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Are you considering enrolling your child into a childcare program?
If that is a big yes, you might be wondering how you can help your kids transition to daycare without any problems.
For kids, it is a traumatic experience to transition them out from staying at home with their loved ones to entering daycare. Even if the daycare has the same loving environment like the environment at home, kids will still find it difficult to adjust.
Here are some tips you can try to help your kids prepare for their childcare sessions and make it enjoyable for them. We also included some tips which you can also try to adjust to your child’s childcare sessions:
Introduce the Idea
Before you enrol your kids to daycare, it is important you introduce the idea to the child.
Start by introducing what school is and what things they can do while in there. If your child has any questions about daycare, answer them as best as you could. Answering their concerns could ease their worries about entering daycare.
Daycare centres and preschools also offer a flexible program for beginners, so kids can see what a school is all about. Start with a 3 day per week session and assess your child’s reaction during this trial period. If they enjoy the experience, you can slowly adjust their schedule until they fully ease into going to daycare.
Some kids may take a while to adjust to daycare because they are not “emotionally ready.” If this is the case, do not rush them and let them adjust at their own pace.
Utilizing this trial period can also help us, parents, to adjust. Parents can also experience the same level of separation anxiety kids experience when they first enter daycare.
Sometimes, it’s us the parents who have a harder time letting go than the kids!
While introducing the idea of daycare to your kids, you need to show that you are excited for your child. If you are anxious about enrolling your child to daycare and your child sees it, your child will be reluctant to join daycare.
If you show you are excited and explain why daycare is important, your kids will pick up this positive attitude and become excited.
If you do have worries about enrolling your kids to daycare, take some time to watch your child during one of her sessions. Speak to their teachers about how you can help ease your child’s transition and ask questions about your other concerns. If your child sees that you are trying to befriend their teachers, they will mimic what they see.
It is also important that you are careful when it comes to what you say when your child starts childcare. Do not say things like “I will miss you” because it will only cause your child to feel bad for leaving you alone. When you say goodbye to your child, give them a smile and support them all the way.
Do not stay long
One of the major reasons why children find it difficult to adjust to school is because of separation anxiety.
Once they are dropped off at daycare, kids will slowly feel sad and cling to their parents, fearing their parents won’t go back to fetch them. Some parents would try to stay to quell their fears, but doing so can make the transition more difficult for the kids.
When you drop off your kids to daycare, make your goodbyes quick and simple. Don’t stay too long so your child won’t immediately run after you. Give them a quick hug and kiss and tell them you love them.
Allow them to Bring their Comfort or Security item
If your child has a comfort or security item of some sort, ask your child’s daycare if they will allow your kids to bring them. These comfort objects can help your child feel better whenever separation anxiety hits them during the day.
Expertssuggest that parents give their child something you own which the child can hold on to until the end of their session. Parents could say to their kids “I want you to keep this item safe until I come back to fetch you” to help their kids trust their parents to always come back to them.
Comfort items do not need to be visual. You can record an audio clip for your child to listen to whenever they miss you.
How to Deal with Your Child’s Crying
No matter how you well prepared your kids for daycare, there will be days when they will feel very sad and start crying.
If your child does cry during drop-off, ask your child’s teacher how long they cried after you dropped them off. Some kids tend to cry during drop-off just to keep their parents stay longer and stop them from leaving. Piling high on the guilt factor.
When the parents do leave, the child would be alright after a few minutes. Grit your teeth, turn your back and don’t look back!
Be Open to Talking to Your Child
If your child continues to show worries about going to daycare, don’t be afraid to speak to them.
Ask your child about the things they did in daycare and use their answers to pick up what things causes them to worry and learn what happens during school. You must also let your kids know that you are always available to hear them out. Even if you cannot solve all their problems at school, letting them vent out can help them relieve their fears.
Letting your child speak out can also help you determine if your child is overwhelmed with the experience. If they do feel overwhelmed, you can reach out to their teachers and find solutions to their problem.
Every child will react differently when it comes to the idea of going into daycare. Some kids may become excited about the idea, while others may become anxious and scared.
As parents, we must help our children understand how daycare can help them and ease their transition as best as we could.
Granted, it is not easy to transition to a new environment. But, if we show our support and our confidence to the idea, kids will pick it up and they will slowly ease to their new world.
Looking for suitable childcare for your toddler? These articles may help you:
For many parents like myself, it is a struggle to decide when they should enrol their kids into preschool.
Some parents do not have a choice on this matter because both parents are working and cannot get a nanny to watch over their kids. Others may not have the funds to enrol their kids to nursery. A few may consider homeschooling their kideven if one parent is at home.
When a child is enrolled in a preschool, they would learn a lot of things which would benefit them as they grow older. One key pulling factor that is on all the parents’ minds is to create an environment where their children pick up life skills and socialization.
To help you decide on whether you should get your child enrolled to preschool, here are the things you should consider:
Kids are notorious for being picky eaters, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. They may also refuse to eat certain types of food when they are not at home. If they don’t want what is served to them, they may throw a tantrum outright until they get the meals they want.
Being in preschool, the kids of similar age share a bond during mealtimes. It cultivates good eating habits as they mirror each other. Good eating habits will prevent your child from being picky eaters and learn good table manners such as finishing your food or no talking when your mouth is full.
While at home, you can try to be strict during mealtimes, it is hard to carry through when the parent is not eating with the child together or when mealtimes are erratic due to different family members’ schedules.
You might even end up serving a different kind of meal between your child and your own since your child’s diet shouldn’t consist of anything too oily, too salty and too spicy.
Manners and ‘Good’ Behaviour
When your child is in a classroom, teachers can help them learn manners and right conduct. They guide kids on how to do things which they can do at home, like cleaning their toys or dressing up properly. They would also teach your kids basic arithmetic, science and language, which they will need once they enter primary school.
