Tag Archives: preschool

Z & tuckshop

Z’s school set up a mock tuckshop for the k2-ers. They had learnt about counting money in school. 

He was asked to bring $3 to purchase snacks from a mock tuckshop which operated over 2 weeks. There were specific timings given for them to do their shopping.

It was really cute of their teachers to do this. I presumed it was to help them adapt to primary school life.

I recalled Z spending $0.70 on a packet of apple juice, $0.40 on cheese balls and $0.40 on mamee. He could remember how much each item was, total up and told us the balance of money. 

Over the two weeks, he drew 3 times of $3 and he was aware that he spent $9 in total. There was an evening when we picked him up and he told us that he managed to grab one of the two bottles of Pringles from the tuckshop. It was $1, considered a premium and scarce item. A few of his friends wanted to buy but he was quick enough to buy it. We had a good laugh over his enthusiasm and teased that he was very “rich” to buy such an expensive item. 

It was definitely a fun exercise and helped him to learn about buying things.

After his tuckshop experience, we got him to help us buy drinks from a supermarket. He was able to remember the prices of the items and brought the right change back.

His loot, excluding the snacks he had already eaten

  
The sweetest part about him was how readily he shared his snacks with X.

Meet the Parents’ session for X

In end May, we visited the school and was updated on X’s progress in school.

He had been sociable and had a lot of friends to play with. He had a tendency to choose to play with boys but he would play with his long time friend who was a girl too.

He had excellent motor skills (which I also knew, based on his scooting) and possessed very good learning abilities. He was the only one in class who could undress fairly well. 

Another classmate and him tended to be the instigators in class too.

However, he was slower to learn how to talk. Since returning from Japan, he had been able to converse more and better.

He supposedly was not good at sharing toys but the teachers concurred with me that he would share when asked nicely instead of forcefully.

That was the half year round up for X and we would have the soft copy version of the portfolio to keep.

Preparing for graduation 

 
Since 5-6 months’ ago, Z’s teachers had been reminding us to get the attire ready. It would be a pair of long white pants with white long sleeved shirt. This combination was not easy to find, or it really depended on the price point. I picked both items up from Gap online store and paid US$60, inclusive of domestic shipping and taxes.

It was a startling reminder that the years had been short. My boy had all but grown up to a fine young boy. 

I was pretty sure that Primary school would descend upon us in just a jiffy. 

Thinking about that alone made me pensive and treasure every hug, every kiss, every chance I got to cuddle, stroke his face and ruffle his hair before it became uncool for him.

Lost without kids

X’s school was closed in the last week of December. We had to alternate between bringing X to our offices or to my mom’s place. Since Z did not have classes, we decided to deposit both boys at my mom’s place for 2 afternoons which naturally spilled over to the evenings.

We finished work at almost 7pm and dined in the CBD area. In that instant, it reminded us of the days when I used to work in town and used to have our dinner in the area at the likes of Circular Road, Maxwell road to Raffles City. Mr H and I joked that it felt like our old dating days.

The thing about not having kids around us made us feel rather lost. For once, we had so much time on our hands. There was no need to feed the kids, hustle them through, prepare entertainment or respond to a zillion and one questions. We had so much time after dinner that we could shop and it was not even 8pm.

I told Mr H, “So this is what feels like when the kids have grown up and do not need us. I feel so lost without them.”

Mr H nodded in agreement.

It was a poignant moment and we reflected on how fast Z & X were growing up. In the years to come, I would look back on this entry and be reminded of the emptiness. I would miss the chatter, the laughters, the tantrums, the good and the bad.

There used to be a time when I wished I could stay home and dedicate my time to my children – to look after them and to educate them personally. This 2-evenings stint without the kids served to remind me the importance of my own purpose and to live my life the way I would have wanted to, with or without kids. Otherwise, when they grew up, I would lose my sticky companions and my purpose in life.

