Safari Kid Curriculum Overview Evening

What, like your parents didn’t have curriculum evenings for your schooling when you were a 2 year old? Hippies. :D (No, we didn’t even used to have this during Rockstar’s pre-school days…)

After-school Miss with her Lunch For Champions :)

photo 2-153 photo 1-160

We all received a detailed email about how our child spends their day in school (which I guess differs a bit, whether they’re in the toddler/turbo toddler/Level 1-2 classes; the Miss is a Level 1), including the reason behind why they do things the way they do – for e.g., to “encourage awareness of themselves and others,” the toddlers do a role call that includes recognizing which of their friends are here, who is absent and why, and then cards with their own names (or at least the first letters of their names to help with alphabet recognition) are placed in different areas of the classroom where they are supposed to begin their play – they switch play areas every few days, I think it was. This is repeated for 20 minutes in Putonghua, during which they are not to communicate in English, and finishes with a Putonghua story time.

Earlier in the waiting area, I had mentioned to another curious (English-speaking) parent asking about our command of Chinese since we are Malaysian Chinese, both of us illiterate and often conversing in dialect (WE KNOW THIS – this is why the first classes the Miss ever did were in Putonghua before she did anything in English, and we continue to keep an eye on Rockstar’s Chinese).

Sure enough, shortly after, I note with amusement one friendly mum who identifies herself as a Putonghua speaker and says she has no questions for the Chinese teacher – Oh, But Could You Please Just Check My Child’s Pronunciation From Time To Time. I don’t really have a problem with it, I think it’s cute at this stage, but just if you notice a strange accent please do correct it.” :D (The teacher reassures her her child knows to speak correctly when required, just he sometimes “plays around when speaking with the Western kids.”)

Speaking of intake. In the initial general briefing, we are told that student intake has doubled fairly recently, resulting in new hirings and the opening of new classes. We hadn’t known that specifically, but at the Miss’ school Christmas party Kings had met a former colleague from a french investment bank (in the following weeks, we would meet another of his ex colleagues from a different investment bank. “The commute is quite inconvenient, we don’t live anywhere near here,” we were told at the Christmas party. “But we were introduced to this place by another friend who moved his child here – and we like it too, so now our (2 or 3, I forget) children of Safari Kid age attend here. AND it’s even cheaper than the old school we used to send them to.”

Now to the 20 minute “drills” – aside from the assorted free play stations designed to encourage creativity and social learning (the kids get to choose activities they are interested in, and on the play ground Level 1 and 2 all socialize at the same time under supervision, to encourage wider interactions and increase the pool of kids to learn from), the Miss’ main teacher walks us through various alphabet and number drills, as well as exposure to seasons, names of the months, counting exercises.

Whoa. My proverbial hand goes up. “We never placed any emphasis on our older one learning this stuff at this age (because back then someone else in early education had told super-busy-working us how social development was more important <sheepish>). By the-K1-transitioning-into-K2 period, it got a lot more intense, but going into the Kindy, I don’t even remember him knowing any of this stuff… Have there been changes in what the toddlers need to know by a certain age in the 4.5 years between our first and second child?”

“There are children who can do all this stuff already,” (this is where I go Wow Are We Hippies :D apparently some of the kids are already starting to trace alphabets and yes Safari Kid provides that exercise in class as well, with no absolutely pressure for them to be able to do it) “and there are also others who really don’t do this yet.”

“It’s not a requirement at this age, but even in the earlier classes they would have come across all this (alphabets, numbers, colors, shapes). We start exposing them as young as possible, even if they can’t yet respond, in the belief that some of it sticks in their minds. It doesn’t matter if they can repeat it yet at this stage. When they are required to learn it later on, the aim is that not everything is totally unfamiliar.” Sold. Later, I glance around and can’t help raising my eyebrows at the solar system chart on one of the walls. One of the few flap books we’ve still got is Rockstar’s crazy space facts book that even has average planet temperatures and what-not. He hasn’t touched it in ages, but the Miss had been searching it out and messing with all the flaps. I had wondered what she found interesting about what I figured must look like a boring bunch of rocks (everything looks like a “circle”, right?) to her…

After the messy play (Art, Science stuff) that follows, the alphabet and numbers from the drill are quickly reviewed for about 10 minutes, before the daily Goodbye rituals.

All the time, I remember one of the school’s mantras – how our kids require individualized support, tailored to their particular personal and social/ emotional developmental needs.

 

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Rockstarism #352-3/ Miss-Speak #40 – Random Things They Say

#352

One day we happen to marvel at the many, many things we use modern phones for nowadays, other than to simply talk…

Me: …And that’s why they’re called Smartphones…

Rockstar: You mean like me…. Only, I’m not a phone.

Me: And modest, too. 

Rockstar: Wha-at… I’m not a phone…   

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#353/ #40

The Miss sometimes spontaneously breaks out in what is supposed to pass for song (no, she can’t really hold a note :D)

Miss: <singing lying down, drops soft toy on self> Oh… You-fall-down-on-me, Cat…  

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On a cab ride home one day…

Miss: Taxi, oh taxi, you are Small Car….

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This time Rockstar decided to join in…

Miss: Springtime…. Is in Spring… (They’re learning Seasons in school now)

Rockstar: That’s the sea-son… You-jump-the-most…..

(“Spring”, geddit? <roll eyes>)

Ah, Spring....

Ah, Spring….

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The Many Faces Of The Weekend

1) Public service message – Jimmy Kimmel demonstrates, on national tv no less, how easy it is for someone with mischief in mind (namely him) to get your password.

