Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Sandbank - International Lunch Buffet on Weekdays

We were invited to the recent launch of Sandbank's new Weekday Lunch Buffet. 

A leisurely meal by the seaside was something I wasn't about to turn down and decided to take my staff along for a lovely lunch treat.

This launch follows the great success of Sandbank's Weekend Breakfast buffet which my kids enjoyed very much the last time we were here.
Mixed Grill
I started with their selection of grilled meats and vegetables, and had some fresh salad to go with it.

The rest of the spread reminded me of a delicious home-cooked meal, which was a nice change from the usual buffet offerings.
Pork ribs
Deep fried fish fillet with soyabean sauce
Clams in wine
Tandoori Chicken
My favourite had to be the grilled lamb. Very succulent.
Grilled lamb
If my kids had joined us, they would have loved the pasta station, pizza and fried food section.
Pizza
Chicken wings, calamari rings, spring roll
We ended our meal with some fruits and desserts. Tea and coffee are also included in the buffet.
Dessert
Being a weekday, we got to enjoy the laidback East coast park ambience without the crowds.
Parkland Green @ ECP
It was a nice change to come out for a lovely lunch together with my teachers and this is a great place for simple team-bonding sessions.
My newly adopted 'family'
Sandbank's International Lunch Buffet is available Tuesdays to Fridays (excluding PH) from 11.30am - 3.30pm.

{GIVEAWAY} I am delighted to be giving away a {Weekday International Lunch Buffet for 4 PAX} at Sandbank at East Coast Park to ONE lucky winner!

All you have to do is:
  • Like Mummy Wee's Facebook page
  • Like this post on Facebook
  •  Leave a comment on Mummy Wee's Facebook post stating your name, email address and tell us what is your favourite food for lunch on weekdays (You can also leave your email privately at mummyweedotcom@gmail.com)
Details:
  • 1 lucky winner will be chosen at random
  • Open to Singapore residents only
  • Ends midnight of 31 July 2016
  • Winners will be announced @ mummyweeblog on 4 August 2016
  • Winners will be contacted by our sponsor.
Good luck!
920 East Coast Parkway
#01-28
Parkland Green
Singapore 449875
Tel: 62477988

Opening hours:
Tue/Wed/Thur: 11.30am - 11pm
Fri/Eve of PH: 11.30am - 12mn
Sat/ PH: 8.30am - 12mn
Sun: 8.30am - 11pm

Disclaimer: We were invited to the launch of Sandbank's International Lunch Buffet. All opinions are my own.

~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

School stories #18: Get into the PSLE fray? Not me.

There has been a flood of reactions, opinions and questions from parents since MOE released their new grading system last Wednesday.

Many acknowledge that doing away with the fine differentiation is a step in the right direction but wonder if it will help to reduce stress levels in our children.

Some feel it might get more stressful.

One thing is for sure.

There is no perfect system and it is hard to please every parent.

As for me, I will do no different with Kate than I have done with my 5 other kids.

In fact, it is good news for us because now the choice of school has more weightage than before. It will be taken into consideration not just once, but twice, in the event of a tie.

If Kate so happens to be tied with a few other students fighting for the last place in a particular school, they will look at choice order before putting them in the ballot box.

Although I doubt she will be in that situation because for her first choice, I will likely select a school with an entry point which she can comfortably get into.

I have learnt to look further as there is the issue of streaming at the end of secondary 2.

I made that mistake with #1, where she scrapped in to the school of her choice.

During streaming, she was near the bottom of her cohort and did not manage to choose the subjects she was strong in, which affected her O level grades.

I am waiting for MOE to roll out more information over the next few years to illustrate every single school's specialised programme and shortlist those within close proximity of our house.

With more details, we parents can make an informed decision to match the interest and learning needs of our children to the distinctive programmes the schools are offering.
Where's your ladder leading to?
MOE can come up with new grading systems and new criteria, but if mindsets do not change, nothing much will change, and our education system will be as stressful as ever.

Before we pour all our resources in the race to the top, have we thought long and hard about whether this is the best ladder to climb?

The worst thing is to reach the top only to wonder if it has been the right ladder all along.

How I have managed to remain calm and not get sucked into the academic frenzy these past 12 years is to look at things from a broader perspective.

Yes, the PSLE is a big exam.

A bigger question I constantly ask myself is, do I need to look past the PSLE?

What are we preparing our kids for?

I don't know about you, but I am preparing my kids for a future which I cannot foresee.

Hence, I am trying to guide them to be adaptable and unafraid to face challenges.

To be able to think and communicate their ideas.

To see mistakes as learning opportunities and be able to pick themselves up when they fail.

To ensure that they are future-ready, they need to be good problem-solvers, analytical thinkers, with strong interpersonal skills.

I have been trying to build these skills and traits in them from the time they were young through the way I parent and the opportunities I find along the way. However, I have not been able to find a systematic way to do it.

