Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Keen on Adult Ballet?

What do you do during your 'me time?' For the past few weeks, I managed to find some time to fill in a little workout every Friday morning. I did adult ballet! Yes, I have a special love for it since I was young. Never too late to learn. And nah, I'm only a beginner at it. I did try to pass on my passion to Jazz, but she wasn't keen.

What made my commitment possible was signing up with a friend and paid for a number of sessions. Totally no reason to procrastinate or get lazy about it. My friend did the research of schools, and I tagged along. It's not easy to find a suitable time slot for stay home Mums to do a class. What we have on hand, is time when the kids are in school.

Photo credit: M.A Ballet

Photo credit: M.A Ballet

We chanced upon M.A Ballet and thought it was perfect for being centrally located with a Friday morning time slot. We did a trial, decided it was our learning pace and went on to sign in 10 lessons. So you know, it's not a sponsored post or paid review. 

Our instructor, Mayu is a professional dancer and teacher with much awards and accolades under her belt. Having been teaching here for the past 6 years in Singapore, she often acclaims she's more of a Singaporean than Japanese. Her passion for teaching is much displayed during our lessons, when she would spend every effort to explain and correct a move. It's true, ballet is not without fret. From the slightest breath to the smallest body part, they make up a team. It's much work within a simple move. I often spot myself tangled in the various moves and sequences, but I will say practice makes perfect. It's always a great workout at the end of each session. 

Mayu conducts children classes too, but does not sit them for exams. She believes in learning for passion and joy without the stress of going through examinations. This is what some parents firmly believe in. 

So yeap, if you haven't tried an adult ballet class, I'm here to notify you that M.A Ballet is conducting free adult trial class at the moment. You will have to hurry, before they decide to end the free trial. Also, if you're keen to further your lessons with her. You may quote that you read about her on my blog for the waiver of registration fee (till 31 Dec 2015). 

Adult ballet classes for beginners are scheduled on:
Thursdays: 7:30pm to 8:30pm and
Fridays: 10:00am to 11:00am
Location: Dance On Us Claymore, 8 Claymore Hill Road #01-03 to 06, Singapore 229572 
(10 minutes walk from Orchard MRT) 

For more information or to book a trial class, you may contact Mayu at: mayu@maballet.com

Monday, 31 August 2015

You shouldn't miss this Hi-5 concert!

It was only this recent that we found out Hi-5's longest-serving cast member, Stevie Nicholson will be bidding his farewell to Hi-5 after eight fun-filled years. Stevie joined the group in 2007 and has since then brought fun, joy, and laughter to millions of children across the globe through Hi-5’s television shows and onstage performances.

Stevie, now 31 years old, is looking forward to furthering his performing career and expanding his creative work with the release of his children book “Superdudes”. Although Stevie is saying goodbye to live-tours, he will be back soon with the brand new series of Hi-5 House, which he is starring in. And yes, the House of Dream concert will be his final international tour with Hi-5. The House of Dream concert tour will open on the 12th and 13th of September 2015 at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, and then continue on to Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Manila later in the year. 

In this new stage show, Stevie, alongside fellow cast members Dayen Zheng, Ainsley Melham, Mary Lascaris and Tanika Anderson enter a world of dreams, where they find themselves in a jungle, a fairy garden, outer space, underwater, and even in the cool world of superheroes. Hi-5 House of Dreams features well-loved Hi-5 songs such as “It’s a Party”, “Underwater Discovery”, and “Action Heroes”, and offers plenty of interactive elements for children. I'm already trying to get Js more familiar with the lyrics, just so they could sing along that day. The action-filled show includes a whole lot of singing and dancing, bubbles, bouncy balls and dazzling disco-ball lighting. 

I do hope you've secured your opportunity of saying goodbye to Stevie in this upcoming concert, especially if your kids are great fans of Stevie and his team. It will be his farewell concert too! Those attending the show will be treated to a special encore performance presented by Hi-5 which showcases Stevie’s time during his Hi-5 days.

In conjunction, the organizers are offering 15% discount with every purchase of 5 tickets and above of VIP2, or B Reserve categories. (Offer limited to first 500 tickets only). So be quick!

Ticketing details
Hi-5 House hits show tickets can be purchased from sistic 
Date: 12 and 13 September 2015 (Saturday and Sunday)
Venue: Grand Theatre at Marina Bay Sands
Time: 10:30am, 2:30pm, 6:30pm
Tickets: $115 (VIP1), $105 (VIP2), $65 (A reserve), $45 (B reserve) (Excludes booking fee)
Link to discount code: Click here

Oh yes! We have a winner from our Hi-5 giveaway tickets held previously. Drum roll.... 
Congrats Jenny Chua! 
Please drop me an email with your name and contact to: mumscallingblog@gmail.com. You'll be in touch on tickets collection details. 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Raising an avid reader

I count it my blessing to be raising a little avid reader at home. Jazz loves to read, and now, more skewed towards certain genres she prefers. 

