Every school holiday, I would enrol the children in enriching holiday programme(s) to occupy their time. And I would try to time both children’s programmes separately so that I can have some private time with the other child who is not attending. Thanks to my hubby for prioritising the kids and I, the location of holiday camp was never a consideration. I only need to go for the most interesting ones. School holiday is the best chance for us to explore enrichment programmes which we would not have had the opportunity to engage in during normal school term. With the wide array of workshop and camps out there each offering their niche programme and expertise, of course with a limited time and pool of money for extra classes, I have to carefully sieve through the available programmes before I would sign up any. Both K & R have tried their hands on baking, speech & drama, science-related, art, robotics and various outdoor sports and I am always on the look out for the fun factor. It is afterall, school holidays!
This June holidays, R was blessed with an invitation to attend a 4-day x 2-hr Chinese Show & Tell SuperHero-themed Holiday Camp at KidStartNow. From the public response to the launch of camp announcement made at KidStartNow at their Facebook page, it is no wonder that both classes were full for that week R attended.
KidStartNow offers Chinese lessons for 3 to 8 yo that is perfect for English-speaking children, or children who refuse to converse in Mandarin (R belongs to the latter category). I am happy to let him immerse in a pure Chinese-speaking environment for that 2 hours daily. It does help so much more compared to half-successful efforts at home.
For this SuperHero Camp, their teachers put on SuperHero outfit to welcome the kids daily. The children get a warm up with books or IQ toys if they are early for class. During lesson time, e-Books, games and even the reward system are used daily. Notice that the children who did e-Learning at home will get an additional star above their respective names. They get rewarded!
Parents get to access the e-Books after each lesson via a one-click log in, so that children can reinforce what they have learnt. Though we were recommended with just a minimal 15-min of e-Learning at home, the kids ended up with 20 minutes clicking through all the e-Lessons available while they are allowed to. KidStartNow cleverly made use of fun and technology to help parents who are clueless about making Chinese interesting and immersive.
Hong Mei laoshi (teacher) recognized R right on the first day as she had watched the video I uploaded onto YouTube.
Hong Mei laoshi is a patient teacher who also has the ability to quickly make shy children warm up to her. Daily after lesson, she would gladly update me about R’s performance in class, remind me to watch the e-Book at home and what he will be doing the next day. This Show & Tell Camp for 6-8 yo which R attended targets oracy and presentation skills through various activities and games which R obviously enjoyed.
From the day he received his mysterious invitation card (below), to the very last day of camp, he was piqued with interest about Panda Baby. Every day, I somehow had no issue with lunch. He would finish his meal and get dressed, and even nap willingly on the way to class. Though I was at least 10-15 minutes early, he would ask if he’s late as soon as we reach the school (because others have not come in yet). He would also be keen to do his “homework” to prepare for the next day. One of the assignment was to give a short speech about his sister and how he and K would help their dad to wash the car at home. This little speech, even though it’s 3-5 sentences, was what I target for when trying to train his confidence. I believe in giving him every chance I can, and to do it in a safe and encouraging learning environment definitely helps to boost his confidence with each presentation he attempts. Too bad for me that my kids are not natural speakers who has no inhibitions towards strangers at all. For me, this is my best effort to help them and I hope they (especially R), would slowly, but surely improve with age.
KidStartNow has just opened a new branch at Bedok Central. With 3 classrooms, this new branch is cosy and has a little bookshelf of books which the students can borrow to read.
From the cartoon painting on the wall, it is obvious that the management is targeting an immersive and happy learning environment for the children. Until today, K is still sore that she didn’t get a chance to attend such FUN class. All she went to were writing camps this holiday – From Page to Stage by I Can Read in the 1st week of June, and a Creative Writing Camp organized by Bishan National Library in week 2. Well, that’s her weaker point! >.<
With the shift in focus for Chinese as a subject for this year’s Primary 1 students, the students taking PSLE in 2020 will find themselves prepared for more weightage over speech, oracy and auditory training in Mother Tongue Language (MTL). R will be the second batch of students that will undergo the new programme and he will grow up with the Chinese mascot charactor (if i’m not wrong the name is Xiaoan, xiao an) throughout his primary school life. ~ Source
According to the Education Ministry of Singapore, the syllabus will also place greater emphasis on videos, animations and digital interactive games to keep the teaching and learning process of the mother tongue fun and interactive. Base on the above info from MOE and figuring out the direction in which KidStartNow is working on for their kids programme, I believe animation and technology does have a way to get into kids head and give them a headstart towards learning the much-dreaded language.
I received an email from KidStartNow a week after the camp was over. The email adviced on R’s assessment during the camp, as well as new classes and schedule. Parents will also receive in-class photos of their child in the same email, which I will share at the end of this post.
Personally I hope that parents would be given a chance to watch their child perform a Show & Tell on the last day of camp as I couldn’t totally believe that he was audible enough (the mosquito was probably louder than him during term-end presentation at Tien Hsia :() , no doubt that he has good pronounciation though. From all angles, be it for the child, parent or school, I feel that it is definitely beneficial. Each child will be given the opportunity to express himself to a willing audience who are mostly strangers. Parents get to see the immediate outcome of the camp, and to understand more in-depth what their child has been doing for the past 3 days. KidStartNow can also get to have closer interaction with parents and have a chance to share their values, direction and course syllabus.
(6-8 year olds, 4 days 2 hours per day)
- Focus is on preparing kids for show and tell in primary school by boosting vocabulary and oral confidence.
- Some role-playing activities as well, together with a show and tell presentation in front of classmates on the last day
- K2 kids who join this camp must have a requisite level of spoken Chinese.
- Develops interest in reading and learning Chinese through animated storybooks.
- Max of 10 students to a class
P1/P2 Show and Tell and Role-playing Class (Every Sat, 9-11am, starts 4th July)
- Focuses on preparing kids to excel in show and tell and oral examinations in primary school
- Builds oral confidence and interest in speaking Chinese through role-playing and speech and drama
- Increases vocabulary and improves word recognition through animated storybooks
- Aligns with new MOE policy of teaching using animation and technology
- Max of 10 students to a class
- $400 for 10 lessons
Below video is a classic e-Book shared with parents after lessons. I am unable to share the exact copy of what R was shown in class, but this is exactly the same format. It looks and feels like Brillkids Little Reader programme which I had used to teach R to read when he was much smaller (he didn’t go through Phonics class except in kindy).