Tag Archives: review

Special Review and Offer: Sparkanauts Leyun 乐云 Chinese program

Does your kid find it hard to sit still in class? 
Do you want to do more together, but have no idea where to start?
Do you wish your kid had better exposure to Chinese than you did?

We do.  Before B started preschool, hubby and I would take him to Sparkanauts every weekend.  We loved the energetic pace, observant teachers, stimulating environment and thoughtful curriculum designed for parent and child bonding, in and out of class.  We were also inspired to try many theme-based extension activities at home together, and I attribute B’s interest in science today to the exposure we both had in his early years.

When we found out that Sparkanauts was planning a Chinese program, we were thrilled. Finally! A place where kinesthetic learners – like B – won’t feel left out, bored or discouraged with Chinese. Having been involved in their initial pilots, we are really pleased to share that the Leyun 乐云 Chinese program officially launches this August. There are different classes for 18 months and up; each class embraces a holistic approach with a range of physical, intellectual and social activities to grow our kids’ awareness, appreciation and understanding of Chinese.

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A truly immersive experience – from craft to cooking to culture. This type of active participation that doesn’t seek a perfect “result” keeps them learning and engaged positively
Little touches, big difference. The weekly booklet contains an update to parents in English on what they did from the book of the month, with suggested reading and writing activities, and Chinese words and phrases (with hanyupinyin!) to reinforce.

I was surprised to receive this video of B sitting down to trace and write characters. Mama didn’t write Chinese characters till primary school, and had no idea what these strokes were called then.

Details on the three different class offerings plus a very special giveaway are included below.

Curious Class (乐班)
Age Group: 18 months to 30 months old
Parent/Caregiver Accompanied
Duration: 75 Minutes
Frequency: Once a week. Tues 3PM, 430PM. Wed 130PM. Thurs 245PM. Fri 230PM.

Objective: The child will be exposed to the Mandarin language in a natural, fun environment. They will enjoy speaking, singing and reading in Mandarin as they are introduced to the language.

What to Expect:
– Thematic learning
– Mandarin Music and Movement
– Rhythmic Sing along
– Gross Motor Play
– Dramatic Show and Tell
– Craft
– Story Time
– Snack Time

Witty Class (飞跃班)
Age Group: 3 years – 5 years
Drop Off (Non-Accompanied Class)
Duration
: 60 Mins
Frequency: Once a week. Wed 5PM, Thurs 430PM, Fri 1PM

Objective: This program adopts a story-based learning approach to engage the sense of fun and adventure in your child, helping them to learn more about the world around them. They will be introduced to key words (nouns, verbs, adjectives) on a weekly basis that will enable them to read the book of the month. Children will be introduced to basic Mandarin strokes and successfully write commonly used Mandarin words in this program.

What to Expect:
– Book based learning
– Mandarin Music and Movement
– Gross Motor Play
– Introduction to Chinese Idioms
– Writing in Mandarin
– Craft

Bilingual Class  (双语班)
Age Group: 3 years – 5 years
Drop Off (Non-Accompanied Class)
Duration
: 1.5 hours
Frequency: Once a week. Tues 1PM, Thurs 1PM.

Objective: This program adopts a story-based learning approach to engage the sense of fun and adventure in your child, helping them to learn more about the world around them. Children will also be introduced to the story in English, and their comprehension skills are further developed during the English segment of the class. They will be introduced to Mandarin key words (nouns, verbs, adjectives) on a weekly basis that will enable them to read the book of the month. Children will be introduced to basic Mandarin strokes and successfully write commonly used Mandarin words in this program.

What to Expect:
– Book based learning (English and Mandarin)
– Mandarin Music and Movement
– Gross Motor Play
– Introduction to Chinese Idioms
– Writing in Mandarin
– Craft

Experience the difference for yourself!

We are offering TWO complimentary trial passes to any Sparkanauts Leyun Chinese class at Toa Payoh SAFRA, valued at $48 each. Please visit the Rafflecopter link here and follow the steps to stand a chance to win.  Giveaway ends Friday, 7 August 2015.

