Monday, December 26, 2011

Alternatives to threats (ages 3 to 4)

We've all been there: Your preschooler does something you don't want her to, over and over again. Finally, you snap, and threaten to lock her in her room if she does it again. Here, tips for saying something you won't regret later:
You want your child to:Instead of this:Say this:Which is better because:
Go to bed and stay there"If you get out of bed one more time, I'll scream.""After I put you to bed, I expect you to stay there."The expectation for the behavior is clear and unemotional.
Eat her peas and carrots"You're going to sit at the table until you finish your peas.""Remember — we won't have a snack before bed."It reminds her that the kitchen's closed, but she can still choose whether or not to eat.
Brush her teeth"No bedtime story if you don't brush your teeth.""It's time for bed. What do you do first to get ready?"It lets her know it's time for her bedtime routine without being punitive.
Behave in the grocery store"Stop running now or no TV when we get home.""Can you help me find the cereal you like?"It distracts from the negative behavior and offers a positive alternative.
Ask without whining"If you whine once more, I'll take your sticker book away.""I'd like to listen, but I can only understand your normal voice."It lets her know you're interested in what she's saying, but won't accept the tone.
Clean up her room"No dinner until your room is clean.""I'd like you to pick up your toys and put them in your toy chest. Do you want to do that before or after dinner?"It makes your expectations clear, but also gives your preschooler a choice.
Stop tattling"I'm not taking a tattletale to the playground.""It sounds like you're upset with your sister. You need to tell her why."It helps your preschooler understand that kids have to work it out together.
Be quiet in the car"If you scream one more time, we'll turn around and go home.""I'm having a hard time driving. I need to pull over until you're settled."It lets your child know the effect, limits, and consequences of her behavior.

Dorothy Foltz-Gray is a freelance writer and mother of two in Knoxville, Tenn.


Time-outs: How to make them work (ages 3 to 4)

by Karen Miles
Reviewed by the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board

What to expect at this age

Preschoolers are intensively learning rules and testing boundaries. That means yours may gleefully flout your directives and push the limits you impose whenever she gets the chance. And though a preschooler is much more capable of rational thought than a toddler, she's still ruled by her emotions, and can turn on a dime from a happy-go-lucky kid to a flailing, wailing wild thing.

When your preschooler crosses the line or gets too worked up for her own good, sometimes the best way to help her get a handle on herself is to remove her from whatever sparked the meltdown (or the limits-pushing) in favor of a little quiet time, better known as a time-out. This discipline method is a great, non-punitive way to shape behavior. The key is knowing how and when to use the technique. Six strategies for making the most of time-outs:

What to do

Understand what a time-out is — and isn't. If you don't think of a time-out as punishment, neither will your child, and that's as it should be. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to help your preschooler cope with common frustrations and modify her behavior. Although at times it may require superhuman effort, try not to scold, yell, or speak angrily when you call "time-out" — the point isn't to chastise your preschooler, it's simply to help her switch gears. Quiet time allows your preschooler to calm down if she's gotten worked up. Just as importantly, it gives you the chance to step aside and not get caught up in your child's struggle. The goal of a time-out is to defuse and redirect an escalating situation in an unemotional way, and to teach your preschooler to behave without setting a negative example, the way yelling does.

Time the time-out. When it's called for, impose a time-out swiftly — as immediately after the transgression as possible. In fact, preschoolers often wind up for a while before they actually lose it. So when you can, call "time-out" before she blows. This will make it easier for her to settle back down and teach her to get a grip on herself before she loses control. Use an old-fashioned kitchen timer to track the minutes your child serves; most experts agree that a minute a year is a good rule of thumb (so a 4-year-old would spend four minutes in time-out). If you leave your preschooler in time-out longer than that, she's likely to shift her focus from calming down to being angry and resentful, which counteracts what time-out is supposed to do.

Choose the right place. Find a time-out spot removed from the activity that set your preschooler off, but within earshot (a bottom step or a chair in a nearby room, say). Don't put her somewhere frightening — even her bedroom with the door closed can be too much in her heightened state, and a dark pantry or basement may well be fodder for future therapy. Remember: Your purpose is to calm her down, not to scare her into submission.

