Preparation for Primary One – School Registration at Phase 2B

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Like all Singaporeans parents, we had to go through our rite of of passage for my daughter’s formal education with the Primary one registration. For us, we opted a more secure route under Phase 2B with the parent volunteer scheme. Confused about the various phases for Primary One? Read here for the complete low down.

While some friends thought we were being too kiasu since we live within 1km of the school of our choice, we didn’t want to take any chances. We did our maths and according to last year’s statistics from Kiasu Parents, there were applicants who had to ballot within 1km last year at Phase 2B! It was a risk we were not willing to take since we were not keen for Sophie to attend our alma mater since they were both far away.

Diary of a PV Mum

So in the year that Sophie turned four, we signed up to be Parent Volunteers somewhere in July. If this is something you’re considering, do call up the school to find out when they start the selection as some do it as early as January. For grassroots, you have to start in January in the year your child in four-years-old.

It’s not uncommon that the schools will require you to send in a CV of yourself, stating the areas that you’ll be able to contribute towards. Since my background is in the finance sector where I’m doing marketing, I even offered to give workshops on financial literacy and how to use social media among the other areas that I could render my services in. We have heard of schools that conduct interviews of their PV applicants and I joked with hubby it’s as if we’re applying for a job.

The school took a while to get back on our applications to be PV and I was worried that we were given the boot. But later, we found out that it’s because they wanted to give the PVs a good chance when it comes to registration, so they cut off their selection at 2km. A wise choice I’ll say if they’re didn’t want parents to end up disappointed.

Parent Volunteer duties

So what did we do as PVs?

Whenever the school needed parents to help in concerts, events, etc, they’ll send out a mass email and it’s all on a first come, first serve basis.

Alexis and myself have helped out at events such as chaperoning the students during visits to the Old Folks Home, setting up and mending stalls in a charity bazaar, time recorder for Sports Day, putting on make up for the dancers for Chinese New Year concert as well as our Light Saber welding duty as traffic wardens.

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The comments from my friends made me LOL!

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In all, we clocked in 40 hours between Alexis and myself and I am thankful that through these opportunities, we managed to have interactions with the teachers, students as well as other parents to learn more about the school, it’s environment, culture and values.

These experiences made us feel assured that it is going to provide Sophie with the much needed push to appreciate her Chinese roots as well as values.

You may want to check with the school on the number of hours required as a PV because it can vary from 30 hours to 80 hours! I don’t know how working parents can clock in that many hours, so if the school you’re applying to has such demands, you’ll have to be prepared to apply for leave.

Primary One Registration

When it was finally our turn to register Sophie in the third week of July, we were a bundle of nerves! The process was pretty smooth as we just had to fill in an application form without too much waiting.

I took the opportunity to introduce the school to Sophie and pointed out the classroom and canteen to her. She was so surprised to see a lift on the compound since daddy has been prepping her that she needs to carry her school bag and climb the stairs when she gets to primary school.

After Day One, we checked the stats and the numbers looked favorable. But we didn’t want to count our eggs before they hatched and waited patiently for the results on Day Two.

Finally at 5:30pm on the second day, I  called up the school under the pressure from my other friends who were posting about heir successful application on FB and Praise the Lord, Sophie got in without balloting! I was so happy that I texted my family and friends to share the good news!

And of course, we headed out for dinner to celebrate too :)

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Sophie said every celebration must have cake!

The whole Primary One registration has been such a nerve wreaking experience but thankfully we didn’t have to go to the extend of shifting places like what some parents did to secure a better chance.

Today’s going to be the last phase for those registering under phase 2C and I wish you all the best! May you be successful in all your applications with no balloting required.

Preparing for Primary One

Do hit me with your best tips on how to prepare my girl for Primary One. I know there’ll be lots of things that we need to make adjustments in including waking up before 7am 😛

For now the next thing on the agenda is to plan a family holiday that’s during the off peak season since we wouldn’t have the luxury to do that next year!

Making time for my Mummy’s me-time indulgences

As a young mum, I remember feeling despondent that my whole life was revolving around my little baby and her incessant demands on me, that I felt like I’m never going to have a life of my own again.

Fast forward to 6 years later with Sophie going to primary school in less than half a year, I can say with much conviction that my mantra of, This too shall pass, has paid off and I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in reclaiming my life and sanity back.

