Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Start of School

 Y&K have started "school". I've enrolled them in a daily unaccompanied 2 hours playgroup near our home and have started since the first week of January. They were amazing during the first week. Didn't cry one bit and they loved school so much that they were very unwilling to leave when it's time to go home. I only accompanied them on the first day and left them on their own from the 2nd day onwards. They coped very well and all the parents who were in the class to accompany their child were all singing praises to me about how well behaved and independent they are in class, especially when they are the youngest in class, born on the last day of the year.

However, I was careless and allowed an "accident" to happen during the middle of the 2nd week. Y was having a mild runny nose and I decided to keep him home as I didn't want him to spread any virus if he is getting a flu. Seeing K coping so well in school, I let him go alone. I explained to him that he is going to school alone and he said bye to his brother. I sent him there and peeped in the window before I go. He seemed alright but I didn't expect him to burst into tears shortly and went on crying uncontrollably until the teacher had to call me to bring him home.

When I reached there, the teacher passed him over to me and closed the door hastily, without even saying bye. She refused to let me in to settle him. I heard a lot of children crying inside and I understand her position. However, K was very upset, he was screaming for "Teacher Clara! I want go school!". "No more Kor Kor" repeatedly. I guessed he was in a turmoil. He wanted school but couldn't part with his brother and with the teacher closing the door on him, I believed he felt unwanted.

K is a highly sensitive child. And he seemed very affected by this. From that day onwards, he refused to answer any questions relating to school, especially when I asked if he likes teacher. He started crying from the next day onwards, up to an hour. During the first week, they were not affected by the other children's crying but after that incident, he started to be very terrified of the children crying there and will not even step into the classroom. A big difference from the first week where they were always the first to be rushing in the classroom and saying bye to me.

I was as affected as him which I know I shouldn't. I'm upset because the environment that he has initially felt safe in is no longer safe. From telling me about the stories the teacher read and the songs they sang in school, the only words that I managed to get out of him about school was "children cry". School is no longer a fun place where they play and learn. It's now a terror place where all the children cry. I know it's going to take a long time for the teachers to buy him back.

After a week of marathon crying everyday, the teachers decided to let me in to settle him. I didn't think it was a good idea but in the end, we decided we should trust the teachers. I carry him in the class from then on. I told him the teachers are making an exception for me to stay with him for a while and he can go play when he is ready but I will have to go soon. Things have improved, crying had stopped. I had to stay up to an hour the first few days before he was ready to get down on his own. It has been shorten to 15 minutes today. With me in there, the teachers were able to settle the other crying children before attending to K and I think it's better for them as Y&K are still a little babyish compared to the other children.

I'm glad that Y is still comfortable with school though he is not willing to walk into the classroom when he sees other children crying now. The decision to send them to "school" is so they could socialize with the other children but sometimes I wonder if we are doing right to send such young children to school when I see them crying so badly. It's almost 4 weeks and so many children, most of them are almost 3 years old, are still crying and screaming in class. K even had nightmares about school. It pains me when I hear him screaming the teacher's name in the middle of the night. I admit I did think about withdrawing him but seeing Y coping well stopped me and I still think he will still like school once the crying in class stops. Let's hope it will turn out this way. It's really important to me that school remains a fun and safe place for them.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Easel Painting

I always thought easel painting looks fun but I wonder if that is necessary. After reading a few articles online about Easel Painting by Teach Preschool and Irresistable Ideas for Play Based Learning, I got even more interested in how easel painting could benefit my boys. I did more research and basically the biggest difference between painting on tabletop and easel is the perspective and a different experience. They also use different muscles.

My conclusion is, it's not necessary but a good to have. I still decide to get them an easel, or rather, I requsted for an easel for their birthday. They are blessed with doting generous aunties and one of them got them this Crayola Double Easel which is great when you have 2 kids. We tried painting over the weekend and they seem to like it a lot.  

