Kids can be 'enriched' at home too

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Kids can be 'enriched' at home too

Postby tamarind » Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:15 pm

This article was first published in The Sunday Times on Jun 8, 2008

Kids can be 'enriched' at home too
I refer to the article, 'Oh boy, no break for tots, too?' (The Sunday Times, June1).

I do not think it is necessary for preschooler Victoria Ong to attend so many enrichment classes.

Her mother said the six-year-old can read secondary school essays and write very well.

My five-year-old daughter attends only one weekly Chinese enrichment class this year. She completed an 11-month weekly phonics course when she was four. Now, she can read English books meant for teenagers, and write sentences.

I taught her at home. I am also teaching my four-year-old son to read. He can now read simple books.

I am a full-time working mother who can spare at most 30 minutes a day to teach my children. Every day, they will read one page from a book. My daughter will write a few words or sentences, and my son will practise writing some letters.

I can understand why parents are so worried about preparing their children for primary school. But I think children still learn best at home.

Even if the parents think kindergarten alone is not enough to prepare their kids, reading, writing and mathematics skills can be taught easily at home.

Like the article said, the most important thing is for the youngsters to spend more time with their parents.

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Postby mintcc » Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:57 pm

totally agree that kids can be enrich at home.

Infact many enrichment programs highlight that parents should practise the enrichment activities at home with their children daily. So if the parents have the know how and spent enough time with the children at home, it is entirely possible.

My nephew is taught by my mum at home and at 2.5 years already recognise chinese words like "国" "飞机" ,A-Z and January - December.

Can't say the same for my boy who attends enrichment but I not as hard working as my mum in teaching. :oops: trying to catch up though ...looking at the standards of primary school theses day really make mummies worried.

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Re: Kids can be 'enriched' at home too

Postby ChiefKiasu » Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:37 pm

I think there is no argument that the best school is still at home and the best teachers are still mommy and daddy. However, even if parents want to be their own educators, they must not only have the time, patience, and discipline to do so - they must also know HOW to teach.

The problem is, most modern parents lack at least some of these necessary skills. The only choice, in order for their children not to lose out, is to outsource the job to relatives or commercial services.

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Postby mintcc » Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:24 pm

:lol: I guess thats why we gather together in forumns and brin our babies to $$$ enrichment classes bah.

We are also learning...learning how to teach and what to teach...don;t believe in total outsourcing but outsource acquire know how from vendors and partners :wink:

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Postby tamarind » Thu Jun 12, 2008 10:58 am

I agree that many parents probably do not know how to teach phonics,etc. So it will be beneficial to send the kids to a phonics enrichment class, or a Chinese enrichment class if the child is not in a chinese speaking environment. I feel that one enrichment class, once a week, is good enough for the child. Parents can revise the enrichment class materials at home with the child for reinforcment, instead of sending to other enrichment classes.

But that 6 year old girl has so many enrichment classes ! She has to rush to 4 classes on Saturday. I believe this continues for the whole year. Is it really necessary ? Why can't the mommy do more teaching at home ? According to the article, the mommy is a teacher herself.
Last edited by tamarind on Thu Jun 12, 2008 11:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby tamarind » Thu Jun 12, 2008 11:01 am

Here's the article.

Sun, Jun 01, 2008
The Straits Times
http://www.straitstimes.com/Free/Story/ ... 43250.html
Oh boy, no break for tots, too?
The school holidays may be here, but for six-year-old pre-schooler Victoria Ong, there are classes to attend six days a week.

Her mother, Mrs J. Ong, a teacher, signs her up for 'as many enrichment classes as possible' to fill up her school holidays. This has been the norm since she was three.

Said Mrs Ong, 38: 'She's attending six enrichment classes this June. She asks to attend all these classes and I want her to do as much as possible before she goes to primary school.'

This means that Victoria, a K2 pupil at a PAP Community Foundation (PCF) kindergarten, goes for classes in creative writing, maths, Chinese, ballet and piano every day except on Sunday.

But even her Sundays are not spared. She is expected to work on her creative writing and do some writing at her 'own time, own target', as her mother puts it.

It was reported in The Straits Times that primary and secondary school students have to go for remedial lessons and extra classes during the June holidays. Some wondered if the kids get enough rest.

Now, pre-schoolers like Victoria are being signed up for all sorts of 'enrichment' activities during their mid-year school holidays too. They range from creative writing to digital artwork.

To many parents, school holidays are the best time for children to catch up on classroom work.

Financial planner Jack Gee, 39, is worried that his five-year-old son Derek is not learning longer words in his pre-school spelling lessons.

'He can spell simple words like 'apple'. But my friends' children, who are in other schools, can spell more difficult words,' said Mr Gee, who is shopping around for an English enrichment class for Derek.

To meet the increased demand, learning centres are offering more holiday classes for younger children. The Julia Gabriel Centre for Learning, which has three branches here, offers at least 10 holiday programmes for pre-schoolers.

The Children's Technology Workshop in Forum The Shopping Mall has a camp that teaches pre-schoolers digital artwork on computers and Lego engineering during the holidays.

