active in his own learning. My objective will be to expose him to as many experiences to real life activities as possible, so as to aid in his play experiences and learn how the world works.
Next, to find a construction site that we watch from a safe distance. So that K can watch the cranes and excavators at work.
October 12, 2008
K's demanding 'I want to see my picture on the camera' look.
I can never take a picture of K without him demanding to see his own picture.
Only daddy will allow K to take 6 kiddy rides in one afternoon
After taking a short nap in the car on the way home, he refused to sleep for the rest of the afternoon. Cannot imagine how it will be when we go to HK at the end of the year with K. These are the times that convince me that I am not ready for No.2 ever.
Another "I want to see my picture on the camera" look.
October 10, 2008
October 8, 2008
Kyle used chalk for the first time yesterday morning and he was fascinated by the texture, the markings made by the chalk and sure was elated that he was allowed to scribble on the balcony's tiles.
We had our first playgroup session this morning and did craft instead of art. I was rather conservative and decided against a open ended art exploration experience for the little ones. Afterall, craft experiences are useful to teach concepts.
This turtle craft project had to meet the subtle objectives of teaching the letter T and colours red and green ; with the triangular collages and turtle. Incorporated a little bit of printing and collage on the 'shell' of the turtle. However like most craft projects for toddlers, the mummies ended up doing the bulk of the work.
The key challenge of developing lesson plans for toddlers is that learning objectives are difficult to achieve, unless the concepts are repeatedly and consistently taught with many different experiences throughout one week. Unlike preschoolers, who can usually grasp the concept with one or two lessons. It is afterall much easier when the child is developmentally ready.
So it is usually wishful thinking to hope that the toddler internalises the concepts after 1 or 2 lessons after his/her playgroup classes at Julia Gabriel or Busy Buddies. Perhaps the only objective that can be achieved is socialisation. Toddlers will be too distracted by other toddlers in the class to pay any attention to the concepts taught.
But that's how it is when I am like some parents, who hope that my kid can read some letters and numbers even before he enters preschool.
It is getting rather challenging to get Kyle to spend more than 10-15 mins concentrating on any task lately (besides his indoor tennis and golf). Guess that will mean I will have to find another 101 other ways to set the stage for his play experiences.
October 7, 2008
Play needs to be the centre of an ideal preschool curriculum, as key learning objectives can be embedded in spontaneous and guided play activities. All you need are teachers who have the knowledge on what is developmentally appropriate for the children, and have that genuine interest in the children's holistic development. And it helps if you have a government to have finally come to a realisation that primary school education needs to be developmentally appropriate for children.
I have that glimmer of hope that the transition between kindergarten and primary school will soon be painless for parents and their children. And that nurturance of the children's love for learning will continue to flourish when the child enters primary school.
October 4, 2008
Could it be the big headed characters? Or maybe Kyle is used to watching real life matches on ESPN and he gets extremely tickled watching cartoon-like characters running around in tennis rackets to hit the ball.
I guess that's just Kyle's sense of toddler humour.
October 3, 2008
This is so practical, a foldable bassinet that converts into a toy box from http://www.dasmoebel.at/
This castle bed fits a twin mattress, while the space below can accommodate a twin or full bed, or may be left open as a play area. Sure to inspire fairy tales and medieval games. The wood that has been used to build this bed is sustainably harvested and plantation grown, so there is no impact on the ecosystems.
This playhouse if 100% biodegradable, made out of 100% recycled cardboard. Also foldable for easy storage. From www.modernmini.com
You can even decorate to look like this...
Too bad, I can't purchase any of these things locally. Due to the lack of choice, I will just have to settle for the most practical and affordable children's furniture from IKEA...sigh.
The classes are located in different areas within the building, all contained in air-conditioned rooms. I observed that there were fairly big classes for K1 and K2, an average of 1:20-26 in terms of teacher:student ratio. The ratio of the pre-nursery and nursery classes were much smaller, average about 2:8-12, dependent on the enrolment for each session. According to the principal, 15 teachers in the kindy are all diploma-trained.
The pre-nursery programme is largely play centred. Mrs Yang, the principal commented that children at this age learn through play experiences. The introduction of language sounds are shared through rhymes, music and group activities and learning of alphabets are taught through art and crafts. Words and phoenomic activities promote movement, recall and good listening skills. The math concepts taught like counting, categorisation, comparisons and colours are also taught through a hands-on approach.
The school offers music as part of the curriculum where the children are taught simple music concepts. As children progress to K1 and 2, they are given a keyboard to learn music notation and play simple tunes.
BPMC kindy also has the John Langrehr Thinking Programme as an optional after-school enrichment for the K1 and K2 children. This is an interesting programme that claims to help children develop creative and critical thinking skills. According to the JLTP website http://www.jltp.net/, the philosphy is as such;
"JLTP teaches young children HOW to think as well as WHAT to think about. Most early childhood programs teach content or new knowledge. JLTP teaches children to look beyond this knowledge and generate their own thoughts and ideas.
Thinking skills can be taught to every young children who are good learners by nature. Formal schooling may squash creative and critical thinking. However, if the attitude and skills are firmly embedded at early childhood, these vital forms of thinking would persist throughout their lives."
This preschool has got its strengths, however not the kind of preschool I will choose for K. I believe in learning through play and this school does not seem to advocate that for all levels. There are too few child-initiated activities seen through their lack of toys, manipulatives, dramatic and independent learning corners. The school focus on teacher initiated activities through their instructional white boards and plenty of work sheets for the children to complete.
Overall, it is still a very sound preschool programme with key fundamentals in place to cognitively develop a preschooler and good value-added programmes offered. If any parent is looking for a 'writing' school that ease their child's transition into Primary 1, I think this school is a good option.
My overall review of the preschool programme : 5.5/10