Sunday, September 09, 2012

Of birthday celebrations & new beginnings- August 2012

Our niece, Sheldon held her one-year old celebration at Changi and Gerrard had such fun catching up (literally- when they were running all around) with his cousins. And aren't me so glad that I had finally changed my camera and managed to capture candid shots of the beautiful kids. Seeing them playing and laughing so unconditionally made me feel that childhood is such a precious stage in life where we can enjoy ourselves without a care for the rest of the world =)

 Testing out my new camera- finally some decent pictures after so long

 With Cousin Belva
 With Cousins Belva & Liv
 Happy Birthday Sheldon - May you grow up pretty and healthy!

Towards the end of August 2012, Soka Kindergarten had a "Celebration of Learning" night at the end of Term 3 where parents and kids were invited to school in the evening that showcased what was taught in that school term. The classroom was transformed into a "zoo" where a variety of animal crafts and works greeted us. 

August 2012 is also the month where I signed Gerrard up for class at Eye Level (previously known as E.nopi) I have never heard of this school and happened to chance upon it by walking past Tampines West Community Centre. This came at an apt timing as I was starting to teach Gerrard how to do 2-digit additions. He got the concept very quickly but when it came to subtractions, I was unsure of how to teach him the "borrowing technique" eg. 12-7 where 2 can't minus 7 and needs to borrow from 1. I was concerned that the method I am trying to teach may not be correct and confuse him further when he eventually learns it from school in future. 

I gave Eye Level a call and arrange for a free assessment as Eye Level is based on an educational principle where students learn at their own pace. Hence, even if you are a 4 year old, you may not be put into a "4 year old" class as different child has different pace of learning. The diagnostic assessment results determines the level you should be starting at in the Eye Level curriculum. In class, the teacher goes through a concept with you and you will be given workbooks to do at home everyday until the next lesson where the teacher checks what you've done, correct you if necessary and assess if you can move on to the next concept. This form of self directed learning allows the student to learn at their own pace and I pretty like it. After confirming that the curriculum is aligned with MOE, I decided on a Thursday class for him and a big plus point it also that the centre is a stone's throw from Grandma's house so it saves a lot of time for them to bring him to and fro class. 

Gerrard has been enjoying the classes so far and I find both teachers very nice and approachable. I did a search online about the company and below is an extract from the chairman's autobiography:

"There are six virtues that a learner-individual must possess: 1) diehard "attitude" of competitiveness 2) "humanity" that conditions us against conceit; 3) "principles" that guard against temptation; 4) "passion" acquired through the spirit of sportsmanship; 5) "possibility" as the power that helps to achieve goals and 6) "effort" as the only force that can defeat natural talent."

Couldn't agree further.

Great staycation at Sentosa- June 2012

The weekend following our trip to the zoo, we went on to Part 2 of our holiday fun at Sentosa. Our family enjoyed the weekend getaway tremendously because of 2 main highlights:

1. Cable-Car ride

This was Gerrard's first journey on a cable car and he was pretty excited. The Singapore Cable Car was having an Angry Birds Atop Mount Faber promotion, where we enjoyed a full-sensorial experience in the World's FIRST Angry Birds Cable Car cabin. During the ride, we were surrounded by the Angry Birds and there were even some Angry Birds plush toys in there as well. At the Jewel Box, there was a shop selling all kinds of Angry Birds merchandise and souvenirs. On our way back from Harbourfont, we stopped by The Jewel Box and I had a glimpse of the place. At night, it had an unique facade with its beautiful lights of the place, as if it is setting off a subtle glow against the dark sky. I would love to go there to dine one day.
 Had dinner at Crystal Jade, Vivocity and the chilled milk tea had a special presentation- it tasted nice too!
 Making monkey faces
 Angry Birds Galore!

2. Great Hotel Stay

After my disappointed visit to Festive Hotel last year, I decided to go back to my trusty Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort. Derek & I had visited the place a few times during our dating years and we really liked it very much. The whole atmosphere is very relaxing and the moment I stepped into the hotel lobby, I could feel a breathe of fresh air & cool breeze from the beach. It just seems to say "Vacation begins here!" 

This time round, I was more cautious and emailed the hotel a few times to confirm the air-con arrangement because as me and Gerrard have very sensitive noses, we had suffered badly from the air-conditioning in hotels which were usually freezing cold regardless of whichever temperature I set. There were desperate occasions where I even turned the aircon off, only to find it auto switched back on after a while maybe because in many places, the air-conditioning is based on a central system. 

Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa was very patient in answering my queries via email and assured me that the air-conditioning can be switched on or off accordingly to my preference. There is even a ceiling fan in each room that prevents the room from being too stuffy even if I switch the air-con off. I was still a bit sceptical when night came and brought along extra thick clothings to add on if the temperature becomes too unbearable. Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa indeed proved what they had promised me and the following morning, both of us woke up with wide smiles on our faces instead of stuffy noses! I was elated and made a note to myself that I want to come back again. 

Another plus point of this hotel is that it has one of the best breakfast buffet ever. The spread and taste was splendid at Silver Shell Cafe and after breakfast, we walked down to the pool area for some water fun. The children's pool had a water slide but no adults are allowed, I did not want Gerrard to climb up the steps alone. Nevertheless, we had fun splashing around in the pool.


It's a pity that I didn't managed to take much pictures during this outing as my camera resolution was really getting very lousy and with an active toddler on hand, I am almost on the run most of the time as well. Despite that, the trip provided us with wonderful memories and all in all, we had a splendid staycation at Sentosa. I look forward to the next time we are back to cover other exciting attractions of this fun island =) 

Saturday, September 08, 2012

We went to the Zoo

As part of Gerrard's holiday project, he had to make a trip to the zoo, take pictures of animals and find out their characteristics like country of origin, special features, the food they eat etc and present in the form of a scrapbook. A rather mighty task to ask of a 4 year old!

We went there as a big family and with the map in hand, we set off identifying the various animals. We rented a stroller and that was the best lesson I've learnt from our last year's trip to the zoo. Under the scorching sun and with the fact that Gerrard is bigger now, there is no way we could have carried him during the walk. 

This time round, instead of feeding the enormous elephants, we went for the lengthy giraffes instead. It was a bit disappointing as the feeding time was really short and the moment the giraffe reached for the food, we were asked to leave quickly. Not much chance to hang around and take pictures too. 

Look at its long tongue! 
 Gerrard's favourite animal- the Kangaroo =)

Gerrard was looking forward to the waterplay area at Rainforest Kidzworld. There were water-flushed slides and tubes, rain arches, snaking shooters and spray shacks. Compared to last year, Gerrard was more adventurous this year in exploring the array of water games. We joined in as well and it was virtually impossible to stay dry. 

 Jumping with excitement!
 Sheldon is a natural water baby

Coming back, I guided Gerrard to do some research on the animals via Wikipedia and describe them in a few lines. I printed out the pictures taken and together with the short descriptions, Gerrard cut and pasted them onto construction paper that I helped to fasten together into a scrapbook. It took us about 2 hours to get everything cut and pasted properly and I was glad it's over! 

Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers

Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers