Heguru, a right brain experience

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

People who know me well enough, would know that I am an advocate of right-brain training. Way before when i was pregnant with Big K, I had already been reading up. Big K attended a certain famous centre in Singapore briefly but I wasn't too impressed with the school. For one, the teachers were trained locally and it was a sit on chair, behind tables kindof setting. Aren't kids suppose to be unrestraint to a certain extent? Then life got a little tricky and I was blessed with a second pregnancy. It was very challenging for me to bring K to lessons every week with a big tummy. What's more, I spent half the lesson chasing her, getting her to sit on her chair instead of climbing onto tables. The teachers explained that even though they may be running about, they are still absorbing. And, sometimes, it could be that they find the activities boring as they already know. Regardless of the reason, it was becoming a chore to sit through and also pai seh (embarrassing) for me as all the rest of the kids seemed to be able to sit still 90% of the time! Once Big K started to move around, the rest would follow! *slaps forehead. The strange thing was, Big K isn't a hyper active girl. So I'd like to think that she knew everything or was absorbing as she monkeyed around.

So after I had given birth to Small K and got readjusted to things, I decided to embark on the right-brain journey for him as well. This time, I did more research and chose Heguru. Heguru is a renowned right brain development school in Japan with more than 30 years of extensive research. Heguru has proven to be an effective early childhood education programme which focuses on developing your child's creativity and critical thinking through effective use of images, sounds, rhythms, movement and lighting. Yes, movement was the bit which attracted me! No more sitting on chairs and tables! And, Small K being a boy, naturally I am inclined to think that he would be more active than the sister. Hence Heguru was my choice as it has a good balance of physical as well as discipline. 

We are currently attending the toddler class at Citysquare mall, which spans across 50 minutes. They have classes all the way to Primary levels. The branch we patronise is strategically located in a mall. I love the location as there are several amenities under one roof! I could have a bit of shopping rendezvous after class at Daiso without feeling guilty; bring Small K to Toys r Us for some free 
stimulation; or do some grocery shopping at the huge NTUC or the newly opened SONG FISH. 

There is endless perks for the mommy on the retail front basically. Ok, that apart, on a more serious note, I am impressed by how passionate the teachers are over at this place. Oh, did I mention, their teachers all have to be trained and sit for different levelled exams in Japan? Every year, the teachers are sent to Japan for training. That definitely sounds like they are serious about educating the next generation!

Heguru education has 5 purposes:

  1. Enlarging "vessel" for the brain.
  2. Drawing out multiple talents from the children's personalities. 
  3. Giving children self-confidence and exploiting potential hence developing the love for learning. 
  4. To cultivate the power of the mind (EQ)
  5. Cultivation of genuine thinking power. 

Our brain is split into two sections: the right and left. Left brain is of linguistic function which  I believe most kids wouldn't have any problems as we talk to them all the time plus once they enter school, left brain activities are predominant. The left brain deals with single pieces of data one by one at a low speed, understanding them little by little using words and processing them in actual consciousness. Hmmm..that doesn't sound like it was going to do a child who is in the rat race any good! I mean, low speed? Seriously? The right brain on the other hand, is sometimes known as the image brain. It automatically processes at a high speed, large amounts of data by using potential consciousness.  Automatic. Now, that, I like! It is especially important to develop both sides to the fullest extent. The brain grows at its fastest when one is young. After age 3, the development of the right brain decreases and stagnate at around 6. This is when most Singaporean children enter Primary school and will see their left brain activities escalating. The best time to expand the brain capacity of children is from age 0 up to 6yo. At Heguru, lessons focus mainly on inputting. Through various activities like linking memory, peg memory, super flash cards, rhythms, ESP, Nummerkasten and many more, the child will be receiving various stimulations to stretch his brain. Some may find that ridiculous, but I am really hoping that it will make K's learning journey in future a little easier with the encyclopaedic information I am trying to input into him at this moment. It really isn't about what he is able to remember at this moment but more of how he is able to find it familiar in future subconsciously and hence develop a greater learning interest. Already, I am seeing the output. I have severely neglected this boy on the learning front. I mean, coping with two without a helper plus working full time and running a business isn't quite a breeze. So, when he could recite his ABCs as well as recite the Tang Dynasty Poems before the age of 2, I was impressed! Particularly since my Chinese isn't quite fabulous and half of the poems he recited sounded alien to me! So well done, my boy! 