When I met this speech pathologist and discovered how her team of education specialist has been working with children quietly but doggedly over the past decade, I knew that this was the missing piece of the puzzle.

Since I haven't been able to find a solution to address this need, the next best thing was to come up with a solution!

We have spent the past year working on this new initiative to ensure that the successes she has seen with individual children can be replicated in a group enrichment setting.

It was really interesting how during one of our training sessions, my ex-MOE teacher was sharing that when she spoke to her group of teacher friends about our curriculum, the secondary school teachers assumed that the primary school teachers were teaching such skills while the primary school teachers felt that they already had too much content to teach, and expected (or hoped) that most of their students came with such skills intact.

Therein lies a huge gap we have unearthed.

There is a whole set of skills which are expected of children in a classroom setting, such as being able to pay attention and focus, listening to instructions, planning, prioritising and initiating tasks, displaying impulse control, besides having higher order thinking skills such as visualisation, sequential organization, inference and deduction, perception and memory recall. And the list goes on. 

However, these cognitive skills are not explicitly developed in children and parents only start to see the problems when they enter formal education.

I believe that by giving Kate a solid foundation in acquiring these fundamental executive functioning skills, and equipping her with the right mindset and learning habits, it will set her up for successes in future, whichever path she might choose to pursue.

I am really excited to observe for myself the impact of this programme on Kate and how it might shape her learning in a positive way.
A happy learning environment
Kids these days are shunted from school to tuition and learning has lost its meaning.

Children should never lose their love of learning and we make an effort to design our classes to be fun because kids learn best through play, and there is always laughter to be heard around here.

It will be a long yet enriching journey ahead as we guide parents towards this very new concept. In some children, the change may be quite apparent but in others, nothing may seem to be surfacing even though a lot of learning is taking place.

Every child we see transformed, even in small ways, gives us great joy and satisfaction.

As a team, this is what continues to inspire and motivate us in this journey of impacting the next generation of children.

Our next Open House is on 6 August 2016, for N2 to P1 children. Do book a slot for a trial class and come along to find out more about what we are doing.

We will be running 4 sessions at 9.15am, 11.30am, 2pm and 4pm.

More details can be found over at The Little Executive's Facebook page while we are getting our website ready.

Email us at knockknock@thelittleexecutive.asia with your child's name, age, your contact number and preferred time slot (I'm sure you can guess who came up with that email address).

School Stories:

#1 - When your son gets into fights in school
#2 - My son the loan shark
#3 - So kids can't play once they start school?
#11 - How #2 topped her level in English
#12 - DSA. Yet another initiative parents have warped
#13 - Tuition - First line of attack?
#14 - Why do exams have to be so stressful?
#15 - First day mix up!

#16 - The day I forgot to pick my son from school
#17 - No more T-score. Now what?


The Little Executive
144 Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 229844
Tel: 69081889



~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

NEW Changes to PSLE Scoring and Secondary One Posting

The wait is finally over!

MOE has just released more details of the changes which are going to take place, starting from the 2021 cohort.

In a bid to reduce the excessive focus on academic result due to the fine differentiation of students by aggregate points, they are changing to a grade band.

Since our PM announced this change almost 3 years ago, parents have voiced tremendous disapproval at this suggestion, speculating what sort of criteria would be used as the tie-breaker when there are students with the same grades, for example 4 As or 4 Bs.

Here's where MOE is going to make the biggest change. They are introducing 8 Achievement Levels (ALs), with AL 1 being the best.

This is similar to the O Level grading system, just that the mark range is different.

See table below for mark range.

Credit: MOE press release
The PSLE Score is the sum of ALS across the four subjects, ranging from 4 to 32, with a score of 4 being the best.

Students with a score of 4 - 20 will be streamed into the Express course.

See table above for the placement outcomes of Express, N(A) and N(T) and their corresponding PSLE scores.

The other significant change is that previously, when there were students having the exact same PSLE score fighting for the last place in a school, they would be allocated to the secondary school based on a computerised balloting.

Many parents were not privy to this, but yes, for the few students in this situation, it was down to luck.

In future, choice order would be the new tie-breaker.

What this means is that, say for example there are 3 students fighting for the last place in a particular school.

Student A puts it as his 1st choice, Student B puts it as his 2nd choice, and Student C puts it as his 3rd choice.

In this scenario, Student A would be given priority for the spot.

With this wider scoring bands as compared to aggregate points, we will see a higher percentage of students who will end up in this situation.

Thus, more than ever, we have to use our 6 choices judiciously.

This is a lot to digest for now.

This new scoring system looks to be the middle ground between the aggregate score (which is too fine) and grade bands of A,B,C,D (which is too broad).

