Genetic Testing in the Light of Paediatricians

good genetic testing for kids

If your child is showing some symptoms of delayed response, late motor, cognitive or speech function, then consult a good paediatrician. There is a possibility that he may recommend getting some genetic tests for your child. You need not worry because genetic testing is essential to diagnosis the presence of any problematic chromosome or genetic disorder in a child. Find out more about different genetic tests available for kids here.

Why genetic testing is essential for children?

It is pertinent to mention that such tests are also crucial as far as other functional issues and structural defects at the time or after birth are concerned. These may include movement issues, mood issues, hearing, vision, movement problems. Sometimes poor growth pattern, heart rhythm issues, digestive problems, hormonal problems or weak immunity problems. Doctors are of the view that it is time for families and parents need to be aware of such birth defects or sometimes after birth issues which can hinder the overall growth pattern of the kids.

Parents need to study genetic testing in children:

Parents are apprehensive as far as knowhow of genetic testing is concerned. They want to know the actual reason behind genetic testing. It is also true that sometimes many paediatricians are reluctant in explaining the true reason behind the request to getting done the genetic testing of a child. This could be many myths associated with genetic testing and also limited knowledge of the parents. If you are a parent, then you need to trust your child’s paediatrician and abide by his request for getting done your child’s genetic testing.

Genetic issues among children:

As per the research done on genetic testing, as many as 7,000 disorders have been identified in many children owing to a mutation in one or many genes. Thus, genetic testing for children can help in diagnosis and analysing the available cure for the disorder. Mainly the reason for mutation of the child genome is studied to test the problem in the actual gene before recommending the preferred treatment.

Is genetic testing cost-effective?

The cost involved in getting the genetic testing is slightly higher when compared to normal other testing methods. However, depending upon the type of test; the overall cost pattern is defined. It is also pertinent to mention that with new technology entering the medical market, the cost of these testing is also reducing in some areas of Singapore, thus making the process affordable for many parents.

How timely genetic testing be helpful?

If the diagnosis is timely managed along with the treatment, then parents can secure them from the probably blame game. Rather than cursing them for being responsible for the illness in their child, they will be able to analyse the cause of the issue and also suggest solutions to counter the issue. The gene pattern cannot be controlled with anything. Similarly, it can happen to anyone due to any reason. If you think by eating a certain food, your chances of transferring gene mutation to your child are reduced, then you are at fault. It can only be analysed and diagnosed by the medical officer. Sometimes the symptoms are also not obvious thus making diagnosis even more difficult.

Yet another advantage of genetic testing is for parents when planning future babies’ choices. In case of any issue with a child, they will be able to take proactive action and safeguard their future child as well.

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Studying Genetic Testing for Disorders in Kids

genetic testing for kids and children

Sometimes parent tends to look for the probable cause of dyslexia in their kids owing to gene mutation. Physicians under such circumstance ask for genetic testing of pregnant women including newborn kids and other children. Sometimes after going through the physical exams, the diagnosis is completed. Specific testing is also done to analyse the causes of genetic disorders which includes examining the chromosomes plus DNA, also testing blood for checking the abnormality in any of the enzymes.

For this matter, the initial appointment with the medical officer includes general know-how of the family history, medical background, health condition of the family members and presence of any medical issues amongst any siblings or parents. Mainly X-rays, MRI or even genetic testing is done (urine or blood test). Sometimes a child is also tested in the clinic environment in the vicinity of the hospital environment.

Categories of different genetic testing types for kids:

There are some key genetic testing which requires some prerequisite along with proper procedures. Example are:

Predictive genetic testing:

This testing studies probability of any person towards the development of any disease or problem later in life. The situation is evident in the case of some heart diseases or cancer. Sometimes the occurrence of the issue is backed by the family history of getting infected by that disease and sometimes it happens without any family member getting infected with the disease.

Pre-symptomatic genetic testing:

It means when anyone in the family has a genetic disorder but no symptoms, how the disease will be transferred to the kids later in their age. It also analysis the gene alteration in any child due to the presence of the disease.

Carrier testing:

It happens when a person carries one gene of any disease. autosomal recessive means the probability of gene alteration is only when both the genes are inherited from both copies and thus change the gene anatomy. In this case, there are 25 per cent chances of pregnant women have transferred the gene mutation in the unborn child.

The prenatal diagnosis:

This test is mainly taken to test the presence of any disease or birth disorder in the developing fetus. It includes blood screen tests, amniocentesis, ultrasound, and umbilical cord testing.

The preimplantation studies:

This is applicable in the case of Vitro fertilization. It highlights the presence of any gene mutation in a developing embryo before it is formally put inside the womb of a mother.

There is some screening done for the newborn baby before birth. These testing and screenings are done to diagnose and bring to light the issue with the unborn child. In this case, the probable treatment and solution are looked forward to treating the issue.

In Conclusion

Some tests are considered essential for a child to find out the probability of any gene mutation in their genetic makeup. No matter what, if you or your spouse has some signs of gene mutation and you fear your child might show some symptoms as well, go for genetic testing. Consult some experienced physician in this regard.

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All You Need to Know About Gene Testing in Singapore

genetic tests in Singapore

Genetic testing is done to diagnosis the variants or mutations in the DNA of any individual. It is useful in a various manner in the discipline of medicine. It also tends to change the nature of the medical care your family needs.

For instance, with the help of quick genetic testing, you might be able to diagnosis the higher risk of heart disease or cancer. With this ample information, you can reduce the probability of succumbing to the illness at a later stage.

Types of genetic testing:

There are different types of genetic tests done by a medical specialist, each varies according to the requirement and the symptoms associated. The tests are done with the help of saliva or taking a blood sample and the results can be received in a few weeks.

It is pertinent to mention that all family members share the same strains of DNA. In case of any change or defect in any gene, it can cause a genetic change in the other family members as well. The process of genetic counselling is recommended to check if checking your gene mutation with the help of genetic testing is the preferred option. It also ensures if your test was taken right and the results are also accurate.