But, teachers often have different styles when it comes to teaching kids how to behave. Some parents may find certain teaching styles too strict or too controlling which may traumatize the child. Others may see certain teaching styles to be lacking and may hamper your child’s development.
When checking out a preschool, watch a session to see how the teachers work with the kids. You can also ask questions from the teacher if you have any inquiries about their classes. If your child has special needs, you can ask the preschool what their programs are for kids with special needs.
For some kids, it is difficult to mingle with other kids because they are not used to playing with them. Some kids are used to being in adult company and being the centre of attention. They may be an only child or that is the environment they grew up in. Other kids may prefer playing on their own because of their independent or shy nature.
If they are enrolled in school, it is possible that the child will be unable to enjoy playing and cope with not being the centre of attention. Games played in school are often group-based so your child may be pressed to play even if they don’t want to.
If you do not want to enrol your child to preschool, you can opt to sign them up for playgroups or just bring them to parks or playgrounds. These areas can still help your child meet with their peers and mingle with them. This will also give you more control over the amount of time they get to socialise and you can decide to take your child away if there is too much stimulation.
If you opt to keep your child at home, you can select the people they meet and befriend. You can arrange playdates with your neighbors or pick the playgrounds they go to. You can also pick the activities they can do outside your home.
If you decide to enrol them to school, you have no control with regards to the kids your child meets and plays with. Kids in preschools come from different backgrounds and have different personalities. Some of these kids may become your child’s friend, while others may become your child’s bullies (or maybe even victims!)
Your kid may also find themselves hooked to things you do not want them to learn about until they are older. For example, your child may end up getting hooked on cartoons because their peers in school often talk about it. Even if you do not let them watch these shows at home, your child may press on for them so they can relate with their peers.
Your child’s eating habits may also be affected when they are in school. Some parents tend to hold small parties at the school and bring the food they would eat. Even if your child refuses the birthday cake given to them, they may be influenced to try them because their friends are eating the cake without complaints and with much relish.
Which Will You Choose?
Preschool is an important part of our child’s life because it is their first foray to the outside world on their own. It is where they can meet with their fellow kids, mingle with them and learn basic life skills they need as they grow older.
Of course, there are some downsides to enrolling kids into preschool which us parents do not want them to experience.
As parents, it is important for us to consider all the pros and cons before deciding on whether its time to enrol our kids to preschool or not. Do your research on the preschools where your child can enrol into and see if whether these schools are perfect for your child’s needs. Check your budget if you can enrol them and see what alternatives are available.
You must also consider if your child is ready for it. If they are too young, wait until your child is old enough (or ready) before you enrol them to preschool.
If you are considering homeschooling your child, we have some tips for you:
An opportunity for bonding and fun, the Singapore school holidays are something that families anticipate patiently. Whether it’s the month-long December holidays or simply an extra weekday off from school, you could take the time to plan some exciting family activities in Singapore.
Here, I’ll be sharing a list of dates you’ll want to take note of, as well as a jam-packed and comprehensive list of what to do during the school holidays, divided into five categories:
School holiday activities for kids
School holiday activities for teenagers
Free school holiday activities for families
Educational activities for kids in Singapore
June and December school holiday activities in Singapore
Where to go during the school holidays in Singapore
List of upcoming Singapore school holidays 2019
Before we get into the fun stuff, perhaps you’ll appreciate the dates of upcoming school and public holidays so you can plan accordingly.
Type of holiday
1 to 30 June 2019
5 June 2019
Hari Raya Puasa
16 June 2019
7 July 2019*
21 July 2019
Racial Harmony Day
9 Aug 2019
11 Aug 2019*
Hari Raya Haji
6 Sep 2019
7 to 15 Sep 2019
4 Oct 2019
27 Oct 2019*
16 Nov to 31 Dec 2019
25 Dec 2019
*The following Monday is a public holiday
School holiday activities for kids
These kids activities in Singapore are not free, but they will surely be memorable for the little ones. Add these Singapore school holiday activities into your plans!
1. Catch a movie at Shaw Theatres Jewel, a family-friendly cinema hall
Did you know that Jewel is home to Singapore’s very first dedicated family cinema hall? It’s housed within Shaw Theatres Jewel, which has 11 screens in total including an IMAX next-generation theatre, two Lumiere screens, and a family-friendly Dreamers screen which features soft lighting, reduced volume, colourful seats and bean bags, and of course, kid-friendly movies. Look out for the movie screenings at Dreamers which is highlighted in green on the Shaw Theatres website.
Originating from New Zealand, Clip ‘n Climb is a climbing theme park with 19 climbing challenges, each with varying levels of difficulty. It’s a safe school holiday activity for kids, and it’s beneficial in terms of improving a child’s concentration and motor skills. Participants have to weigh 10 kilograms and upwards, but there’s no specific minimum age or height requirement.
Located at Downtown East,Tayo Station is a massive indoor playground themed around Tayo The Little Bus, a South Korean animated series. It doesn’t matter whether your child has caught the TV show or not! At Tayo Station, kids can ride their little vehicles around Tayo’s Road Circuit and stop by the Garage, Wash n’ Go and Gas Pump Kiosk. There’s also a toddler’s play area, a playground, party rooms and a chill zone. Tayo Station welcomes kids from one to 12 years old.
If you’ve yet to be introduced to Amazonia, this is a family entertainment centre on Level 3 of Great World City. The highlight of Amazonia is an arctic-themed play gym with a wave slide, though the large ball pit and the Interactive AI Gaming Zone are pretty cool too. Be sure to bounce your way around the trampoline and try to shoot some hoops mid-air.
Parents would know that sometimes, having a proper sit-down meal together as a couple can be difficult when kids are in the equation. At Cool de Sac, parents can tuck in and catch up over a glass of wine without worrying about their children. There are various play stations where kids can use up their excess energy by running around, playing console games, sliding down tunnels, building blocks, and trying out other activities.