Many experts recommend a boring spot, with no toys or other distractions. Even so, you may find it helpful to encourage your child to experiment with self-calming techniques. If looking at a book, listening to some music, or even having her dolls duke it out helps your preschooler wind down, she'll not only have served her time, she'll have learned how to get her temper under control by herself. Eventually, she may even call her own time-outs (but don't hold your breath).

Be consistent. Decide — when you're not angry yourself — what actions merit a time-out. If you use time-out too often, you'll dilute its effectiveness, so save it for the tougher problems — aggressive acts such as biting, hitting, and throwing toys, or open defiance. Then find a quiet moment to discuss with your preschooler the time-out policy in your family, letting her know where you'll give time-outs, for what reasons, and for how long. Once you've outlined the rules, stick to them. Being wishy-washy, or offering lengthy explanations or third and fourth chances will only invite protests. Your child needs to know exactly what to expect, and she needs to know that she can't wheedle her way out of it. "You're screaming, so you're going to have a four-minute time-out right now," is all you need to say.

Follow up. When your preschooler's time-out is over, address the transgression that put her there in the first place. If she tackled her brother when he declined to share a toy, for instance, have her tell you what she did wrong and apologize to her sibling. Also ask how she'll handle the situation next time. Don't yell at her, don't lecture her, and don't give her a big hug now that it's over. She may be remorseful (and you may even feel a little guilty for banishing her), but rewarding her with positive reinforcement at the end of the time-out may actually encourage future misbehavior.

Give your child plenty of time-in, too. Just as time-outs discourage bad behavior, "time-ins" reinforce good behavior. If you find yourself constantly imposing time-outs on your preschooler for getting into scrapes with her little sister, for instance, make every effort to "catch" her getting along with her sibling too. Then tell her, "What a great job you're doing playing with Zoe. I love it when you're kind to her!" The more effort you put into time-in, the less you may need to enforce time-out.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Philip Airfryer? Buy or not?

Recently, I've got a chance to try out Philip AirFryer before buying one. I was so excited about frying without oil and without mess. Before you start wondering where i get it from, i borrowed it from a friend. 
Dishes Tried:
1.       Onion Rings from supermarket
-          Taste great! Crunchy on the crust
2.        Fish ball from market (fried type)
-          looks exactly like fried fish ball from wok, with no oil added
3.       Sotong Ball (frozen fromm supermarket)
-          It bloated up, but shrink (become quite ugly) after it cooled down - taste, ok.
4.       Nuggets (from supermarket)
-          Taste ok, not as good as fried.
-          Takes very long for it to become golden colour.
5.       Home-made french fries from potato
-          followed the instruction, cut a potato, soak it, dry it, mix abit of oil, and put into the fryer
-          Taste more like wedges then fries.
-          Disappointed.
6.       Home-made Ngoh Hiang (Wu xiang)
-          No oil added : Skin very dry, not crispy, not fragrant
-          Added oil: skin cruchy, more fragrant. But, still a distant from the taste of fried with oil. 
7.       Home prepared fried chicken drumlet
-          too dry
-          Doesn’t taste fried.
-          Disappointed.
8.        Home prepared Pork Chop / Beef steak
-          taste flat
-          have problem finish them
-          Usually, fried from pan, they taste great.
-          Added oil subsequently, but nothing near frying in pan. 
My conclusion after trying is that I'll not buy it. Received as a gift, it's alright. 
1) Healthier 
2) Mess free 
3) Easy to clean up
4) Good for small portions preparation. 

1) Take much longer compare to frying. (Air fryer takes average 15-25 minutes, whereas using oil to fry might take less than 5-10 minutes.) 
2) Waste lots of electricity. 
3) Home prepared food doesn't taste as great as frying. However, with food purchase from supermarket that was pre-fried, they taste good. 
4) Have problem preparing food for a party. Have to do them by batches. Too slow to prepare the food. 
Fish balls and Sotong balls will be inflated, so don't fry too many at a go. I did that and those on top were burnt by the "coil" 

 Hope this review helps. If you have recipes that work, do share with me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Developing Co Parenting Skills: Working Together To Raise Happy Kids