The reason behind genetic testing:

  • If any preventive measure is needed for curing any malignant disease, like cancer
  • If there is any chance that future pregnancy could lead to any genetic condition due to an underlying genetic disorder in the family
  • In case of any symptoms of a genetic condition in either of the parents or family members
  • If there is already any genetic issue running in the family

The above mentioned are some of the reasons why gene testing advised by medical doctors. Sometimes owing to the reason that genetic tests are too expensive and won’t make any difference in the genetic makeup makes they irrelevant for testing purposes.

Tests apart from Genetic testing:

There are of course some other tests as well which are recommended by the doctors apart from typical genetic testing in Singapore. Those are:

Chromosome testing: Mainly the DNA structure is packed inside the chromosomes. Some tests are performed to change the chromosomal number in the body rather than causing any change in the genes. These tests are chromosomal microarrays and karyotype.

Gene Expression tests: In different parts of the cells, genes are either turned on or expressed at different levels. The gene expression makes a comparison between the normal gene working and that of defective gene working. It is that difference that is significant for determining the change in any genetic makeup which is the onset of any disease. Apart from this, some of these tests are also used for breast cancer screening and chemotherapy.

As far as the results of tests are concerned, these could be positive, negative or uncertain. The positive results show the presence of the issue or disease whereas the negative result is all about no genetic change. In some cases, the negative result could be false as well. The medical situation determines the type of tests to be performed and how to be conducted.

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Gene testing in Expectant Mothers and Unborn Babies

gene tests in Singapore

For detecting the missing or any defective gene, genetic testing is prescribed by medical doctors. It also helps to determine if a person, his family member have any type of medical condition. Normally smaller blood samples of somebody tissues are taken for analysis purposes. For the said purpose, somebody fluids or tissues are also used. The type of genetic testing done for analysis purpose depends upon the kind of conditions a doctor intends to study.

For gene testing of children and adults, you may find out more here.

Types of Genetic Testing in Pregnancy

Before the birth of a child, genetic testing in Singapore is done for a pregnant woman to find out the presence of any disorder in a child. In case of any issue with the screening of the blood sample, a medical specialist might advise having a chorionic villus sample or sometimes amniocentesis as well. During going further, we need to know about both tests:

CVS, i.e., Chorionic villus sampling:

This test is done between 10 to 12 weeks of pregnancy. For the said purpose, a smaller piece of the placenta is taken to check the presence of any abnormality in the fetus. Due to the invasive nature of this testing, there are also chances of miscarriages, this doctor needs to be careful.

Amniocentesis:

This test is done between 15 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. The smaller needle is inserted via the women’s abdomen to take a sample of amniotic fluids of the under-develop fetus. This fluid is then checked to see the presence of any abnormal tissue. The same can also be used to know the gender of a child. In case of any probability of premature delivery, and amniotic fluid test can help in diagnosis the maturity of the baby’s lungs. The amniocentesis test is a bit safer than CVS testing as far as the probability of miscarriages is concerned.

What do Doctors have to say about Genetic Testing?

Doctors sometimes ask for gene tests in Singapore when they fear the presence of any issue with the baby. There are certain cases in which the tests are advised:

When the woman is 34 and above and Pregnant:

There are ample chances of the baby developing genetic issue if she is older than 34 years of age and pregnant as well. At the same time, Kids of the older father are also at increased risk of developing any genetic disorder. Thus, doctors advise test to find the background of the disease.

Prenatal screening tests:

If the prenatal screening tests show some signs of problems or variations, the doctor then ask for genetic testing to analyse the actual issue.

If any parent is having an inherited illness:

Sometimes one of the couples gets some inherited illness which is likely to affect the genetic makeup of the newborn. It happens when some of the genes are receptive. Because individual never show any symptom associated with such illness but that has very capability to impact the genetic make-up of a newborn.

If one child is already infected with any birth defect:

Sometimes couple before planning a second or third child needs to be screened for the genetic issue. It is crucial when their already child is infected with any birth disorder.

If a woman has had miscarriages, then gene testing is advised by the doctor to check what measures could be taken to avoid future reoccurrence.

Pregnant women are prone to many diseases being vulnerable. She needs to regularly visit a doctor for follow up. In case of any issue with the fetus, the doctor may advise some testing that should be done at priority.

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Genetic Testing in Kids; What do Parents Need to Know?

genetic tests for kids

If either of the parents show any signs of gene mutation, it is likely kids also show some signs and symptoms. You as a parent need to closely evaluate the situation and in case of any alarm, go to the doctor. If there is any such case with your child, a doctor can ask for some genetic testing as well.

Besides a test for genetic illness, another would be on the talents and inclinations that the child possesses naturally. For more information on this talent genetic test for kids, you may read more here.

Genetic Testing in Kids; How and When:

  • In case there is any abnormality in the development of a child
  • If there are any structural defects in the birth of a child, which could lead to an anomaly in any one organ
  • It could be owing to movement disorders
  • It could also be due to any delay in cognitive function, speech or motor skills
  • Due to hearing or vision problem
  • due to seizures
  • Suffering from frequent illness due to immunity disorder
  • Poor health and growth
  • Any problem in mood or chronic behaviour
  • The problem in the heart rhythm
  • Any hormonal problem

Thus if a child has shown any signs related to a genetic disorder, a doctor might advise genetic tests for reaching the root cause of the issue.

Are genetic disorders inherited?

Yes, different genetic disorders are inherited and can be a cause of issues and diseases in children. At the same time, a genetic mutation can also cause health issues among kids. The conditions could be:

Autosomal recessive disorders:

When both the parents carry strains of gene mutation, autosomal recessive disease happens. Any child with the condition as such shows no symptoms. If both parents are the carrier of genetic conditions, then kids are at a 25 per cent more chance of inheriting that medical condition, at 50 per cent more risk of carrying the disease whereas only 25 per cent chances of not getting the disease at all.

 In the case of autosomal dominant disease:

This condition can be inherited from a single parent as well, in case one has a strain. In case of mild symptoms in parents, a child might not show signs until the symptoms become obvious and dominant. The condition can also arise from either spontaneous or new gene mutation. In this case, a child doesn’t have to inherit the gene mutation from their parents.

Gene mutation on Chromosomal:

The X-linked disease, which means the gene mutation in one of the X chromosome affects males more than females. In certain cases, the mother is aware of the presence of such gene mutation on their chromosome and it becomes obvious when her son gets infected with the disease.