Currently, a big part of me is about finding balance and fulfillment in my life. There are days (rather make that many days) when I feel like an absolute failure trying to be a juggling mum, trying my best to manage a household after work to ensure that my home doesn’t looks like a tornado just swept past and also be a hands-on and involved mum with Sophie by spending quality time with her.

But I’m also a rather idealistic mum, who believes that as much as I’m a mum, I also matter a lot as an individual. So at the end of the day, I like to carve out time for myself and indulge in what I call mummy’s me-time and these are a few of my favourite indulgences.

My favourite Mummy’s me time indulgences

1. Making a beautiful mess

One of my favourite indulgences is to craft. There’s something so energizing about being inspired by an idea, working with your hands to create new possibilities and watching it turn into reality when the completed piece is in my hands.

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This hangs on the door to my craft room

I blame Pinterest for always recommending things to me that leave me excited and bursting with new ideas for my next craft projects and another one that’s in cahoots with them is Instagram!

Some of these crafts can be a greeting card for a dear friend. Some times it can be a scrapbook layout to document those significant milestones in life that you want to cherish forever.

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Left: Birthday card Right: Canvas art

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Scrapbook of Sophie’s first run at the Cold Storage Run 2015

And one thing, I’m working on is Project Life, a weekly documenting system with photos and journals to help me remember my everyday life. if you’re keen to learn more about it, read here.

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As I work on my crafts, I like to reminisce about the happy memories behind the photos and be transported back to where those memories took place and i am often filled with much gratitude in my heart.

A new area of crafting that I want to try is sewing, specifically embroidery. That’s the reason why, I’ve been busy pining lots of inspiration on my Pinterest Board and I hope to get down to it before the end of the month.

2. Blogging

You definitely saw this coming, didn’t you? Just like how I enjoy the memory recording process when I do scrapbooks, writing on my blog helps me to recapture the beautiful memories with my family and immortalized them on my blog like when I blog about our holidays and also Sophie’s major milestones.

Blogging also gives me a glimpse into other’s life, their perspective on motherhood and ideas for exciting places to take my girl or things that I can do with her.

Another truth about blogging is that I do spend a considerable time on it. Not just writing a blog post, but researching on a topic, interacting with other bloggers as well as readers on my blog and on my facebook page.

But what I really love about blogging is the community that I’m a part where some of these online friends whom I’ve known on the Internet have gone on to be real life family friends. And that’s the beauty when it comes to friendships, that it knows no boundaries and limits.

3. Watching drama serials

Watching drama series together was something that hubby and I used to enjoy long when we were dating. We would faithfully chase serials like Lost, The Mentalist, Chuck, The Big Bang Theory, Heros and the latest Game of Thrones which is all hubby’s idea.

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I did watch a couple of HK and Korean drama serials on my own, But watching them without hubby’s company is quite another experience as I don’t get to discuss the plot and what goes on.

Sadlly, some of these shows have stopped their run while some of them are on a season break, so it’s a self declared tv fast for me.

4. Exercising
I know I ought to be more disciplined in this area of exercise and it’s something that I’m working on slowly but surely. But back when I was more active, exercising was one of my favorite me time as it gave me the space to unwind and think in between catching my breadth that is.

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Back when I could conqueror a vertical marathon!

Among the list on my favourite mummy me-time, this is the most guilt-free and healthiest indulgences and I really should get my butt off and get moving to get those happy endorphin up and running again.

 

Truth is we mums need to remember to recharge ourselves from time to time. It doesn’t mater if you get just 5 minutes of me-time or 2,3 hours in a week. What maters most is to do something that you enjoy and that refreshes your soul and physical being so that you can go the distance.

And as I always remember my hubby, happy wife= happy life :)

What do you like to get up to when you get your precious mummy’s me-time?

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Next on the blog train is Beverly. Beverly blogs at Hello Little Sunshine where she documents life as a first time mom with her 3 year old toddler.

Hop on over to her blog tomorrow to find out how she finds time for herself and what are some of her favourite ‘me-time’ indulgences.

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Splash-N-Surf Water Playground, Kallang Wave’s Singapore Sports Hub

As parents, we sometimes feel like it’s necessary to take our kids out to have fun at theme parks, indoor playgrounds, the movies and it can be a costly affair especially when you have  more kids. But I’ve learnt that kids hardly bother about where they go as long as they are out having fun with friends.