Co-parenting isn’t easy. It’s actually quite a chore. When neither parent is willing to negotiate or communicate, the child has the job of transitioning from one parenting style to the other. As a parent educator and family therapist, I have seen many anxious and confused children affected by their parents’ inconsistent rules and styles. Sometimes children do this under the same roof and sometimes under two, but the bottom line is that it is the parents’ responsibility to create a balance.
Parenting skills vary much like personalities. The differences can be as subtle as the setting of bedtimes to as serious as choosing consequences for bad behavior. The bottom line is adults have a number of motivations for parenting. For instance, they might try to do better than their parents. Thus, we attempt to find new and effective strategies to raise good kids. These ambitions can be difficult enough. Now add the challenge of joining forces with another adult who was raised by different parents and who may be select different strategies.
So how do parents, married or divorced, stay clear and consistent, raise confident children, and feel influential as parents? They learn how to work together and become better co-parents! Here are several successful co-parenting steps:
  1. Identify your personal style and motivations. Your first job in becoming a successful co-parent is to figure out your general style and motivations. If it were all up to you, how would you parent? How would you motivate your children? How would you use punishment and encouragement? What are the top 10 values you would like to teach your kids? Now ask yourself WHY? Why would your style be that way? What is your motivation? How did your parents parent you? Are you attempting to repeat their upbringing or compensate for it?
  2. Share your parenting style and motivation with your co-parent. I understand that you might feel vulnerable sharing your style and motivation. Your style may be different than your spouse’s style. In order for you and your partner to co-parent successfully, you both need to appreciate and support the ideas you bring to the table. When you listen to where the other parent is coming from, it will allow you to join forces.
  3. Before deciding on a parenting style and direction, consult parenting books and classes. Now that you have looked at each other’s parenting style, take a look together at good parenting books and the current research. Report back to each other and consider how your styles measure up.
  4. Decide on a parenting style. You now have several examples of parenting strategies and philosophies. Its time to blend what you believe with what your co-parent believes and what the experts say. This is the ultimate in negotiation but remember that if you do not negotiate at the adult level, it leaves your child to figure it out. Once you’ve decided, then write down the basics and embrace your new co-parenting style.
  5. Implement your new co-parenting style. Now you parent! Both parents are on the same page. Children are clear on what is expected of them and what the consequences are if they do not follow the family expectations. Thus, it lessens the occasions of arguing between the parents and the opportunities for manipulation by the children.
  6. Hold weekly co-parenting meetings with your spouse. Since you are the CEOs of your family and are business partners in a very real way, you must stay in constant communication. The success or failure of your family rests in your capable hands. Thus, co-parenting meetings are a must! These meetings should include finances, home maintenance, parenting, and relationship issues. Meetings should be held weekly with schedule book, meeting journal and budget book in hand. Continue to review your parenting style. You may find that one child thrives under your new system while another loses balance. Good co-parents always re-evaluate and restructure when necessary.
We are busy parents today. It is difficult to take the time to evaluate our parenting styles but the payoff is big for you as a parenting unit as well as for your child. Co-parenting takes the pressure off our children and the conflict out of our lives.
Copyright 2008 Parent Education Group - Reprints Accepted - Two links must be active in the bio. The article homepage:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ignoring: Why it happens and what to do about it

Why kindergartners ignore their parents

You ask your kindergartner to put away her art supplies so you can set the table for dinner. But — can you believe it? — she keeps right on cutting, coloring, and pasting. You repeat yourself, she mumbles "Okay," and the handiwork continues. Why is she ignoring you?

The good news: Your little girl is growing up. The bad news: Your little girl is growing up. "Kindergartners like to be in charge of themselves — they like to make their own decisions and demands," explains Roni Leiderman, associate dean of the Family Center at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. As your 5-year-old develops a stronger sense of identity, it's normal for her to assert herself by rebelling against your authority. Rather than make a scene, she might pretend not to hear you, or respond as s-l-o-w-l-y as she thinks she can get away with. Take heart: Pushing parents' buttons is part of a kindergartner's job — the key is getting your youngster to cooperate while providing her space to practice her independence.

What to do when your kindergartner ignores you

Be clear and realistic. Make sure your requests are specific and doable. If you say, "Clean your room," your kindergartner might manage to push the clutter around a little bit. But if you say, "Please put your shoes in the closet and your toys in the toy box," she'll know exactly what to do. Since some tasks can seem pretty daunting to a 5-year-old and it's easy to assume that kindergartners know more than they really do, it might also help to lead her through a big job for the first time or break it into smaller parts. Instead of saying, "Help Daddy clear off the table," for instance, show her how to scrape the dishes with the spatula and stack them by the sink. When she's fumbling around with her art supplies, say, "You put the crayons in the box, I'll put away the scissors and glue, and then we'll find a great place to hang your picture."