Due to mutation in mitochondrial DNA:

The functional problem in any body system can also be caused because of a mutation within the mitochondrial DNA. Mother could be a carrier for both boys and girls in this case.

Genetic diagnosis is essential for making parents burden free from the guilt of a child’s illness. The process of gene mutation is happening in all people at all times and there is no single factor that can control it. Once you discover the cause of this genetic mutation, the treatment can be managed timely.

 

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A Definitive Guide to Choosing the Best Enrichment Class for Your Child in Singapore

enrichment classes for kids

If you are like most parents in Singapore, you will want your child to perform well academically, make friends, and grow to new heights. Many parents go as far as enrolling their kids in some of the most prestigious schools in Singapore to give their children an advantage over their peers. This may not be an option for you, especially if you are on a budget.

Well, it may interest you to know that there is an alternative way for you to help your child reach his potential quicker.

Enrichment classes are presently trending in Singapore because of how effective they are. Enrolling your child into one is a surefire way to help him develop faster. These classes can potentially help your kid study better, spur interest in learning, boost motivation, and so on.

If you live around Novena, where there are many enrichment centres offering educational classes, it may be difficult for you to narrow down a good one that can address the needs of your kid.

This article will make your search easier, as it sheds light on some key things to look out for when choosing an enrichment class in Singapore.

Involve your child

In the quest to help your child develop quicker, you may be tempted to sign him up for popular enrichment classes like Math, English, Science, and so on. And if your child happens to be interested in any of these subjects, he will become even better at them when you sign him up for an enrichment class that centres on them.

That said, if for some reason your child isn’t excited about the class you signed him for, chances are, he is not going to benefit much from it. He may end up looking at the class as a chore.

You can prevent this by involving your child in the decision-making process.

Ask your child what he is interested in or what he will like to learn about, and find an enrichment class on the subject he is interested in.

Know what you are paying for

As you will soon find out, most enrichment courses in Singapore are expensive. So before choosing anyone, it is important that you learn as much as you can about them. It won’t be out of place to compare courses from different centres.

Note that some courses are expensive because of the qualification and expertise of the teachers that will be teaching them.

Check the learning environment

Even if enrichment centres have tons of good reviews online, there is still a slim chance that they won’t be able to address the needs of your child. An effective way to know if a center will be good for your kid is by visiting the center in person.

During your visit, you should inspect the learning area and ask yourself the following questions

  • Will the classroom be conducive for my kid?
  • Is the learning area clean?
  • Are the learning tool and equipment provided by the facility up to standard?
  • Does the center have a good parking facility?

 

Do consider these various factors before deciding on your child’s educational journey. Remember that this may be a big step for a young child and your loving support and guidance as a parent would be a great help for your child.

 

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Signs Your Child Needs Brain Training

signs your child needs brain training

For several years, scientists have been studying brain training for children and its benefits. There is no doubt that all children have a lot to gain from cognitive training, but some need it more than others. 

While some children go through the various stages of learning easily, some experience difficulty. In Singapore, various brain training centres have been set up to help children find ways to process information easily. 

If you observe these signs, you should consider seeking out brain training sessions for children

Difficulty focusing or paying attention

When children first start their formal education journey in preschool, they naturally have a short attention span. This is because their brains are yet to adapt to school and structured learning. However, as time goes by, children are expected to adjust to sitting in class for a reasonable amount of time and pay attention to lessons. 

Unfortunately, some children still struggle even after being in school for years. If you are overwhelmed with your child’s inability to focus, even when at home, it is best to consider brain training for him or her. 

Forgetfulness and Poor Memory

Many parents often associate their children’s forgetfulness to inattentiveness. However, this is not always true. Some children suffer from poor memory irrespective of how attentive they are. If your child suffers from chronic forgetfulness, you must pay close attention to identify the reason behind it. 

In some cases, the reason for poor memory can be identified and remedied. However, if there is no obvious explanation or solution for your child’s forgetfulness, you should consider brain training. 

Your child may not necessarily be forgetful, but the loss of crucial information necessary for completing a particular task forces him to lose interest in what he is doing. In the long run, this may affect learning and his school performance. 

Uncoordinated movements

Is your child unreasonable clumsy? Does he keep tripping over himself? Your child’s brain influences movement. If your child is too clumsy, there could be a disconnect between the messages sent by the brain and the body’s interpretation of the message it receives. 

It is important to remember that if your child is too clumsy at home, the same may happen to his classwork. Brain training will help your child control his actions and reactions to various situations.  

Struggles to read, write, or even spell

If your child struggles with reading, writing, spelling, or even math, you should consider brain training. It is essential for you to keep track of your child’s school performance. If there is no improvement in school performance over time, your child likely needs cognitive training to help him cope. 

Emotional distress and impulsive behaviour

Is your child impulsive? Does he struggle with his emotions? Brain training for children may be just what he needs to help him act when he is certain of what he needs to do. Many children lose interest in what they are doing and opt to move on to something more interesting. 

Brain training is critical because it helps children understand the importance of completing tasks, even those they consider boring. This training will help prepare your child to appreciate the importance of the school curriculum. Brain training will also help your child identify and focus on his strengths, both academically and socially. 

The competitive nature of Singapore’s education system can be overwhelming for children experiencing the above issues. Opting for cognitive training, especially in the early years, will help steer your child cope effectively with the challenges he encounters later in life. 

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Is Brain Training the Solution to Singapore’s Tuition Culture?

brain training classes for children

Singapore’s tuition industry has ballooned to a $1.4 billion industry. About 15 years ago, this industry was only worth $650 million. This signifies a steady growth, that is likely to continue unless something significant happens. 

While these figures seem alarming, a look at how much each household spends on tuition paints an even dire picture. It is estimated that tuition costs account to about 2% of each household’s monthly expenses. 

Unfortunately, the competitive nature of Singapore’s education system is unlikely to slow down. Consequently, the demand for tuition services will continue to be a priority for most families. Many families sacrifice some of their other needs for tuition because kiasu has become ingrained in Singapore’s culture. 

While tuition is indeed helpful and may be the reason behind Singaporean students’ high academic performance, the strain and stress on students and parents cannot be overlooked. Some families go into debt because they don’t want their children to miss out on great grades. Students undergo immense pressure to outperform their peers. 

