Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Pat's Schoolhouse's National Day Celebrations

{Media Event Invite}

Last Friday, I attended a National Day celebrations party at Pat's Schoolhouse @ Claymore. Watching the pre-nursery to kindergarten kids dancing their hearts out, I couldn't help but feel warm and fuzzy. I miss my little ones when they were this young. This is AA's K2 year, and very soon, he'll be having his graduation concert, and then he'll be starting his primary school journey. Despite my wish for them not to grow up so fast, I know they are my babies, always, no matter how old they are. And yes, I will nag at them always too. :)

Look at these kids all dressed in red. Aren't they irresistibly adorable?

Besides celebrating National Day, Pat's Schoolhouse also took the opportunity to unveil a new logo, as well as an enhanced curriculum that supports bilingual immersion and is integrated with music. 

The new logo creatively uses shapes and colours to reflect a familiar preschool brand name that everyone has been so familiar with for the past 30 years. And with this, Pat's has injected some fresh ideas into its curriculum. One refresh is to ensure that for all lessons, there are always two teachers co-teaching English and Chinese at the same time. No matter what lesson it is, all children are exposed to both languages at the same time. 

I think this kind of bilingual environment is extremely important for the child to be used to both languages. It gives them the opportunity not only to hone their listening skills, but also their speaking skills, and ultimately the practical usage of the languages. Together with parental support, children's grasp of both languages is definitely a lot easier, and prepares them for future education.

The other curriculum refresh is the integration of music into the curriculum. It's not just about music lessons. Music here is integrated into all the lessons, and popular songs or rhymes can be creatively adapted to suit the particular themes that are being taught. For example, the rhyme Itsy Bitsy Spider may be used to teach about spiders one day, and the next, the kids may be asked to change the tune or lyrics to talk about the spider's diet. It's all about giving the kids the opportunity to creatively expand their thinking and challenge themselves.

Play is extremely important in a child's learning. As some of you know, I do try to infuse that into our home learning wherever possible. When this happens, kids naturally become curious and ask questions. Of course, as a FTWM, what I do can sometimes be rather inconsistent. And as EV is in formal education, the temptation to turn to assessment books is great, but I try to fit in fun science and craft projects where possible (check out our Instagram for pics!).

So when a school infuses such inquiry-based teaching, it definitely takes the load off busy parents. Just check out some of the learning areas at Pat's Schoolhouse. I wish I had the time, and space, to do such activities.

A wall dedicated to STEM - need to find me a wall at home now.

A thematic project on biodiversity, which the kids at Pat's did after a learning journey to Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve.

A board about plants in both English and Chinese. The mind maps were co-created by the kids. The carton box at the bottom right hand of the picture is actually sprouting mushrooms.

A little garden area, where different plants, other than green beans, are being planted.

My hands are itchy now... need to get some more home learning activities started and going.


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Monday, July 09, 2018

Review: Great Escapes by Judy Dodge Cummings

I was actually searching for a book for myself at the library, when I came across this - Great Escapes: Real Tales of Harrowing Getaways (Mystery and Mayhem), by Judy Dodge Cummings.

Being a fan of history, mystery and espionage books, it immediately caught my attention. I didn't realise it was for young readers 9 to 13 until I laid my hands on it. Then thought: it'll be great for EV, though I held back a little, since she's never really been exposed to such books, or anything related to history. But then, this is a book of tales from history, written in a fictional way, so I thought: why not give it a try. 

So I brought it home, and just casually mentioned that I found a very interesting book, something I myself would like to read, and hence would like to share with her. I kept an open mind, knowing that she's a unique individual with her own personal preferences. I was perfectly fine if she turned around and said she didn't really like it. Lo and behold... she started reading it, and she couldn't put it down! Mission accomplished! Hahaha...

I definitely think a lot of it has to be due to how the author writes. Historical facts can be dry, but she was able to present it in a fictional, exciting way to keep young readers enticed. There are five stories: slaves William and Ellen Craft and their escape to freedom; explorer Douglas Mawson battling the icy Antarctic with only his determination; a twelve year old boy finding a way off a moving train bound for Nazi death camp Auschwitz; the disappearance of three inmates of the infamous Alcatraz and finally the escape of 57 East Germans from Communist controlled East Germany. 

Each tale also comes with a map and time line that shows where and when the event took place. This enables the learning of fun and significant facts of history and in doing so, makes history come alive for whoever is reading it. 

This book, I'm hoping, is the start of a lifelong journey of appreciating history for EV.


Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please do connect with me on FacebookInstagram, Snapchat and Twitter, so I can share our fun adventures, thoughts and exploits with you. 

Monday, July 02, 2018

Back again...


It's been a year since I last blogged. Well, besides some ups and downs in my life ever since, I must admit that as a wife, mother, daughter, teacher to my kids, and many other roles that often give me mental fatigue, I do feel tired very easily. Imagine 5am mornings... and by the time I put my kids to bed at 9pm, I am exhausted. Dead tired. So yeah, you can imagine that I don't really have any ounce of energy left for writing, editing photos or even adjusting the layout of the post, all of which takes hours.

But... I'm back. I still have 5am mornings. I still have many roles, and many things that I want to do for myself and with the kids, but I'm determined and inspired to manage myself even better, so that I can achieve even more. I think I've hibernated enough already. Time to get up and moving... hahaha...

So, some quick highlights of my past year. There was a death in the family. That's never easy for anyone, and I suppose that affected me more than I thought it would. It still does, tears still fall when I think about it, but well... life goes on, and I treasure those around me even more.

Last year in June, I went on a mother-daughter holiday with my mum to Hong Kong and 四国(Shikoku), Japan. It was a great time bonding with her, something that I had less time to do since the kids came along. We ate, shopped, went sight seeing and then did all that all over again. The important thing is, we talked and hugged and held hands... things we had not done for a long time. Here's a photo of us in 高松 Takamatsu.

Then this year, we went to Hong Kong together again, and to 北海道 (Hokkaido), for another wonderful mother-daughter trip. It was a good time to be away together, and mum's long awaited wish to go to 北海道, Hokkaido was fulfilled. Here's one of us taken at 小樽運河 (Otaru Unga), 小樽 (Otaru), which is known for glassworks, music boxes and sake distilleries.

So moving forward, what can you expect from me? More sharing of my primary school journey definitely, especially with my younger one going into primary 1 next year (oh no... no more pre-schoolers!). 

And definitely, more sharing about how I'm taking better care of myself. I think that's important for any mummy, even when we devote ourselves to our families.

So stay tuned. You can stay connected with me and read all about my personal and family adventures, through my social media accounts. Links are below. Thanks for reading this!


Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please do connect with me on FacebookInstagram, Snapchat and Twitter, so I can share our fun adventures, thoughts and exploits with you.