From now until 6 August 2015, Sparkanauts is also running the following promotion:
1. Special trial class price at $10 (U.P. $48)
2. Parents who sign up for the package after the trial will enjoy the pre-launch promotional 10 sessions package price of $398 (U.P. $458) for Witty and Curious Class, and $498 (U.P. $550) for the Bilingual class. The pre-launch package price will be locked in as long as the child continues with the programme
3. Waiver of registration fees (U.P. $68)

For more updates, reviews and giveaways, follow Finally Mama on Facebook and Instagram.  Views expressed here are solely my own.  We really do love Sparkanauts… and the water playground after class! 🙂 

Fun For Free SG: Gardens By The Bay Children’s Garden

Singapore is blessed with many clean and safe public parks, and we usually frequent the green connectors linking the exercise and playground areas near school and home.  When we heard about the latest and largest children’s garden in Singapore, we couldn’t wait to go although it’s a little far out from where we live.  We liked it so much, we actually made it back THREE times this month (ok, one of those was for the Singapore Garden Festival). Here’s our experience for our next Fun For Free SG contribution.

WP_20140822_030The Far East Organization Children’s Garden offers a delightful blend of obstacle trails, water and sand playgrounds, all integrated with nature, and designed to be interactive for kids from 1 to 12 years old (and the young-at-heart adults).  Staff and signboards are placed strategically to ensure both safe and fun play.  For parents of very young kids, you’ll appreciate the efforts made to separate the rowdy youngsters from the rowdy toddlers 🙂

Toddler zone
For under 5 year olds, there’s the Toddler Play Zone with a mini obstacle course
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The Toddler Fish Fountain features warmer water and tamer play with gentle interactive jets
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B having a good splash together with a friend while mama lounges by the (covered) deck chairs
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The main Water Play area is linked to a multitude of movement sensors which are incredibly fun and wet! The view is pretty cool too
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Although more suited for older kids as the many moving sprinklers can thoroughly drench you, B plopped down to enjoy himself after we walked/ran around the main water area together
Sandpit
Head over to the Adventure Zone for sand play and obstacle courses before getting wet again
Treehouse
The 7.5 metre-tall tree house is designed for 6 year olds and up. Younger kids can still climb with some assistance and supervision but may have a tough time coming down! Thankfully there are alternate routes via bridges and wooden stairs
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Wibble, wobble on the linked suspension rope bridges
Obstacles
The Adventure Trail overlooking the water play areas consists of 14 different obstacles, mainly on sand (with gentle slopes and dips) such as balance beams, bars, rock climbing, roped tunnels and suspension bridges
WP_20140716_031 tunnel
If you can’t go over it, go under it!
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Slide these broad covered water tunnels for the fastest (and wettest) way to go back down

Important Info:

How to get there: See detailed directions here.

Closest carpark is at Satay By the Bay (open air) or Main Visitors.  Conversely, if you take public transport, there is a free shuttle bus on weekdays that stops over at the Marina Bay, Downtown and Raffles Place MRTs.

Closed on Mondays for maintenance (same day as Jacob Ballas)
Tuesdays* to Fridays: 10 AM – 7 PM. Last admission at 6:30 PM. *Closed on Tuesday if a public holiday falls on the preceding Monday.
Weekends & Public Holidays 9 AM – 9 PM. Last admission at 8:30 PM

Low energy?  Dying of thirst? Cranky kid?  No fear. These are near:
1) Large covered amphitheatre overlooking both water play areas where you can bring your own food and drinks
2) Children’s Garden Cafe which has alfresco seating by the Toddler Play Zone (playground and water), open at the same hours as the park, serves drinks, snacks or a light meal (Asian and Western)
3) Satay By The Bay, a short scoot or walk away.  Also, the place to park your car if driving.  Stalls are  open from 8a – 11p

This is part of a blog train on Singapore’s Fun For Free places dedicated to anyone who’s ever needed to think about “where to bring the kids today?” Next up is Elizabeth, a mother to three rambunctious kids. She wifes, moms and writes at motherkao.com. Her family of five can be found at Terminal 3 almost every weekend because apart from not needing to have to queue for long to get dinner there, her kids get to do fun things for free while she indulges in GST-free shopping.