How is brain training different from tutoring? 

Brain training addresses the cause of a child’s academic struggles, while tutoring focuses on information delivery. Unfortunately, tutoring fails to address the cause of learning struggles. In some cases, tutors explain it away as students being too slow at processing information. 

Some even blame poor performance on playfulness. However, as a parent or teacher, have you considered the possibility that weak cognitive skills are to blame? Unfortunately, some students still struggle to grasp and process information even after hours of tuition. This frustrates parents, especially those who can barely afford tuition fees. 

It is also critical to note that tuition can help a child successfully progress from one class to another or even pass a specific subject or project. However, a child with weak cognitive skills will continue to face learning difficulties. This is why brain training should be a priority. It has long term benefits and can even help a child respond better to tutoring. 

When should you opt for brain training over tutoring?

While it is ideal for parents to consider brain training early, most often go for tuition because it is the typical solution to boost school performance. Unfortunately, instead of seeking alternative solutions, most students are subjected to more tuition hours if their performance does not improve. 

Unfortunately, a stressed child can hardly perform. Instead, this evokes feelings of failure, especially if the child’s performance doesn’t improve after long hours of tuition. 

If your child is struggling with his school assignments or has to work extra hard to catch up with his peers, brain training is the ideal solution.  

You should also consider brain training if your child can only respond positively to one subject at a time. Children who struggle to process the information they receive often struggle with more than one class. Instead of having a tutor for each class, you should consider brain training as a comprehensive solution. 

Brain training for children may not be as popular as tuition in Singapore, but it may be the solution to the intense tuition culture. Some critics believe more than 70% of Singapore’s tuition centres could be more effective if they did not use a “one size fits all” approach. Children are different and acknowledging that some have cognitive weaknesses that need to be addressed is a great step to improving their wellbeing. 

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How Brain Training Works on Children

how brain training works on children

Did you know it is possible to train your child’s brain to improve how they think or even how they perform their daily tasks? Brain training for children targets the brain’s executive functions. They include the ability to solve problems, regulate emotions, communicate, and organization skills. 

Most children struggle with these issues early in life, but the problem can become more pronounced when they suddenly find themselves in a new environment. This is why many parents start noticing changes in their children’s behaviour when they go to school. 

Some children are flexible enough to adapt to sudden changes in routine, while others struggle to find a place for the change in their lives as they knew it. This is one reason for poor academic performance.

 

Fortunately, some children are cognitively inclined to overcome the teething problems they encounter in different life phases. Others struggle, and this is evident in their social interactions and academic performance and attending brain training classes for children is recommended.

Repetitive behaviour

One of the concepts used during brain training is the use of repetitive actions. This helps strengthen the brain’s wiring and improves the possibility of an action being more successful the next time it is undertaken. 

Children are more responsive after repeating something a few times. Brain training exercises include the use of games. Play intensifies the learning experience in children because it involves memory and coordination. For example, teaching the alphabet using play and repeating the process, helps children remember the sequence much faster. 

Deep breathing for emotional control

Children often struggle with their emotions. This is why they cry and laugh within minutes. Interestingly, children enjoy deep breathing, and they do it often, especially when they want to keep from crying. This is why deep breathing is seen as an important part of brain training for children. 

Some children have behavioural problems and have trouble with their school work because they have no control over their emotions. Training children to overcome stressful situations will help them cope better irrespective of their environment. 

Improved brain and body coordination

The brain and the body need to be in sync. This is why the exercise of both is critical for better coordination. Brain training for children considers the role of the brain in motor coordination. Some children experience a disconnect between the brain message to the body and the reaction to the message.

Some of the brain training activities that promote brain functions and body coordination include the attempt to use the non-dominant hand. For example, right-handed children are encouraged to use their left hand for eating, dressing and writing.

Test concentration

Brain training is a concept that has been introduced in Singapore as a solution to children facing difficulty in the competitive education system. Tuition is not the only solution for children with academic struggles because it does not work for everyone. Sometimes, the challenge is not how the information is passed on to the child, but rather how the child processes it. 

Test concentration helps to gauge if a child’s troubles are linked to poor attention. For example, the trainer may opt to collect toys a child is familiar with, then remove one to see if the child can easily identify the missing toy. 

The concentration test also analyzes a child’s memory. This test will help in identifying gaps that affect a child’s academic performance. 

Brain training activities are designed to identify the origins of a child’s cognitive challenges. Parents who feel their children are experiencing cognitive decline or struggle with school should consider brain training. 

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What Curriculum and Skills Should be Taught in Preschool for Children?

curriculum of preschool for children

Preschool education has now become a norm in Singapore as a child begins on their education journey. Parents want their children to adapt faster, learn quicker and be new age smart children.

Therefore, when you are admitting your child into a preschool, shortlist a few institutions, compare their programs, consult as to what is best for your child and then make the final call.

One suggestion would be to visit the shortlisted schools and observe how the day is planned for the children and what is taught in each class. In effect, you will be able to make an informed decision about which school to admit your child in.

Here are a few things that you should look out for while screening the preschool syllabus for kids:

Expressing creativity

If a child can express clearly, it reflects on his deeper understanding of the subject. The syllabus must have creativity such as drawing and easy arts so that your child is able to express his thoughts. Arts such as hand painting can be fun and if the design is free style, then your child is able to communicate his feelings easily.

Cognitive skills

At pre-school level, the focus of the syllabus should be on improving your child’s thinking process. Exercises that mentally stimulate and force him to think deeper about simple issues can help evolve his mental abilities. Eventually, this will result in your child being able to recollect information quickly, understand and analyse deeper issues easily.

Refine motor skills

One of the important skill developments that should be part of the syllabus is motor skills. Playing with other children, doing physical exercises, and even creating sandcastles can improve the motor skills of your child. There will be better coordination between the eyes, hand, and legs.

Communication skills

At such a tender age, your child is learning new words every day. At a pre-school, he should be able to pick up different languages as he is watching, observing, and communicating with a lot of other students and teachers. In addition, he will be able to learn the official language faster than other children his age as he will be spoken in the official language be the pre-school staff

Overall development

Your child’s confidence level, IQ level and personality will develop rapidly. Select a school in which a teacher shows active interest in each of his or her students and focuses on overall development of each child.