My point being how easy it is for someone with mischief in mind to get your kid’s passwords, if you give them too much free run of the tech too early. Those adults had no intention of divulging their passwords and schooling your child in email/social media safety would make them similarly wary, sure. AND this is where I type that BIG FAT “BUT…” someone can get stuff out of them without them even knowing (Rockstar btw scoffs and says he’d be more savvy but more importantly, we have established he is to tell me, the next time someone tries to get stuff out of him, be it password or, “Is it true your Mummy – ” shame on you, you know who you are. And I trust you have more respect for yourself as a parent than to ask your child to do it for you next time – NONE of these are Kennedy kids, btw :) )

(Which is my way of saying how much I appreciate when Rockstar’s school sends big purple-texted reminders that the school accounts are “protected by three full-time IT professionals and a specialist Learning Technology Teacher” (and you give them separate accounts at your own peril). Similarly pleased to notice evidence on the school Virtual Learning Environment message boards that his friends’ public broadcasts were checked over and edited by said professionals :)

If you watched Cameron Diaz’ recent movie Sex Tape (because I had a cheap thrill finding a way to type the words “sex tape” in the same linky as something about my child’s school :D), her husband keeps upgrading their iPads and giving away the old ones to friends’ kids and relative strangers alike. Instead of scrubbing the devices completely, he figures sharing his music playlist is harmless. Unfortunately, the gadzillion iPads he’s given away are still synced to his current one, and when they all update automatically in a similar auto-backup that Apple’s iCloud does for real, this is how the sex tape gets out (not to mention their son’s best friend who has one of the iPads blackmails them and uploads the video onto a porn site.)

This is my The Tech’s-Gonna-Get-Ya Harbinger of Doom way of saying even if you are very, very sure you personally and manually killed all the connections, I can think of one loop hole offhand – when you or your kids using your tech see one of those idiot pop-up windows “update software/ settings” which restarts the machine as well and innocently clicks “yes”. And then somewhere in there is the default setting some well-meaning computer engineer out of the Dilbert strip proudly put in place that includes an iCloud backup or update to all your devices and puts your sex tape up there.

So, my point is, watch Sex Tape :D (For real though, it’s funny, and more importantly will highlight some of the very real risks that technology poses and increasingly literate and tech savvy kids face.

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2) Serious fluff, but entertaining fluff :) The Jet Set Life Of Karl Lagerfeld’s Favorite Male Model. When he’s not jet-setting, he’s a stay-at-home dad (who works out like crazy :D  A male supermodel like him btw makes USD 200,000 – USD 500,000.) His son has been walking the high fashion runways with him since he was a toddler.

Here's another (pic from telegraph.co.uk)

(pic from telegraph.co.uk)

Brad (Kroenig) got famous posing nude for his benefactor to photograph (tastefully, of course). My two cents re the nude thing is that at that level you are, and I mean no disrespect by this – high fashion can be such an art form – A Clothes Rack Of The Highest Order. A true professional has to be able to wear anything, even if that’s nothing. It must be why America’s Next Top Model (used to watch it pre-rockstars) always had a nude round early on after I suppose they “learned their lesson” winding up with both finalists being uncomfortable with being photographed nude in the first season.

So, my attitude is sure, dabble in “modeling” or other showbiz-y things, but if you aren’t Cindy Crawford (who btw got into Chemical Engineering at Northwestern), and/or are squeamish about any forms of undress, just don’t go there as a viable career option <shrugs>. (Sorry, was that just a Shot Of The Blindingly Obvious…)

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3) Serious Eye Candy. Ninja Cats.

No Kidding.

No Kidding.

(Poor dog).

(Poor dog).

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4) One of those tributes to doing things in a more productive yet still easier way… (Not to mention, how you can Change The World :)

At a time even more people in Mexico, Pakistan and India were starving, Norman Borlaug  developed a more disease resistant, higher-yielding wheat. I love the simplicity of the solution: If you have x amount of land that produces y amount of crop, find a way to instead produce z amount of crop on the same x amount of land. How? What are the factors in the equation, given x is a constant? Which factors can you improve?

Wikipedia says Mexico became a net exporter of wheat (think economy, and what happens to the border control problem – instead of policing the borders more heavily, help the other country become more desirable for people to live in, as a way of stopping illegal immigrants seeking a better life on other shores. As in, if they had a better life where they live, they wouldn’t try to move…)

Ergo, Drought Fighters, of craftsmanship.net, no less. If you have x amount of land, can you increase the number of times you can use the same amount of land? Apparently so, by: 1) Composting, composting, composting and 2) growing a whole bunch of stuff side by side.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I especially loved solution (2) which goes against the convention of row upon row covering all those acres of land with the same crop. Why? Because different crops deplete the land of different minerals in different ways. Because different crops attract different good bugs as well as bad. Different crops are susceptible to different bugs in different ways….

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5) More eye candy, in honor of my very first pet (I don’t count the giant mutts my parents kept since before I was born – one of my earliest memories btw, is of riding on the back of a huge brown rescued animal named Smokey), a giant albino rat who dodged the high school science class dissection table (and whom we bathed with thick leather gloves because he inflicted some really bad bites – yes I also remember getting Tetanus shots)… Rescued Lab Animals Do Wonderland Photoshoot

Kinda like this, but eventually much bigger, fatter, older

Kinda like this, but eventually much bigger, fatter, older

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6) Rockstar Skit this week is The Many Faces Of The Miss.

"You would save milady water in a TUMBLER?!"

“You would serve milady water in a HEAVY GLASS TUMBLER?!”

"Uncle Sheep wants YOU!"

“Uncle Sheep wants YOU!” (You…. DIIEE!)

"Don't let the drugged-out sheep get meeeeeeeeee!"

“DON’T LET THE DRUNK SHEEP GET MEEEEEEEEE!”

:D Good weekend, dears

 

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