Feb 19 2012

Julia Gabriel Giveaway

If your kids love dinosaurs, you will love this Giveaway!

Julia Gabriel has released a new book  entitled “Rainbow Bear’s Dinosaur Discovery: An Adventure in Blends and Digraphs”.

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Featuring 24 dinosaur creatures, the kids will have lots of fun as they uncover new revelations through Julia Gabriel’s Centre approach to early literacy.  Together with the book’s accompanying CD, kids also get to learn amusing tongue twisters, along with catchy tunes. This book will serve as a great instrument for parents and children, as they experience the joys of reading together! wlEmoticon smile5 Julia Gabriel Giveaway 

The Good News is that once again we are having a GIVEAWAY!

Yes! Join  our Giveaway and get Rainbow Bear’s Dinosaur Discovery. Together with the CD and Songbook, the whole set retails at $29.95.

We have 3 sets of these Books to Giveaway, so all you need to do to win in this Giveaway is to:

1. Comment on this blog and tell us why you like this Dinosaur Discovery gift set.

2. Join the ED Unloaded Facebook Page (if you have not done so).

3. Share this blog page on your Facebook Wall (For those new to this process, you can do this by sharing the link from the ED Unloaded Facebook Page, and pasting it on your FB Wall. Do help me by TAGGING me as well, so that I know that you have done it.)

Contest ends on the 28 Feb 2012 2359hrs.


The Winners of the Giveaway are out and the 3 lucky Winners are:

1. Esther Cheng


3, Carol Lim

I will be sending you an email to arrange the collection of your prizes wlEmoticon smile5 Julia Gabriel Giveaway 

Congratulations and best of luck everyone in future Giveaways!

Dec 10 2010

Julia Gabriel Trial Class

Recently, at the invitation of Julia Gabriel, my kids had the chance to try out their enrichment classes at Forum Galleria.

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Julia Gabriel has programs for children from 6 months all the way to primary school, and my kids managed to try out the Edu-drama and Edu-play programs. As there are lots of programs provided by other schools, it is important for parents to make informed choices. Trial Classes are therefore super-useful to aid parents in their decision making process. (Read: How to choose a Pre-school)

As Nadine was the youngest and most alien to such classes, we accompanied her for the Bilingual Playclub, which is for children aged from 18 months to 3.5 years.

In fact, the Bilingual Playclub was where Nathan first started two years ago, and they were the 1st classes that he attended.

Nadine on the other hand, has never been for any enrichment classes before, and this trial class, was definitely one that offered her good exposure.

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Each class usually starts off with 15 minutes of playtime. This is for the children to get used to the environment, and also for them to adjust to their new friends and surroundings.

During this time, the teachers also introduced themselves to the kids, and I must say that this was the highlight of the class.

I have been to a few enrichment programs, and I firmly believe that any program can work – as long as you have got GOOD TEACHERS!

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We were blessed to have really GOOD TEACHERS in this class. Claire who is from Scotland was really bubbly and spontaneous as she introduced herself to the class!

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The 1st segment of the class was Art and Craft. As it was Xmas Season, the kids were asked to make snow flake decorations for their tree.

Each Art and Craft segment comprises of 2 tasks, and the Chinese teachers introduced their ideas immediately after Claire’s introduction.

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Check out the kids as they went to their workstations to make the decorations for themselves. The teachers were always close-by to assist the kids!

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“The Magic Box” was next, the kids were encouraged to step out in faith, and find out what was in the box!

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And what was more…at the count of 3…

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It could make your hair…

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This simple lesson in static electricity won the hearts of the children, as they saw the power of science.

Story-Time was next, and the kids were captivated by the Story about Xmas!

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The Chinese teachers were just as fun and creative. Their mini skit about a Robot displayed such spontaneity, that the kids were thoroughly captivated!

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And if you are wondering, which was the favourite segment of the kids…I think you can safely say that it was BREAK-TIME!

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And of course…Not forgetting Play-Time!

The kids just went wild, as they saw the toys and kiddy rides available!

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And one of the most fun segments for this Daddy blogger was Music Time. This was when, we would just sing and dance with the kids, as the kids learnt and develop their motor & vocal skills through music.

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At the end of the day, the kids had great fun!

In all seriousness, I think the teachers made all the difference. Through my interaction with the teachers, I found out that they have at least 30-40 teachers who have been with Julia Gabriel for more than 10 years. I think their experience with kids go a long way, and my kids just loved them!

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If you are interested in the Julia Gabriel Program, Contact them for a trail class, and experience their curriculum for yourselves! icon smile Julia Gabriel Trial Class

Jul 2 2010

Do my kids need Enrichment Classes?

As your kids hit 18 months, there is a subtle pressure to send your kids for enrichment.

