Monday, September 19, 2016

Giveaway: Charlotte's Web by Singapore Repertory Theatre!

One of E.B. White’s most popular creations, Charlotte’s Web is a beautiful tale of love and friendship. The story centres on Wilbur, a runt pig, and Charlotte, a barn spider. Having been adapted and produced both as a cartoon and a movie, I am pleased to share that The Little Company (part of Singapore Repertory Theatre) will be bringing this story to the stage from 28 October.

To avoid Wilbur being sent to the butcher, Charlotte proves to be a true friend by coming to his rescue. Drawing attention to Wilbur through skillfully woven messages about the pig, her efforts succeeded in making Wilbur a celebrity pig of some sort, much to the delight of Farmer Zuckerman and his family.

This delightful classic has been hailed as "the best American children's book of the past two hundred years" by The Children's Literature Association. Simple in story line but rich in lessons on love and sacrifices, this is definitely a wonderful story to share with your children. 

I am pleased to share that I have a family package of 4 tickets to give away! 

Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win a family package of 4 tickets! 

NOTE: Winner’s tickets are for Saturday 12 November, 11am. The date and time cannot be changed.

Tickets are to be collected from the box office prior to the start of the play. Please collect at least an hour in advance.

Comments are compulsory so do remember to leave a comment on "What is the key lesson from Charlotte's Web you wish to share with your child(ren) and why"?

Event Dates
Fri, 28 Oct - Sun, 11 Dec 2016
Weekends & Public Holiday : 11am & 2pm
Weekdays : 10am
28 Oct 2016 (Fri) : 3pm

KC Arts Centre - Home of SRT (Previously known as DBS Arts Centre) 
To buy your tickets at SISTIC, please click here 

Disclaimer: The giveaway is kindly sponsored by Singapore Repertory Theatre. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions expressed are entirely ours.

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts (both on the kiddo and my furkid), food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), outdoor fun, useful reviews, early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A fluttery affair at Science Centre Singapore!

Do you know that the butterfly:

  • Has 4 wings?
  • Can taste with their feet?
  • Can see red, yellow and green?
Those were amongst some of the things that the kiddo and I learnt about in our recent visit to Butterflies Up-Close! Developed in partnership with Sentosa’s Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom (BIK), Butterflies Up-Close takes visitors on an immersive journey through all four stages of a butterfly’s metamorphosis – from egg to adulthood and the kiddo and I, had the chance to tour around in this latest exhibit at the Science Centre Singapore.

We are not new to the whole metamorphosis process having previously bought a kit where we witnessed the process and then setting them free. But we still found loads to marvel at, when we visited Butterflies Up-Close at the Science Centre recently.

:: The set up
One of the latest exhibits at the Science Centre Singapore, Butterflies Up-Close is segregated into 4 zones, with the last zone being the enclosure. The exhibition is simple but well thought through.

The first zone was an “introduction” from a higher level where even a World Map is placed and children can learn about some of the different butterfly species from around the world before entering the exhibition. This is where we also saw a breath-taking artwork ~ made with more than 4 thousand wings (none of the butterflies were killed for this artwork but they were specimens carefully collected by the artist over many many months). (See pic below) 

The second zone focuses on "orientation" where a key feature are big fibreglass models of a big Atlas Moth and a Jezebel butterfly so that hildren can see the main differences between the 2.

The third zone is a walk way through of the life cycle of the butterfly with fun facts where children can lift up the ladybirds to unveil the information panels and read the information.

Pic above: our guide S, getting the kiddo acquainted with the life cycle

Above pic: information panels are peppered with fun facts on these beauties

To encourage children to read up and go through the 4 zones, a small butterfly booklet is handed out where children can look for various stations at the different zones to emboss on the booklet. (See pic below)

:: The Enclosure 
The enclosure is the last part and definitely the best part of the exhibition where it is a small air-conditioned area with a dome in the centre of the room. The butterflies at the enclosure are all free range where you can observe them up close and personal.

Above pic: butterflies lapping it all up!

A glass case stands on the left side of enclosure where chrysalis and cocoons are hanging in it. I love how pretty the metalic colored chrysalis are in this case. These are all "live" chrysalis and cocoons which are slowly metamorphosing.

Here's a fun fact: do you know that the chrysalis of butterflies are different from species to species?