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Things to Know When Choosing Playgroups in Singapore

Playgroups in Singapore cater to children between 18 and 30 months of age. Also known as preschools, playgroup Singapore provides a short programme, usually between two and four hours daily, to boost a child’s interaction with other children. For most parents, the decision to take their children to playgroups is the easy one. Where to take the child is even more complicated, because there are at least 1,800 preschools.

In the following article, Rum Tan discusses some of the best playgroups in Singapore and why they are rated highly. 

Features of some of the best playgroups in Singapore 

“As a young parent, I know how playgroups are important to both the baby and the parent.

Playgroups allow the child to get a taste what social interaction is like among other babies. Sure, you don’t expect them to sit together and start playing or sharing toys. Young children start off paired interactions by playing parallel.

Parallel play is where two children playing side by side without influencing each other’s play. Play is an important milestone in a child’s development like we mentioned here and usually occurred after 12 months old.” Read more here  

When seeking a playgroup Singapore, parents often have a list of things they are interested in to eliminate playgroups until they have a viable list. Most playgroups have created facilities that appeal to a majority of parents in a bid to increase admissions. For example, some playgroups include games that encourage skill development, others provide a child-friendly diet, and some focus on a small caregiver to children ratio for personalised attention. 

In the next article, Ming Feng discusses the cost of enrolling a child in playgroups in Singapore.

What influences the cost of preschool programs?

“Most Singaporeans from my time started school at age four at one of those kindergartens founded by the PAP Community Foundation. That was our first school then, but time has changed.

In search of the next Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, parents are looking to give their child a headstart with Early Childhood Development Care and Education.

To give a quick overview of this head start we just talked about, parents are sending their child to Pre nursery (Toddlers) Programme which is as early as 18 months. Before you even realise it, you are starting to go to school.” Read more here

The cost of the preschool program or playgroup Singapore is one factor that makes selecting one playgroup over another a challenge for most parents. One enrolling in playgroup for the first time may wonder why some preschools charge hundreds of dollars, while others charge more than $2000. The government subsidises anchor and partner operators to keep the fees low. On the other hand, private preschools may not have the luxury to keep the rates low if their operating costs are high. Most private preschools offer more services to justify their rates and make their preschool programs more attractive to parents who can afford the fees. 

The next article by Tracy Tristram analyses the various techniques used in preschool programs to make playgroup fun for kids. 

Choosing a preschool according to a child’s personality

“While there are a ton of cool indoor playgrounds and top-notch preschools here in Singapore, we love taking our toddlers to a good old-fashioned playgroup too. If your nursery rhyme repertoire needs some new material, or you’ve exhausted your art and crafts stash, these organised playgroups offer loads of fun. 

At these Singapore playgroups, tots will improve their motor skills, be introduced to music, and they’ll even build on their social skills too. All of which will help kids settle into school when they’re ready for the next big leap!” Read more here

Although playgroups are ideally designed for interaction and play for toddlers, some preschool programs have adopted kindergarten curriculum to make it a play and learning period. If your child is eager to learn, you should consider a preschool that does more than provide play space for your child. If your child enjoys music, you can look for a playgroup Singapore offering music lessons. 

Due to increased competition, preschools are offering a range of services, some at an extra cost. You can assess your budget, your child’s personality, and your child’s needs in preparation for formal education. You should also consider the logistics of dropping and picking up your child, especially if the playgroup you are interested in is far from home. If it is inconvenient, there is no harm in taking your child to a nearby facility. After all, your child may be happier being in a playgroup that is close to home. 

 

 

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Everything You Need to Know about Speech Therapy

Speech is one of the milestones that children normally achieve by the time they turn three years. By the 36th month, almost anyone can understand what the child is saying. However, most children start saying some unintelligible words from 18 months. 

There are children who hardly say a word before their third birthday, and for parents, this can be quite concerning. It is not surprising that parents worry when their children fail to achieve set milestones within a specific age. However, it is not always a sign that something is wrong. 

Some children simply have delayed speech and end up talking later. However, it is best to see a speech therapist Singapore to confirm that nothing is wrong. Learn more about Speech Therapy in Singapore here: https://bridgingthegap.com.sg/child-speech-therapy-singapore/.

Why do some children take longer to speak?

There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to reasons behind delayed speech. However, there are several reasons why some children struggle to acquire language. In some cases, speech delays are linked to autism and Down Syndrome. 

Other diagnoses linked to speech delays include hearing difficulties, language deprivation, and cognitive development issues. Visiting a speech therapist is critical because some of these diagnoses can easily go unnoticed. 

A speech therapist Singapore will seek to find the reason behind the delayed speech, understand the difficulty level, and recommend an evidence-based solution to support the chosen therapy. 

What should you expect during speech therapy? 

Speech is often considered a natural process, so the idea that a therapist can help a child develop speech leaves many parents curious. How are children trained to speak? Some of the resources that speech therapists use include toys, pictures, books, and tabletop activities. Speech therapists Singapore endeavour to make sure the child is in an environment where they are most comfortable. 

If a child is tense and uncomfortable at the therapist’s office, home, or school sessions are ideal. Speech therapists consider the child’s needs, goals, and whether a group session is ideal. 

Speech therapists use a range of approaches to reach out to the child.

Since all children are unique, the approach will depend on what works. In some cases, a play-based approach is effective. Interactive computer games, board games, and activities that involve role-playing works on some children. Parents are encouraged to adopt the same techniques at home for consistency. 

How long is each therapy session?

Children have a short attention span. During the first few sessions, the child might even resist intervention, so these sessions may not last long. The speech therapist wants to create a conducive environment for the child, o forcing them to sit through long sessions is unlikely to be fruitful. 

Most speech therapy Singapore sessions last between half an hour and 45 minutes. Some therapists prefer an hour-long session. Children with autism require routine, so if this is the reason behind the speech delay, the speech therapist may require frequent visits for optimal success. 

How much does speech therapy cost?

For most parents, the cost of speech therapy can be overwhelming. However, some children need speech therapy Singapore if they are ever to speak. In Singapore, a speech therapy session costs anywhere between $120 and $400 per hour. Some therapists charge between $250 and $450 for the initial assessment, where the cause for delayed speech is identified. Most speech therapists will give a discount if the session doesn’t last an hour.