School holiday activities for teenagers
Wondering what to do during the school holidays in Singapore with your teenagers? They may not be as easily entertained as toddlers, but these school holiday activities for teenagers will work up their enthusiasm!
One for the kids to get excited about, Airzone is a suspended net playground in City Square Mall. Imagine sinking into an elevated ball pit brimming with over 50,000 balls, crawling your way out of a giant obstacle course, and whizzing down giant slides – all mid-air and in the midst of a mall. Airzone truly levels up the game of Singapore indoor playgrounds. Admit it, you’re just as excited as your teenagers.
Are your teens a big fan of Pokemon? Take them to the wonderland known as Pokemon Center Singaporeat Jewel Changi Airport where they will be in paradise. This outlet is the first official merchandise store outside of Japan, so that’s kind of a big deal. Expect lots of plushies, stationery, toys and an interactive Pokedex, as well as Singapore-exclusive merchandise like Pikachu plushies decked in a pilot’s uniform.
If it has been a while since your family has visited Gardens by the Bay, it’s about time to drop by. While you’re there, visit its latest thematic attraction: Floral Fantasy. It features four different garden landscapes that will wow your family. A collection of 15,000 flowers hanging upside down greets you at the entrance. More wonders await, such as unique tree forms, floral chandeliers and even a rainforest. If your kids are above one metre in height, they can hop on the 4D rideFlight of the Dragonfly to end the trip with a bang.
Take your family’s bowling nights up a notch by experiencing glow-in-the-dark bowling. At one of the many outlets of Orchid Bowl, you can take turns to swing luminous balls and knock down pins under disco lights and to the beat of dance music. This might just transform from one of your family’s Singapore school holiday activities to a regular outing!
At Singapore’s largest tree-top adventure park, your family can embark on all sorts of adrenaline-inducing challenges. Kids as young as five can take on the Kids Course which involves 22 crossings and two zip lines, while the older ones can choose the Junior Course or the Grand Course. And no need to worry about safety; at Forest Adventure, you’ll know that your family are in safe hands under the supervision of professional guides.
11. Hop on a virtual roller coaster at HeadRock VR
Located in Sentosa, HeadRockVR is one of the biggest VR theme parks in Southeast Asia. It comprises three zones (Blue, Orange and Green), each with different selections of adventure. You could raft along rapids with Jungle Rafting or perhaps brave through a blizzard on a dog sled with Storm Blizzard. Your kids have to be six years and above to enjoy the thrilling adventures at HeadRock VR.
An all-time favourite attraction at Sentosa is the Skyline Luge. This wheeled cart ride allows you to take control of your gravity-induced descent along one of the four tracks available: Dragon Trail, Jungle Trail, and the newer Expedition Trail and Kupu-Kupu Trail. The Skyride on the open-air chairlift which takes you to the start of the trail is part of the experience – some visitors enjoy this just as much as the luge ride itself! Offering excitement to riders of all ages, Skyline Luge is a sure-win among the list of school holiday activities for teenagers.
Free school holiday activities for families
No need to bust your wallet to tackle all these Singapore school holiday activities. The free school holiday activities below will help you fill days with your family without spending a cent on entrance fees.
13. Marvel at the HSBC Rain Vortex at Jewel Changi Airport
Have your family caught up with the hype of Jewel yet? If not, bring the kids over to the world’s tallest indoor waterfall which measures a whopping 40 metres high. The HSBC Rain Vortex is truly a sight to behold, with an endless stream of water cascading from a distinctive roof all the way down to Basement 2. Each day, at hourly intervals from 8.30pm to 12.30am, a Light & Sound show unveils itself so do stay around for that!
14. Let stories come alive at library@harbourfront
Skip the neighbourhood library in exchange for a trip to library@harbourfront, located on Level 3 of VivoCity. Your kids will love the Children Zone which is replete with novels, magazines, folktales, and all kinds of books, really! Time your visit with the interactive storytelling sessions which are scheduled on 5.30pm to 6pm on Thursdays for kids aged four to six, and on Fridays for kids aged seven to 12.
15. Whizz down Singapore’s longest outdoor slide at Admiralty Park
No doubt there are endless options when it comes to parks, but none other than Admiralty Park can claim to host the longest outdoor slide in Singapore! Measuring 32-metre-long, the High Adventure Roller Slide is lined with bright motion-sensor LED lights which give it a glow at night. There are a total of 26 slides at the park, including a tube slide that measures 23 metres long. Clearly, your kids have tons of sliding to do at this outdoor playground in Singapore!
16. Stroll along the boardwalk at Jurong Lakeside Garden
Lakeside Garden is the newest of Singapore’s national gardens. Opened on 27 April 2019, it takes up more than half the 90 hectares that comprise Jurong Lake Gardens. Hit the wetland trails, take photos at the Grasslands area, and check out the restored freshwater swamp forest. The Lakeside Garden also has swimming pools, playgrounds, boardwalks, and water activities like canoeing and kayaking.
When you talk about science and technology, many would say it is a male-dominated field. It is rare to see women make a name in the industry and if there were women in the industry, they do not get the same attention as men do.
Girls also have the same potential to excel in science and technology. But, what can we do, as parents, to help our little girls hone their love for science?
Bias Against Girls in Science
There are many reasons why girls do not make a name in the science and technology sector. The major reason for this disparity in because there is a bias against girls in the field even at a young age.
This bias can be seen in three ways:
– The toys made for boys are often more intricate and inspires activity. By comparison, the toys made for girls are more simple and do not inspire activity or creativity.
– Boys are often encouraged to think independently. They are also often praised as smart and brave. Girls are often praised and seen as hard workers. These praises would add to the biased beliefs regarding intelligence.
– The attitude of teachers about girls doing advanced science programs can also influence how girls are treated in the industry. In one study where students have graded anonymously, the girls performed better than the boys. But, when the teachers graded their work, they graded the boys better while the girls had ordinary grades.