And in this aspect, I’m really thankful that we have so many fun for free options in Singapore. From parks and gardens, beaches and playgrounds including water playgrounds conveniently located within shopping malls.

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Splash-N-Surf Water Playground, Kallang Wave Mall

Sophie’s childcare centre recently took all the kids for an excursion to the Splash-N-Surf water playground at Kallang Wave Mall. The children were so excited because on regular days, they don’t get many opportunities to be outdoors as the cc is within the CBD area. It’s not ideal since kids love to be outdoors within nature, running around so they do get to go out for short walks.

With such scorching hot weather these days, all of them were looking forward to some splashing fun.

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Splash-N- Surf water playground is one of the latest water playground conveniently located on level 3 of Kallang Wave Mall. Unlike the other water playgrounds that we’ve been to, this one is pretty sizable with two areas.

On one side, is a mini pool with a depth of 0.6m. The height is just nice for my six-year-old. But then again, she’s vertically challenged like mummy, so for the average four to five-year-olds, this is a very comfortable depth for them.

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What’s assuring is that there is a life-guard on duty to keep a look out for the kids, because when they start to have fun, they tend to forget about safety rules.

Little toddlers below 2 years old can also swing around in these bucket seats.

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On the other side, is a two storeys playground with slides, water buckets and water sprays. Hubby saw the photos and said this could easily give playgrounds like Port of Lost Wonder a run for it’s money and I fully agree.

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Of course for parents who like to take this time to sit back and relax, there are benches around to do so. Otherwise, it’s perfectly fine to join in the fun with the kids in your swimwear too. I even saw a couple of hot mums in their bikinis joining their kids too!

We didn’t manage to check out the Lazy River beside the water playground but it looks a little too small for adults. Do note that there is an admission charge for the lazy river (S$2)  and you’re required to get your tickets at the OCBC Aquatic Centre (Level 1) Information Counter​.

For a water playground that doesn’t charge anything, I’m pretty impressed at how spacious this playground is, delighting both the young and younger tots. And I’m sure parents will appreciate that they have very thoughtfully provide bathing facilities, changing rooms and lockers all conveniently just a stone’s throw away.

But if waterplay is not your kids’s cup of tea, they can head to the playground at the far end. 

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Some tips to enjoy your day at Splash-N-Surf

  • Remember your sunscreen / sunblock and do remember to drink lots of water!
  • Shower and lockers facilities are available at the Splash-N-Surf
  • Proper swinwear attire is required.
  • Not related to the pool, but mums you’ll be happy to know that there’s a NTUC and Diaso within the mall :)

 

Kallang Wave Mall
1 Stadium Place
Singapore 397628
Nearest MRT: Stadium MRT station
Opening hours: 8am – 10pm, daily

 

Do check out these other waterplaygrounds in Singapore that we’ve reviewed too

Wildlife Theme Rooftop Water Playground, Tampines one
Waterplayground, 112 Katong
Port of Lost Wonder, Sentosa

 

 

Maker Faire in Singapore

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Maker Faire Singapore happened last weekend and we made time to check out some of the most creatives minds from tech enthusiasts, crafters, scientists, educators, hobbyists,and even homeschoolers where they showcased a wide spectrum interesting projects. Alexis was keen to go as it was held in his former and now defunct Primary School.

About Maker Faire Singapore

Maker Faire is a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning. Originated in California in 2012, this movement has travelled to other shores and this is the 4th year Maker Faire is happening in Singapore!

The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community so that we can foster and celebrate a more hands-on and do-it-yourself culture, where people can come to participate in hands-on activities and learn new skills at the event.

The number of booths and workshops that were happening were incredible and it was reported that there were 250 booths! So there’s definitely something that will catch your interest and some of these were very fun to watch too.

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Latter art by a robot from Japan

Naturally this robot that does latte art caught my eye. The result is not that impressive if you ask me since I think the ones done by the baristas does a better job.

There’s also Strawbees, where you can make structures from straws.

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Starbees where you are encouraged to dream big and build bigger

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A welding demonstration by Repair Kopitiam

In this day and age, our equipment give up on us far too quickly. And as a result,  we tend to adopt a more convenient habit of throwing them away instead of looking to repair it.  I’m often guilty of it myself especially when the fans in my home that always spoil within 2 years.