Speech therapy Singapore is essential if your child has delayed speech. While some children naturally overcome the delays, some need additional help. As a parent, it is important to follow your instinct instead of relying on what other people say about their delayed speech experiences. Children are different, and acknowledging that your child needs help is the first step to helping him or her get the right support. 

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Steps to Follow Before Enrolling Your Child in Playgroup

The idea of your child going to playgroup is often met with anxiety and excitement, probably in equal measure. For parents considering playgroup in Singapore for your little one, whether he is 18 months or older, it signifies the moment when a child starts gaining his independence, even if it is for a few hours a day. However, separation anxiety leaves many parents wondering if they are making the right decision. However, a visit to the playgroup will help you overcome anxiety and even get your child excited about the playgroup program. 

Sassymama, on the site www.sassymamasg.com, gives a guide on what to do when looking for a playgroup for your child. 

Guide to choosing a playgroup in Singapore

“Finding a playgroup that satisfies your little one’s curiosity, provides a caring and stimulating environment and most of all is a ton of fun for littlies is enough to send any mama into a bit of a spin! With so many options available for families we’ve done the legwork for you with our comprehensive guide to the best playgroups in Singapore.” Read more here

Choosing a playgroup may not be easy since there are a large number of facilities offering the playgroup program. Are you interested in a large facility with multiple or do you prefer a small playgroup? While younger children may benefit greatly from playgroup Singapore, older children may be ready for limited formal education. Are you looking for a pure-play system, or would you like formal education as well? There is much to consider when opting for playgroup Singapore, so you should carry out extensive research to ensure you make the right choice. 

In the following article, the author gives an insight into some of the playgroups in Singapore, including those in multiple locations. 

Advantages of playgroup with multiple locations

Finding a playgroup or Kindergarten in Singapore that is right for your child can be a daunting task. Playgroup and Kindergarten is where they soak things up like little sponges, adopt skills and learning styles that will carry them through to Primary and High School. We’ve checked out some of the best playgroups and kindergartens in Singapore and put together a handy round-up to help you make the most of your search. Read more here  

Why are some playgroups in Singapore in multiple locations? Are there advantages to this? Besides providing the services to parents with children in various locations, there are advantages to having a playgroup in multiple locations. Some parents prefer using the same playgroup for all their children. Since location is a critical consideration for most parents, having a playgroup in various locations means even when you move from one residential area to another, or if you change jobs, you can easily transfer your child from a playgroup in one location for another in a different location. 

Michaela Koh, in the next article, addresses the question of where to take your child. She highlights the qualities of some of the best playgroups in Singapore.  

The best playgroups in Singapore

“Sending your child to school is one of the scariest and most intimidating moments as a parent.

Where should they go? Will this playgroup help my child get into the right school? How much does it cost? The questions you will face are scary, and the dollars involved are large.

Fear not, we did the hard work for you. We looked at all the information we possibly could find on a variety of playgroups. Let’s get to it with our list of the best playgroups in Singapore.” Read more here  

With so many playgroups in Singapore, each with unique qualities, it is interesting that some rate higher than others. Most playgroups endeavor to tailor their services to suit the demands of parents. For example, some have a hands-on approach to ensure all the children receive individual attention from the teachers and caregivers. Others have a playgroup program that includes basic education, while others have a range of play areas. 

Parents consider various things when selecting a playgroup for their children. For most children, this is the first time they will be away from home and their parents for a few hours a day. Parents need to make sure the experience is exciting so your child can look forward to their early school years. Discussing the importance of attending playgroup and finding one that your child will enjoy is a great step to ensuring a smooth transition. 

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Causes of Delayed Speech in Toddlers

How often have you heard people loudly react when they find a three-year-old who is yet to talk? How often have you asked the question, “he hasn’t spoken yet?” This question can be overwhelming for parents because they cannot understand why their child is yet to utter a word. Instead of getting worked up over speech delays, parents should seek speech therapy Singapore to determine the cause of speech delays. 

Identifying speech delays in toddlers

Developmental delays are common in 10-15% of toddlers. The first sign of speech and language development skills is cooing in infants. After a few months, the cooing changes into meaningless babbling and ultimately, the first understandable words. 

One of the early signs that many parents miss is an infant who isn’t cooing at two months. Unfortunately, many first-time parents may not identify this tale-tell sign. At 18 months, most children can say simple words, such as “mama” or “dada”.

Unfortunately, not all children go through this process. When a toddler turns three without speech, whether unintelligible or understandable, the child may have delayed speech. A speech therapist Singapore will assess the child to determine the cause behind the delays and the probable solutions.

Qualified speech therapists in Singapore have identified several causes of speech delays, including;

Problems with the mouth, tongue, or palate. 

Ankyloglossia, commonly known as tongue-tie, is a condition where the tongue connects to the floor of the mouth. This medical condition has been responsible for delayed speech in some children. Tongue-tie makes it difficult for the child to create certain sounds, including D, L, R, S, T, Z, and th. 

Absence of speech stimulation

Parents are often encouraged to speak to their children even when they are unlikely to get a response. The reason behind this is children need language stimulation. Engaging with children is crucial in language development, and ultimately, speech. Toddlers from homes with limited speech often delay speaking because they have no one with whom to engage. 

Similarly, babies who face abuse are usually not confident, which may affect their ability to speak. A speech therapist Singapore will try to find out much about the child’s home environment when attempting to find the cause of delayed speech. 

Hearing Loss

Toddlers usually mimic words they often hear at home. Those with hearing loss, poor hearing, or those who hear distorted speech may experience difficulty achieving the speech milestone. Speech therapy Singapore notes that children with hearing loss fail to acknowledge an object or even a person. They also fail to use gestures. 

Since it is difficult to tell that a toddler is experiencing hearing difficulty, a speech therapist Singapore will tell if this is the cause for speech delay. 

Neurological problems

Neurological disorders, such as cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, and muscular dystrophy. In cerebral palsy, hearing loss and other developmental issues may affect a child’s speech. A speech therapists Singapore may recommend medical tests to confirm neurological causes of speech delays.