10 Ways to Inspire Girls
If you want to inspire your girls to push their love for science or develop their passion for the subject, here are 10 ways on how you can do it:
1. Introduce Positive Female Role Models
Even though there is bias in the STEM industry, there are women who managed to break the stereotype and became successful in the field.
Do some research about these women like Rosalind Franklin, Lise Meitner and Shirley Ann Jackson; and introduce their story to your kids.
Show how these successful women worked hard to reach their dreams so your girls have someone to look up to as they work their way to their dream.
2. Teach Your Girls to be Brave
Girls often shy away from risks and people expect them to be perfect. As a result, they do not strive hard in the things they do. It can also explain why there are only a few women who made it big in the industry.
When your child looks like they are giving up, tell them it is ok to make mistakes. Making mistakes is a part of the journey and it helps your child to learn from these mistakes. If they meet the same problem, they know what to do to correct their mistake.
You must also encourage them to keep at it if they meet a roadblock. If they know you are watching them, they will strive hard to succeed.
3. Encourage opportunities for learning science
To improve in science, your daughter must have a lot of opportunities to explore it. Let her join you growing your garden to learn more about plants. You can also take her to parks, museums and other interesting places where she can learn about science.
If you do not want to go out, sign your child up for science activity subscription boxes like Atom and the Dot. These subscription boxes would contain different science activities for your child to try out each month. You can also buy science books for your girls to read or DIY science activities.
4. Books to Inspire Science-Loving Young Girls
There are a lot of books in the market that tell stories about girls discovering the wonderful world of science. Some books even talk about the Eureka moment of female scientists and their lives.
Personally, I recommend these books for your daughters:
A good way to help girls grow is by helping them develop a “growth mindset.” This mindset entails that girls understand that they can still develop their talents.
When you are trying to introduce this concept with your daughter, make it a point to introduce the importance of making an effort to everything we do. Everyone needs to make an effort because if we do not, how can people succeed?
You must also make sure that you do not suggest that only girls need to work hard because of their ability.
6. Create an environment that promotes science
Some people believe that one reason women are not represented in STEM is because of their cultural and religious beliefs.
As parents, it is important that we show that STEM careers are also for girls. Besides being supportive in their pursuit of science, encourage them by conducting experiments together.
It is wonderful parent-child bonding time!
7. Combat false stereotypes about STEM
As children try to think about their future career, they may end up asking themselves if they are like the people who have their dream job. If they do not see any similarities, they may think it is not the right career for them.
For STEM careers, the media often depicts scientists and researchers as “nerds” or “weirdos.” Some even show scientists working on their own. These images act as a barrier for girls because they are looking for a crowd that they can identify with.
But, if you look beyond the media representation, you would see that today’s scientists aren’t geeky at all.
8. Take Field Trips
Schools often bring their students to interesting locations to help teach kids certain subjects.
Match these trips during your child’s vacation or for family outings by bringing your kids to parks, zoos and science museums. Ask questions, engage them with projects of your own. You can do a treasure hunt in the museum with hints from the exhibits themselves.
The key is to make these trip fun and interesting!
9. Explore Together
For kids, it is a great experience to learn with the family.
Do experiments at home and show kids that science can be done at home. As you do the experiments, guide your kids and explain the concepts they might be unfamiliar with.
Repeat the experiments from time to time, alternating between different materials and solutions.
10. Use mediums like video games and films to introduce science
Finally, you should take advantage of items like video games and films to get your child interested in science.
Children love games and there are games in the market that can motivate them to learn science. Some even show how science experiments work.
If they do not like games, you can try showing them movies about science. I highly recommend Hidden Figures.
Girls who love science and wish to pursue a career in the industry should get all the support they can get to succeed. Without support, these girls will find it difficult to push for their dreams even if they love the subject.
As parents, we must make our girls feel that they can also succeed in the field no matter what people say. A parent’s support can make a huge difference and it may be the key to your child’s success.
Looking for a way to improve your child’s science? Here are some tips:
This year, the Ministry of Education introduced a plan known as “Learn for Life“.
Under this new plan, students are encouraged to perform in other areas aside from academics. For Primary 1 and 2 students, this new plan means they would no longer have exams and other tests.
But, exams and tests are good indicators of a child’s progress. So, what can parents do to track their child’s performance without exam results as a basis?
Embrace the Change
This change in Singapore’s educational system is a big step for the country. Before, academic excellence was crucial to getting a good job and financial security. But, with the new plan, academic excellence takes a backseat. Children will now be able to go in-depth with each subject and understand it more thoroughly.
As parents, this change should not be seen as a setback because learning is more than just grades. For Primary 1 and 2 students, in particular, learning should focus more on key life skills that would help them as they grow older.
The change will also allow children to reflect more about their studies and determine which career to take in the future.
How Can Parents Track their Child’s Progress Without Test Results?Increase Dialogue
A great way to track your child’s progress in Primary 1 or 2 is by speaking to the teachers. Your child’s teachers are the ones who are with your child every day and could see how well they perform everyday.
Although schools regularly have parent-teacher meetings, you can speak to your child’s teachers when you feel it is needed. This will help open dialogue between you and the school and answer all your inquiries.
To get you started, you can ask your child’s teachers about their progress and how you can help them. You can then ask specific questions like “Is my child having problems making friends?” or “Is she actively participating in class? Can I do anything to help them?”
Create More Home-Learning Experiences
Aside from school, there is always something new for your child to learn at home and outdoors. You only need to know where to look and show it to your child.
Here are some tips to help create more home-learning experiences for your child:
1. Take them out to museums, parks and other interesting locations
Singapore has a lot of public places where your child can explore and learn at the same time.
During these outings, you can ask your child what they think about the place or if they see something interesting. These questions can help them learn more about the world and understand how it works.
2. Ask for their opinion
Your child cannot make a strong opinion for themselves. But, asking them for their opinion will help them build their confidence and teach them how to support their opinion.
