Review: Kidstartnow June Holiday Superhero Camp

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

It's the June Holidays once again! My favourite time of the year! Not because I get to rest more, but on the contrary, I have to work harder! There's a host of activities out there for us to participate in! It is so tough to squeeze them all. Hence, one has got to be selective.

This June, we have been kindly invited to attend a 4 day Chinese holiday camp organised by Kidstartnow. There are three classes held:

1) Role-playing and conversation camp for 3-6 year olds
This focuses on role-playing and oral conversation. 
Maximum of 8 students

2) Show and Tell & Word recognition camp for 6-8 year olds.
This prepares children for show and tell in primary school as well as boosts their level of vocabulary 
Maximum of 10 students

3) P2 game show camp for 8 year olds
The camp reinforces concepts learnt in school so that kids are well-prepared. 
Parents also get personalised progress report sent to them, as well as actionable tips on how to help kids achieve better grades.

This camp has been consistently sold out since its inception in 2013. With such track record, it must be pretty good right? In fact, they have expanded and now have two outlets: Bedok & Serangoon. We were in the camp for show and tell and mommy is loving it! Truth be told, I am, like any other parent, Kiasu. Not to a large extent but I do want my child to excel in school. Big K is a pretty smart girl, however, she is rather soft spoken. Last year, when she was in K1, our preschool teacher highlighted that she wasn't sensitive towards Chinese characters! Say what? How could that be, I asked myself. Granted I did not do much writing with her, I have definitely read a good amount of books with her. Sometimes, I am being forced to as the school assigned them books to read at home. At my in-law's place where she goes every weekday evening, the family speaks to her in Mandarin. Coupled with that, we lived with the in-laws for almost half a year! So, I couldn't really accept the fact that my daughter was inadequate in the language. I panicked and we pulled up our socks. We did see marked improvements, but honestly, I needed more help. Chinese isn't my forte. Just like many, I dreaded the subject. I was put through rote learning when young and I did not want my child to go through the same path of learning. 

At Kidstartnow, for preschoolers, they use a multi-sensory approach that combines animated stories, games and role-playing to build a deep passion for Chinese and a solid foundation. Learn through play! That's exactly what I have been advocating since day one! 

The adorable Boshi Panda (博士熊猫)
To be honest, I was a little apprehensive as this baby girl of mine isn't confident when it comes to speaking up. Not that she doesn't know. In fact, she does! Oral is extremely important these days with the new syllabus. The weightage have gone up and the format has changed. You are expected to give your opinions rather than regurgitate what your teachers have told you. Hence, I am particularly concerned in this area and am trying my best to boost her confidence.The moment we stepped into the centre, I felt at ease. The place was so colourfully decorated to the theme -- Superheroes. Even the walls had intricately cut out bamboo stems to make the whole look and feel complete. Dedication! It made the place very welcoming. Our teacher, 刘老师 was also a very experienced teacher who was able to nudge the child into participating. And, participate was what Big K did! I saw her prancing around in class from day one! She was exhilarated to be chosen to be Little Panda sister 熊猫妹妹. I guess the role has got to be hers, because she's the tiniest in class and the youngest!

In class, to encourage the children to participate, they were given electronic gold coins as a reward. Their scores can be seen on a screen and that got many kids excited. Most children are by nature, competitive. Even an introvert like Big K was raising her hand to answer questions! They were taught several Chinese words and phrases and even idioms through stories revolving around a pair of panda siblings who are constantly quarrelling. Through the story, they will learn about sibling love. Something which I inculcate at home as well. The children are taught descriptive words and each time, after explaining, the teacher would get them to make  sentence (造句). This is a fundamental skill as it would be useless if one only knows the meaning by heart but not know how to apply it. Big K was initially making rather short sentences. However, perhaps due to peer pressure, by Day 2, the teacher told us that she was making longer sentences! yay!

Now, I did say they made use of animated stories to entice the students. These stories were told in class and in addition to that, everyday, they would email us the link to review the story! Apart from accessing it through the email via the computer, one can also save it on the phone as a webapp! Lessons on the go! In this era of technology, it is very difficult to deny a child of access to the iPad. However, as much as possible, I only expose them to useful things and this definitely is one of them! Apart from listening to the story, there is also a tab to listen to the hanyu pinyin taught in class. Very helpful for both parent and child. Their proprietary software empowers your kids to excel quickly in exams by providing timely actionable feedback so you know how your kids are doing and who to help them.

Here's Big K playing with her friends before class. Look how tiny she is! She's the youngest but that's no problem as she was able to catch up really fast. Also, the teacher catered to her standards and guided her along. #proudmama

Over and above, I think it has been a very fruitful and beneficial camp for Big K. She has been opening her eyes each day and asking me if she would be going for the camp every. single. day! Wow! There are discounts available for bulk purchase for their June Holiday programmes so do enquire! If for some reason you are unable to make it for the camp, do give their regular classes a try too! There are trial classes.

