Sunday, August 31, 2008

Toy Stories: LEGO CiTY Ambulance

When: 28 August 2008
Where: LEGO Warehouse Sale, Dataran Harmodal
$: RM25

As Reese grows, so does the entity known as his 'Toy Collection". This new series chronicles the latest additions and kicks off with his ultra-lovable LEGO CiTY Ambulance which even has a paramedic tagging along together with a pressure monitor and emergency case in tow. The plastic material is exquisitely formed, sporting a "Made in Denmark" rather than the oh-so -familiar "Made in China" label we tend to get from almost everything these days. Since its meant for the 5-12 age group, mummy took up the task and assembled the zippy vehicle with childlike glee.

Verdict: Initially Reese seemed to ignore it completely but has since warmed up to it and has been spotted constantly dislodging the paramedic from the driver's seat. Must be something to do with the fake wig that he sports.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nurturing Thinking Learners In The Early Years (National Early Childhood Conference) Part I

This post is long overdue. Here is a summary of what I have learned at the conference by Dr. Lilian G Katz a renown early childhood educator. It was my first conference and I find it very interesting. There are several workshops as well and I attended one on teaching math to young children. Dr. Lilian Katz is a witty professor who has extensive knowledge and experience in early childhood learning. I find her very engaging and I find her project approach to learning very interesting. I will share this on my next post. Today I would like to share about nurturing thinking learners in the early years.

Dr. Lilian spoke on 15 principles in teaching young children. Some may agree and some may disagree with her principles but in general, I find it good. It gives me a clearer picture on my own approach in teaching Reese.

According to the her, before anyone begins teaching a child in any subjects, there are four questions that must be addressed:

1. What should be learned? This addresses the aims, goals, and objectives of the curriculum.

2. When should it be learned? This question addresses our understanding of early development and learning.

3. How is it best learned? Answers to this question are based in large part on combining the answers to the first two questions.

4. How can we tell how well we have answered the first 3 questions? This deals with evaluation, assessment and testing of various kinds, depending on what is being learned and the ages of the learners. 

One important idea to keep in mind if we want to nurture thinking learners is that from the very beginning, all children are thinkers, and all children are learners.  But at the same time, it is important to remember that they do not always think necessarily what we want them to think or how we want them to think, and they do not always learn what we want them to learn.

She proposed to address these issues in parts as follows:

Part 1. A developmental approach to nurturing young children's thinking and learning
Part 2. What kinds of learning and thinking should be emphasized?
Part 3. What pedagogical strategies should be used?

Part 1 A developmental approach to nurturing young children's thinking and learning

Principle 1 A developmental approach to nurturing young children's thinking and learning is one that takes into account development changes that come with age and with the range of experience that comes with age. Development is a particular kind of change. It is a combination of biology, maturation, and experiences obtained in the environment in which a child is growing.

Principle 2. Development has two different and equally important dimensions:

The normative dimension addresses the abilities, socio-emotional competences and range of behaviours that are typical by age. So when preparing a learning activity, you will be able to make reliable assumptions about what activities they would or would not find interesting, enjoyable and so forth.

The dynamic dimension addresses aspects of development that help understand an individual's path to maturity. While the normative dimension addresses linear patterns of development, e.g. gradual increases in height or weight or vocabulary, etc. But there are many aspects of development that are not incremental but occur in cyclic rather than linear fashion. 

She gave an example of a child with low verbal skills will likely to be ignored, avoided or rejected by his peers. When this happens, the child loses  opportunities to improve his or her verbal skills and learn more and it goes on in a negative cycle. Similarly, a child who is verbally articulate and easy to understand is more readily accepted by other children and therefore has opportunities to practice as well as increase his or her verbal skills. This is a positive cycle.

Concern about development also includes matters of the sequence in which things should be experience and learned, and the stages in which learning occurs. The concept of development also includes concerns about possible delayed effects of early experience, effects that may appear at a much later time.

Principle 3

The view of development implied in Principle 2 suggests that just because children can do something - from a normative perspective, does not mean that they should do it. Such concerns are important in case of long term or delayed negative effects or certain kinds of early experience. This principle suggests what children should learn and should do must be decided on the basis of what best serves their development in the long term.

Part 2. What kinds of learning and thinking should be emphasized?

Learning goals:
a. knowledge & understanding
b. Skills
c. Dispositions
d. Feelings

a. Knowledge and understand 

Children acquire knowledge and understanding in many places other than schools: from parents and siblings at home, friends in the neighborhood, from television, school and others. According to Dr. Lilian there is some evidence that much learning of knowledge by young children is acquired without real understanding. She feels that having frequent and early experience of behaving as though they understand something when they really do not may undermine their disposition to be thinkers and learners, and causes many to doubt their own abilities.

b. Skills are different from knowledge. They can be defined as small units of behavior that can be fairly earily observed or inferrred from behavior. Skills also tend to require some practice to achieve skillfulness. There are very many of them, depending on how specific one wishes to be. There are a wide variety of verbal skills, social skills, physical skills, etc. that are learned during the early years.

c. Dispositions are difficult to define, and are probably best thought of as habits of mind with intentions, and motives.  There are many important dispositions, such as to be generous, to be compassionate, and so forth. Not all dispositions are positive ones, e.g. to be quarrelsome or critical, et.. think of the distinction, for example, between having reading skills versus having the habit, or disposition, to be a reader. It is possible to have the skills, but never want to read outside of the classroom. But, of course, it would be of little value to have the disposition to be a reader without having the skills. Thus as educators our goal must be to help children learn the useful and desirable skills, and at the same time, the dispositions to use them.