Of course, when you do ask for their opinion, be supportive and show that their opinions matter.
3. Support your child’s learning by providing real-life examples to their lessons
A good way to teach children concepts is by showing them real-life scenarios where the concepts are applied.
If your child is learning mathematics, you can use fruits to show how to add and subtract. Or your child is learning basic science, you can do simple science experiments you can do at home.
These real-life scenarios will help their curiosity develop and improve their knowledge of the world.
4. Introduce the Wonders of Books
Books are a great source of information and it is ideal to get your child interested in them while they are young.
Some children may find reading a bit boring, but by introducing them books about their favourite topics, they will pick up reading easily. They will also gain the interest to look into other books and grow interested in learning more.
5. Introduce People Who Can Inspire Your Child to Learn
If your child has an idol they admire, you can look up documentaries about them and watch with your child. You can then explain to your child how these individuals become successful and help them see how they worked hard to reach their dreams.
Helping your child know how their idols become successful will give them an example on how they can work on their dreams. It can even give your children ideas on how they can reinvent themselves.
Get a tutor or get them enrolled in learning centres
If you can’t watch your child’s learning yourself, you can also opt to get a tutor.
Like teachers, tutors can teach your child what they need to know. Some tutors can even customise lessons which cater specifically to your child‘s specialities and needs.
After each lesson, they can give you insights on how well your child is faring and what you can do to help. They can even tell you your child’s top subjects and which subjects they need help with.
If tutors are not possible, you can enrol your child into learning centres. Learning centres are like mini-schools because they offer advance and tutorial classes. They also offer non-academic classes like arts, music and drama.
When you enrol your child, they can assess how well your child is performing and even recommend if they need extra lessons.
Learning is not just something your child can experience at school.
It is also not something that purely academic in nature because academics alone is not enough to succeed. Children must be taught to love the lessons they are introduced to because without it, they will not enjoy excelling in a subject.
With this in mind, parents must encourage their children to not focus fully on academics. Parents must also let their children explore, work hard and dedicate themselves to their passions. This will let them gain both academic and life skills faster than before.
So, even without exam results, you can be guaranteed your child is learning at a great pace because they are enjoying their studies better.
After 40 years, the Ministry of Education has announced that it is removing the Secondary School Streaming programs in 2024.
In his speech on Tuesday, March 5, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said that a full subject-based banding replaces the system. That causes both excitements among the children and anxiety from the parents.
What is Full Subject-Based Banding?
Let us explain: the full subject-based banding will divide subjects into three levels to make it easier for students to study their interests. It will be applied to all Secondary 1 student from 2024 onwards. But, 25 schools will be the first to pilot the new program in 2020 based on their capability and their readiness.
After students take their Primary School Leaving Examinations, their results would then be used to determine which subject levels they can take.
The subjects will be divided into three levels:
G1 (General 1) is the new version of the Technical syllabus
G2 (General 2) is the new version of the Normal Academic syllabus
G3 (General 3) is the new version of the Express syllabus
Students will be allowed to change the subject levels he is taking after Secondary 1, especially if he had performed well in other subjects. Students will also be allowed to take lower level subjects if his current course load is too rigid.
The school will track the progress of each student with the help of guidelines and examinations. Once students reach Secondary 4, they will take a new examination that is like the current GCE exams.
When they graduate, they will receive uniform certificates and effectively remove streaming levels. These certificates will identify the subjects taken and the standard band. It will also have the names of Cambridge and Singapore.
Aside from the new program, the government will also be launching a new post-secondary program by 2028 to support the new system. Looks like we, parents have to gear up for plenty of changes down the road!
Why Change the System?
The announcement was made a day after 5 MPs advocated a new system for Secondary school students to replace streaming.
Several reasons were raised to explain why subject-based banding is better than streaming.
1) Students learn better and in their own speed
Although streaming was used to reduce dropout rates in the country, there are disadvantages in following the system at a young age.
Streaming does not consider how students learn each subject and how fast they can master it.
Each student has their own pace when it comes to different subjects. It may take a while for them to master certain concepts, while others will need extra guidance. It is not a guarantee that they will be able to keep up with their subjects if they are in the Express stream.
With subject-based banding, students can learn at their own speed and do a curriculum based on their strengths and preferences.
Before the announcement, students taking the Normal stream can enrol up to 2 advance subjects when they reach Secondary 3. But, they must pass the subjects with flying colours when they were in Secondary 1 and 2.
2) The “Normal” Label
The “Normal” and “Express” syllabus used in the current system also affects the student’s confidence.
For students taking the “Normal” route, they often feel resigned that they cannot improve further. They also lose interest in learning more about other topics not included in their syllabus.
Being in the normal syllabus also reduces the chance for students to move within the system. They may also find it difficult to get into the careers they want based on the subjects they took.
With the new education system, the government hopes students can condition learning from a “differentiated curriculum” and not feel stigmatized.
3) Improving student relations
The new subject-based banding system would also prove beneficial in terms of student relations.
Since students are no longer separated based on their selected curriculum, they could now meet with their peers from other bands. Children do not have to worry about being judged by their peers and they can concentrate on their work.
It is the hope of the government that the new system would influence schools to group students in another way.
4) Changing environment influences the focus of education
With the advent of the digital age, it is very easy to get information. But, it does not help people develop the right skills they need in the future.
Through the new system, students will be able to continue learning at their own pace and pursue the subjects they love while exchanging ideas with peers at different intellectual level.
Is It Enough?
Now that we have discussed the pros, we should point out the cons as well. Some parents believe that there are still problems with the new system that must be addressed.
1) Determining Student’s Bands
With the new system, it creates uncertainty for some parents on how schools will decide when students can move to a different level.
Will schools use one major exam? Will it be based on several exams? Will the Cambridge-Singapore certification be recognised worldwide and by other reputable schools overseas?
As this is a huge move towards an all-rounded education, there are plenty of questions in parents’ minds. Until those questions are answered, there will always be doubt in the application of the new change.