Many new learning centres have popped up in recent years. Said the principal of a new centre in Clementi, which offers holiday courses: 'Parents want to keep their children occupied during the holidays and attending enrichment classes is better than watching TV all day.'

Fees are not cheap. A one-week programme goes for $180 to $300.

But early childhood experts warn that over-scheduling a child during school breaks may not only tire him out, but also affect his development in the long run.

Ms Lynn Heng, assistant director of RTRC Asia, which trains early childhood professionals, said that keeping a child occupied with classes may take away his time for self-discovery and exploration.

'He may be less creative than the child who had a lot of free time to do anything he wants,' she said.

Over-scheduling children will also affect their decision-making skills in future. So used to following timetables, it may be hard for them to decide what to do with free time.

All this will have an impact on their development as they grow older, said Ms Heng.

Ms Emily Ho, the education director at Columbia Academy, thinks enrichment classes during school holidays are fine as long as they are non-academic. She said: 'Some non-academic programmes such as dance, soccer or skating can be fun for the child and may even encourage creativity.'

But she recommends that pre-schoolers spend a maximum of two out of the four vacation weeks attending enrichment classes. For the rest of the time, they should be allowed to do whatever they like.

Childhood experts unanimously agreed that the best activity for children during the holidays is spending time with their parents.

Said Ms Heng: 'It's good if parents can take a break from work during the school holidays and spend time with their children. This benefits not just the child, but the parents, too.'

Mrs Ong, however, believes that Victoria is having a lot of fun at her enrichment classes. 'This is fun for her and she is not tested in any way,' she said. 'Now she can already read secondary school essays and write very well.'

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Postby lovebearsallthings » Thu Jun 12, 2008 11:20 am

Yes, I agree that children learn best at home, and that parents are the child's first and most valuable teachers :)

My child, although 3 years old, can't recognise words yet, but I am ok with that. He can recognise simple alphabets, but not words yet. To me, it is more important that the child LOVES what he is doing. I still maintain that a child will one day, be able to recognise words and all that, learning it earlier or later may not be much difference, but to me the difference is in inculcating LIFELONG learning and the PASSION for learning and doing things. Yes, my boy can't recognise words even though I read to him every night, but he loves rhymes and action-rhymes, and I love doing these things with him.

Yes, the kid in the newspaper article seems to be doing a lot of things, but maybe she enjoys it. That, to me, is more important than anything. Some children I know actually ASKS to go for these classes. But there are also others that reject goign to classes, then the question is whether the parents want to continue to introduce to them. Which is why we spend so much time and effort trying to find a school or teachers which our children would like, so that they would love going to school, and hence love learning.

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Postby mintcc » Thu Jun 12, 2008 12:01 pm

hmmm I think non school work related enrichment like Lego and Digital art, swimming, ballet sounds like fun and if kids wants to go for them during school holidays, I will encourage them.

Of course, we need to strike a balance for quality time like going for outings, doing nothing etc. But I may not be able to take one month of leave during school holidays and sending them for enrichment is better than them watching TV all day bah.

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Postby simplyjo » Thu Jun 12, 2008 1:49 pm

lovebearsallthings wrote:Yes, I agree that children learn best at home, and that parents are the child's first and most valuable teachers :)

My child, although 3 years old, can't recognise words yet, but I am ok with that. He can recognise simple alphabets, but not words yet. To me, it is more important that the child LOVES what he is doing. I still maintain that a child will one day, be able to recognise words and all that, learning it earlier or later may not be much difference, but to me the difference is in inculcating LIFELONG learning and the PASSION for learning and doing things. Yes, my boy can't recognise words even though I read to him every night, but he loves rhymes and action-rhymes, and I love doing these things with him.

Yes, the kid in the newspaper article seems to be doing a lot of things, but maybe she enjoys it. That, to me, is more important than anything. Some children I know actually ASKS to go for these classes. But there are also others that reject goign to classes, then the question is whether the parents want to continue to introduce to them. Which is why we spend so much time and effort trying to find a school or teachers which our children would like, so that they would love going to school, and hence love learning.


I agree with you... We can enrol our children in all kind of enrichment classes, but are they having fun? Do they like what they are doing? Do they have enough play time?

My daughters are the ones requesting to go for phonic lessons, speech & drama, chinese, ballet, drawings etc etc... Of course I do not sign them up for all these classes, otherwise they will be so busy and has no play time with me!!! haha.. :lol: We as parents must know where to draw the line...

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Postby lovebearsallthings » Thu Jun 12, 2008 1:58 pm

Hello simplyjo,

Yes I think ultimately we should assess if they are happy and if they are coping well :)

Based on the limited funds I have, I probably would only choose one enrichment class for him, haha. And if you have two (or more) kids, different children would prefer different things too, so I'll try to answer to each child's needs as much as I can. Also, I think siblings need to learn to play (and fight) with each other! Will definitely make sure there is ample time for that, haha...

But having said that, I feel that my children still prefer to play with me (and my hubby) :) I guess there is a limit to what money (and enrichment classes) can do too :) children grow up too fast, I so want to keep them by my side and always play with them! :D

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