When the kids hit 4yo, there is another surge of pressure to send your kids for even more classes especially on the weekends. From language classes, music lessons, swimming, fencing, phonics, taekwondo, art, speech and drama…the list goes on.

Recently ED Unloaded had an opportunity to conduct an email interview with Fiona Walker (CEO of Julia Gabriel for Learning, Chiltern House Child Care Centres and Julia Gabriel School of Education) and she gives her input on Enrichment Classes for Pre-Schoolers.

ChilternHouse FionaandCHstudents Do my kids need Enrichment Classes?

1. Are enrichment courses necessary?

Enrichment courses should be just that – a course to enrich and enhance your child’s learning and experiences. The school system here offers a very comprehensive academic programme so if your child has talents or an interest in the arts or sports it is a good idea to allow your child to follow that interest and enrichment courses make that possible.

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With young children you may not know where your child’s interests lie. Taking a music class, art class or tennis lessons, for example, for a term then swapping over will help you and your child discover what he or she may wish to pursue.

2. Some pre-schools offer this as part of the curriculum. Is it sufficient?

Generally Nursery age children can find a full preschool curriculum very stimulating so if additional enrichment programmes are built in I would imagine, yes this may be enough for now. You may have heard of a course which is particularly good and engaging but I would limit that to one or two weekly additional classes for young children.

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As a parent you will have to judge whether or not your child is being tired out. Dragging a tired or unmotivated child to enrichment classes really can be a waste of your money. Once children are in Kindergarten they are more ready for classes which expand their experiences beyond traditional classroom learning.

3. Is there such a thing as too much enrichment for children?

Definitely! I have known many children with a schedule which would horrify a professional executive. Rushing from school to classes almost 7 days a week. There have been a number of reports on the increase of stress in young children here. I believe this stress is very much a direct result of children being robbed of their childhood and right to free play. By increasing our expectations and packing their schedule from around the age of three, we will actually be producing children who behave like hamsters on a wheel and not creative geniuses.

Children need time to think and use their imagination. Enrichment classes can feed their imagination and help them think creatively but it is no use if they never get the chance to explore and expand on that new knowledge and skill before being rushed off to the next class.

My thoughts?

Well, I would LOVE it if my child could play Bach on the cello, Sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” like Connie Talbot (From America’s Got Talent Fame), Read French with the right accent, and get a fashion spread at Young Parents. And if they could eat their veggies, it would be a nice bonus icon smile Do my kids need Enrichment Classes?

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But having three kids of such differing personalities, giftings and talents, I realised that exposing them to a wide spectrum of enrichment only makes it more difficult to make a decision! We’ll keep their official structured learning during school hours, anything after, will be based on their interest, likes and wants.

And my vote goes to more Family Time! where after school hours will be spent bonding as a family! We can’t do that together in Ballet or at Art Class, and this definitely can’t be achieved if I spend half the time finding a parking lot at the enrichment centre!

Furthermore, the extra enrichment classes are a real financial strain, and I think that quality time with the kids will be a better option…although I am a bit tempted with the Chinese Language classes, as we don’t speak enough Mandarin at home! icon smile Do my kids need Enrichment Classes?

May 26 2010

Choosing a Pre-School

Are you facing the stress of choosing a Pre-School for your children?

Well, it seems that all of us parents have to go through that sooner or later and recently, I had the privilege to conduct an email interview with Fiona Walker (CEO of Julia Gabriel for Learning, Chiltern House Child Care Centres and Julia Gabriel School of Education) to get her input about about choosing a Pre-School?

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Fiona has had more than a decade of experience with Pre-Schoolers and I thought that this interview will be very useful for us parents.

Here are some of the questions that I put to her:

1. What are some factors to consider when looking for a pre-school?

Choosing the right pre-school for your child can be challenging for parents. Here are few tips that can help you and your child feel confident you have made the right choice.

  • Decide what location you prefer and what your budget is. It is important that the school you choose will comfortably fit into your family’s lifestyle.
  • Once you have narrowed down the possibilities, make arrangements to visit the schools. Many schools will have a similar sounding philosophy so it is important you know what to look for so you can see if it will work for you and your child.
  • On your visit ask yourself – Do the children seem happy, are they actively engaged in a variety of activities, is the environment bright, cheerful and filled with children’s art work, is the equipment plentiful, varied and in good condition? Do the teachers seem happy, are they engaged with the children, are they good language models and are they observant and aware of all the children in their care, are the children comfortable and affectionate with the teachers?
  • If you are happy with your first impression then make an appointment to meet the principal. You may consider asking the following questions:

· What are the teachers’ experience and qualifications?

· How important is the child’s social and emotional development as opposed to the more academic development?

· How does the school ensure the children are prepared for Primary One?

· How does the school deal with children testing boundaries and conflict? This is a normal aspect of young children’s development but it is important that you agree with the schools approach to discipline.

· How does the school ensure safety during pick-up times, outdoor play and field trips?

