Thursday, October 18, 2007


Just to prove that some things have changed for me, my priority was to enroll The Little One into KinderMusik and Gymboree over visiting friends and shopping. I do like my friends and yes I miss them but some how it was very important for me that The Little One is stimulated with something different and enriching.

And boy was I so quickly rewarded. I could see the change in her. We went for a Kindermusik trial session today and she enjoyed herself very much and I was suitably impressed. The teacher was very engaging and each child had his/her own individual minutes with the teacher. The Little One did not stick to me like glue. She explored her environment and went forward to the teacher asking for the different equipment. Everything was so new and so different to her. She was truly exploring her environment. In fact I often had to call her to come back to me because she was so excited she wanted to stand in front of the teacher.

I must say that I am very pleased. So much so I have commited the remaining weekdays here to more sessions. I even signed up for membership and bought whatever curiculum they were willing to sell to me. I do look forward to have some sessions with her at home.

I am guessing she is missing her toys and books. She was really concentrating on the toys in Starbucks just now and even asked for a book which she happily read to herself.

Its days like these that often makes me wonder how worthwhile is it for us to stay there. But I do realize more than anything that we can afford whatever it is we're affording here because we live there. Although with the current currency exchange our spending power is quickly diminishing.

I forgot how incredibly expensive Singapore is until today. But we're having a blast! Thats the most important thing I guess.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


I'm off to Malaysia and Singapore for Eid. Wishing everyone Eid Mubarak.

I would like to apologize for my short comings and may Allah bless us all to good days ahead.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Mothers Against Untrained Teachers I

When I thought that I would have more time for myself once The Little One is in school, boy was I so wrong!

Apparently at least 4 other mothers are upset with how the things are in school. I was invited to a meeting with them to discuss the school.

Because my Little One was crying so much the first two weeks, I had to spend some days with her there and could see how the school was run. Which made me quite angry really. Because what I saw was more of a babysitting service rather than a nursery. For AM's class there was no teacher, just two helpers. They spend the first 45 mins with freeplay with the toys downstairs. And then they are made to go upstairs to their "classrooms" which had proper tables and chairs. With AM's class they were given crayons to color, or puzzles to play with. There were about 4 object picture books in the class, no story books. And then there was "PE" where they were told to play and the Skate Park, an underground playground about 5 minutes walk away in then 42oC. What's the point in that when parents could themselves bring the children there after school? They should have water play or be making more crafts! Or even have a story read to them.

More alarmingly were the stories the other mothers were sharing with me. The boys were in 2 different "classes" then my Little One. They came home using the word "Stupid" either among themselves or their helper. Its a reflection the children have in school really. Either the teacher has used it on a child or have not stopped the children from using the word.

So we discuss our strategy on approaching the owner of the school. We have to make sure we are constructive. The owner, SH, has been described as a brick wall. Not a person normally associated with running a pre school. We would wish for someone with a lot more smiles, enthusiasm, passion for children and creativity. From what she tells us her background is teaching 11 grade science. So we listed some changes we would like to see, for example, we don't want the 2 year old children spending time in a classroom learning to write with a helper holding their hand and practically writing for them. Alphabet recognition is nice but not really necessary. Basically we want to see our children have more fun. Do more crafts. Read more. And improve their quality of play. Surely its not too much to ask?

Especially since we're paying a handsome sum for them to go there. It costs us $60 a day (in local currency) plus $500 registration fee. For the Little One who goes 3 times a week, it costs us $720 a month. For the children 2 and above who goes everyday, their parents pay $1,200 per child. Quite expensive for a babysitting service surely! Its about time we get some value for our money or we'll bring our business elsewhere!

There is a lack of flexibility in term's of a parent's choice in the nursery. For example, I had planned on sending my Little One just once a week and gradually increase her time there once she has settled in. But SH promptly told me that for her age group, its 3 times a week, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. There was no room for negotiation.

SO today is our third meeting. We decided to discuss our approach first before meeting her in the afternoon. Wish us luck! I will keep my thinking positive and I hope that SH will take our suggestions on board.

Failing which MAUT may come up with Plan B.