Look at how large the Atlas moth is!!!

Be advised that these butterflies are quite "inquisitive" and do not shy away from visitors. Over the hour that we were there, we had some that landed on our heads, shoulders, bags, and even hands. The kiddo was unfazed as frankly, they do not bite or cause any itch so she was pretty cool with them. 

The variety of butterflies there is amazing. They are specially brought into this enclosure where the temperature is specially controlled and some of them have host plants specially brought in too. 

Just check out these colorful beauties! 

(Check out the bevy of beauties)

If you are looking at an educational spiel to this, the dome houses 2 stations where one shows the magnified butterfly parts while the other allows children to interact with the exhibit to see the iridescent colors of the butterflies as they "glimmered" and "shone" at various angles. 

The enclosure is not a large one but one can easily stay there for an hour to 2 if you take the time to sit and observe. We did just that and I even managed to observe the proboscis (tongue) of a butterfly where it curled and uncurled! Here's the clip to share! :) 


Our hour there flew by so quickly that the kiddo actually asked to head back again. This will be a lovely place for an unhurried morning where you can just enjoy the cool temperature and beauty of these butterflies. 

Now, in case you are not aware, the Science Centre Singapore has waived off all entrance fees for Singapore citizens on off-peak period. Hence you only need to pay $10 for an adult / for a child and $8 for senior citizen to visit this exhibit. (Details can be found here.)

:: Location 
15 Science Centre Road
Singapore 609081
Tel: (65) 6425-2500
Fax: (65) 6565-9533
Click here for a driving map / bus information

Disclaimer: We were invited to visit Butterflies Up-Close so that we can share our experience on it. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions are entirely ours. 
If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts (both to the kiddo and my furkid), food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Parenting with Love: A weary soul dealing with tests and more tests

Like many parents, when the kiddo first entered Primary school, I was under the impression that life is pretty much holistic and there are hardly any tests. But I soon realized that those tests are a rose by any other name.

In the past, children in P1 will be taking CAs and SAs where the papers will be cleared over that said date. With the current system, tests are now “bite-size” and are basically named as “holistic assessments”. So this means that most of the time for Dumpling, her tests start from Week 4/5 and it is almost the full range of what one would expect in an SA.

So for each term, her scope will include:
  • Oracy elements (Show and Tell / Stimulus based conversation + Read aloud + Picture Conversation*)
  • Listening Comprehension / Sound Discrimination (for both languages)
  • Written Papers for all subjects (In fact, for the kiddo, she has to usually take 2 Math review papers and 2 performance assessments with the latter not graded)
  • Composition (for English) was introduced in T3 in P1 where it was also tested and graded. For P2 this year, compo is graded for T3 and T4. For Chinese, they have been doing 看图写话 exercises since T2 but we have yet to hear formally from her school if this element will be included in her SA.
* For Chinese

So, splitting that over 4 – 5 weeks and the weeks are packed with 2 assessments weekly where there’s also spelling for both languages.

So how are we doing? We are “managing”. From a parental standpoint, all of us want our children to do well but the reality is, to stretch these over 4 – 5 weeks every term, it basically also means consistent revision over the same stretch of period. It then becomes a very fine balance of ensuring the kid has done the due diligence of revision and peppering in good breaks and activities as we are also often bored with all the revisions.  

And before I forget, I have to add that for her school, their results will be used for class banding where they will then move on to a new “class” for Primary 3 (she has been in the same class for the past 2 years). So yes, it feels like “streaming” has arrived early. 

With all these whirlwind of tests and more tests, truthfully they are weighing me down a bit. Added to the mix is this crazy intense competition within the class where there's also class politics (between the girls and amongst the mums!) I often find myself tense and worried. When she makes careless mistakes (arrrhhggg!) which are hefty mistakes (especially in this P1 and P2 period where half a mark makes loads of difference), I’d find myself grumpy and I sometimes come down quite hard on Dumpling. Added to the mix where I am a Type A, you can only imagine the mood in the house during the test period. Reflecting on the grumpy moments over the weekend, I ended up wondering how life would be when it is SA2 end of the year and (gasp!) during her PSLE in 4 years!