Here's K painting away.
They like to move to each other's spaces to "help".
Y looks like a pro, doesn't he?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Letter S Craft: S is for Sailboat

First craft for year 2011. We had a tough time with their terrible twos and was unable to do much with them. This craft was forced under circumstances again. When I'm totally at my wits end with them, my last bet is a craft and it did calm them down though the crying starts again after this craft session when we are supposed to clean up. What a way to start the new year but I still look forward to a better year crafting and learning with them.

My boys simply love anything that can move. Their first time on a boat was on a bumboat to Pulau Ubin and since then, they called all boats and ships "bumboat", with a distinct "at" sound at the back. Hah, I just love the way they pronounce "boAT".

What You Need:
  • Styrofoam Blocks (keep those styrofoam blocks for crafts like this when you have a new appliance. This was from the printer box we recently purchased)
  • Paper
  • Paint
  • Brushes
  • Disposable Chopstick or any Sticks (keep them when you order take aways)
  • Glue
  1. Paint the paper for the sail. I cut out the triangles first but I find that it may be easier for your young children to paint an A4 piece before you cut. 
  2. Cut the styrofoam blocks into the size and shape you desired and let them paint.
  3. Cut out the triangle from paper they have painted when the paint has dried and glue the triangle/sail to the disposable chopstick.
  4. Push the stick down the styrofoam block
  5. Tata! A Sailboat!!
K likes to mix the paint more than painting.

Vigorously painting.. hah...

I have no idea why Y had this expression but I thought he looks so cute!

Singapore Science Centre

We went to the Singapore Science Centre last month. We weren't sure if the Science Centre is toddler friendly but was pleasantly surprised that though they can't understand much, they enjoyed the place very much. 

K, looking at an exhibit that probably doesn't make much sense to him.
One of their favorite exhibit, let's make some noise music!
Drumming time for K
Y: "I can do this too"
They enjoyed this Water Play section very much too.
K, trying to turn the wheel.
Another highlight, they love this Play House and spent a long time here while we take a break. We were so tired chasing them around! Thank god there were 2.
We will definitely go again. This is one of the cheapest attraction in Singapore. Cost $9 for adults. So reasonable compared to $18 for Bird Park or the Zoo. Many exhibits were not working properly but the boys enjoyed pressing buttons and waiting for something to happen. An excellent indoor activity. There's also a water park which looks quite fun but it was drizzling that day and the boys didn't have a chance to try. Y was shouting "water!" all the way when we walked pass it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Year 2011 Resolutions

Haven't been able to post more on our learning activities due to the lack of time to take and process the pictures. As we officially enter the "Terrible Twos X 2", I find myself trying to stop them from tearing each other apart over the brush that's exactly the same as the other and preventing another meltdown caused by frustration from the activity we are doing rather than grabbing the camera to snap a few pictures.

The past 2 months had been really tough.
  • We had a toilet training crisis where K wakes up at 4ish every morning crying to go potty and it doesn't just end there. We would be going through the "I want Potty", then "No No Potty" when I try to carry him and "I want potty" when I stepped back. At 4ish in the morning!! And there was no way to pacify him. Y decided to join the fun and started fussing at this hour few weeks back. So, my husband and I were dealing with 2 extremely cranky toddlers who are screaming for their Mummy at this odd hour. 
  • We often have problems taking public transportation as they prefer the bus when we are taking MRT (Mass Rapid Transit, the subway in Singapore) and very recently, they decided that they would also like to choose the color of the taxi we take. So, we would have screaming toddlers throughout the ride if we were in a Yellow instead of Blue taxi. 
  • I wonder if indecisiveness is a phase in toddlers but K is often indecisive and would cry for water when I give him milk and cry for milk when I offer water, very often, in the middle of the night and in the day too.
There seems to be improvements this week, I'm praying hard for it to continue. 

I guess I'm late with new year resolutions since they should be made before the new year begins but who cares, so long you do something.

In Year 2011 I hope to
  • Improve my photography skills.
  • Learn to play a musical instrument.
  • Organize this blog
There's more I hope to do but I'm not going to be ambitious and stick with these 3 first as they looks quite intimidating to me already! Let's see there's any improvement by the end of the year! :)
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