2) Students studying in schools offering G3 subjects
Another worry raised by parents is for students who are going to schools that only offer G3 subjects. Some parents have been forced to transfer their kids to another school because the school only offer Express-stream subjects.
Although the move was ok, some parents prefer it if their child were given the chance to change streams. They also prefer it if their child remains in one secondary school.
Some children may even find the move emotionally draining, especially if they could not find the right school to transfer to. Some schools do not accept transfer students because of their subject level or academic calendar.
Considering the nature of this new system, students will be given a choice on how they want their career to grow. They will also be able to discover their potential with the system easily, as well as meet their peers and see them as equals.
The ministry hopes that the system will help promote a better learning environment for the future generation and show that students can shape their own future. I see this as a positive change although there may be gaps in the new system, which given time will allow the ministry to collect feedbacks to close those gaps.
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Smartphones are a very important part of everyday life and if you do not have one, then you are missing out. Almost everyone nowadays has one, from kids to the elderly.
As parents, we have reservations in exposing our kids to smartphones. On the one hand, it will ensure that we can reach our children at any time. It is also a good source for information and entertainment thanks to the apps and websites they can use.
On the other hand, smartphones carry risks, especially for kids. With everything at their fingertips, kids may find themselves going to sites with information that they should not see. They may also find themselves exposed to dangers like cyberbullying.
Fortunately, there are applications you can install on your child’s smartphone to protect them from these dangers. But, which should you get?
Here is our list of the best parental control apps you can install on your child’s smartphone:
Available on iOS and Android
Price: Free to download with an in-app subscription plan of $69 every year for 5 devices.
Want to limit your child’s screen time or track your child’s location? Family Time is the app for you.
The app can help you filter what your child can browse online by indicating the prohibited categories and search phrases on the app. You can also block apps through the app thanks to its app blocker function. You can also browse everything your child is doing through the app: from the calls they make to the apps the use.
If you want to contact them, the app comes with FamilyTalk. Through this feature, you can contact your children with the app. This works especially well if your child does not have credits to contact you back.
Family Time also comes with a location tracking function and send reports each time your child enters and leaves certain areas. The app also updates in real time so you are aware where they are at any time.
It works in sync with its PickMeUp function, so you know where to fetch them after school or play. An SOS function is also included for emergencies.
Available on iOS, Android, Windows and Kindle
Price: Free to download with a yearly subscription of $55 for five devices
Looking for an app that can help you track your child’s smartphone on the go? Qustudio is app to try out.
This app can help you block the sites you don’t want your child to access and limit their phone time. You can even set a schedule that would automatically be applied on your child’s phone.
Qustudio also sends a daily activity report through e-mail, which details the apps the use, the people they contact and others. You can also read their messages and list down the contacts you don’t want them to contact.
Qustudio also has a tracking feature which would help you track your child regularly.
Available on iOS, Android and Windows
Price: Free to download with an in-app yearly subscription of $49.99
This app from cybersecurity leader Norton is a great app to use if you want to protect your kids online. The app can help you block unwanted website, content and apps your child shouldn’t use. It will also help you view what your child is watching and allow you to take action if they watch something dangerous.
Thanks to this function, you can teach your child how to use the internet safely and moderately.
Norton Familyalso comes with a tracking system, which reports where your child is regularly. You can also set restrictions and limits through the app during exams and other school events.
Available on iOS and Android
Price: Free to download with optional subscription monthly for $1.99 or $6.99
Want an app that helps you manage your child’s app in one place? OurPact is the solution you need.
This app can help you schedule your child’s screen time every day. For example, you can set screen time allowances through the app based on how they behaved through the day. You can also grant them access through the app or deny them at the same time.
The app also comes with a tracking service that tells you where your child is and when they leave the area. There is also a web filter that would help you block websites. A texting filter is also included so you can limit their SMS and iMessage capacity.
Available On iOS and Android
Price: Free to download with optional subscription yearly for £29.99 or a one-time payment of £75 to get the app full.
Do you want to use bonus screen time as a reward for your kids? Why not use ScreenLimit to help you out?
The app helps you identify how much screen time you can give to your child when they successfully do a task. The app even comes with a countdown timer to let your child know how much screen time they have left. This will teach them how to budget their screen time and save up their screen balance.
You can also contact your kids through the app and the message will appear on their screen. You can also control which apps your child can use and block the ones they shouldn’t be in.
Parental Guidance is Necessary
Ultimately, even with these limitation apps, parents should be proactive in guiding your child in the proper use of technology. While there are plenty of good educational apps in the market, they can be addictive and override your good intention to introduce interactive learning to your child.
The best way, in my opinion, is to pair technology with actual learning under your supervision. Apps and games can act as a creative reinforcement after the child learns a particular topic, however not to replace actual learning through books and lessons.
As a parent, it is only natural that you are having second thoughts in allowing your kids to have a smartphone.
Addiction to the device can be dangerous for them, and as parents, we need to keep them safe from the dangers online. But, with smartphones a key part of everyday life at the present time, it is inevitable you need to give them a set sooner or later.
With the help of these parental control apps, you can be assured that your kids will safe while they use their smartphones. With just a simple tap, you can watch everything they do on their smartphones and ensure they can enjoy the net without worries.
Want to find out how technology is changing the education scene? These articles might interest you:
School holidays are a trial for many parents because it means our children are at home full-time. Since there is no school, children want to break free and relax from their studies, doing something fun.
The very idea of studying during school holidays for kids is blasphemy to them. I hated to do any kind of revision during that period when I was young too.
It is a worry on the back of your mind that they may forget the things they have learnt from school if they play too much. If they do forget, it may affect their academic performance then it is back to square one.
If you are considering taking steps to ensure your child is productive during the holidays, here are some suggestions for you to consider:
Allow free time but not too much
During the first few days of your child’s school holiday, let them rest and do whatever he likes. Your child deserves to have some time to rest their weary muscles and brains from studying hard.
