Archives for April 2010

His First School Excursion


K's second day at school was spent in a little boat/bus known as duck tours. It was an exciting experience for him, since he has not gone on any boat ride before in Singapore. The last experience I had on any boat ride in Singapore rivers (I don't think Marina Bay is considered a sea) was at least 4-5 years ago, in one of those bumboats from Clarke Quay.

So much have changed since then. So many of the sights that we saw from our ride like the The Float, The Singapore Flyer, The Double Helix Bridge (latest pedestrain bridge that links Marina Centre to Marina South) all seemed foreign. Somehow, landmarks looked strangely foreign when viewed from a boat in the river. It was like seeing Singapore in a brand new perspective.



K spotted a landmark that he could easily recognise, the Flyer, learnt about one of the key icons of Singapore, the Merlion and watched tourists take their quintessential 'I've been to Singapore' photos next to the Merlion.


For K, the novelty was more in being in a boat, rather than the sights we saw during our ride. The highlight of the excursion for him? It has to be the start of the ride when we got a little bit wet when the boat/bus entered the water, as well as towards the end of the ride when he got a little 'duck whistle' for a souveneir. 


Overall, quite a fun experience except for the hot, hot weather. And I still can't help but to miss those weekday outings that we used to have before he started attending school.

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His (almost) perfect nursery school


Full-time homeschooling did cross my mind once. As I got quite jaded with the Singapore's education system and did not like how the focus on meritocracy can be so stressful for children.

But I decided not to go ahead with it. Maybe it was the lack of courage, or because I was certain that I will not have the discipline to home-school him during his primary + secondary school years. My passion and knowledge was afterall in early childhood education, and I figured that I may not continue that fervour in home-schooling when he progresses to the upper primary levels. Besides, if you have seen how the math or chinese syllabus is like for upper primary, I was sure that I will not be able to follow through home-schooling in the long haul.

When K turned 2, I started the search for the 'perfect' preschool. My requirements for the preschool include; close to home, affordable, preferably a Christian based preschool, a good student-teacher ratio, good environment and a play-based curriculum.  I wanted to K to attend regular preschool to ensure that he learns to socialise with other children in a group setting.

For me, academics is not a key requirement for a preschool. Since K and I have been doing regular home-learning, it will not matter if the school do not put much focus on academics. So I chose a preschool that children can learn through play. Fundamentally, he has to enjoy the process of learning, as well as acquire valuable skills such as socialisation, self-regulation, self-help and is exposed to lots of hands-on activities to train his fine motor skills.

I think I have made the right choice for the preschool. I am absolutely pleased that he gets total bilingual immersion, since we speak little Mandarin at home. I was a little concerned that he will be confused since he understands little Mandarin. However, he picked up the language cues rather quickly and was able to respond to his Chinese teacher.

The teachers also introduced developmentally appropriate activities that needed very little seatwork, extremely apt for active 3 year olds.


I was so glad to see that he had no problem eating by himself and he sat down on his seat throughout the whole meal. Which was a pleasant surprise since he usually will not sit still on the dining chair whenever we have our meals at home.


Throughout his time in school today, I sat quietly at the far end of the room and snapped photos of him in the sly. I knew I should not get involved at all, since this will be the only day that I am allowed to be present in class with him. From what I observed from his behaviour, he needs alot of help in learning socialisation skills. He is not his usual friendly/cheerful self and he gets rather defensive with the other children in class, I hope it is due to first day jitters.


Overall, his response to school is still very positive and I am gratified that this will be a bright start to his next 20 years of formal schooling!

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Who is crying wolf?

I am sure that the Aesop fable of The Boy Who Cried Wolf will be quite familiar to most, as many would have at least read or heard the story during their childhood years.  The classic story is something like this; boy "cries wolf", causing panic around him. Finally, when he tells the truth, no one believes him and his flock of sheep gets eaten by the wolf.

This book that K and I recently borrowed from the library has a slightly different spin to it, in fact, it is a slightly darker version of the classic. Boy "cries wolf" every time he has to do something he doesn't want to do, like take a bath or attend his violin lesson, until one day a wolf actually does come to town. Instead of having the boy's sheep for his meal, the wolf eats the boy's family for dinner and the latter ends up being the wolf's dessert. The ending can get rather graphic since all that is left of the boy and his family are a pile of bones. 

I thought it was quite a light hearted book, but I suppose it can get quite unsettling for an imaginative 3 year old, who has started telling lies recently. When we read the book for the first and last time two nights ago, he kept really quiet for like two minutes after I finished reading the book to him.

This evening when he told a lie, I reminded him of this story of the boy who cried wolf. Just when I tucked him in, he asked if the book was still on the table in his room. He then requested that I put it on the dining table in the dining area and earnestly said, "We need to go to the library to return this book tomorrow, only this book."

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