/bɪ ə gʊd gɜ:l/ n. moniker of she who blogs here [also known as, bie]; adj. personal awesome advice to all female kiddos

meet the fam #thechennies

meet the fam #thechennies


圣诞节 at KidStartNow

For the past few holidays, we signed Bielet up for art classes but this time round, ZX and I were keen on her trying something different. And you don't get more different than Chinese!

I didn't actively seek out Chinese holiday enrichment camps though. It was actually a toss up between a drama camp - the Singapore Repertory Theatre's Junior Claus camp was my first pick but ZX said "she is drama enough" - and this Chinese camp at KidStartNow, which boasts a curriculum designed especially for English speaking kids. Coincidentally, both were Christmas-themed and popped up as adverts on my fb feed one day! ZX was keen on the Chinese camp (two hours for four consecutive days) so after checking with Bielet that she wasn't against the idea, I registered a spot for her.

Before the camp, Bielet received an invite in the mail. It was in the shape of a small Christmas stocking and the contents were about some wolf stealing presents and ended off with 你能帮我们吗? - or along those lines anyway. (Bieny excitedly tore the invite up before I could take a proper photo. Eep.) The invite wasn't signed though and I didn't immediately associate it with the Chinese camp - until I remembered the review KidStartNow sent to me by blogger mummybean on their June holidays camp, which mentioned an invite.

Bielet all smiles when she opened the mailbox (ZX put the letter back in the mailbox and got her to collect mail that day!)

Seeing as we don't speak Mandarin at home, I did inform KidStartNow that although Bielet was warming up to her Chinese lessons at school, she basically jiak gantang still. (Her new Chinese teacher at nursery wrote in the progress report that I should be speaking reading writing A LOT more to/with Bielet in this language...) On the first day, I dropped Bielet off five minutes late but hung around for 20 minutes just to see how she was adapting. To sum it up? Lost, that's what. 10 minutes into the class, she had started yawning!

That's her on the extreme left! Got 'live' Skype broadcast for each class on alternate days.

But I also saw that she went up to her teacher quite keenly and introduced herself using the 一二三四五六七 song (with the teacher's accompaniment). For better or for worse, I left her to her own defenses and went for breakfast at Chye Seng Huat. If you've seen my ig post on that, you'd know I wasn't impressed with their food. Must be retribution for torturing the kid with Chinese camp LOL

Not really torturous, right? The decor was really festive, in line with their holiday camp theme!

Bielet didn't miraculously start sprouting Chinese on that first day though. I had been hopeful from the parent testimonials I read, that she might be more receptive to speaking in her mother tongue, but all I got out from her after Day 1 was that she learnt about 雪人 and she was really tired. Not entirely an epic fail, I think?

The next few days rolled around and she was really eager to get to camp every morning (we signed her up for 9-11am classes). Here's why, according to me anyhooooo:

1. We let her choose a Chinese book and bring it to class for her teacher to read! Her teacher told me she enjoyed reading them to the class and that the enrichment centre should consider getting the books too (most of those books from Flip For Joy, btw). Bielet told me quite firmly too, that her teacher reads the books "better than Mama". Sob. But I really liked that her teacher was encouraging and doted on the children. According to her teacher, Bielet enjoyed the camp and stories, and was very willing to speak up and perform. As for her Chinese standard, her listening skills are quite good (ummm) and the focus will henceforth be on improving her speaking and vocab acquisition. The uphill journey begins!

Photos KidStartNow sent to me after the camp. Great to see her participating!

2. The camp wasn't all teaching and drills. The kids had to participate in the activities and each got their turn. Making the class interactive ensured due attention was given to every child, and also a way to keep everyone awake too, I guess!

That purple blur of a girl is Bielet. She was running along the marked line before jumping over the three rows of squares (my DIY hopscotch came in handy, huh!) to get a Christmas deco....

then crawl under the pink table and get to the Christmas tree before hanging the bauble.

At the end of each class, they also got stickers in their handbook and we all know how Bielet absolutely goes bonkers over stickers.

Poor little book got tattered and torn by the end of the camp! As for the doodles, Bielet already vandalised it from Day 1.

3. Lessons were somewhat electronic. It might not be something new to others, but since we aren't advocates of apps or gadgets for the girls, the use of computers and e-books during class was kind of a big thing for Bielet. Just like Wednesday is computer class in school. Anyway, on the night of Day 3, we received e-books links from Dan, co-founder of KidStartNow. As I played the first book (a 6min youtube video), Bielet excitedly told me what was going to happen next albeit a total recounting in English. She was also a tad confused over why the boy was 杰杰 because she thought it was 姐姐. Funny kid. (But also good observation that a boy is not supposed to be a 姐姐.)

Bielet loves her songs and picked up the ones taught during the camp fairly quickly. Her favourite is undoubtedly some 圣诞老人 ditty and his 白胡须, 尖尖的帽子, 圆肚子. Hurry, get her to sing the song to you before she forgets it! One week after the camp now (as I am penning this post to be scheduled for later), she has also been trying to incorporate more Chinese in her speech and often asks "what's xxx in Chinese?" When we dine at Chinese restaurants, she is more confident about asking the service staff for cutlery or water or the bill. Baby steps!

And in case you're wondering, yes, we've signed her up for Chinese enrichment classes at the same centre next year. It was always in the plan but we were thinking of Berries (it has a centre close by). We sent an enquiry to HQ, who forwarded it to that centre in mid-Oct and we are still waiting on their reply. Service standard major cmi. I mean, Bielet has registered, started and ended her Chinese camp already. So there, to KidStartNow we will go next year. 加油!

Ending the camp with a photobooth snap! Now Bieny is the one looking lost here... 谢谢老师, (非常)辛苦了!

Psst. For those keen on your preschoolers trying KidStartNow out before committing to an entire term of classes, contact Dan for a trial class at $10 (your child gets to join the regular lesson to see how it goes) either via online at www.kidstartnow.com or mobile 9820-7272.


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