If you force them to keep on studying, they may burn out and be resistant to your efforts. Studying without a break can also affect what your child retains in their classes.
If they play all the time and not touch their school things, allow them to do so. You can always get them to study once they are fully rested. After the first week, some kind of revision should be introduced into their routine.
Stick to your timetable
Once your child has rested for a few days, speak to him about a timetable on how much study work they should do during this time. Agree on how much studies they should work on and how often it should be done.
When you set up the timetable, make sure that your child follows it. If your child sticks by your agreed schedule, don’t try adding more to it.
Remember, while learning should never stop, your child is on a holiday! Their schedule should still have fun activities in it which they can’t do a lot on a normal school day.
Structure is good
If you do not want to create a schedule, you can help your child plan out their schedule for the day.
Helping them think about what they can do for the day can give them some ideas on how they can spend their holiday. You could advise them to play with their friends, read a new book or even play a few games with you.
Of course, don’t force them to follow your plans and encourage them to create a schedule they can stick with.
If you assert what you think is good, your child will be resistant to the idea and do something else. Presenting ideas will be ok and wait for the child to decide on their own.
Brief study time
While taking a break from too much studying is alright, school holidays can be a long time for your child to be away from their books.
If they do take a break from studying for a long time, there is a real risk they may forget their lessons. Younger children could find it difficult to focus on their lessons if they are not regularly reminded of the things they need to remember.
Speak to your child on revising their subjects during their holiday, like a few hours every week, so they won’t forget what was previously taught. You know, out of sight, out of mind!
Make sure that their study times are not too long and they should be easy to follow for your kids. Check their progress regularly and make sure they do not change their study times.
Consider enrichment classes
If your child shows promise with certain subjects or if they wish to do some studying, then don’t be afraid to get them enrolled in one or two classes.
Holiday enrichment classes are regularly offered by schools, community centres and training centres. From academic enrichment classes to non-academic classes like arts and music, it is available for students to pick from.
If you can’t enrol your child in any of these facilities, consider getting a tutor. These tutors can design bespoke classes and activities that can help your child study and have fun at the same time.
Of course, make sure that you do not enrol him to too much enrichment classes or have their tutors take time in one subject. If your child is going to too many classes, your child may lose interest.
It is also possible your child cannot keep up or feel overwhelmed because he does not know which class, to begin with first. You should also ask your child if they want these classes.
Do note that some kids may prefer learning on their own in their own convenience. I am one of them!
Back to school routine
When your child’s school holiday is almost to a close, you should make sure their mindset is ready to go back to school. If their mindset is still on holiday, they could find it difficult to readjust and absorb their new lessons.
One or two weeks before holiday is done, get their schedule back to their usual school routine. Wake them up on their usual wake up time when school is in and get them to sleep early.
Not only will this help your child be ready to resume school, but it also helps them be well-rested.
When your child goes on a school holiday, don’t immediately fret that they may forget what they learnt. Your child also needs to recover from a busy school year before they can take in new things.
As parents, make sure to balance out their holiday by ensuring that rest, fun and learning activities wouldn’t clash with one another. A good balance will ensure your child is well-rested and ready to go back to school after their holidays.
For school holidays inspired activities, we have great suggestions here:
For every working parent, it is always a problem where you can leave your child after school. For those who can afford, they would hire nannies or caretakers to watch over their children.
Others would get the grandparents to keep an eye on the children. A few would just leave early for work or work from home to watch their kids because they do not know where they could leave their children.
But, in recent years, student care centres are growing in numbers and they offer before and after-school care for children.
What is Student Care Centre?
Student Care Centres or SCCs are childcare centres for children ages 7 to 14 years old. Like childcare centres for younger children, SCCs offer a conducive atmosphere for children to learn and rest after school.
They also help working parents with arrangements for their studying children with the centres open with later hours depending on the parents’ schedules.
SCCs also offer various programmes for kids enrolled in their program. Some examples include helping children do their homework, enrichment exercises and organize events.
Some centres even offer summer camps and day trips for children. They are also open during the holidays. I know this will provide much-needed relief for parents who have to work during the holiday season.
Considering these services, it does sound like a great idea to enrol children to these SCCs. But, how can you pick the right one for your child?
Consider the Options
SCCs help working parents with children studying in Primary 1 to Secondary 2 by watching over them after school. SCCs will be the ones to ensure the child is watched for and assisted with their school work while waiting for their parents to pick them up.
But, before you enrol them to one, learn what SCCs are out there.
SCCs are divided into two types:
1)School-based SCCs offer programmes that follow school curriculums. But, these centres can be hard to get into because of their popularity.
2) Community-based SCCs can be located on HDB decks or community centres, making them accessible to many working parents.
There are also SCCs that are run by charities and religious groups, as well as private groups.
For children with disabilities and special needs, there are Special SCCs that provides SPED classes and support.
Pinpoint the Location
When picking an SCCs, it has to be convenient for your child and yourself to travel to from home, school and work. If your child will go straight to the SCC after school, the SCC should have transportation options available.
If they do not offer transportation options, you will need to arrange transport for your child and that can be a safety issue.
It would be easier to pick an SCC which is close to your home for easier drop-off and fetch up. It will save you a lot of headaches later on.
Meeting Your Requirements
SCCs usually operate around the same time parents are at work. They start at 7:30 am to 6:30 pm, but special arrangements can be made by the parents with centre if it is needed. Some centres also open for half a day during Saturdays and in school holidays.
Each SCC also varies when it comes to their fees. Surcharges may also be applied during holidays. Some families who are eligible for Student Care Fees Assistance can avail the program to pay for SCCs.
Check each centre to see if they meet your schedule and budget before selecting an SCCs. If they are not open during holidays, you may need to look for another SCC or arrange something for your child for these schedules.