Dumpling, on the other hand, was a total trooper where there weren’t many complaints from her. Instead, she started showing interest in WWI and we ended up reading up and learning more about this modern war. We enjoyed ourselves and had a great time discussing the weapons used, the alliances formed and the Battle of the Somme. There were many lively chats and sharing over this topic during meal times and during car rides. AND IT HIT ME. It is all about perspective. Being caught up in this rat race, I have lost sight of what matters.

Education should not be just a testing of “textbook knowledge”. While children acquire knowledge, it is what and how they make sense of it that is important – interpretation, analysis, application and reflection. In Einstein’s words, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”

While it is inevitable that the kid will have to take tests after tests in school, it is what we make of it that matters. Yes, unfortunately, the system in SG is where it is meritocratic and everything is based on those numbers on those score sheets. But I am quite adamant that I will learn to look past it, that she is learning loads more about the world than just building on textbook knowledge. And as a parent, I am merely the shepherd, to guide and support her along and more importantly, to maintain that joy of learning and continue to fuel that curious mind of hers. 

With the September holidays around the corner, we are taking the chance to wind down and enjoy the things we like: movies, workshops, play dates, etc. before we take on the last term for this year. Here are some books / areas that she has shown an interest in which we will be finishing up during this period: 

On Bones: 

This series of titles is quite interesting and engaging. It provides bite-size information on quite a technical subject. Each title also provides a pair of 3D glasses which gives the reader an "X-ray" vision where he/she can see the bones in some of the images. 

On WW1 
(part of the 7 titles which we are reading ~ I will share more in an upcoming post)

In just 2 years time, the kiddo will turn from a single to a double digit age. Time slips by us so quickly and I do not want to have any regrets. Hence, I do not want to lose sight of what truly matters to me and I hope that you too, will not lose sight of yours. 

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts (both on the kiddo and my furkid), food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), outdoor fun, useful reviews, early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Primary School Journey: Ergonomics Workstation for Better Spinal Care!

I have scoliosis, diagnosed when I was in Primary School. Similar to the image above, my curvature is an "S curve". Being someone with Scoliosis with an S curve, I am quite mindful of spinal care. In fact, when Dumpling was younger, I have brought her to my chiropractor before for a spinal check. The spine is basically linked to the nervous system and when it is not properly aligned, there could be tension or back aches, etc. For myself, I suffer from some really bad headaches, neck and back aches.

Hence it has been on my mind for some time to look into an ergo table for the kiddo. When Dumpling was younger, she used a small pink desk from IKEA which was alright as the table and chair height were suitable for her size then. However, as she grew over the past years, she would spend longer hours at the table (since there’s more homework) I have noticed that she had to bend over to read or to write.

:: The shop
So over the weekend, the family visited ERGOWORKS at Causeway Point to check out the ERGOSTARS workstation. The mall seems to be a popular choice for families with young children. Ergoworks is located on Level 3 along the near other children friendly shops such as Kiddy Palace, Popular bookstore, etc.

:: The product range

The shop is a cozy unit but there is no lack of ergonomics products on display:

From IMPACT ergonomic bags

To DUOREST ergonomic chairs
(and ohhhhhhhh… I must say that I tried the below range and my back was in utter bliss the whole time I was seated on it. The support and the angle were perfect for my very sore back ~ I just had a deep tissue massage the day before!)

And to this portable Backjoy support which you can add on to your existing chair. And did you see what I saw???? They even have one in Hello Kitty ™ design!!!!

:: The experience
We met up with the shop Consultant – Jacky who is strong in his product knowledge and explained the functionalities of the ERGOSTARS workstation which we are keen on. Based on my observations from the other customers as well as Dumpling's experience, Jacky was very “hands-on” and took the time to explain the various models and choices available. He also got the kiddo to sit down and tried out the various workstations as well as the chairs.

Consultative Advice
One of my friends have shared with me that ergonomics workstations are also available from various online shops. But personally, after having visited the store and learning more from Jacky, I found that the consultative advice shared to be really important for such products, something which we will not have access to, online. 

To elaborate, with an ergonomics work station, this is the neutral posture all of us should have: 

Hence, the in-store experience is necessary ~ to have a chance to sit down on the chair, adjust the angle of her back rest, and the angle and height of the table, etc. and try it for comfort. 

