Feb 15, 2016

Kidzania Singapore Opening SOON!!

We can't wait!

Ever since we went to Kidzania KL, we've been waiting rather impatiently now for SG branch to open.  And now they are set for April 2006 opening!

To be kept updated of their developments and contests, go to their Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/KidZaniaSingapore/

Official website:
www.kidzania.com.sg

Of course we will blog about it when it opens and when we visit.

Sep 13, 2013

Primary 1 Registration

It's that time of the year again.

Nope, it's not Christmas yet.  And it's not a holiday.

It's Primary 1 Registration Exercise once again.  This year it started last 4-July.  Nope, we are not registering. Ela is already in Primary.  We had our turn last year.  I am just writing our experience from a foreigner's POV.

Before we moved here in SG, we already had a few schools in mind for Ela's Kinder and Elementary.  Our criteria was just it had to be near our house.  If she needs to commute, it should not take more than an hour (incl traffic) to get there.  Thankfully our house in QC had a lot of good schools nearby.  We were also not very choosy since hubby and I came from public schools (almost) all through out our school life.

So when we moved here, I researched about the Singapore School System. Thank God for Google, it was not hard for us to find out about schooling in SG.  I also signed up to KiasuParents website to know more about schools from parents themselves.

First you need to know is the registration schedule and procedure.  Here is the MOE website that clearly explains the what and how and when:
Primary Education - http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/primary/
Primary 1 Registration Exercise - http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/admissions/primary-one-registration/
Registration Phases and Procedures - http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/admissions/primary-one-registration/phases/


Too much information?  Here's my simple explanation.

Is your child turning 7yrs old in 2014?  If yes, then you may register them for Primary 1 for SY 2014.

Is your child a Permanent Resident or Foreigner here in Singapore?  If PR, then you may register him/her during Phase 2C and 2C Supplementary.  If your child is a foreigner here in Singapore (Dependent Pass, Long Term Visit Pass or Student Pass holder), you may register him/her during Phase 3.

Know the schools near your place.  You will need OneMap for this.  Input your Postal Code in the Find Location box.  Make a SchoolQuery, and choose Find Schools near a building.  Click your building.  The schools that are within 2km of your place will be shown.  If you don't have a specific school in mind yet, it is better to enrol your child in the nearest school from your house. So that they don't have to travel far and you will have a better chance of getting in that school.  (Balloting will be discussed below.)

Prepare the necessary documents. Upon registration, you will need the following documents:
- The child’s Birth Certificate
- The child’s Passport
- The child’s Immigration Exemption Order / Dependant’s Pass (if any)
- Parents’ travel document/Singapore NRIC/Entry or Re-entry Permit/Employment Pass/Work Permit
- The child’s Immunisation Certificates
If your child was immunised in your home country, you can submit the immunisation record to the Natl Immunisation Registry.  I will discuss this later.

After registering, the school will just contact you if your child got in or there is a need to ballot.

Other things that comes from the top of my head:
- You don't need to bring your child when registering.  You and/or your hubby can do it.  Just bring all the necessary documents.
- It is not first come, first served.  This system was scrapped a few years ago.  So no need to queue outside the school in the wee hours of the morning.  Yes, they did this before.  In the very popular schools, queue was even hours before the start of registration! Que horror!  You can come at 9am or 4pm.  If there are more kids registering than the available vacancies, there will be balloting.


Balloting
You don't want to go into balloting.  If you have a Choice B or Choice C school and they have vacancies left, register there.  But if you are willing to go through it, here's the simple rule from MOE:
Singapore Citizens (SCs) will be given absolute priority over Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs) when balloting is necessary in a specific phase. SCs and PRs will continue to be eligible for the same phases, and all applicants will be admitted if the total number of applications in any phase does not exceed the number of vacancies. However, if the number of applications exceeds the number of vacancies in a specific phase, SCs will be admitted first ahead of PRs, before home-school distance is considered.
My advise: don't ballot.  Go to another school and register your kid.  If you are balloted out at the end Phase3, you only have the next day to queue in another school on a first come first served basis.  If you still have no school, you will be at the mercy of MOE.  I've heard from other parents (from forums) that they were placed in schools far from their place.



Submitting Immunisation Records to NIR
All of my daughter's immunisation were done in the Philippines.  I know immunisation is a must when registering so I emailed NIR and submitted her record.  Before we went here, I asked her pedia to make a certificate/document of all her immunisations and signed by the doctor.  I scanned this document, together with the immunisation record from her baby book and a scan of all our ICs and all our Singapore information.  I also asked them to link her records to hubby's SingPass record.



Every School A Good School

How to Evaluate Primary Schools from Kiasuparents:
https://www.kiasuparents.com/kiasu/content/how-evaluate-primary-schools

Other Resources:
- MOE Facebook page
- KiasuParents 


This is their country.  They should be the priority.
Do I think it's fair? Yes! I don't think the foreigners are short changed. We may not be able to get in the top schools, but that doesn't mean our kids can't get top education.  There is only one curriculum followed by all schools.  At the end of their Primary years, all of them will take the same PSLE exam.  And with the trend from the previous years, the neighborhood schools are slowly taking the top spots.  In these "not so popular" schools, there is not much pressure to excel. The kids can learn in their own pace and at the same time, enjoy their childhood.

