Friday, November 25, 2011

Moving EV to another playgroup

EV has been attending playgroup at My Montessori My World near my mom's place this quarter. While the location is perfect, and the principal was nice to give EV make-up classes (she was sick and missed classes for about three weeks), we felt that there didn't seem to have any curriculum, even the simplest one, and we had not idea what EV was learning. There were only two toddlers, including her, in her group, and often, they had to be integrated with the older kids from the nursery and kindergarten sessions, which isn't a bad thing, but like I mentioned, we didn't know what she was getting out of it. And a group of two toddlers doesn't give her much opportunity to socialise with kids of her age. Plus, the feeds were expensive – almost $1100 for a three-day weekly programme. While we believe that the Montessori environment is a good one, we weren't certain EV was benefitting at this preschool. Convenience and location were some deciding factors for enrolling in this expensive playgroup, but really, we weren't sure there's much return value. So we decided to look at alternatives.

We found out that the Residents' Committee near our home was offering a part-Montesorri programme just a few blocks away. Location was also perfect, and when we enquired about the fees, we were surprised at just how affordable it was. $130 per month for a two-hour daily programme. Plus, we were happy to find out that it already had eight kids enrolled for the 2012 January intake. This would give EV more opportunities to socialise and develop her social skills. So we decided to give it at try for the January term. More on how EV is taking the class when it starts next year.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Books: Toot & Puddle - Puddle's ABC

Written by Holly Hobbie

A fun book to begin ABCs with the little one. Featuring whimsical pigs, Puddle teaches his friend Otto the letters of the alphabet so Otto can spell his name. And he uses a creative way to teach too, by using his own original words and pictures, like 'Ballerina Blowing Bubbles' and 'Crocodiles Crunching Carrots'. While reading to EV, I enjoyed the various phrases used to describe each individual letter too.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Recommendation: Web/Blog - Starfall

This is quite a popular site for parents looking for good online material. I personally like the ABC section, a flash-enabled section which teaches the letters A to Z and their respective sounds. Each letter also includes mini games to match the upper and lower case of each letter. Other online materials are catered for older children, such as the Learn To Read, It's Fun To Read and I'm Reading sections.

This site also has a download centre to get materials such as ABC printouts or printouts of online books, which can be used as supplementary activities at home. Some of these, though, will need to be purchased from the store.

A great interactive site that's colourful and entertainment for the young ones.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Books: Eric Carle

While reading up on parenting books when I was pregnant with EV, I have often read about Eric Carle's books, and know that there are some classic titles that are popular with kids and parents alike. So when I chanced upon an Eric Carle book promotion at September 21 (wholesaler of education & learning materials) when I was attending the phonics workshop, I took the opportunity to stock up.

Here are some of EV's favourite titles, which teach various concepts like time (The Grouchy Ladybug, The Very Hungry Caterpillar), colours (Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?), animals (The Very Busy Spider) and the general world around us (10 Little Rubber Ducks, Have You Seen My Cat?).