The "trial"
The ERGOSTARS workstation comes with DUOREST ergonomic Junior chair which is made from original German dual backrests design and technology invented since 1988. Jacky was very patient and took his time to advise us on the steps to adjust the chair for good spinal support ~ to sit close to the the back of the chair and that the legs should be at 90 degrees, touching the floor (or a foot rest ~ see last photo below).

During the trial, he was also very mindful that Dumpling is the user and often stopped to check with her on the comfort level and well as showed all of us what the right angle should be. 

Dumpling’s choice of table allows her to adjust the tilt angle where 25 degrees is optimal for reading (Note: see how she is not hunched over in the right pic?)

With a simple press of the lever (tucked neatly on the side of the table), the table top is then placed flat again for writing. 

Other features of Ergostars model include:
  • Effortless height adjustment system
  • Desk height adjustment (58cm to 80cm) to grow with your child
  • Detachable lever handle
  • Child safe design with rounded edge bumper ~ great for younger children
  • Non-reflection desk surface ~ better for eyes
  • Desk feet leveler ~ in case of un-even floor surface
  • Bag hanger
  • Wrist support pad that holds book and laptop
  • Less than 1 meter in width - fit in to most small space! 
  • Environmental friendly
  • Safe to use
  • E1 European Safety Standard
I also appreciate that the desk comes with front caster wheels for easy mobility, which is great for sliding the workstation out for easy cleaning.

The chair also comes with a rest to cater for smaller children whose feet may not be able to touch the floor.

The ERGOSTARS bundle Usual Price is $1998/set ($1299: desk + $699: chair). 

I am pleased to share that the set is NOW at $699/set with options to purchase a drawer and desktop riser at 50% discount. This bundle set comes in 3 different colors: pink, blue and grey. 

:: The delivery arrangement
Once the choice was made, it was a very simple process of writing down our details for Jacky who checked against the computer system and arranged for the delivery. 

I was told that most deliveries will be between 5 to 7 working days and they will call us prior to arrange. I will update you again in my next post on our delivery and user experience.  


Causeway Point

1 Woodlands Square #03-26 Causeway Point
(level 3 next to Kiddy Palace )
Opens Daily: 11:30am - 9.00 pm
Telephone: 6893 8488

Marina Square

6 Raffles Boulevard #03-337/338 Marina Square
(level 3 Art of living furniture zone)
Opens Daily: 11:30am - 9.00 pm
Telephone: 6837 3370


176 Orchard Road #03-36 Centrepoint
(level 3 next to LALU boutique)
Opens Daily: 11:30am - 9.00 pm
Telephone: 6836 8488

Connect with Ergoworks on their Facebook page! 

:: About Ergonomics
Ergoworks is the ONLY ergonomic brand endorsed & certified by both Singapore Physiotherapy Association & The Chiropractic Association Singapore, this endorsement assure customers are buying genuine ergonomic products. 
If you have found this post useful, you may enjoy more posts on Dumpling's Primary school journey.   
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review. We were invited to review the ergonomics workstations (ergostars) so that we can give our opinions about it. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions are entirely ours. 
If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts (both to the kiddo and my furkid), food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Parenting with Love: Raising a Responsible Child

Suppose your kid forgot about some homework and you found out about it. Your kid is either asleep or is preparing to go to bed. Do you:

a) Get your child to do (either going to bed later or waking your child up earlier the next day)
b) Write a note to the teacher to explain
c) Let it be and let your child deal with it OR
d) Do the work for him/her

Some weeks back, the kiddo shared with me that a classmate was scolded because the teacher discovered that one of the classmate's parents did the child's homework for her. Needless to say, the teacher was livid and well, the class "heard" about the incident.

Since Primary One, I have reached out on my own accord, to set up a What'sapp chat group with the kiddo's classmates' parents. I have previously read an article where the parent's choice was not to be in such a group because she wants her child to be responsible for her own learning and homework. I understand and respect that.

For me, the Whatspp group has been useful in other ways - a mum has reached out to share with me that her daughter has shared Dumpling cried in class ("so is she ok?") where I did not even hear it from her or one of them emailed the teachers to ask about for e.g. test format (not elaborated in the schedule) where the information was really useful.

Of course the kiddo forgets her homework once in a while and what I'd do is to prompt her instead of just telling her that she left something out.