If you are living in an area where there are few or limited slots at Phase3, I suggest you move houses.  Adults can easily commute to anywhere here in SG.  But for kids, long travel to/from school is a waste of time and their energy.  My daughter's school is 3 bus stops away from our house.  I wake her up at past 6am.  Some kids taking school bus to a far school are already waiting for their school bus around this time.  Then hubby bikes her to school.


** So sorry it took me a while to write this entry. My thoughts are all over.  If you have any question regarding Primary 1 registration, please leave a comment and I'll get back to you.

Jul 22, 2013

The Royal Baby is coming

The Duchess of Cambridge is in labor!!
https://news.google.com/news?ncl=dBL0xltVn_OocJMLB9LObcWvvpuSM&q=kate+middleton+labor&lr=English&hl=en

My bets:
- baby girl
- will be named after the late Princess Diana

Jul 2, 2013

Kidzania Kuala Lumpur Adventure



As a stay at home mom, I spend most of my computer hours looking for things to do with my daughter. From holiday courses, free shows, sports activities, new hang outs and attractions for kids. 
I'm a google master. I came across Kidzania when I was looking for child friendly attractions in neighbor country Malaysia. And ever since I saw their promo video, I knew we had to go there. The little girl learned about Kidzania from her friend who went there last year. We were supposed to visit last February when we visited my brother who works in Petaling Jaya area but decided to just skip it and spend that trip touring the area with my brother. We planned it this June instead so it will also be part of her birthday treat. And since my parents are coming to SG to attend her birthday, they can also come with us to visit my brother in his new home. 

First on my to do list is of course do online research. There are quite a few blogs from people who have been there. Mostly from Singapore. There are also some discussions in parenting forums. And of course Kidzania KL have a website. 

How to get there
Kidzania KL is not near KL Central. It's around 20mins from KLCC by taxi. I'm not familiar with KL but it's in the area of Petaling Jaya or Bandar Utama.  Good for us that my brother lives in this area so we have a personal tour guide.  If you are coming from Singapore by plane, it is better to take Air Asia. It's because Air Asia's SkyBus have a direct bus service from LCCT to 1Utama Mall. But if you are coming from KLIA, there is also a bus service from KLIA to LCCT. There are also a few bus companies plying from SG to 1Utama. One of them is Aeroline. 

Where to stay
There are only a few hotels in the Utama area - Royale Bintang The Curve, One World Hotel and One Avenue Hotel. Reviews of these hotels can be found online. We stayed at One Avenue Hotel. It's a clean, decent hotel for this short stay. Their Family Room is good enough for our family of 3. Taxi from the hotel to The Curve is only around 6RM. 


We left the hotel around 9am to go to The Curve.  We had breakfast first at McDonald's which is just on the first floor of Kidzania building.  We went inside Kidzania a little before 10am as they were already  selling tickets and verifying online tickets.  We all got electronic wrist tags.  I didn't ask them about this anymore but from online research, only the parents or guardian with matching tag code can take the child out of Kidzania.  Also, you can locate your child in Kidzania using the tag because the tag is scanned before and after the activity.  They were also given a starting cheque of 50 Kidzos which they can encash in the CIMB bank in Kidzania.

Even before she went to Kidzania she already knew which jobs she will go to.  I also tried to find out from other people who went there which jobs are very popular and have long queues.  When we went there, the popular ones were Fire Fighter, Pilot, Surgeon and Police.

Here are the jobs she did:
1. Fire Fighter - This is her first job. We were very early (already inside a few minutes before 10am) so she was able to be part of the first batch for the day.  They were given yellow firefighter uniforms and fire fighter hat.  They also watched a fire safety video.  Then they went to the fire truck to put out the fire in the Hotel.  This is a coordinated activity with the Policemen.  The Police were the first in the scene and they blocked off the area for the coming fire fighters.  After the fire was put out, they went back to the fire truck to go back to the fire station.  She was able to earn 8 Kidzos for this activity.



2. Courier Agent - After being a fire fighter, we just looked around for a job that has no queue yet.  She always plays "delivery" when in the house so we thought she'll enjoy doing the courier agent job.  There were three other girls in the Q and they went around Kidzania to deliver packages.  They got lost for a while but they were still able to deliver all the packages.  


 
3. Shopper - She really wanted to be the cashier.  But there were already two kids in Q so the available job left is Shopper. She needed to pay 3 Kidzos to be a Shopper but the attendant said he'll give them 5 Kidzos after the activity.  There were kiddie carts, toy fruits and veggies and real groceries inside.  They were given a list of things they need to shop.