Liz

Visit all 31 Fun for Free train stops here:
1 Aug: Tiong Bahru Park by Gingerbreadmum
2 Aug: Queenstown Heritage Trail by Princess Dana Diaries
3 Aug: Jurong Regional Library by Finally Mama
4 Aug: Singapore Maritime Gallery by Peipei Haohao
5 Aug: Singapore Philatelic Museum by Kids R Simple
6 Aug: Sculptures of Singapore by Gingerbreadmum
7 Aug: Fire Station by The Js Arena
8 Aug: Esplanade + Merlion by Prayerfull Mum
9 Aug: Bukit Batok Nature Park by Meeningfully
10 Aug: Lower Pierce Reservoir Park by The Kam Family
11 Aug: I12 Katong – water playground by Universal Scribbles
12 Aug: IMM by Mad Psych Mum
13 Aug: Tampines 1 Water Playground by Amazingly Still
14 Aug: Sengkang Riverside Park by Itchy Finger Snap
15 Aug: East Coast Park by Toddly Mummy
16 Aug: Sembawang Shopping Centre Playground by Joey Craftworkz
17 Aug: Animal resort by Raising Faith
18 Aug: Botanic Gardens by Mum’s The Word
19 Aug: Police Heritage Centre by Mummy Ed
20 Aug: Venus Loop, MacRitchie by Scrap Mum Loft
21 Aug: Road Safety Park by Miracule
22 Aug: Marina Barrage by J Babies
23 Aug: Gardens By The Bay, Children’s Garden by Finally Mama
24 Aug: Changi Airport T3 by Mother Kao
25 Aug: Pockets of Nature by Mum in the Making
26 Aug: Changi Airport T1 by Growing with the Tans
27 Aug: Pasir Ris Park by Ingspirations
28 Aug: Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove by My Lil Bookworm
29 Aug: Vivocity Play Area by Amazingly Still
30 Aug: Punggol Promenade by Chubby Anecdotes
31 Aug: Westgate Wonderland by Xavvylicious

For updates, reviews and more, like me at Finally Mama on Instagram.

Special Review and Offer: Pure Beginnings by Vines and Roots (15% off)

Hubby and I have fond memories of Africa. Beyond its immense beauty, nature, culture and history, it also has personal significance for us as we conceived naturally – after years of trying – upon returning from our South Africa roadtrip.  So it’s with much delight that I can share a little bit about Vines and Roots on this blog, with a special offer for our blog readers (details below).

Vines and Roots was founded by a mom who wanted to bring a touch of Africa to Singapore through organic body and skincare products. Made from natural ingredients with proven effectiveness, these products involve no animal testing, no preservatives, are biodegradable and sourced ethically to support fair trade in Africa. They recently launched a new line – Pure Beginnings – which is specially developed for little ones (safe from newborn on).

We had a chance to use and review five Pure Beginnings products:

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B lining up our Pure Beginnings samples

1. Insect Repellent:  Raining almost every day? Dengue fears again?  We’ve tried almost every (organic and normal) mozzie patch and spray. Sadly, most are rather ineffective for my bug magnet boy.  Worse, some of the cheaper brands smell terrible and leave a nasty, chemical or oily feel. Not this one! The Pure Beginnings repellent is 100% natural, DEET FREE, lightly scented with citronella, lemon eucalyptus, neem and lemon bush. It’s also thoughtfully designed as a roll-on tube so you don’t get your fingers dirty yet can still concentrate which area of skin to apply on for maximum effect.

2. Baby Berry Toothpaste: Featured in the Parents World 2014 Best Organic and Natural Products Awards, this Pure Beginnings toothpaste is excellent!  It’s fluoride-free with xylitol, safe to swallow and tastes great too – errm, yes I’ve tried it (I try anything that my son consumes, intentionally or accidentally).  B basically brushes his teeth 3x a day – when he wakes or after breakfast, before mid-day nap, and before bedtime.  He had no trouble switching from his regular off-the-counter toothpaste to this, and while he now knows how to gargle and spit, he’s also “tasted” Baby Berry and told me that he likes the raspberry flavour!