Now, for the quiz above, I have deployed (C) where she had to explain to the teacher on her own. Tough love.

This is also where I have realised that children these days are growing up with an "entitled" mindset (and yes, Dumpling too)! They do not see that they need to be responsible or take ownership of their work or live with the consequences of a bad decision as they have someone to fall back on. And being based in Singapore, I know that there are many family nucleus with working parents where we often turn to employing lived-in helpers to assist us mainly with household chores, meal preparation as well as care giving.

It's a double-edged sword. In my case, while having a helper allows me to have the time to spend with Dumpling and concentrate on things such as school work / play dates, etc., it has also led her to be dependent on having a helper to assist her with many things - e.g. packing of bag and clearing of laundry (when she was younger), help with household chores, etc.

In my journey to continue with my effort on raising a responsible child, here are some suggestions:

1) Baby steps
Start with age appropriate household chores where your child is able to succeed in and gradually work up from there. Here's a great chart which I saw on my FB feed:

Chores by Age from Thirty Handmade Days

While the kiddo does not sweep / vacuum, she clears her own laundry, packs her own bag (takes nagging), helps to clear the dishes and feed the pets. Additionally, the kiddo is also tasked with showering J, our Singapore Special. That was one of the conditions we raised when she wanted to adopt a dog and till now, she's been keeping to her end of the bargain.

2) Equipping them with the skills 
Besides starting small, children do need guidance in learning to be independent; often we need to equip them with the skills. For e.g. Dumpling is pretty much on her own when it comes to spelling and ting xie 听写, and also for Show and Tell. Of course she did not start out independent. What I did was to show her how she is to study and test herself is:

- read the sentence(s)
- look at the words to see / digest how it is written
- cover
- attempt &
- check

I have realised that by getting her to take ownership of her learning and testing herself, she recalls the words better as opposed to us pointing out the mistakes and highlighting where the mistakes are. We have the same experience with her Show and Tell too.

3) Let them make bad decisions 
Dumpling, during her P1 days, became close friends with a classmate, D. From the other mums and sometimes from Dumpling, it seems like the child has had many run-ins with their form teacher where she does not do her work, display some "attitude" issues like rolling her eyes, etc. and has displayed some work ethics issues too.

Frankly, I was concerned about her friendship with that girl but I bit held tongue.

A few months ago Dumpling called me from home and was in tears. Her name, along with the D's were written on the white board where they were said to be talking. Dumpling insisted that she did not but was reading a book instead. So D told Dumpling to erase away the name on the whiteboard which Dumpling did, in a moment of anger and retaliation. Interestingly, she did not erase her name but D's. She later realised her folly and wrote it back but of course, the form teacher did not take too kindly and punished the girls.

When the teacher asked D if she had told Dumpling to erase it, D said no. Dumpling was shocked and really hurt and I guess at her age, she has not faced any "politics" so she took it quite bad. It was a hard lesson learnt.

4) Let them live with the consequences
Following on from the quiz, Dumping has forgotten to submit her homework before and she has also forgotten to bring work back to complete.

As she was new to Primary school in P1, I helped her out once where I drove home and sent the book down for her. But I made it clear that was the only time and I would not do it again.So yes, despite that I know of some work that the kiddo has to do, I do not remind her all the time and there have been instances where she forgot and was reprimanded. She was naturally upset that I did not "bail" her out but I stuck to my guns and she has also learnt to be honest where she would tell the teachers she had forgotten and not lie about it too.

5) Modelling it and associating this to real life scenarios
Children learn through observations and even at this age, I am very mindful of what I say and how I handle things in front of her. E.g. I clear my own plates and bowls despite having a helper and she does the same thing too.

I also share my challenges at work and how I tackle them and work my way around them. For e.g. I sometimes vet copies numerous times and I will link this back to her checking of her school work. Despite the fact that I am bored up to my ears and how badly my toes would cringe after proof reading like 101 times, I still have to do it as that is my responsibility as an employee to the company. I find that after I have shared that even I face such "challenges", she is usually more receptive.

It is still a "work-in-progress" of course and yes, the kid does whine about some stuff has even commented that I am a "horrid mum", I stuck to my guns and still let her "fall" and make very obvious mistakes. My view on this is simple: sometimes lessons are meant to be lived through, so that they learn.
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