Review: On to the next stage at Heguru

Sunday, December 10, 2017

In a matter of weeks, Small K will be embarking on a new journey with Heguru. As if having Big K en route to Primary school isn't emotional enough, now they are telling me that my younger baby is being promoted to the independent class! Meaning, mummy need not sit with him in class anymore! GASP! Cue: Cry. Time really needs to slow down!

Heguru has several classes:
1) Infant toddler class (for toddlers aged 6months to 3years old)
2) Preschool class (for children age above 4 years old)
3) Primary class (for 6 years old and above)
4) Hado reading (I will talk more when we get there)

This was my baby when he first started Heguru! OMG!!!! Where has this baby gone? I. just. cannot! The shirt is now a little tight and the pants a little short. The shoes can't fit him anymore and I am pretty sure his brain is expanding exponentially!

So Small K will turn 4 in 2018, hence he will move on to the preschool class. Heguru does not necessarily promote a child just because of his age. They do see if the child has made such a progression. For example, we had a classmate from China who just joined us and even though he is ready for the next stage, age wise, he will still remain in the infant toddler class for a term or two, lest the shock be too great for him. I appreciate this as I have seen certain enrichment centres who push the student up to the next level just because it is time. 

Small K has been attending Heguru on a weekly basis for about 1.5years now, below are some things which I have noted of his progress:

1) Flashcards
At the very beginning, he wasn't too keen in flashcards. He fidgeted a bit. I was a little worried but the instructor assured me that sometimes it may be because the child already knows the topic hence is reacting this way. Give them some time and they will be all good. So each time the segment Super Flash came along, I bounced him on my lap, in sync with the rhythm. This worked! He thought it was fun! Now, I no longer need to bounce him. At a young age, the child lacks discipline hence it is up to the parent to instil it into the child. That is also the reason why the infant toddler class is an accompanied one. So that parents can go home and practise what they have learnt in class with the child. Once they are used to the system and routine of things, everything will fall in place and they are better equipped to enter the preschool classes. At home, Small K used to run away each time I ask him to do an activity. However, these days, he is able to sit through. Especially if the sister is also doing "homework" for me. Many mummies have shared that it is a boy thing. That they will run around and not sit still. However, I hope that Heguru can "tame" him. 

2) Memory
This is one aspect where I think Small K has shown significant progress! Linking memory together with peg memory are primarily the segments to train children's memory. For linking memory, the instructor will place a series of picture cards and narrate a silly story to link them up. Each child is also then given three cards to make a story with. Small K now not only is able to shout (ok, say) out the three cards that he has (without prompting), he is also able to verbalise some other cards in the story. I believe he remembers more than he says. His memory is also evident in our everyday life and I find his observation skills excellent, probably due to the fast pace of the class.

3) Number memory
I had been trying to get him to remember the last number of each line. So far, he is able to. However, there were several times when he refused to cooporate and help me with memorising the numbers. Hence, I had to rely on my old brain! There were many occasions where he was also able to remember more than one numbers. This further validates that his memory is developing very well. 

4) Dot bar 
The dot bar system is essentially teaching little children addition and subtraction. All this while, I have been going through the motion of repeating after the instructor. Never had I expected that one day, Small K decided to shout out the answer to 3+1! A simple sum to most but for a 3 year old, I think it is quite a feat. To be honest, even though I do activities at home with him, they are mostly fun stuff. I do try to incorporate elements of Math, English, Chinese and Science however, being a second born, he is often shortchanged. Mostly, I would pass him a tub of playdoh and he would be entertained for minutes. So when he was able to shout out the answer whenever the instructor says out the equation, I was impressed. It all came naturally. 

5) Abacus training
I noted his interest in this gadget when he was playing with a smaller abacus at the play area. While other children were busy with train tracks, this boy took more interest in pretend play and the abacus. I didn't think much of it but took out the abacus we had bought some time ago. I left it aside and one day, I heard Small K reciting the 10 times table! 10, 20, 30, 40..... Towards the end he was a little shaky, but this is still a moment to celebrate! 

6) Mandala
Mandala is an activity where the child is given a few seconds to view an image filled with colours and then mark down the colours on their empty set. Most of the time, this activity is done by the adult. And even for an adult, it is challenging! Of late, Small K was able to independently mark down some colours accurately! Albeit a little slow (we are only given a few seconds to do that), it is progress nonetheless. Hopefully when he progresses to Preschool class, he is able to work faster with peer pressure.

7) Dancing & Singing
Ok, this is definitely lacking in Small K. I'm not sure why, but it is difficult to cajole him for a dance! He can be dancing and singing non stop at home but somehow at Heguru and school, he is hesitant. Not that he doesn't enjoy. You can see the twinkle in his eye. He really wants to do it and join in the fun, but somehow, he still has his reservations. Slow and steady baby, mommy isn't expecting you to be a dancer anyways. 

8) ESP 
This is a pretty bizarre segment which I was skeptical of at the beginning. How is a child be able to see through a card and guess what is the picture behind it? How is a child be able to know what I am thinking of? Apparently I have heard several success stories and it is beginning to show for Small K. I honestly don't think getting an answer right 8 out of 10 times is attributed to purely luck. You can't be that lucky all the time right? At times, the moments when he got the answer wrong is because he was choosing the picture he likes rather than what he "sees".

9) Iorita & Tangrams
This must be Small K's forte. He does it with ease, using both his left and right hand. Apparently, we should be encouraging that as it is working the left and right brain. An important skill for future learnings. Many a times, even though it isn't a competition, Small K would finish the task first! So proud of my baby!

It is interesting to note that Heguru gives a 5 minute debrief to parents after class. They will suggest various activities for parents to practise at home with the child. They also put up the list of things they aim to do on a monthly basis. Things are very transparent and I feel as a parent it's important to know how to help our child further.

Below is a video summary of some of the activities done during lesson. There are more, but it's so fast, I couldn't record all down! 

Many a times, I am hit by mummy guilt for leaving my secondborn to his own devices. I do not teach him his ABCS as much and am not even as hardworking in the areas of homelearning as compared to the times when I only had one child. It is tough to juggle especially with work. The late nights sucks me dry. So much so, I will always simply throw him a piece of paper and pencil for him to doodle. And we have to balance it with outdoor play as well! But he surprises me every single day. Hence, I am really thankful for the exposure Heguru has given Small K. Given the lack of supervision from me, it seems that his outputs are primarily due to Heguru and school. 

A more recent photo of my baby and Teacher Mandy, who is always so cheerful and patient! Look how much he has grown! *emo again.
There are going to be slight changes from the toddler class to Preschool 1 class. For one, the duration will be slightly longer. From 50 minutes to 70 minutes. I do not think this will be an issue since he is often engaged during the lesson. He will start to be more independent and do more worksheets. Something which I like to instill lest he distracts his sister who is moving on to Primary school next year. I am sure going to miss accompanying him for lessons. I can't believe how fast my baby has grown. Let me bask in my emo state for a bit here. *sobs

To find out more about how Small K progresses at a preschool level, stay tuned in 2018! Do also follow Heguru Citysquare mall on Facebook or check out their website for more details. They are now opened for registration for 2018, so do give them a buzz to book your slots!

Disclosure: We were invited by Heguru CitySquare mall to review their courses and attended complimentary lessons in return. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/ services.