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3. Baby Bum Cream: I usually carry several creams in my bag for sensitive skin, occasional rashes, cuts and bites. With Pure Beginnings, I’ve found a multi-purpose cream that can treat diaper rash, insect bites and stings – saving money AND space! The Baby Bum Cream contains baobab, olive, lavender and tea tree oil, which give it natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. The use of baobab is a nod to its unique African roots whose trees are associated with longevity, oil from its seeds used as moisturisers, and extract of the fruit delivers pre-biotics and antioxidants.

4. Baby Wash and Shampoo: Mild, rosemary and geranium scented, this all-in-one baby wash and shampoo also contains baobab extract, a common ingredient in the Pure Beginnings line. After using this for 2 weeks, we’ve yet to see any dry, rough patches on B’s skin – which he’d normally get with regular soap as he inherited my sensitive skin.

Ready?

5. Bamboo Baby Wipes: Most wipes are alcohol-based which dry or aggravate sensitive skin. In contrast, these Pure Beginnings wipes are quite gentle due to their organic aloe and baobab extract content. There’s also a slight soapy quality to it too – handy in a mess, especially with younger babies who still drool a fair bit, can’t reach or use regular sinks or aren’t potty trained yet.

Given my own history with ezcema, I was very keen to find affordable yet natural products for B in his early years.  I’ve scoured the net and malls comparing and testing most bath and body brands in Singapore. If you look beyond the marketing, many of them contain chemicals, synthetic fragrances, dairy, soy, nuts and gluten which may trigger allergies or aggravate rashes.  As such, I appreciate Vines & Roots efforts to be pure and transparent, with clear labels and active use of ingredients such as baobab extract,  lemon, citronella, lavender and tea tree. The Pure Beginnings line is a wonderful addition with its natural range of kid-friendly, effective and appealing products.

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Thumbs up to Pure Beginnings!

Just for our readers:  Vines & Roots is offering an exclusive 15% discount for all  purchases using our blog code “FINALLYMAMA”.  Keen to try but don’t know where to start?  Check out the various gift combinations available such as this sample travel set below.

A 100ml baby wash and shampoo, 100ml baby body lotion, a 50ml baby bum cream, and an embroidered cotton facecloth, lovingly selected in this lovely compact pack

For updates, reviews and more, like me at Finally Mama on Facebook.

Special Review and Offer: PowerMoves Pilates Free Mat Trial (Worth S$55)

I’ve lived with lower back pain since my university days, when I had two bad falls – one on a mountain bike, and another while skiing.  For almost two decades, the pain would come and go, and at its most intense, I could be bedridden for a few hours as numbness sets in.  I tried all sorts of treatment: physiotherapy, painkillers, muscle relaxants, therapeutic massage, acupuncture and chiropractors.  However, years later, the occasional back pain would still be triggered by activities such as: Lugging my work laptop around client sites in Australia and Indonesia, vacationing in Southern Italy and South Africa where we constantly walked, trekked and biked around, and of course, during my third trimester and the newborn months.

I started attending PowerMoves Pilates In The Park four years ago because of their convenient location (Dempsey was near home), timing (beginners class right after work, before dinner) and ambience (beautiful, peaceful, natural surroundings). I moved to the pre-natal class from 17 to 37 weeks pregnant, and then rejoined regular classes about a month after delivering. I’m currently going for a blend of mat and reformer classes. Pilates has proven to be an effective, enjoyable and sustainable lifestyle solution for me. Over time, I find that I’ve developed (or post-pregnancy, regained) a smaller waistline, flatter abs and a stronger core which has helped protect my back and spine.  I can honestly say, it’s been a “me” activity I look forward to every week!

Pilates exercises emphasise control and resistance training – with moves that focus on core muscles in the “powerhouse” (abs, pelvic floor, lower back), proper alignment of the spine, and awareness of breath.  Working with mat comprises a series of floor exercises,  complemented with equipment like the magic circle, fit ball and free weights. Reformer involves the use of a resistance-based machine with springs and ropes for assistance. Exercises can be performed lying down on your back, side or front, sitting, kneeling or standing. On the surface, it might seem that not much is going on, but when you truly activate the powerhouse muscles, you will definitely break out in sweat as you feel your body lengthening and vibrating!