Simplify your requests. Your kindergartner may be ignoring you simply because she doesn't understand what you want her to do. Keep your directives simple, with no more than three or four steps at most ("Please go to the upstairs bathroom, look under the sink, and bring the bandages back to me").

Follow through. If you ask your 5-year-old to get herself dressed before school, encourage even the smallest steps she makes toward that goal. If she refuses, simply lead her to the car with shoes in hand. When you ask her not to bounce the ball in the house and she keeps using the walls as a backboard, take it away from her until she's ready to cooperate.

Motivate your kindergartener. The truth is, we're all tempted to answer, "Because I said so!" But there are better ways to motivate your child to cooperate with your requests. Try to remember that you don't want her to do the right thing because she's afraid not to. You want her to do the right thing because she wants to. Kindergarteners love to please, so compliments and encouragement will go a long way toward getting yours to comply with your wishes. ("Allie, I'm so proud of you for getting ready for school all by yourself" or "Wow, you sure are a good listener!")

You might also give your 5-year-old an incentive for doing what you ask: "When you put the puzzle pieces back in the box, we can go the park." (Hint: Don't say "If you put the puzzle pieces in the box.") Kindergarteners also thrive on stickers and charts — or, if your youngster's beyond the sticker stage, try a written contract. The contract might simply read:Katie will put her pajamas beneath her pillow every morning after she gets dressed for school. When she's done this for three mornings in a row, Mom will take her to a movie.Sign it, let her color it or add computer graphics, and then post the contract where she can see it. She'll not only feel included in the process, she'll appreciate the level of responsibility the contract bestows on her.

Use alternatives to "no." If your kindergartner ignores you when you tell her no, maybe it's because she hears it too often. Try other approaches to the N word. Instead of barking, "No! Don't kick the ball in the kitchen," for instance, say, "Let's go outside to play ball." Remember, kindergartners love their independence, so try to offer choices liberally throughout the day: "Would you like to wear the red, blue or yellow shirt today?" or "Would you like to invite Casey over to play or would you rather go to the mall with me?" When you give a child a choice, you're giving her a chance to assert herself in an acceptable way.

Say yes instead of no whenever you can, too, and take every opportunity to encourage rather than dissuade her. If she's excited about the idea of building her own birdhouse, for instance, respond by saying, "Sure, you can try!" or "Daddy will help you" — which both sound a lot more positive than "No, you might get hurt."

Naturally, there will be plenty of times when you'll have to be firm about stopping her from eating sweets before dinner or playing computer games 'til midnight. The point is, choose your battles and put your foot down only when you must. If you provide an environment that's both safe and stimulating (the YWCA as opposed to Grandpa's study, for instance), your kindergartner can exercise her independence with few holds barred.

Try to be understanding. Imagine you're reading a novel or chatting with a friend when, all of a sudden, you're ordered to stop what you're doing because something else has to be done right now. The reality is that we don't always have time to cajole our kindergartners into the car or beg them to wash their hands. But whenever possible, it really helps to give your child notice before you rush her into the next activity or errand: "We're leaving in ten minutes, honey, so try to finish up." If your kindergartner is like most, she still won't be thrilled about having to wrap up a computer game or put aside her coloring book, but at least she'll have fair warning that it's time to switch gears.

If your kindergartner seems to ignore you more often than she listens, talk to her pediatrician about the problem. The doctor may recommend a hearing test or other developmental evaluations.

A Word About Spanking

Perhaps no form of discipline is more controversial than spanking. Here are some reasons why experts discourage spanking:

  • Spanking teaches kids that it's OK to hit when they're angry.
  • Spanking can physically harm children.
  • Rather than teaching kids how to change their behavior, spanking makes them fearful of their parents and merely teaches them to avoid getting caught.
  • For kids seeking attention by acting out, spanking may inadvertently "reward" them — negative attention is better than no attention at all.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Decision Making...

This was another interesting post that I saw on letting your kids making decision as much as possible.

