23 June 2010, by Jaime Teo

Upping Parental Confidence

It’s a no brainer, but parents must be the greatest influence on their children. I know that fame and fortune isn’t on the top of my ‘to get’ list because my mother never pushed me that way. In fact, she was the one who popped her head into my room during my ‘O’ levels, and told me to watch some TV before my brains fried from all that mugging. Dan’s mom too was cool that way. She left him to pursue his (very healthy) interests:

 Proud reminder of his sporting days

So I guess that shaped what both of us wants for Renee – that she be happy and fulfilled in what she chooses to do (sans illegal/self harming activities).

A girlfriend once shared that she was adamant about giving her son a proper childhood. Her definition of that, was one that wasn’t encumbered by extracurricular classes after tuition classes. However, when Primary One classes started, he had to struggle to keep up with the school syllabus and that didn’t do anything for his self esteem. Then she wondered if she could/should have done things differently…

With that in mind, we wondered if we were denying Renee a head start on learning by not having flashcards for her when she started being more awake. I know I know, this line of thinking may be a little premature seeing how Renee is only 10weeks old… but isn’t she like a sponge now, soaking up any and every thing? I mean, no stress, but we don’t want to seem like we’re depriving her do want to provide her a conducive learning environment. There’re days I stare at her staring at me, having exhausted all conversation, and wonder what I should do with her. Surely just singing to her and dancing to the radio (not even Mozart or nursery rhymes) isn’t enough? Am I failing as a parent? (Ok, I’m just dramatizing)

I hear about the black and white flashcards — where do I buy them? When do I show them to her? How? I scoured United Sq with no luck except for a series of Baby Einstein’s Discovery Cards at Toys ‘R’ Us.

It says from 9months but we thought cards are cards

Then I bumped into a friend who is running iGenius and she shared with me that they actually have classes that teach parents how to teach their 0-6month old infants since it’s not practical for infants that young to be in class. It’s also about catching that “receptive to learn” time frame which is preciously short(between feeds, diaper changes and nap times). What really got our attention was that they believe a child learns best at play and that’s important to Dan and I.

So we attended the class n came home happily armed with black and white(and red and blue) flashcards, and an arsenal of physical and mental activities in which to engage with Renee. It was a little strange that we were actually attending classes for Renee before Renee attends classes =P

I would probably have scoffed at a class like this in the past, but what it has done for me us, is made me us feel like I we know what we are doing. Feeling confident is key to doing anything including parenting, yes?

Posted on : June 23, 2010

Filed under : Uncategorized

1 Comment


August 12th, 2010 at 12:50 pm    

Oo.. a toughie! I agree with you, parents need to have the confidence (esp 1st timers like us) when parenting! Even if it’s a learning experience, i think we would all like to feel positive about it (not stressed and worried ALL the time).

I think there are many schs of thought regarding how to get a child to learn, and parents most often pick one that fits most closely to their personality. I am not big on flashcards type teaching (I meant those ultra-rigourous Shincida type flashcard learning method) because as a person i dread monotony and repetition would be too trying for me. And if i cant do it consistently, i dont see the point?

I am big on play and face to face interactions though.. I guess i am like your friend, in wanting Avery to have a ‘childhood’ that’s not besieged with enrichment classes etc, but i AM really conscious of making a learning experience out of the things we do daily and play is a big part of it. It is pretty amazing how much concepts she has picked up just because my hub and i just took the time to attach language to what we do, elaborating on what she can do/say and making connections for her (even if its something as mundane as bringing her our pots and utensils cos she showed interest in pictures of them in her boardbooks).

End of the day… i feel if the learning is fun and meaningful (which involves skills that they can directly reference to and use), the kids would learn tremendously. Formal schooling is a bitch, to be frank, in SG. So, i dont think it is your friend’s (or her son)’s fault. Shouldnt the end goal be to cultivate a child’s passion to learn, rather than killing it in order to maintain a certain grade average at the end of an academic year?

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