· How well is the curriculum suited to meet individual learning styles and personalities?

· How involved are parents? What channels of communication between home and school are encouraged?

2. What is the most appropriate age to send a child for pre-school?

Generally the most appropriate age to send children to preschool is between 2 and 3.

This is when children will generally have developed the language needed to express needs and wants, the physical development to be able to go to the toilet independently and the cognitive understanding to become familiar with the routines within the school setting. All of these stages of development are good indicators of whether or not a child will be able to make the transition to independent schooling without too much separation anxiety and distress.

3. What is the difference between a childcare/pre-school that is MCYS endorsed and MOE endorsed?

A childcare operated by the MCYS offers childcare for working parents as well as an MOE approved curriculum. Childcare centres must operate from 7:00a.m. to 7:00p.m., throughout the year.

Fees are paid monthly and a subsidy of $300 per month for full day is given to Singaporean parents.

MOE kindergartens run during the school term times of 40 weeks a year. They generally run for 3 hours a day and are not eligible for subsidy. Many kindergartens offer additional enrichment programmes for additional cost.

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4. What are some factors that we can compromise if parents cannot afford the top premium schools.

Get ready for a list of “Do Not’s” here:

  • Do not compromise on providing your child what is necessary for a happy day at school.
  • Do not compromise on a cheerful, bright environment which is well kept and clean.
  • Do not compromise on kind, caring staff who genuinely love their job and enjoy spending time with your child.
  • Do not compromise on senior staff members who understand the needs of young children and can balance that with the needs of the Singaporean school system.
  • Do not compromise on a curriculum which means children learn through active, hands-on experiences NOT teacher directed rote learning.
  • Do not compromise on open communication with the school.

The most premium schools generally have small class sizes, expensive, imported equipment and very well qualified staff. Of course that is all wonderful but children can often flourish in a larger group with interesting, age appropriate resources as long as the teachers understand them, the lessons are well planned and involve active learning.

-end of interview-

I think that these tips are very useful considerations that we can take into account when we are considering a pre-school for our children.

Most importantly, I think we must find a good pre-school within our family’s budget as well.

I know of parents who take extra jobs just to provide a premium school education for their kids… We Parents must realize that Mums and Dads are the best role models for our children, and that there is no substitute for Quality Time!

Check out more Parenting Tips at the Julia Gabriel Blogger’s Forum.

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Before I go, do remember to vote for me TODAY at the Singapore Blog Awards.

You can Vote again, even if you have done so already, and you can find out more details here! Thanks icon smile Choosing a Pre School

Mar 24 2010

Julia Gabriel Bloggers’ Forum

Exciting News!

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Julia Gabriel is a MEGA BIG   household brand for all Parents as they provide Premium childcare and education for children.

Therefore it was a real privilege when their PR company contacted me and wanted to do something with us! icon smile Julia Gabriel Bloggers’ Forum

What was the Julia Gabriel Forum about?

Well, when I was a kid, I told my mum once, “I’m not Chinese, I’m English”! (Of course I was referring to speaking and learning the language)

It was totally foreign, and understanding it alone was a REAL  CHORE! (remember writing and rewriting each character in those little boxes? And memorising them? ARRGH…)

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As a parent, I was worried that my kids would say the same thing to me! (You know what they say: You reap what you sow!)

Basically, the team from Julia Gabriel was here to hear our concerns about Mandarin, and they were also ready to offer us helpful parenting tips to conquer our FEARS!

The topic of the day was therefore:

Mandarin and your Child!

Honestly, before meeting the JG staff, I was a bit apprehensive…

Are they going to make me read Chinese every  day to the kids?

Do I have to watch Channel 8 from today onwards?

Are they going to convince me that Chinese Enrichment classes are a must, since my Mandarin is so bad?

Well, the fears were allayed immediately when we met their staff.

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Fiona Walker (Left) – CEO of Julia Gabriel for Learning, Chiltern House Child Care Centres and Julia Gabriel School of Education

 Huang Ying (Right)– Head of Mandarin Department.

Tips for Parents

As educators, they gave us insights to what the ‘playing field’ was like. And, as parents themselves, they brought out valuable inputs that really matched our concerns! We heard personal experiences of how their kids learn Mandarin and the struggles they face at home and in school.

In fact, they were both quite inspirational! icon smile Julia Gabriel Bloggers’ Forum

Some quick highlights…

It was a BIG relief to know that even though Huang Ying was from China, she still had to make a great effort to make Chinese enjoyable to her child!

And it was heartening to hear that Fiona’s daughter enjoys Mandarin despite both parents not speaking a word of it!

….It was a Phew! If she can do it, we can do it too! (Or rather… we must be able to do it! Cos if we fail…quite embarrassing hor!)

So what did we learn about Mandarin and pre-schoolers? Tune in to my next post!

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