I consciously let my boy decide things on his own as much as possible. This is so apparent that sometimes I received curious questions from friends, parents and even teachers. The two common questions are:

"But aren't they too young to know how to decide?"

"But what if they make the wrong decision?"

Personally, I think children have the ability to decide even way before they can talk. If a child has difficulty in deciding, we can do our part by guiding him, providing more information, or giving him more time to decide.

As for the second question, seriously, in the first place do we ourselves make the "right" decision all the time?

A wrong decision is a good lesson learned. The child would then learn about consequence. He would learn about taking responsibility for his own action.

There are not many instances where a wrong decision spells disaster. One day, when the time finally comes when a crucial decision is to be made, the child (probably by then an adult) would then have accumulated enough experience to make a wise choice.

Decision making is an important life skill that cannot be learned from textbooks.

When your child makes his own decision, he is applying critical thinking. He learns
to assess information. He learns more about himself. You learn more about him too.

If your child misses an opportunity to decide on his own, and always follows your plan, you might have avoided the inconvenience caused if he was allowed to decide but his decision happened to be incongruent to your expectation, but you also lose an opportunity to observe how he makes his choice. From the way he decides, you could get a glimpse into his value system, his priorities, and through this you might attain a better understanding of your own child. You may be surprised, but it's better that you get surprised sooner than later.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Intellectual Toys

This is one toy shop with lots of toys to cater for the child's learning needs. So far, I had only had the finger gloves to help my son with holding a pen/pencil in the correct position. It's quite fun.

Another meaningful post from my friend's facebook wall

When I attended talks by childhood educationists and social workers, or when I read newspaper articles, I was sad to hear/read about parents who cried foul: "I am not able to control my child anymore. Please put him to the boys' home/reformative training centre."

Is it really the loss of control in question, or is it something else?

In the early years we certainly need to place limits and controls on our children's actions; we need to control and monitor what they eat; we need to control what they watch on TV or read over the Internet. We need to set rules and boundary.

As they grow, however, we need to release control gradually, and let our influence which has been building over the years to take over. It's futile to control a person forever, not even our children.

Therefore, inability to control our children isn't a loss; in fact, it could be a celebration, if dispensing with it our children can still function on their own. It's the inability to exercise our influence over our own children that is a cause for pity.

Influence is boundless. It's spread not just through words, but also through one's actions and bonding with one's children. When you share your principles with your children, you are influencing them. When you treat others politely, you are influencing them. When you play badminton with your children, you are influencing them. Likewise for negative influence. When you smoke, you are influencing them. When you jump queue, you are influencing them.

Influence is a much more powerful instrument than control. How to maximise positive influence on our children is every parent's duty, and a delicate job.

Categorisation of parenting styles

Here's a facebook posting from my friend.

A well-known categorisation of parenting styles, as identified by several researchers such as Maccoby and Martin, Diana Baumrind, etc, independently but with their findings overlapped, are: authoritarian, permissive, authoritative and indifferent. 

(There are alternative labels, such as totalitarian for authoritarian, indulgent for permissive, uninvolved/neglectful for indifferent.)

These 4 styles are usually placed on two dimensions: (1) demanding/undemanding, and (2) responsive/unresponsive, as shown:

Authoritative: Demanding and responsive
Authoritarian: Demanding and unresponsive
Indulgent: Undemanding and responsive
Neglectful: Undemanding and unresponsive

Certainly, in general not every parent falls neatly under one category. Some span more than a style. Some adopt a primary style, but switch to an alternative style under certain circumstances.

Besides the above categorisation, other styles identified are: overparenting, helicopter parenting, attachment parenting, strict parenting, etc.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Parenting tips: How to improve toddler behavior

Toddlers are infamous for tantrums and other behavior issues. To encourage listening and cooperation, follow these parenting tips.

By Mayo Clinic staff
Life can be frustrating for toddlers. Though often eager to show their independence, toddlers may not be able to move as swiftly as they'd like or effectively communicate their needs. This combination can easily lead to tantrums and misbehavior. But you can teach your toddler to behave well by providing love, attention, praise, encouragement and a degree of routine. Consider these practical parenting tips.