Follow Kidstartnow on Facebook or check out their website for more details. 

Foundation is built when the child is young. It has to be laid well especially since many schools are starting off Higher Chinese at P1! *sweats. Big K is still not  speaking to me a lot in Mandarin but I definitely see an improvement as her passion for the subject seems to have been rekindled!

Disclaimer: I was given an invitation to attend the June holiday camp for the purpose of this review. No additional monetary compensation was received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/ services.

Sticker making workshop

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Last weekend we were invited by to attend an interesting workshop jointly organised by Faber Castell Singapore, Stickiemail and The lettering Workbook is a platform set up by parents who understand the difficulty in finding the right course for your child. They believe that there should be a place where parents don't have to waste hours researching because they are assured of quality and fit. The platform categorises courses according to different interest groups. Not only are parents able to find a match easily, educators and enrichment centres are also able to reach out to their audience. If in doubt, you can always ask the instructor a question through the platform. There may sometimes be reviews from other parents who have attended for your reference. In addition, the instructors' and course details are clearly stated on the site, making it transparent for all.

Photo Credit: Stickiemail

Now, back to the workshop. I said it was interesting because it was a workshop where we MADE stickers. Yup, DIY. I don't know about you, but many a times, I find it tough to find good quality (non-China made) stickers in the design I want. For example, there was a time when Big K was obsessed over Frozen. Everything had to be in Elsa and Anna. I posted on Facebook asking where I could find stickers on those characters and most pointed me to Pasar Malam (night markets). Some kind souls even pointed me to a location where they saw such a market selling such stickers. Some as far as the West! I live on the other side of Singapore and there is NOoooooo way I was going to travel that far! But to appease Big K's insatiable appetite for Frozen stickers, I did drive around quite a bit in search for it! Finally, I found! Only to realise that most of the stickers aren't sticky anymore due to age. The glue had lost its adhesiveness and some stickers were even turning yellow! Can't blame the seller. They were going at 3 booklets for $3. 

So when I learnt that there is a sticker making machine, which is priced affordably, has hit the Singapore shores, I was beyond excited! This is such a great tool which is so useful even if you aren't a fan of scrapbooking. At the workshop, KY and her team from The Lettering Workbook showed us how easy it was to make our own stickers. You could doodle on a piece of cardstock, colour it and slot it into the machine then pull the tape out! Too lazy to even draw? Print from the Internet or better yet, recycle and cut out from old magazines! It's that simple! Even my 5yo could do it! Big K was engrossed in making them and was terribly upset at one point where she pulled a little too much tape and wasted a good portion of it. Frugal is her virtue. At the end of the workshop, I had to drag her away and she was once again, upset that we had to leave. Only when I told her that she could continue making stickers at home because we now own a Xyron Sticker machine, did a smile light up on her face! 

The free doodles given out by The Lettering Workbook was such a hit! It kindof made me want to doodle a bit at home as well! 

I printed these doodles from the Internet!

The machine is quite a saviour. I have been rather busy these days catching up on work and chores. I have completely no time to entertain or teach the kids. I was surprised that a few days after the event, Big K came forward to ask me if she could make some stickers with the little brother! Why, of coz! as long as you guys leave me alone! haha...I printed some doodles for them, got them to colour them and they made heaps of stickers and yes, I managed to get some work done! Yay! Win-win! If you would like to get your hands on one of these babies, do check them out online or the following retail outlets:

  • Times Bookstores
  • Kinokuniya Books
  • NBC Stationery & Gifts
  • Naiise
  • Made With Love
  • The Elly Store/Twelve By Elly; or 
  • via our online Storytime Kit collaboration partner, Tickle Your Senses. 
They do have several upcoming events, so do check them out as well!

After the event, we walked around the Faber Castell's Art Exhibition and feasted our eyes on how their marker caps could be made into various attractions in Singapore! I had always love their range of markers and colour pencils but never bought it for Big K as looking at the way the kids handled their stationery, I felt it would be a big waste! You see, their markers and colour pencils are often strewned all over the floor despite my incessant nagging and despite the fact that I did give them a designated place to store their tools. However, all words fall on deaf ears. 

With Small K, it is worse! He uses markers on Everything! Yes, Everything including his TOES and fingernails! (Cue: Jaw Drop). However, as Big K was colouring with Faber Castell's markers, she commented how smooth they were and that why I hadn't bought her such a set before! 'Nuff said. 

It was such a fruitful bonding session for my first born and I. We really enjoyed the session!
Thank you for the invite, guys!

Disclosure: We were invited by to attend the sticker making workshop. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services.