Here is Small K at 22mo, reciting the Tang poems! #proudmamamoment

Look how happy he is! Every week when I asked if he would like to go for his Heguru lessons, he would always be beaming from ear to ear and giving me an excited YES!

Should you be interested in learning more about this programme, feel free to drop me a note or approach the friendly teachers at Citysquare mall. They will be able to do a consultation and give you some insight to the class. In my next instalment, I will be sharing with you some of the activities that are conducted in Heguru, so stay tune!

Follow Heguru Citysquare mall on Facebook or check out their website for more details!

Imaginarium 2016 at SAM

Sunday, July 10, 2016

I can't believe how time flies! I thought we visited Imaginarium just last year and it's back again! This year is flying too quickly. Does that happen when a person ages?

This year's theme is "Over the Ocean, Under the Sea". It is the sixth edition of SAM's children-focused annual exhibition. This time round, we delve into the deep and are invited into the watery realms of the Earth as seen through the eyes of contemporary artist. Over the Ocean, Under the Sea presents tactile and interactive works that encourage discovery through exploration and play. 

This installation is so meaningful. No doubt it is just a bunch of plastics, but it gave me the opportunity to explain to Big K how important it is to recycle and not be using too much of these non-biodegradable materials. 

We navigated into another room and made the acquaintance of mysterious denizens of the deep. This room features works of Krit Ngamsom. His kinetic sculptures are tongue-in-cheek references to iconic artworks that changed definitions and assumptions about art through their use of ready made objects. The fountain on top of the whale for example is made of tiny urinals! I wouldn't have noticed it if I didn't read the description. Issues concerning the oceans is also covered in this room. I asked Big K how would she feel if she was like the shark trapped in a glass tank and it made her ponder. 

In this next room, we discovered ADA. ADA is an interactive art-making machine. It is an installation with PVC balloons, helium and charcoal. This "creature" glows with the bioluminescence of denizens of the deep. The giant sphere has charcoal studs affixed to her surface and it makes great interactive fun for the kids. The number of people entering is limited each time, so you don't have to worry about your child being crushed by the ball. 

Where is Mogus? Mogus is an imaginary octopus monster, which is artist Mulyana's alter ego. The various corals and sea creatures were laboriously crocheted from yarn. It's really a wonderful sight which invites the young to frolic amidst the whimsical sea monsters. The artist hopes to encourage play, imagination and exploration and my kids sure did all three!

My favourite room has got to be the Underwater Labyrinth as it is constructed by none other than me! Janice Wong! No la, we just happen to have the same name and surname but hey, i noticed, people with this name seem to have something in common -- artistic! or so I'd like to think that I have that in me! :P 
This installation is created with isolate, chocolate, LEDs and acrylic stands. The colonies of corals which encrust the sides pf the gallery are meticulously crafted. Sparkling in the day and luminescent at night, artist-chef Janice Wong's Underwater Labyrinth invites visitors to discover the wonders of a re-created deep-seabed. Wish I could get my hands on those marshmallows!

The Submaroom is probably Big K's favourite as she got to learn how to create various types of sea creatures using Origami. There are two tables with instructions on them and pieces of paper to entice the little ones to do a little folding. No one is there to guide them however so that probably explains why it is not a popular room when we went. 

The Imaginarium is held at SAM at 8Q till 28 August 2016. If you'd like to have some respite from the afternoon sun and at the same time find a fun way to discuss about the how the oceans and seas are susceptible to abuse and degradation, this is the place to head to!

SAM is located at 71 Bras Basah Road and you would probably need to park at nearby carparks along Queen Street, NTUC Income Centre, Manulife Centre, Hotel Grand Pacific or Singapore Management University. It is also a short 2-minute walk from Bras Basah MRT station. 
Opening hours:
MOndays to Sundays 10am to 7pm
(Last admission at 6:15pm
Fridays 10am to 9pm