Show your love

Positive attention tops the list of parenting tips for toddlers. Make sure your displays of affection for your child outnumber any consequences or punishments. Hugs, kisses and good-natured roughhousing reassure your child of your love. Frequent praise and attention also can motivate your toddler to follow the rules.

Accept your child

As your child grows, he or she will display certain personality traits. Some of these are learned, others genetic. Respect your child's developing individuality and don't expect him or her to be just like you. While you're likely to notice certain features of your child's temperament, avoid labeling these features — which can encourage bad behavior. Instead, nurture your child's personality by finding ways to help him or her feel confident. A strong-willed child, for instance, has perseverance. Build on your child's strength by encouraging him or her to play with a challenging toy.

Minimize rules

Rather than overloading your child with rules from the outset — which may frustrate him or her — prioritize those geared toward safety first and then gradually add rules to your list over time. Help your toddler follow the rules by childproofing your home and eliminating as many temptations as possible.

Prevent tantrums

It's normal for a toddler to have temper tantrums. But you may be able to reduce the frequency, duration or intensity of your child's tantrums by following these parenting tips:
  • Know your child's limits. Your child may misbehave because he or she doesn't understand or can't do what you're asking.
  • Explain how to follow the rules. Instead of saying, "Stop hitting," offer suggestions for how to make play go more smoothly, such as "Why don't you two take turns?"
  • Take 'no' in stride. Don't overreact when your toddler says no. Instead, calmly repeat your request.
  • Pick your battles. Only say no when it's absolutely necessary.
  • Offer choices, when possible. Encourage your child's independence by letting him or her pick out a pair of pajamas or a bedtime story.
  • Avoid situations that may trigger frustration or tantrums. If your child always seems to have tantrums at the grocery store, hire a sitter the next time you go shopping. Also know that children are more likely to act out when they're tired, hungry, sick or in an unfamiliar setting.
  • Make it fun. Distract your child or make a game out of good behavior. Your child will be more likely to do what you want if you make an activity fun.
  • Stick to the schedule. Keep a daily routine as much as possible so that your child will know what to expect.
  • Encourage good communication. Remind your child to use words to express his or her feelings. If your child isn't speaking yet, consider teaching him or her baby sign language.
If your child has a tantrum, remain calm and distract him or her. Ignore minor displays of anger, such as crying — but if your child hits, kicks or screams for a prolonged period, remove him or her from the situation. Hold your child or give him or her time alone to cool down.

Enforce consequences

Despite your best efforts, at some point your toddler will break the rules. Consider using these parenting tips to encourage your child to cooperate:
  • Natural consequences. Let your child see the consequences of his or her actions — as long as they're not dangerous. If your child throws and breaks a toy, he or she won't have the toy to play with anymore.
  • Logical consequences. Create a consequence for your child's actions. Tell your child if he or she doesn't pick up his or her toys, you will take the toys away for a day. Help your child with the task, if necessary. If your child doesn't cooperate, follow through with the consequence.
  • Withholding privileges. If your child doesn't behave, respond by taking away something that your child values — such as a favorite toy — or something that's related to his or her misbehavior. Don't take away something your child needs, such as a meal.
  • Timeout. When your child acts out, give a warning. If the poor behavior continues, guide your child to a designated timeout spot — ideally a quiet place with no distractions. Enforce the timeout for one minute for every year of your child's age. If your child resists, hold him or her gently but firmly by the shoulders or in your lap. Make sure your child knows why he or she is in the timeout. Afterward, guide your child to a positive activity. If all else fails, tell your child that you are taking a timeout away from him or her for a few minutes because of a specific behavior. Be sure to explain the behavior you'd like to see.
Whatever consequences you choose, be consistent. Make sure that every adult who cares for your child observes the same rules and discipline guidelines. This reduces your child's confusion and need to test you. Also, be careful to criticize your child's behavior — not your child. Instead of saying, "You're a bad boy," try, "Don't run into the street." Never resort to punishments that emotionally or physically harm your child. Spanking, slapping and screaming at a child do more harm than good.