It’s also good to understand what PILATES IS NOT:
1) Pilates isn’t cardio.  Over time, pilates exercises will increase your lean muscle mass which helps your body burn more calories, even while you are at rest. In fact, “Cardio is great; but the second you hop off the bike or the treadmill, you stop burning calories. With Pilates, the second you’re done, you start burning calories.” However, if your primary goal is weight loss, then you still need to continue activities like brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming or dance, as well as any necessary diet adjustments.

2) Pilates isn’t yoga. Although both connect mind and body exercises, pilates is non-spiritual and takes a scientific approach. “The breathing is different – in Pilates, you pull your stomach in to build abdominal strength, while in Yoga you allow it to expand as you breathe. Pilates is about the body in motion, while Yoga entails holding the body in a variety of poses.”

PowerMoves Pilates today has 3 lovely garden studios –  Dempsey Hill, Rochester Park and Bishan Park, and has won accolades such as the 2014 SHAPE awards for Most Challenging Pilates Class & Most Mummy Friendly Pre-Natal Class, as well as Singapore Tatler’s 2014 Best of Singapore’s Pilates Studios, and Expat Living’s Most Beautiful and Beginner Friendly Pilates StudioThey like to say: In 10 sessions, you’ll feel the difference; in 20, you’ll see the difference; in 30, you’ll have a whole new body.  Want a leaner, firmer, fitter you? Take time out from the daily grind to take care of yourself!

For all of July, blog readers get a special complimentary trial mat class (worth S$55). Just contact them via phone or the online form HERE. State your preferred studio, day and time, and give them the code FINALLYMAMA to redeem.

For updates, reviews and more, like me at Finally Mama on Facebook.

Special Review and Offer: Books for Fathers’ Day (15% off NoQ)

Fathers’ Day is coming soon on June 15! If you’re looking for something simple yet meaningful for dear old dad, why not get a book or two? I love seeing daddy read with B at the end of the day (if we’re lucky) or on weekends. Besides, when they’re bonding, mama catches some me-time too!

No time?  With NoQ, the e-commerce arm of Times Publishing Asia, you can now browse and buy awesome yet affordable books for your little ones online – with just a click (or two) of the mouse. NoQ offers competitive prices with free local delivery within 2 weeks for orders above SGD$25, and you beat the queue … coz there’s none! (No-Q, get it?). Members also receive newsletters with recommendations and occasional  too. What’s more, our readers get 15% off now till August 31, 2014 with the code “FINALLYMAMA”

To help you get started, here’s our top 10 picks for daddy and your little preschooler (0-6 years) – just in time for Fathers’ Day. Click on each title to buy directly from the NoQ store.

I Love My Daddy by Giles Andreae

An amusing, touching and heart-warming look at the special relationship between father and child from the bestselling author Giles Andreae with Emma Dodd’s charming and vibrant artwork. Together with the award-winning I Love My Mummy, these books are bedtime favourites with B as the examples are so endearing and true to life with this mom and dad.

Just Like My Dad by David Melling

A simple and sturdy board book which speaks to so many father / child relationships. A humourous, touching tale for anyone who has ever idolized their father – even if they are moody, lazy and good at pretending to be busy.  Sound like someone you know and love?

Spot Loves His Daddy by Eric Hill

We’ve been reading the Spot lift-the-flap series since B was a teeny infant. In this book, whether playing ball in the park, feeding the ducks, or reading bedtime stories, Spot and his Daddy are great buddies. A nice reminder for kids who don’t necessarily get to see or spend much time with their dads.