My man thinks it's a trait of any girl to sit and read quietly. Probably refusing to give me any credit for cultivating that love in her reading. And partly because, we're not seeing this trait in the boy, yet. I proclaim the word 'Yet'. 

Whenever someone asks me about her love for reading, I often respond that I'm lucky she loves to read. But if there were some things that I did right, other than that element of luck. I guess it must be some of these doings:
Reading from young
We know reading begins really young. Babies for some. We started formal bedtime stories when Jazz turned a year old. A routine set, hard to change. We read to and with Js everyday. Even when we travelled, I would carry a light bedtime story book for read. I don't think we should stop reading to the kids even though they have started independently. It's a great way to bond too!

Visit the library
We visit the library fortnightly. An almost frequent and regular habit for us. Js own a library card and love browsing and picking books for loan. While they get to select their love, we make a deal to allow my picks too. Think the often neglected Chinese and non-fiction books.

Books over toys
When entertaining buying pleas, we agree more readily to books than toys. The downside is that, Jazz reads a book so speedily that I find it not too worth buying books so often. We learnt to hunt the library and second hand book stores (at Bras Basah)  more diligently.

Let them choose
Let them select what they like to read. Be happy that they are devouring one book after another. Rainbow fairies, Magic Ballerinas, Geronimo and Thea Stilton series are her current favourite. The commonly known series that would brilliantly keep one hungry for the next installment. We had a pact on a reading ratio of 1:3 - It's 1 book of my choice after reading 3 of her choices. I don't compel if she doesn't want my choice. I never run out of recommendations anyway.

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The favourites she own

Raise Confident readers
So seriously, aren't the fairies and adventure series some worthless read?!! The love for reading often begins with raising confident readers, and that comes by reading something of their interest. Be glad they are reading something than none. They are some good English and creatively imagined stories after all. Think the writing composition skills they can get out of these stories. 

Book chart
For a start, you may want to do up a chapter book chart. Jazz had a sticker for every book completed and every 3 stickers entitled a treat. Her pace was so fast that we lost track and demolished this scheme. After all, we've reached the goal of cultivating the love for reading.

Home library
It is highly important to build a library at home and one that is easily accessible. I sorted Jare's books at the lower shelf, while Jazz's at a higher reach. Keep the books updated too, to their appropriate age of reading. Our baby books have been archived to the top shelf.

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Mini home library

Animated story time
I am shamelessly gonna exclaim that I'm one dramatic and exciting storyteller! Which makes them come back for more. Only thing is, time do us apart. So yeap, we do need to invent our own speech and drama at times. 

Learn new words
Some days, we put a dictionary just next to us when reading. I do get questions on the unfamiliar words, and instead of explaining my layman and sometimes not so layman terms, I leave it to the dictionary. We explore new words together, learn dictionary skills and instill the hunger of learning new words. However, we do this on some days only. It can be daunting if done on all reading sessions.

Time for reading
Give them time to read. Let's not to overschedule them and leave them with little or no time for the things they love. We rarely do screen time on weekdays and with any free time over the weekends, Js would prefer to stay home. Strange kids, I know.

Don't procrastinate reading
Try not to procrastinate when they come running to you with a book, asking you to read. Reading and bonding is quite a priority. You see it essential to read, they will recognize that way too.

Support and talk
I had really see it important to support and talk about what they love to read and have read. Cars, planes, dinosaurs, fairies and adventures? They tell me about them, I'll listen. Really attentively most times.

We are some happy parents with her love for reading. Sometimes so much that I've to plead her to put her book down at inappropriate moments. I know it's tough to put it down, especially with pages that leaves her cliff hanging for the next.

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She reads everywhere!
Once, she fell and had a nasty abrasion on her knee while trying to walk and read. It wasn't just a painful lesson about reading at the right moment, I was also reminded about the moments I multi-task like her on my gadgets. We need to deal with our addictions!

And no, the man and myself are not explicit readers. We read so often online, that we rarely get our hands on any physical books or newspapers. It really is one thing to be thankful for raising a reading enthusiast. 

How else do you raise the little bookworms in your household?

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Enrichment Portal

We were at a launch party organized by Serious about preschool last week, where Js were able to go on a marathon classes of 3 genre. There were the art, right brain training and speech and drama.

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Craft by Da little school

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Right brain training with Henguru

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Speech and Drama with Julia Gabriel

While I felt like these were similar to attending a trial class, giving me a good gauge on whether my kids will continue to enjoy and whether it's of some effective learning, there will always be more factors to choosing a centre.

