A year ago, I signed up my then 2 year old for a reading class which has a minimum age requirement of three. I had visited the Mindchamps preschool at Toa Payoh HDB Hub and was totally sold by their preschool concept, curriculum and the champion mindset which was the greatest draw for me. I believe with a strong mind, one can overcome any obstacles and live out one’s dreams. That is my greatest wish for my children.
So when Meow told me that the preschool fees is worth much more than what we can afford, I was crushed. If I recall correctly, the monthly fees work up to SGD $1200 after government ‘s subsidies. That is more than double the current preschool cum childcare rates. Eventually I settled upon a reading class for Xxm, the only enrichment class suitable for preschoolers and one that meets my budget. I paid my fees, and as it was the Great Singapore Sale then, I received an additional discount on my fees, I was over the moon.
Now, a year later, the impulse buyer in me is starting to regret. Assessing Xxm, I seriously don’t think he required any reading class and an additional weekend commitment on our part. That being said, our Mindchamps adviser promptly called us up two weeks after Xxm turned three to inform us a new class was commencing soon. My plan a year ago to have the class on a Saturday so that it coincides with my TCM class backfired, as they moved the Joey class to Sunday afternoons. I am stuck with having to commute to Toa Payoh almost everyday of the week so much so I am contemplating to move there.
Last Sunday, we had our first class. It was held in one of the preschool classrooms. The children were asked to write their names on the whiteboard as a way to break the ice. I was shocked. Is a three year old expected to know how to write? A check with the teacher cleared my doubts. The class comprised of mainly 3.5-4.5 years old, and Xxm might jolly well be the youngest having just celebrated his third birthday 2 weeks ago. Nonetheless, I got Xxm to try as I spell out the letters of his name for him. He did a fairly decent attempt.
The class then proceeded in their activities, with many songs and motion, story telling and dramatization and craft work which Xxm especially enjoyed. There was a boy who was being difficult in class, screaming, howling and throwing things. But I must applaud the teacher for being able to keep things under control.
There were two brief breaks in between, one to drink and another toilet break. I was able to sneak away for a toilet break myself, leaving Xxm with the rest of the class. I was quite relieved he didn’t cry or demand for me.
One peculiar observation that I have made is that the older children are not forthcoming in answering questions. It’s sad because that’s what most comment of Singapore students – that we don’t participate much in class for fear of giving incorrect answers or ask silly questions and appearing stupid. Xxm in his innocent way, answers readily as he was interested in the lesson. He gets a little tongue tied at times as he searches for the right words to express himself. But the teacher had been really encouraging.
So what do I think of the session? Honestly, the curriculum is not very different from his Appletree classes. What was perhaps better was the ability of the teacher to engage the children. They were encouraged to answer questions, act out the story and do a lot of pretend play. What was most important was of course the testimonial given by Xxm that he enjoyed the class. He told me 2 days after the class that he wished to make stars again which was the craft he did at the Joey class.
At the end of the class, we were handed a goodie bag.
There was a note to the parent to inform what was being taught in class that day and instructions to reinforce learning at home.
Overall, the experience was quite good and I surely hope Xxm still wishes to attend class even when I am not in it together with him.
P/s: The parent will be invited to attend a parenting workshop as well to understand effective strategies in aiding your children. I am very keen on this. Will update again when I have attended this workshop.