Preparing for Preschool

It is true that it is parents’ responsibility and obligation to send their children to school. Some parents don’t forget about that. They send their child to school, they pay tuition fees and other expenses, they buy their needs, etc. Some parents, when they do that, they already think that they are fulfilling their responsibility as parents. However, what they don’t know is that that is not enough. Parents have an extra and important role in their child’s education and that is being involved in everything that they do.

One good way to kickstart your child’s education is to prepare him/her for their next stage in life. At My Little Campus, programmes offered to kindergarten children prepare them for Primary School, and the programme has a strong focus on linguistics, Mathematics, Science and life skills. They also cater from infants to kindergarten aged children so do be sure to check their page out.

Next, Nirmala Karuppiah will tell us about a report which says that in the recent preschool boost, parents are the missing critical players.

Commentary: In pre-school boost, parents are the missing critical players

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced during his National Day Rally speech on Sunday (Aug 20) that a National Institute of Early Childhood Development (NIEC) will be set up under the ambit of the existing National Institute of Education (NIE).

The new NIEC will consolidate the early childhood education training programmes conducted by the Institute of Technical Education, Ngee Ann and Temasek Polytechnics and SEED Institute for teachers, and develop new curricula for pre-schools including kindergartens and childcare centres.

In his speech, Mr Lee drew a comparison with how primary, secondary and junior college teachers are trained in NIE. He said:

Because teachers are trained well, paid well and have good career prospects, good people take up teaching and we have a good education system.

“We will take the same approach with pre-school teachers: Train them well, reward them well and attract good, passionate people,” he added. Read more here.

An effective learning for students really requires a joint effort from the teachers and especially the parents. Learning does not only happen in school that is why parents must also do their part when they are outside the school. In an article by The Asian Parent, let us read about five ways for busy parents to get involved in their child’s education.

Preschool education in Singapore: 5 Ways for busy parents to get involved!

How can busy parents actively participate in their child’s early childhood preschool education in Singapore? Here are 5 easy tips!

“I only have so many hours in a day!”

That is the common statement that I hear other parents say when the discussion of time management comes in and we start factoring in work, leisure, as well as the time we spend with our children.

Having a newborn is a joyous and life-changing experience. For busy working parents, finding time in their schedules to make sure quality time is spent with their children is key.

Research has shown that the first five years are the formative years of a child’s life. A crucial period where the foundation shaping your child’s future health, happiness, and development occurs.

And with the first three years critical to the development of the brain, where learning skills and social abilities are impacted. Read more here.

Being busy on other matters is not an excuse for parents to not get involved in their children’s education. There are many ways it could happen like having regular check-ins with your child and your child’s early childhood educators, no matter how short. It wouldn’t take up a lot of your time. Just a short check would do.

Now, let us move to another topic which is about tips on how we could raise effectively bilingual pre-school kids. The New Age Parents will tell us about it through their article below.

Raising Effectively Bilingual Pre-school Kids: Tips From An Expert

From a child’s primary years until they move into tertiary education, bilingualism has always been an integral part of Singapore’s education system. But teaching children to learn and love their mother tongues needs to start even before formal schooling begins.

Why?

The mind is best able to absorb a new language between birth and the age of 7.

In a two-year study by a team from the Singapore Centre for Chinese Language (SCCL), results showed that pre-schoolers who spoke and read more in Chinese performed better in the oral and written tests respectively.

Children speak the language of their environment. If they are exposed to their mother tongues in an encouraging and supportive bilingual environment, results will show.

How can parents get started?

Principal of British Council (S) Pre-School, Ms Vivien Kwok shares 3 big tips on how to raise a bilingual child. Read more here.

Being bilingual is an important skill especially in today’s world. It is an advantage in every matter and it would be nice if we raise our kids to be bilingual. It would be helpful in their schooling and in their future work as well. As early as possible, we should give our children this opportunity because it will be for their benefit. Parents have a huge responsibility when it comes to their child’s education and it doesn’t only mean material things, but all the other efforts and help they could give counts.

How to Find A Suitable International Kindergarten for Your Child.

Basically, there are hundreds of international kindergartens out there. But finding a suitable one that can suit the needs of your child can be a challenge.

As you may a ready know, early schooling plays the closest role in the physical and mental development of children. It is a solid foundation which they will build on as they grow up.

In this article, we are going to discuss some actionable steps you can take to find a good international kindergarten for your little one.

It is important that your quest to find a suitable kindergarten school for your child is not going to be an easy one, but if you apply the tips in this article you will be able to find a school that will be suitable for your child. To find out more about international kindergartens in Singapore, check out GESS website over here.

  1. Start on time

Don’t wait till a few days before a kindergarten goes into session before making an inquiry. Rather start your research months before your child is ready for kindergarten.  Giving your self enough time to research and compare between international kindergartens school in your area. It also gives you an opportunity to locate the closes one to your home or workplace.