Parents-Teachers’ Meeting for Z #postdated

For the first time in a long while, I actually had little to bring up. I was too surprised by too many things in a positive way to respond, especially the last PTM session half a year ago.

To begin with, there was a 130-page progress report which detailed the activities Z got up to in school. Technology worked wonders. Next, what the teachers said surprised me.

They were beaming with pride as they shared how Z had picked up reading and phonics, fared well in Math and was rather strong in Mandarin too. He had to work on his Chinese writing. The teachers encouraged doing more handicrafts to assist in his brain development.

His teachers commented that he had shown a marked improvement in paying attention in class, had a good learning attitude and he would always complete the given tasks in a patient manner without rushing to play. For instance, if they gave out 2 books to ask the children to read, some children would hastily flip through but he would always read each page. During the course of reading, if there was a word which he didn’t know, he would always repeat the full statement with the newly learnt word.

His teachers commented that if he would be ready for primary school if he continued to maintain the same learning attitude. His Chinese teacher who has taught him for the last 3 years would go on to accompany for graduation. Similarly, his English teacher for K1 would teach him for K2. This was probably the best arrangement we could ever imagine.

His Chinese teacher seemed rather teary as she recapped how Z had grown through the years. He was always considered the baby in the class because his birthday was in end December and his developmental milestones were usually a tad slower than his classmates. She was really proud that Z had become such a fine child.

As usual, his social skills ranked very high. He was very expressive and asked many good leading questions.

Above all, we were proud parents that he had been learning well. He had done well with the help of his school teachers, a little injection from us and most importantly, his own mindset to learn. By 5, he was reading well, counting well and enjoyed Chinese language, without going to any form of enrichment classes such as phonics, reading, math, Chinese or more.

We hoped to be able to inspire him to learn better in the years to come. His independent learning attitude ruled above all.

In the same period, I came across this article.

I definitely hoped that most parents would choose the hands-on approach and guide your child as opposed to palming off to preschool tuition and enrichment classes.

To date, I believed we had contributed to the pool which debunked the myth that preschoolers needed enrichment classes. The next challenge for us would be when he had to go primary school in a year’s time.

Meanwhile, K2 looked to be an exciting year because of the graduation concert. We had been alerted not to go for too many holidays prior to the concert and to start looking for the graduation attire.

I could barely believe that this little chub of ours had become such a fine boy.

Reading independently

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-495909/Pushy-parents-pressurise-5s-read-risk-causing-long-term-damage.html

Interesting piece of research though I wondered about the sample size, the family background and the way they tested on the performance.

I did not force Z to read, nor would I engage him in anything that he did not want to do. I had tried my luck and realized he was not a ready academia material. Who was I kidding? Academia did not actively run in our family but business instincts – yes. Z loved to hear me talk about the concept of selling, buying, rental, retail, distribution chain, how goods were made and more. Sometimes, he would ask about about advertisements and why different types of businesses existed. I guessed it was exposure from our talk that prompted his interest in business.

I felt that if he wanted to do anything, it should be requested by him and he should make an effort to make it materialize. I did not and would not hand it to him on a silver platter. I knew that by giving him everything freely, it would undermine the concept of its intrinsic value.

Recently, he surprised us by reading off his Chinese worksheets. We had not expected that and he was so gleeful and proud of it. He was grinning so happily. I was careful not to overpraise him. We commended him on a great job and I went on to tell him, “We love surprises! Surprise us again next time!” In doing so, I had set my expectation that he had done well and more could be done to improve on his current level. Z was gamed to take it on.

I also realized how steep the learning curve had been since Z started K1. His school had really ensured a lot of play when he was 3 and 4. Now that he was in the year of 5 years old, they had stepped up substantially. He was blessed with dedicated teachers who would start special reading classes earlier for the children on a rostering basis. It showed me a lot of dedication for their work. I had to say I was really impressed by the teachers’ passion and initiatives in teaching and moulding these little kids. It made me almost teary knowing how much they cared for Z and his friends.