It was fascinating to see some of these projects like the 3D printing machine in real life and watching the designs taking form.

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3D printing

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Hand drill powered ride

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There are also crafts who brought their proud creations from yarn bombing, paper clips earring, cards,  oragami, clay figurines and so many more. They came to share their love for their craft and also to sell their wares.
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Interview with some of these makers

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I signed Sopie for a workshop by Preschool Market for a hands-on session and made our own games instead of relying on games on the iPad or computer. Making games together is also a great idea to get kids to work with their hands and spend quality time parent and child bonding time too.

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Making a game with materials that can be easily found at home.

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Image credit to Startwell

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Our completed DIY game of marble and maze

Preschool Market is part of the Science of Play team, a Lien Foundation’s StartWell initiative and you can check out some of their useful resources that incorporates play in a child’s development here.

Another activity that captured Sophie’s attention was of course the Bike 4 Fun at the ground level where old bikes are upcycled and given a new lease of life. And what you have are fun and innovative rides.

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According to the manager of Bikes 4 Fun, he hopes to show children the value of reinventing and being creative. And from the designs of the bikes above, he certainly delivered.

Sophie was keen to try the different rides, from the friendship bike to the unicycle with training wheels and even huge train look alike ride. It was quite a scene to see the kids maneuver about in their unique rides.

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We also learnt about how current works with this simple circuit board put together by an engineer who wants to teach kids about science. I’m surprised that Sophie was quite keen on it and even tried her hands at it.

The look of her face when the bulb lit up was so satisfying and she went on to experiment with the buzzer and fan versions. Frankly, it’s not something that she’ll pick up from me, so I’m glad that this fair exposed her to activities like this.

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Personally, the greatest take away from Maker Faire is the opportunity to see a culture of making and creating from all walks of life. I’m more of a crafter than a science enthusiast but some of the projects were really eye opening. It makes you wonder just how far the boundaries can be pushed when we dream of things bigger than ourselves.

I especially liked the DIY motto from upcycling to reinventing and creating new things from scratch from regular everyday items. And this environment encourages creativity and curiosity which are key to a child’s development. 

We can’t wait for the next Maker Faire next year!

 

For other creative play that you can do with your kids, do check out these post

Working mums, you are doing your child good

Ask any working mum and they’ll tell you that the one thing they struggle with the most is mummy’s guilt. And if that’s not enough, we also have to juggle the demands of work and family and wonder where’s the work-life balance that we’re promised.

But thanks to a new study by Harvard, we working mums can finally shake off the guilt and stop beating ourselves up about working outside the home.

 

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Women whose mothers worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs, and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time.

 

According to the findings from Harvard Business School, daughters of employed mothers are more likely to join the workforce. And across 24 countries, 69 per cent of women with a working mother were employed. And not only that, daughters of working mothers go on to earn marginally higher wages and more likely to be leaders in their professional lives.

And mums with boys, you’ll be happy to know that boys raised by working mothers are more likely to spend extra time caring for family members and doing household chores than the sons of mothers who were at home full-time.

The Reactions

Not surprising,after I shared this news on my FB page, I received quite a response, mainly from stay-home mums that the study must be taken with a pinch of salt. In their defence, it’s hardly about whether the children had working mums or not, but rather how much time these mums spend with their children, how the mums raised their kids and the values that’s being imparted.

I do not disagree with them and agree that such studies can be skewed depending on the questions are asked, the way the result are sliced and diced and finally how they want to present the findings.

But personally, it’s refreshing to read something that suggests that working mums are not neglecting our kids when we make the decision to work. And I can take heart that my daughter IS going to turn out fine even though I’m a working mum who can’t spend as much time with her as I wish. And to cite this study, I am more than just helping my family economically and myself professionally, I am also helping our child in the long haul.

Then again, who’s to say that I will keep working. After all, I may take a career break, change to working part-time or maybe even become a SAHM in the future. After all, a family evolves and so some of these arrangements evolve along the way as well.

While it is challenging balancing work and family, it can be done with understanding bosses and colleagues, a supportive spouse as well as a positive mindset that it’s possible.

 

So husbands, remember to thank your wife when you get home today because as she’s working, she’s raising a new generation of modern men who can roll their sleeves up to help in their chores as well as independent and career minded ladies.

And mums – let’s not be too hard on ourselves. After all, we are being a positive role model to our kids whether you know it or not.

 

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