4. Radio Announcer - This one she didn't like at first.  Hubby had to convince her to try it because it has a short queue and the next batch will be in soon.  But this job turned out to be her most favorite! There were 6 kids in the radio booth and they all had a script they will read when it's their turn.  The songs they played were the current hits and she was singing along with some of them.  I was a bit disappointed at first because I cannot record the sound of their broadcast because it was too noisy in the streets of Kidzania.  But when she went out, they were all given a CD recording of their broadcast. So yey!!


5. Theater Actress -This activity she picked herself. She really wanted to act.  She cried at first because she didn't like the theme - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  She said it's for boys.  We asked her if she wants to skip this activity but she really wants to act so she joined the queue anyway.  They were given 30mins to dress up and rehearse some lines then they performed in the theatre.


6.  Unifi Engineer - Working for TM Telecommunications.  We thought this is just an "office" job so hubby and left the site and went wandering around.  When we got back, the kids were gone!  They went to work off site.  And we cannot find them! So there were not much pictures of her actual work.  She said they went to fix some telephone cables.


7.  Modelling Class & Fashion Show - Having a Kikay kid, of course she will not let modelling on stage pass. She even took the modelling class even if she has to pay Kidzos to attend it. She chose her own outfit and said that she's a snow flake. The fashion show was also held in the theater. Good thing Ela was old enough to take care of herself because it was a bit chaotic inside the Poney Shop. Kids as young as 2yo can join the fashion show. And they were running around everywhere. There was only 1 staff there during that time so she cannot manage everybody. The actual fashion show went on smoothly. She had fun doing the catwalk.

8. Nurse in the Baby Nursery - She looked really great in her uniform - PINK! We were not able to observe her much here because the nursery is far inside the hospital.  In here they bathe the baby, fed, change diaper and put to sleep.

9. Flight Attendant
10. Secret Agent
Not much pictures to share in these jobs as we can't see what they did inside.  The AirAsia booth had a long queue but most of them are for the Pilot job.  She didn't want to be a pilot because she said the controls were confusing.  She also didn't want to be the passenger because it has no salary.  During her stint at AirAsia, hubby and I were able to rest in the nearby Parent's Lounge.


11. Defendant at the Court House - This was her last job for the day because Kidzania was about to close.  She's 2nd in the queue so she was able to pick a good position among the ones available for this activity.

After a day of doing these different jobs, it's time to spend her Kidzos.  She was only able to buy one toy as most of the stuff in Kidzania Department Store were expensive.  She also wanted to put her extra money in the bank but unfortunately the minimum Kidzos to open an account was 50.  She only had 30Kidzos left.  We'll just keep it for her next adventure next year.



Tips and Notes:
- We went to KL with my parents.  I decided not to bring them along to Kidzania because I thought it will be boring for the adults.  I had the impression that we'll just be sitting around while waiting for them to finish.  But it's the opposite.  We were of course running after them to take pictures and see what they are doing.  Hubby and I actually had fun watching them and tailing along.  We only had a few rest time.  We only used the Parent's Lounge once and for only a few minutes. 
- They wore a safety hat in Secret Agent job.  But before they wore it, they were given new hair nets.  Which is good so the kids won't get any lice.
-  There were a few food making jobs.  She could have done this during lunch time.  But decided not to because it's either she doesn't eat them (pizza and burger with catsup) or she's still young to join (Cadburry and Oreo factory is only for 8+yrs old).
- Plan the first job with your kid.  The most popular ones with long queues are Fire Fighter, Police, Pilot and Surgeon.
- It's good to get a good breakfast.  So they have the energy and can go on for a few hours.  We had breakfast in McDonald's which was on the first floor of the building.
- Outside food and drinks are not allowed inside.  They only allow water bottles.  But you can sneak in a few small snacks like candies and gummy bears in the pocket of your bag.  Just enough to munch on while in queue.
- Don't be a stage mom or dad.  Let them do things on their own.  You can stand beside them while they're on queue but when they are doing the activity, let them do it themselves.  The whole point of going there is to let the kids be independent and learn on their own.


Jun 14, 2013

I think the secret to blogging

...is to start with what you want to write first. You don't have to blog in chronological order. Just write what you want. 
And with that, I'll start with our recent family trip. 

May 24, 2013

Yogi wannabe

Yup. Been seriously trying Yoga for 3weeks now.  I used to have gym membership pero puro yoga/pilates/group exercises lang naman ina-attend-an ko so stop ko na lang.  Then when school holiday started, mas lalong di na naka-attend kasi walang magbabantay sa batang makulit.  So ayun, natigil na talaga.
At eto na muling nagbabalik.  Sana lang ma-sustain ko sya. Sayang din kasi ang bayad. May kamahalan yung membership fee per month at twice a week lang ako pede.  So kailangang sulitin.  So far, enjoy naman sya.  The instructors are good and goes around to correct postures and encourage the students to push their limits.  It's still a bit difficult for me kasi syempre maraming fats dyan sa gilid gilid. Pero sa 3weeks kong pagyo-yoga eh mas marami na akong nagagawang pose at mas nase-stretch ko na ang sarili ko.  Now, I just need to practice at home.  I've DL-ed some yoga videos to follow.  I just need motivation to do it at home.