Autism spectrum disorder

Some parents discover that their child is on the autism spectrum because of delayed speech. This is because speech and language problems are a sign of autism disorder. Some of the visible signs of speech difficulties in autistic children include repetitive phrases, failure to create new phrases, impaired communication, poor social interaction, and speech regression. 

Parents need to maintain an open mind when it comes to delayed speech in toddlers. It is best to seek speech therapy services for support.

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Pros and cons of the international baccalaureate


Pros and cons of the international baccalaureate

If you are thinking of the international baccalaureate program then it is time you sit yourself down and make a list of pros and cons of the program. To make life easier for you here is a comprehensive list of all the pros and cons of this program. You can use this list when you are making your decision.

Pros

Global Recognition
This is one of the most obvious points that is a major boost. Any IB diploma program that you enrol for is well recognised in every leading university in the world. You are instantly put on the world stage.

Preparation for university
By enrolling in an IB program you are effectively getting yourself into an institute that helps you prepare for university. This program teaches you a lot of fundamental skills that are very helpful at a later time. You will learn how to write essays and reports according to the university style. You can also learn how to carry out an independent research and cite your sources well. In addition, an IB program helps you learn the art of time management and how to efficiently self-study.

Well-rounded education
The vast curriculum that an IB program offers is a major plus point as it is something that no other course offers. There is a wider range of subjects that you are exposed to and thus you have the benefit of choice. It helps you learn to adapt to the different courses, strengthen your personality and push yourself harder to reach the goals.

Personal development
IB programs won’t only help you to grow intellectually but also emotionally. This program can help you become a better person. Having more socially conscious individuals in the world can also work towards building a world where there is more peace.

Cons

Length of study
Choosing an IB program is never a walk in the park. It is more like a marathon that you have to keep pushing through. You would need to work consistently and give a solid performance all throughout the 2 years that you spend in the program.

Heavy workload
In an IB program, you need to complete all of the mandatory coursework for the 6 subjects along with essays, projects, and presentations that are an essential part of the 3 core subjects.

Limited flexibility
Even though you have a lot of different subjects that you can choose from there is limited flexibility as there is a wide range of study that is required.

When choosing an IB programme in Singapore you can use this list to decide whether the course is really for you.

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Why Enroll Your Children In Abacus Classes

If someone were to come up to you and ask what is 1887+2347? Your first reaction is to reach out for the smart phone,

but did you know a 6 year old can figure it out without looking into the calculator? How you ask, that is the power of abacus training.

If you don t understand the fundamentals of numbers thoroughly, grasping the idea that complex numbers can be added without an

external learning aid seems impossible. Abacus is used during mental math class which is now available in most places in Singapore.

Why enroll your children in abacus classes?

Abacus has a dual benefit to a child s mental health: it nurtures the development of a stable and strong mind. Building confidence in one subject

at a young age reflects in the overall personality. Abacus training is recommended for children because:

” Strong understanding of math: Math is difficult when it is poorly understood. Learning the concepts at a young age simplifies application

of complex mathematical equations later on in life. Math is the most misunderstood subject because it lacks a tangible mode of learning. Abacus

overcomes this limitation by explaining abstract concepts through beads. Such a concept also improves hand eye coordination. With practice, the child

creates an image of the abacus and can solve questions mentally.

” Logical understanding: As mentioned in the previous point, with time and practice the child learns to solve the problems mentally without the

need of a physical abacus. To do so, the child subconsciously develops the capacity to logically solve problems through correlation with previously

taught concepts. Practicing mental math makes logical solutions second nature.

” Activates right side of the brain: It is now well understood that the brain is divided into two halves, each specific for a nature of physical

function. The left half of the brain is the information analysis center while the right is responsible for visualization and creative thinking. While

performing math questions using pen and paper, it is the left side of the brain which is at work. Right side of the brain is activated when the child

starts to solve math problems using an abacus through creative visualization and memory.

” Improvement in visualization and memory: Memory and visualization are often not given the credit they deserve. Scientists concluded from the

findings of a study that children who practiced learning through the abacus had a sharper sense of visual memory and auditory reaction when compared

to non-abacus learners. Also, abacus learners develop clear visualization as they progress. Visualization is an important skill for learning.

” Improvement in concentration: Researchers from Decker Avenue School California studied the effect of abacus on concentration and found that students

who received such training showed a higher level of concentration as compared to others.

” Other benefits of abacus training includes sharpening physical reflexes, faster rate of calculation, development of photographic memory, improved

reasoning, problem solving abilities and a strong foundation to learning the most important concepts of math which are division, addition, multiplication and subtraction.

Every child possesses an inherent ability to be smarter than their environment. Genes don t determine our intelligence; it is the training we receive while

young which do. Everyone is given an equal opportunity to maximize intelligence. Children who are enrolled in abacus training excel in other subjects apart

from math. As a parent, the most important duty is to ensure that children receive the best education to equip them with all the necessary life skills. Math may

not be a life skill, but the confidence which lays the first stone of foundation from solving a problem, will take them on the road to success.

Categories: Blogging

Chinese Drama Classes As Enrichment Programs For Children

 

An underrated enrichment program for children is drama classes. There are many Chinese speech and drama classes in Singapore and the numbers

raise an important question: what are the benefits of using drama as a teaching aid to learn Chinese? Drama is a powerful teaching tool which is

capable of stimulating real-life situations to build confidence. Unlike other enrichment programs, drama classes demand the input of every participating
student ensuring that no child is left behind. Be it acting, dancing or recitation, each child is given a platform to give into their imagination and bring

a concept to life. The intension of an enrichment class is to enrich students by challenging them to mind stimulant activities.

Drama is an apt enrichment program for children for various reasons. A few of which are:

” Apart from polishing language skills, drama teaches the right pronunciation and intonation.

” Every parent can vouch for the lack of concentration of their child. It is next to impossible to keep a child interested for more than 5 minutes.

Teachers have to constantly seek new methods to hold the attention of the classroom. Drama is an effortlessly riveting activity which gives children a sense

of purpose and responsibility. When learning is fun, interest comes without coaxing. Children are deeply involved in the activities and concentrate on the

completion of the given task. Most sessions involve listening activities where the children are asked to listen and recognize the speaker.