Set a good example

Children learn how to act by watching their parents. The best way to show your child how to behave is to set a positive example for him or her to follow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kindergartens in Singapore

Kindergartens are ‘schools’ that provide a structured 3-year pre-school education programme for children aged 4 to 61. The 3-year programme consists of Nursery, Kindergarten 1 and Kindergarten 2. Kindergartens function daily, five days a week, with schooling hours ranging from 3 hours to 4 hours each day. Most kindergartens function at least two sessions a day.
The daily programme of each level includes learning activities that develop language and literacy skills, basic number concepts, social skills, creative and problem solving skills, appreciation of music and movement and outdoor play. Children will learn in two languages, English as the first language and Chinese, Malay or Tamil as a Mother Tongue language.
Kindergartens, except for foreign system kindergartens, follow the school year observed by schools in the formal education system. The school year consists of four 10-week terms beginning on 2 January each year. There is a one-week vacation after the first and third term, a 4-week vacation mid-year and 6 weeks at year end.
Kindergartens conduct their own pupil enrolment/ registration exercises as early as March each year for admission to programmes in the following year. Parents will need to contact the respective registered kindergartens directly for further information on admission.
Kindergartens in Singapore are run by the private sector, including community foundations, religious bodies, social organisations and business organisations. Under the Education Act (1985 Edition), kindergartens are defined as private schools that have to be registered with the Ministry of Education (MOE). There are foreign system kindergartens and foreign system / international schools that offer kindergarten programmes for children of expatriate parents.
Child care centres also offer kindergarten programmes to children aged 3 to 6. Kindergartens are registered with the Ministry of Education (MOE) while child care centres are licensed by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS).
  1. The year the child turns 4 years old to the year the child turns 6 years old except those born on 1 Jan. 

Desired Outcomes of Pre-school Education

At the end of pre-school education, children will:
  • Know what is right and what is wrong
  • Be willing to share and take turns with others
  • Be able to relate to others
  • Be curious and be able to explore
  • Be able to listen and speak with understanding
  • Be comfortable and happy with themselves
  • Have developed physical co-ordination and healthy habits
  • Love their family, friends, teachers and kindergarten

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Creating a Reader Friendly Home.

Recently, we had been trying hard to get our sons to read. I came across this good article on how to create a reader friendly home, and would like to share with all.
A home filled with reading material is a good way to help kids become enthusiastic readers. What kind of books should you have? Ask your kids about their interests. If they're too young to have a preference, your local librarian can offer suggestions about age-appropriate books.
Here are some other tips:
Keep a varied selection. Collect board books or books with mirrors and different textures for babies. Older kids will enjoy variety: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry plus dictionaries and other reference books.
Kids can understand stories they might not be able to read on their own. If a more challenging book interests your child, make it something to read together. Younger kids can look at illustrations in books and ask questions as they follow along.
And don't limit reading material to books. Kids might also enjoy:
  • magazines (for kids)
  • audio books
  • postcards from relatives
  • photo albums or scrapbooks
  • newspapers
  • comic books
  • the Internet
Keep reading material handy.Keep sturdy books with other toys for easy exploration. Books near the changing table and high chair can be helpful distractions for younger kids at appropriate moments. Plastic books can even go in the bathtub. Keep books next to comfy chairs and sofas where you cuddle up so you can read after feedings and naps.
Create a special reading place. As kids grow, keep age-appropriate books and magazines on shelves they can reach in their favorite hangouts around the house. Make these shelves appealing and keep them organized. Place some of the books with the covers facing out so they're easy to spot. Put a basket full of books and magazines next to their favorite places to sit. Create a cozy reading corner, and encourage kids to use it by setting up "reading corner time" each day.
Keep it appealing. Make sure reading areas have good lighting. Change the materials often — add seasonal books, rotate different magazines, and include books that relate to what kids are interested in or studying in school. Decorate the corner with your child's artwork or writing. Place a CD or tape player nearby for audio books.
Encourage kids to create the reading. Set up a writing and art center and encourage kids to make books, posters, or collages that they decorate with their own pictures and writing. Kids love to read things they've written themselves or to share their creations with family and friends.

Think About Atmosphere

Other ways to encourage kids to read:
  • Give your child quiet time every day to read or write.
  • Limit time kids spend in front of a screen (including TV, computer, and video games) to help ensure that they have time for reading.
  • Read together. Offer to read a book aloud, or ask your child to read to you from a favorite magazine. Make a habit of sitting together while you each read your own books, sharing quiet time together.
Reviewed by: Laura L. Bailet, PhD
Date reviewed: February 2010