When in search for enrichment centres, I'm often lost which to go for, especially music, since it's the only one Js does externally. Word of mouth is one factor I rely heavily on, after all, who's been in it, has got more to speak for or against. Of course, opinions differ and the ultimate decision lies in the parent. Serious about preschool is a One-Stop Portal for parents to find enrichment courses, holiday programs and group activities for their preschoolers between 0 to 6 years old.

On this portal, you may search for enrichment courses, enjoy discounts on trial classes/terms, earn rewards points, join a community with like minded parents and book holiday programs or group activities together to reap discounts. 

While it's still budding by trying to grow its reviews, it would definitely be most kind to sow in your reviews for the enrichment centres you've come across. So that others may reap from your kind contribution and vice versa. Get rewarded with points for doing so, while attractive redemption awaits.

Have a go navigating on it!

Serious about preschool

Disclaimer: We were invited to join in this launch party. All opinions and photos are solely ours. 

Monday, 24 August 2015

Unstructured play at Kaboodle Kids

Our nowadays kids can be rather over scheduled in school and after school. Looking at the amount of time spent in school, I often feel that they are missing out too much on unstructured play. And the benefits of free play is immense. To name a few, free play allows:
  • Protection against pressure and stress from parents
  • The flexibility to adapt to circumstances
  • Social and emotional learning 
  • Decision making skills
  • Peer interaction and
  • Self discovery
We love having free play games like blocks and bricks at home. Games that often come with no rules, no right or wrong, where Js can direct their own play and let their imagination run wild.

Adding to our free play list, we recently came across Kaboodle kids, where Js had a great time of unstructured play. It's not the usual playgym where a slide prompts a kid to use it only as a slide, or toys that are directed for certain play usage. Kaboodle is simply a space of huge soft blocks with no limit to play and creativity. I really love watching them engage in this kind of purposeful play.

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The imagination ground

We visited Kaboodle on a weekday afternoon, and spent about 2 hours in there. It was quite a bliss as it wasn't crowded. I could tell Js were overly excited over those big foamy blocks, their eyes went huge with jaws dropping really wide. They looked lost for a start and kept asking, "What can I do, Mummy?" I guess they are often too compelled by instructions that they weren't able to start something without direction.

I threw them a few suggestions, "How about a car, tanker, home or castle?" I don't know if they registered my suggestions, they zoomed off without me completing my thought list. Excited kids, I know. It was probably also the best time to build their kid's size dreamy and princessy castle, where they can sit and 'live' in! I told Jare to build his favourite Lamborghini so we could all drive in it. Seriously, it's a place where anyone can construct, dream and imagine big. 

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Working on his luxurious car

Whilst play took place, the man and I sat by the bench to take pictures and admire their simple joy. We observed how they played, that teamwork, cooperation, sharing and trading of blocks, as well as ideas negotiation were evidently what kids don't learn out of books. Truly, there's so much contentment in watching the kids do undirected play, expressing that freedom of happiness.

I was tempted at some point of time to direct them on positioning certain pieces, but hey, I'm reminded it's their play. Not mine. There's a reason for every 'lazy parenting.' In any case, we stayed away till a time I thought we should all play together as a family. Yay, I played too!

We had a great time of bonding.

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His huge shoulder bag!

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Found his comfort place!

The play area is clean, bright, airy and relatively huge for such play. Floor is not carpeted, so it does look really clean and well maintained. It is therefore compulsory to wear non-slips socks (adults too) as it can be rather slippery. Tucked by the side of the play area is a cosy party room which suggests a great venue for birthday parties. Talking about which, do check their Facebook page for private party closures. Avoid wasted trip.

For the size of the blocks, this unstructured play is recommended for kids above 3 years old. Js had a really great time in there, and as usual, we had a tough time peeling them away from fun. Jazz was upset that we have to abandon the castle for the realistic home, and we obviously can't bring that along. She suggested that we could take a picture instead. Glad that got her leaving contented.

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Her house of dreams with a soft cover roof
And here's an idea for picture moments. The man caught us by peering his lens through a foam block. Looking creatively good!

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My daughter, my friend!

Do check out this fun place, if you've not. Also, from now till 30 August 2015, you may quote 'Mum's calling' upon entrance for a 10% discount. Have fun!

Kaboodle kids
902 East Coast Parkway (Big Splash)
Block B, #02-05B
Singapore 449874
Contact: 6247 7020
Opening Hours: 10am to 6pm daily

Fee structure:
3 years old and above
Mon to Fri: $25 for unlimited hours
Sat, Sun and PH: $25 for 2 hours ($10 for for additional hour thereafter)
Below 3 years old
Mon to Fri: $10 for unlimited hours
Sat, Sun and PH: $10 for 2 hours ($5 for for additional hour thereafter)

OR 10 visits membership at $220

Disclaimer: Media invite. All opinions and photos are solely ours.