” Adults are most comfortable when they wear a mask. Children are not shy to begin with (they are still untouched by the brutal judgement of the world)

but there are many who need a slight encouraging push in the right direction. In a few weeks, the shy boy/girl from class will willingly walk up and recite  without hesitation.

” You can be the world s most brilliant mind but if you re unable to express yourself, you will always remain unknown. Drama emphasizes on self-expression.

Vocabulary of the child is contributed by the new words they learn with each recital. They also learn new games and participate in role playing. Communication is

not just restricted to verbal dialogues, children are encouraged to use non-verbal communication such as facial and hand gestures.

” Cooperation is a basic skill which we fail to teach. Improvisation, singing and playing together is a team effort and requires cooperation of all participants.

With practice, children understand the importance of relying on each other in the effort to put up an applaud-worthy show. Children love the spotlight and will behave accordingly for the reward.

” Children pick up Chinese in no time when they start learning songs and games. Since teaching is not in a formal setting, the fun environment is effective in

understanding concepts like numbers, places, names and other important lessons.

” Children are highly imaginative. Their creativity leads to the genesis of incredulous stories, events and in a few cases, imaginary friends. Presenting a

child with a concept of the world around them, gives them an opportunity to investigate and understand. Interest is sparked to learn more about facts which fascinate them.

” Emotional intelligence is as important as IQ. Children are encouraged to act out emotions enabling them to assess the feeling. As a result, they become more
ware of their emotions and develop empathy.

Teaching is successful in a positive environment. Drama classes create a support system where children rely on each other and form new connections. Unlike school, at
enrichment classes smaller groups are made and the child has to interact with others. Learning is accelerated when there are helpful friends around.

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Learning Through Drama: Why Teach Chinese Through Drama

A popular Chinese proverb goes , Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will Understand.

According to VARK model, learners are categorized into 4 groups, which are:

” Auditory learners

” Writing/ reading learners

” Kinesthetic learners

” Visual learners

All young children can be grouped in Kinesthetic learners because they understand best when they watch a live demonstration. It is

common to teach young children rhymes and poems with gestures. Many teachers also incorporate voice intonation and dramatics during

story time to keep the listens hooked on.

Chinese Speech and drama class Singapore explores the importance of teaching Chinese through drama:

” Ability to solve problems with creativity: Drama is powerful tool which challenges a student s perception of themselves and the

world around them. Drama sets a safe stage for the child to express their feelings, dreams and thoughts which they cannot, otherwise.

For a brief moment, a student puts on a faade of a complete stranger. Such a liberated experience allows them to be whoever they wish to be.

A shy child will transform into the skin of a stern emperor when immersed in that part. Over time, a child develops the ability to solve problems by looking

at it from a different perspective. Start off by assigning simple plays in Chinese with a few lines for each child. Watch them bloom into confident speakers

as they take on more exercises.

” Improved Communication: Learning during young age is through repetition. When each child is given a limited number of lines, they not only learn their

own lines, but also understand the cues from a speaker before or after their turn. They end up learning most lines apart from their own. Memorizing the lines

improves understanding of the language. Drama is the ideal platform to improve communication in today s technologically merged world.

” Collaborative learning: Children fare better when they learn as a group. Teaching young children is effective when they have company. When in a group,

they lean on each other emotionally to create a symbiotic environment. Children within a group help each other learn. Sometimes, a child understands best when

a concept is explained by another child. Learning Mandarin Chinese becomes easy when the children in the group are each give a line to memorize. They will invariably

collaborate and co-ordinate to ensure that each child completes the given task. The task given is completed only when all the children in the group are successful

in their roles. There is no other learning form which is more collaborative than drama.

” Active learning: Active learning is fulfilled through empathetic understanding and kinesthetics. Making students enact a play is more than putting up a

show: it subtly influences the child to empathize with any given character leading to a deeper understanding of the topic. Information retention is improved when

understanding is deepened. Children who are learning Chinese through speech and drama can also be taught portions of other subjects through enactment.

” Hone confidence: An attempt of learning a new language is successful when the child is confident while communicating. Drama instills confidence in

children and removes stage fright. It is OK for children to make mistakes while learning, what is important is the confidence with which they deliver.

Having understood the importance and efficiency of learning Chinese through drama, start today by assigning each child in class one or two lines to deliver.

As they grow confident and learn more words, the number of lines can be increased. Within no time, the child will develop fluency in the language and speak without any hesitations.

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Age Appropriate Syllabus for Preschool

The range of learning offered must benefit children based on their age as they learn idiosyncratically. To help a child grasp the concepts of the material in the textbook, the teacher has to explain in depth through figures and letters of the alphabet. By doing so, the child will not miss out entirely on the entire subject which also helps them go on ahead. Every teacher must ensure that children are exposed to information based on their age and aptitude.

In preschool, a child is taught simple aspects of learning. For instance, the textbook has a picture and the word next to the picture. This shows the child that the word in the picture begins with a letter of the alphabet. He, therefore, learns that A (for instance) stands for apple, B – ball, and so on and so forth. This basic knowledge helps him relate to these pictures and slowly form additional words and then sentences. The idea is to make sure that the context is age appropriate.

Participation in the classroom helps engage the child during activities for toddlers and acheive a long-term learning curve. Learning numbers is also a necessity so that the child is able to decipher them, in doing so, he also learns about single digits, double digits and more. Naturally, based on the age group, children learn to count from one to ten or hundred, depending on their capacity to grasp and adapt.

Incorporating language skills is of utmost importance as this helps in basic communication. In the early years of childhood learning, the option to learn an additional language aside from the home language helps him considerably. Research has proven that bilingual children respond better to situations and tend to imbibe informative content faster than unilingual kids.

Science and culture play a crucial role in the holistic development of children during learning periods when having activities for toddlers . Learning about flora and fauna enables them to connect with what they watch on television or in books. Outdoor classes prep them for additional learning about the different tones of the sky and the elements. They learn about climatic conditions and are able to discern differences in simple patterns.

Encouraging the creative abilities in the classroom is essential to keep the attention span of the child. When he has an avenue to speak his feelings through theater, nursery rhymes with actions, singing, painting, he will be encouraged to better his skill set.

Visit the website http://www.chengzhu.edu.sg/mandarin-centre/foundation-years-programmes/language-learners/ that throws out the relevance of child appropriate syllabi for preschool.

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