Ask For Recommendation
If you have relatives or friends who have children who are enrolled in SCCs, ask them about their recommendations.
Ask them about how SCCs work and know which SCCs to look out for. You can also take this time to ask about your concerns about these facilities. If you do not know anyone who has children in SCCs, check SCC pages or websites and parenting sites for reviews.
Any Extra Perks
Every SCC has their own unique selling highlights to get parents to enrol their children with them.
Some SCCs offer special classes like arts and crafts, drama and outdoor activities. Others offer value-added programs that parents can get for their kids if their budget allows it.
Some examples of value-added programs offered by SCCs include swimming lessons and field trips. I think these programs are value-added and fun for your children.
Learn About the Personnel
Before you enrol your child to the SCC that catches your attention, you should find out more about the people who will watch your child. SCC staff often include experienced teachers and tutors so they can help children with their homework and tasks.
SSCCs and SCCs offering specialized programs work alongside government and third-party providers to offer students’ needs.
If your child is going to be enrolled in SSCCs, the person must be trained to meet the special needs of your child. The facility must also be ideal for kids with special needs and have the right aids available for kids to use, like handrails or guides.
Make the visit
Once you see that the SCC that you are considering ticks all your requirements, make some time to visit the facility. When you visit, see if the environment is welcoming for your child and how the facility operates.
Will the children get a lot of opportunities to play, rest and learn? Do teachers have time to look at each student?
You should also take time to ask the staff about your lingering concerns about enrolling your child to the facility.
If you are happy about the things you see during your visit, bring your child along to see their reaction. Some SCCs offer trial sessions for prospective students to help them feel at home. So don’t be shy and ask for a trial session!
Your child must feel welcome in the facility because they will be spending a lot of time in the facility. If they do not feel welcome and relax in the facility, it would be counterproductive to enrol them there.
So, take time to do your research before you decide on enrolling your child to SCCs.
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Is your child taking their PSLE this year? If that is a big yes, your child would definitely need all the help they can get to review for this exam season.
Books can go a long way to help prepare your kid. But in today’s world, technology also offers great ways to help your child with their exam.
But, with the variety of mobile apps available in the market today, which ones would be good for your child’s PSLE preparations?
Which ones can test your child’s current preparedness and help them revise?
To get you started, here are the five must-have apps I highly recommend you to get installed in your mobile phone or tablet to boost your child’s brainpower for PSLE:
In preparing for math and science, PSLE Prep is a great app to start with.
The app has a record of all the solutions to the problems listed in all math and science textbooks for Primary 1 to Primary 6. It is regularly updated whenever there is a change in the books or curriculum, ensuring that the solutions are up-to-date.
The app comes with a homework help section where your child can type in the questions they have about the subject and have an expert answer it in 24 hours.
Your child can also browse the app without ads check all the questions and answers recorded in the Homework Help section.
For your child’s PSLE Chinese or Higher Chinese review, you can use the PSLE Chinese Flash Cards app to help them prepare.
The app contains all 1,670 words and characters included in the MOE syllabus which your child can review.
Each card has an audio recording on how the word is pronounced and examples of how it is used. The characters are also written in a large font to help children learn how it is written.
The app also allows children to shuffle the order of the flashcards so they can memorize it more accurately. If not, you can have it sorted in order and test your child’s memory with it.
PSLE Chinese Flash Cards is available in iOS in two versions. The free version only covers all the words and characters for P1 Chinese, while the paid version covers P1 to P6.
If your child wants to study facts and key details about a topic, flashcards are a great way to jot them down and memorize.
Normally, your child will need to fill up a lot of small cards to cover all the facts you need and carry them along. But, carrying a lot of flashcards can be difficult and bulky.
Sometimes, your child may find it hard to put into order if someone else used it and messed up its system. They may also encounter problems if they lost one card from the set.
Flashcards+ is a great app that your child can use substitute with regular flashcards.
With the app, your child can create flashcards as normal and sort them easily based on the subject the flashcard is for. The app also allows fellow users to share flashcards and add photos in the flashcards, which you cannot do on a regular flashcard.
You can also keep a lot of flashcards through the app and not worry about it getting it out of order.
Does your child need a better way to study for their PSLE Science exams?
The PSLE Science app allows users to test on the questions that are often asked during the PSLE exams.
Each question comes with diagrams to help students visualize the question better and determine the right answer. An explanation would appear once the child answers a question.
The app even offers an incentive for children to keep using it since the app comes with an achievement wall where they can collect badges.
The app also displays regular tips for students so they can revise their notes regularly. But, it can be pretty brief so it is only ideal to use for general revisions.
PSLE Science is available on iOS with paid add-on content. Each topic is worth $0.99 each and if you want the entire content, you have to pay $5.99.
Want your child to have a tutor to help them prepare for the PSLE without having to pay too much? Snapask: 1-on-1 Homework Help is the app to choose.
To use this app, your children simply have to take a picture of the question they are having trouble with and submit it.
Once the question is in the platform, tutors connected to the app would answer the inquiry with audio, text and visual explanation. The tutor would also help you review the concepts and see how well you understood it.
The app has tutors for any subject imaginable, from primary school subjects to A-levels, making it a great study buddy for your child. Parents can be assured that the tutors connected to the app are reliable based on the reviews and ratings given to the tutor by the app’s users.
Aside from offering tutors that you can talk to, the app also comes with a special feature known as Snapask Academy. Here, students who prefer to see visual images of concepts and topics to learn can read the content and take quizzes.
Snapask is available on both iOS and Android. It comes with membership plans for unlimited one-on-one tutoring sessions.
While using these apps, ask your child to also check the facts with their books and notes to double check if the answers are correct. Some of these apps may have missed a fact or two, which your child may need to know about the subject.
If we want our children to do well in their PSLE, we need to give them all the materials necessary to review them. With these apps, your child will be able to revise their review notes and prepare their mindset more accurately and help them score well in PSLE.