Baby’s Box of Family Fun

Everybody in Baby’s family loves Baby! Four lift-the-flap books about babies and their very special family members: Where Is Baby’s Mommy? Daddy and Me Grandpa and Me Grandma and Me. Get the whole set for daddy AND grandpa too 🙂

Daddy’s Home by Roseanne Parry

This book revels in the excitement of a young child welcoming Daddy home at the end of his day. The visual narrative shows Daddy unwinding from work as a parallel to the bedtime rituals of a young child. This sturdy little book with whimsical illustrations evokes the precious hours that many fathers share with their children each evening.  This has special meaning for us as dad works quite late and as often away, so the times when he DOES come home early enough is cause for celebration!  And a good book like this 🙂

Because I Am Your Daddy by Sherry North

How much do fathers love their children? Enough to fly them to school in a plane? Enough to dig for the biggest dinosaur the world has ever known? From exploring dark caves to leading a marching band to even being a space alien, a father’s love is unconditional, and he will do anything to make sure all of his child’s dreams come true. The dynamic duo of Sherry North and Marcellus Hall team up once again to treat parents and children to a story that celebrates affection with imagination.

The Daddy Book by Todd Parr

The Daddy Book celebrates all different kinds of dads and highlights the many reasons they are so special. Whether your dad walks you to school or walks you to the bus, whether he wears suits or two different socks, whether he has a lot of hair or a little (heee), Todd Parr assures readers that no matter what kind of daddy you have, every father is special in his own unique way. With his trademark bold, bright colours and silly scenes, kids will learn that while no two dads are exactly alike, ‘all daddies love to hug and kiss you’, and that is what is so special about them!

My Daddy’s Footsteps by Francois Barcelo

Some very sensible ideas as well as some far-fetched ones can run across the mind of a child who is waiting for dad to show up for dinner. Did he lose his cell phone or is he racing a camel? Is he in a snowstorm, or the victim of a magical spell? Readers will be excited to learn whether dad makes it to dinner after all. This one hits home too as B now constantly asks (and sometimes, answers his own) questions such as “Where’s dada? Is dada at work?”

Up on Daddy’s Shoulders by Matt Berry

This was the book that started B’s endless requests for a ride “up on dada’s shoulders” whenever we go out now. Matt Berry’s sweet story of a little boy and his daddy is brought to life by Lucy Corvino’s classic, vivid illustrations. “Up on Daddy’s shoulders, I’m the happiest kid in the world!”

Why I Love My Daddy by Daniel Howarth

A heartwarming book featuring children’s own words and animal illustrations, this is the perfect book to say, I love you, Daddy!  Everyone’s daddy is the best. And who better to tell the world than children themselves?  This charming book combines endearing things said by children about their fathers with gentle illustrations of familiar animals. The text is amusing and insightful, with reasons why daddies are loved by their children ranging from ‘because he tickles me’ to ‘because he is my best friend’. With beautiful pictures and charming words from children all about daddies, it’s just right to give to Dad and to read together!

Bonus for the really wee ones:  Where Is Daddy?

Help your child look for daddy throughout this bright, fun lift-a-flap book. Age-appropriate, simple line drawings and bold primary colours keep the child’s attention throughout the hide-and-seek adventure. At the end, find your daddy in the vinyl pocket attached to the last page where a personalised photo can be inserted.

This is a sponsored review.  For updates, reviews and more, like me at Finally Mama on Facebook.

Music with mama: Trial classes at MYC and Seimpi

Recently, B attended trial classes at Music For Young Children (Orchard) and Seimpi School of Music (Funan).  Both programs are parent accompanied, utilise a whole brain approach and go beyond generic music appreciation to introduce basic music fundamentals and early musicianship pre-Grade 1).

1) Music For Young Children: Sunrise class (27-36 months)
This was a special trial for B and his friends. We learnt about a variety of instruments, tonal and rhythm patterns using early learning and pre-reading concepts such as counting, direction (right/left), speed (fast/slow), dynamics (loud/quiet), sorting (shapes/colours). Class time alternated rapidly between singing, dancing, body plays, simple games, crafts, stories, listening activities, percussion play-along and ensembles.  For example, here’s the keyboard section: Each student takes turns to sing while pressing a key on a large sensory floor keyboard, teacher uses tactile visual aids (flashcards, storyboard, toys, props to demo “standing still” (same note) “stepping up” (moving up a scale), students then reinforce how to recognise and relate these notes, sounds and actions through worksheets, magnets, stickers, various manipulatives and games.

What we liked: Time flies! Concepts are presented and then reinforced in an array of learning styles – visual, auditory, kinesthetic, digital, analytical, etc. to engage your little learner. The repetition – listening, responding and singing – is effective as the kids were still talking about class days after the trial.