  1. Start building a network

The second actionable step you should take in order to find a good international kindergarten school network. What this means is that you get to know parents in your area and ask for their opinion about the school you plan to enrol your child.  You can also make inquiry from local organization and groups in your locality.

The major reason why networking is effective is because you will be discussing with people who might have been in your shoes in the past and are better acquainted with the philosophy of various school around.

  1. Take a tour.

Taking a tour is one of the best ways you can determine if a kindergarten school is suitable for your child. And when you are touring, ask to visit the play areas as well as the classroom. Also, you have to talk to the teachers and ask them a thing or two about their teaching style and curriculum. If a school you want to enrol your child does not encourage visiting, you probably should red flag it.

  1. Think about your whole day

What you should do here is to evaluate what your child needs and see if the school you had in mind can deal with it. Some international kindergarten has before and after school programs.  A word of caution is this: Do not let the interesting curriculum of a school be your major focus.

  1. Follow your guts

When it comes to making a choice with regards to the kindergarten school you want to enrol your child, you have to trust your guts. If for any reason you are uncomfortable with a school, then you should move on to the next one.

Another thing you could do is to take permission to walk around the school you plan to enrol your child to see the mood of kids around. If you see a lot of kids smiling and laughing, it might be a sign that the school may be suitable for your little one.

  1. Get to know them

What you should do here is to make an appointment with the teachers, directors and the principal of the school you are considering for your child. During this appointment, get to know them as a person and ask them any question that is on your mind and ensure that your curiosity is satisfied.

Applying the tips stated in this article will go a long way in helping you find a good international kindergarten school that will be suitable for your child’s needs.

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Adjustment

I went to the polls yesterday, and marked my ballot for Obama.  It was a somewhat reluctant vote, but I considered him the better of the two by far.  I strongly believe that the Republican party has disgraced itself (to be cordial) over the past eight years, and could not see McCain as being much different.  While I’m not so excited about a number of points in Obama’s platform, I do see him as a very even, quick-minded individual that will probably be an excellent leader in the tough years ahead.

When McCain conceded and it was announced that Barak Obama was the President Elect, I think something very, very big happened.  It was like I heard a loud click last night, and the entire populace simultaneously came to the realization that things are going to be very different.  It was as if a necessary balance was restored; something that goes well beyond the past eight years.  There is a lot of garbage in the American psyche, and I believe that this election helped us reconcile some of that.

With the election of Obama, the divisions of race have seen an enormous blow; possibly even a death knell, if I may go out on a limb.  Yeah, yeah, there will always be bigots about, but I have a great feeling that there will be far fewer of them.  Things are different.

I’m feeling at home again and that I look to the future with (cautious) optimism.

Personal Alchemy

The Tarot can be an amazing tool for self-realization. On one hand, it is a deck of 78 cards, much like an expanded poker deck. On the other, it is a set of detailed images that are capable of making changes within the observer.

I’ve read plenty of articles and books, and the opinions differ as to why these images are so evocative. Some authors make the claim that the cards should be considered as living things; the forces depicted on the cards are real in an external sense. Others are convinced that these images are primal archetypes that anyone can relate to, much in line with Jungian psychology.

For me, it really doesn’t matter. In all likelihood, it is probably a mix between these two prominent ideas. These images reflect parts of our inherited cultural mythology as well as the ordeals that we all must go through.

Most literature on the Tarot relates to fortune telling, which is an aspect that I am certainly not interested in. Even if it is possible, it sounds like a fine way of learning how to abjugate personal responsibility. Why strive for change if failure is in the cards, right? Fortunately, there are a few finer books that speak on using the Tarot for cultivating inner wisdom.

Wanting to put some of these claims of transmutation to the test, I began an experiment about six months ago. I decided that I would spend a few minutes per day with one of the cards of the major arcana (otherwise known as the Trumps or Keys), and contemplate the symbolism. The pace was set for one card per week in order to let the ideas set in. I kept a detailed journal, and took some time this weekend to review my notes.

While this so-called experiment is obviously subjective, I can say that I got results. Each week of contemplation appeared to unlock something within my subconscious that allowed me to begin to witness the forces described in the card. For example, the image of Key I, The Magician, made it clear that the self-conscious (me, my ego) has the ability to direct the subconscious. Key II, The High Priestess, represents the virgin subconscious and its vastness when compared to the ego. The imagery evoked a warning of sorts, making it clear that I should be careful with what I plant within, as it could easily get out of control.

Now, these ideas are fine to read about and rationalize, as I was doing before I began my experiment, but it is not the same thing as actually contemplating and meditating on them. I highly encourage others to take this or something similar up for themselves. Spend a few minutes a day by first quieting the mind, and then in contemplation. Poetry would probably be a fine thing to work with, or any religious text of interest. If you would like to work with the Tarot, I recommend starting with the famous Waite-Smith deck.

These fifteen minutes a day of experiential work have done more good for me than any amount of reading.