The way I see it, this seems to be the most practical solution to move towards their goals of reducing an over-emphasis on chasing the last mark and hopefully free up time and space for a more holistic education and well-rounded family life.

More details can be found at: https://www.moe.gov.sg/psle



~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~







Friday, 8 July 2016

A new phase of my life

As I perch on the cusp of a new chapter of my life, I stop to pause, reflect and give thanks.

It feels surreal.

Something that has been brewing for so long has finally come to fruition.

It has been more than a year since I had my first discussion with a speech pathologist about this new initiative, and our enrichment centre is opening it's doors tomorrow!

Not only do we share the same name, we share the same vision and can almost read each other's minds from the first meeting we had. I couldn't have asked for a better partner to start a venture with.

I have been running at breakneck speed the past few weeks.

Starting the day at 7am, dropping Kate off at school and going in to work with my team for half the day, picking the kids up after supplementary classes and dealing with their issues, sitting down together for dinner at 6.30pm and getting them ready for bed at 8pm. After that it's back to the computer until around 2am when my brain stops functioning effectively.

On top of that, just this past 2 weeks, I had to deal with one sprained ankle, taking one to investigate her allergies, and taking two of them to extract their teeth and fix braces.
My essentials
To allocate more time for work, I had to sacrifice time with the kids. Thankfully the hubs wasn't away much and he took over the lunch prep and taxi duties.

Kate has been spending more time with her older siblings which was great bonding for them.

On Hari Raya, #3 was going ice-skating with her friend and she offered to take Kate along. She helped her don her skates, take her in and out of the rink when she needed the toilet or wanted a drink of water and even graded her learning from pushing her around on the seal to holding her hands and skating with her without the aid after she gained more confidence.

There were days when I didn't dare put Kate to bed for fear of falling asleep and not finishing things I needed to get done before going in to work. She has been really accommodating and would go off and find some jie jie to bunk in with.


It was quite amusing to search the rooms on my way up to bed and see her tucked in different beds depending on which sis it was.

One night, I found her sleeping inside a wardrobe! With the sliding doors open.

#3 had padded it nicely and made it into a secret hideout for Kate. We all had a good laugh the next morning when Kate said so matter-of-factly, "Yesterday I slept in the cupboard." Oh well, these are the things fond memories are made of.

I really salute all the full time mums who have been doing this for years. It is not easy working a full day and coming home having to deal with the kids and running the household.

There were moments when I was working on the computer in the wee hours of the morning and wondering how I got myself into this busy state.

I guess once the cogwheel starts turning, there is no looking back.
Our signage is up!
I had to be really focused. No luxury of having a conducive environment or being in the 'mood' to work.

I've picked up a handy skill of being able to whip up my trusty notebook and carry on where I've left off.

I've worked at the BBQ pit of a condo while waiting for a kid to finish surprising her bff, at the car repair shop waiting to get the tyres fixed, I've even worked at mall seats while waiting for the girls to pick up their stuff.

It may sound strange but I am enjoying myself. I have been physically and mentally exhausted raising the kids for the past 18 years, dealing with teenagers and toddlers. At the same time.

Now that most of them are occupied with long school days, I can finally take a break from child-rearing and focus my attention on something I find meaningful.

When term 3 started, the kids asked if I could pick them up from school and I told them they had to take the MRT as I needed to work.

They were more amused than disappointed. "Mum! You actually have work?!"

I'm glad they are proud of me.

They have been seeing me as a stay-at-home-mum and never imagined I had the capabilities to go out and work, much less start a business.

#4 recently exclaimed, "Mum, you actually own nice clothes?"

Talk about tactless kids. I'll console myself that they are just being direct.

My partner and I are taking this slowly and steadily, not over taxing ourselves or neglecting our families.

The hubs and I opened a spa 14 years ago and we failed miserably. Sars hit us in our 3rd month and hardly any customers came in and we did not have the cash flow to ride it out.

I teach my kids that there is a lesson to be learnt in our failures, but for the longest time, I myself couldn't see the silver lining in our failed business and sorry state.

We went through a rough patch then, having lost a huge sum of money and with 3 young kids in tow. That time has passed, and the lessons learnt are invaluable to me today as I embark on this new endeavour.

No big capital expenses on rental and renovations but starting small, and focusing our energies on a solid curriculum and the children whose learning and lives we will be impacting.

And one of the most important lessons I learnt was to have a product that we believe in one hundred and one percent and finding the right team to journey with.

We have formed an amazing team which we have chosen carefully based on much more than their resumes. We are aligned with a shared sense of purpose which shows in the great camaraderie and respect we have for one another.
Who says hard work can't be fun
This is the start of a refreshing and beautiful journey, of us discovering our passions, putting our hearts together to touch children and educate them in a meaningful way, which they can take away with them for life.

One thing I do miss is writing in this space. But now I have a new baby to tend to.

Exciting times ahead!


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~
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