Check it out: If you’re looking for a fast paced, multi-sensory, early music class that emphasises verbal confidence and eventually composition. Regular students will receive a package that includes instruments and a comprehensive manual with singing, warm-ups, keyboard, listening, rhythm, and assignment sections. Give the code “FINALLYMAMA” for a special trial class and waiver of registration fee if you sign up. They also have an upcoming June music holiday camp – look for the FB promo in May.

2) Seimpi School of Music: MIM® Playtime class (2-3 years)
We joined an existing class which felt like a typical music and movement session with elements of their hallmark Music for the Intelligent Mind (MIM) programs like exposure to early note reading and key recognition, eye, ear, concentration and memory training.  For example, here’s the keyboard section: Each student takes turn to place stuffed animals on the black keys, then set and ring pitched desk bells on the white keys on a large floor mat, teacher reviews notes with a notation cloth, demos a few nursery songs, introduces a finger exercise song, and then guides each student individually to play simple pieces on a keyboard (there’s enough for each student).

What we liked: Exposure to note reading and proper playing techniques (i.e. using all fingers, not just your pointer) at an early age in a relaxed environment. Instead of solfège, students were introduced directly to notes (positioning) and keys (e.g. C-D-E).

Check it out: If you’re keen to start your child early on piano playing and theory, can commit to consistent follow up at home and have some music knowledge to do so. Regular students will receive two workbooks – activity (fundamentals) and piano playing book (beginner), with an audio CD.  Ask for a free trial – it’s an ongoing promo.

As for us, we enjoyed them and will revisit these schools when B turns 3 or so.  Meanwhile, they are an inspiration to continue with our home music learning 🙂

For updates, reviews and more, like me at Finally Mama on Facebook.

Don’t stop believing

Recently, I was asked by a mom of multiple kids whom I’d just met: “Just one boy? Don’t you want more kids?!”

Sigh. If only she knew.

After missing my otherwise regular period by a week, feeling early pregnancy symptoms, testing and retesting, I suspect I’ve had a chemical pregnancy. I’ve not felt our ongoing failure to conceive again so acutely since last year’s miscarriage. Honestly, it’s hard NOT to be emotional when you’re surrounded by friends who are pregnant or just delivered. I would say I’m a fairly resilient and independent gal, but perhaps, there’s more to it all than to keep monitoring my cycles closely, timing it right (and frequently), taking folic acid, staying radiation and stress-free, and living healthy.

Enter: Supernatural childbirth. Whaaat? If you’re thinking this is about seeing visions of heaven, hell, angels, demons, and everything in between, errm, not quite. Instead of trying NOT to think about conceiving (which is quite frankly, impossible), Supernatural Childbirth is a book that encourages us to actively stand on the bible as God’s Word and believe that “Children are a heritage from God, and the fruit of the womb is His reward.” (Psalm 127:3).

Supernatural Childbirth
Supernatural Childbirth

Although my faith is at a low after this “barren” streak, as a Christian, I still believe there’s truth and power in the bible. So today, despite my ongoing frustration and setbacks, I’m thankful for B, the child that I DO have, the friend who gave me this book, the author and women who shared their testimonies in it, and a God who keeps His promises that:

1) God’s perfect love casts out fear! Past failures bring future fears but the opposite of fear is faith : “I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4), “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37)

2) You can do anything when rooted in God’s Word. Pray in agreement with the Word before even trying to conceive: “For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

3) Barrenness is the exception, not the rule. All the barren women of faith in the bible conceived: “He makes the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children.” (Psalm 113:9)

4) Conceive, carry and deliver without fear of pain and loss: “God will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field! (Malachi 3:11)

5) Focus on being a healthy mother and having a healthy baby, not about where, how or what others have done: “The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life — life in all its fullness.” (John 10:10)

“For this child I prayed and the Lord hears my cry!  You have formed and fashioned our baby in my womb, and at the right time You will separate my baby and carry it gently from the womb. We will train our children up in the way they should go, tender to God, the Word and the things of God, and honouring their parents, and they will not depart from these when they are old. Amen!”

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