Note also that dispositions cannot be learned from instruction, though they can be damaged by inappropriate instructional methods. Furthermore, there may be in-born pre-dispositions, and probably some of the most important ones that concern us today are most likely in-born dispositions. For example, the dispositions to learn, and to make sense of one's own experience are inborn in all children. A curriculum for young children will nurture their thinking and learning if it supports their strong early disposition to make sense of their own environments. when they get older, schooling must help them to make sense of other people's experiences - those far away in both time and place. But in the early years of our concern we nurture them by deepening their understanding of their own experience. Dispositions cannot be learned from instruction, are partly in-born, but also are supported and learned from being around people who have them, and in whose behavior children observe them. So what dispositions we want our children to have be seen by them in us?

d)Feelings are the fourth learning goal, not because they are less impotant than the preceding three goals outlined above, but because many important capacities for feeling may be inborn. However, many important feelings are learned from experience. Feelings cannot be learned from instruction, exhortation, or indoctrination, but from direct first-hand experiences. to go...will continue tomorrow......

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cheeky boy....

Coming out of the changing room...

Started pulling at mummy's t-shirt...

Suddenly lift up mummy's t-shirt...

Mummy goes...HEY!...

Reese giggling away....

Running to daddy.....

Playing in the changing room..

Checking out shops..



Really enjoying himself

Mummy...where are you?

Train ride

Quite happy...

Still quite happy..

Cling on to daddy...

Distraction when he is about to whine...
Reese's favourite 'Yellow Mee mee' stall

Waiting for noodles

'Reading' his favourite book

Getting bored..

Drinking his favourite Barley drink

Ah... Reese's favourite pork noodles

See the yellow noodles?

More barley...

Still no food yet....

Yummy... I like to slurp up my noodles..

Finger licking good..

What happen to my Weight Lost Program?

Well, I think it's over two months since I stopped. Reason being I was sick for a very long time with flu and cough. So did my weight increase? hehe... nope... in fact, without doing anything and taking a balance diet I actually lost another 1 kg. So now, in total I lost 4kgs. Today I will be starting my routines again. Hopefully I can shed another 3kgs before I go to HK. Wanna shop shop shop for clothes.....
Reese is happy so are Mummy and Daddy

Reese has fully recovered since Saturday. He was still a little weak but on Sunday he was full of energy again. It was a really tough week but glad that the little one is fine and happy again. Thank you everyone for your advice and well wishes! I hope Reese will never be sick again (ha..doubt it) so that I don't have to feed him medicine. Anyway.... don't want to think about it now...he he...

Yesterday a neighbour commented that Reese runs super fast and has a lot of energy... looking at him chasing the bubbles and running from one end of the swimming pool to the other and a Jeh jeh(student of mine) having a hard time chasing after him... maybe he is very fast... so happy that he has fully recovered. It is enjoyable watching him enjoying himself with other children.

Lately, Reese likes coming close to me and just lie on me or just rub his head against my body and hold my hands and when I give him kisses, he would press his cheeks against my mouth and let me kiss him repeatedly... all of the little gestures my boy is making.... :)

Reese is growing up so fast.... so fast....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tired, Frustrated and Down


After the conference last weekend, I was tired. Too lazy to sit down and do a summary of what I have learned at the conference to share with all of you. Will do it real soon, maybe tomorrow.

Frustrated and Down...

Reese has a throat infection since Monday. He had fever and the highest recorded was 39.3C. It's scary but thank God he is still his usual self and willing to take his medication (a little protest) until this morning 2.30am. He had to take antibiotic for the infection and paracetamol for the fever.

For the past 2 nights, he will get up at around 2am and just talk to himself and roll around the bed, though he didn't really disturb us but still we can't sleep properly, we had to give him fever medication because his fever shot up to 39.3C and he struggled like mad, vomitted and after all the clean up... went back to sleep around 4am... last night..same thing again...but this time..he totally refused the medication and spitted all out...we gave up and we finally got to sleep around 5am.

This morning, he again refused his antibiotics...hai...don't know what to do.... I am so frustrated and about to cry...he has to take the antibiotics for at least 5 days. Today is only the 3rd day. Luckily his fever subsided this morning and so far... no fever... phew...

How to give him his antibiotics? 2 times a day and 5 ml each time.... I am tired, sleepy and frustrated...poor hubby also the same. As I write this post...I am wondering whether my Mum managed to give him the medication. I have never heard Reese shout and scream until this morning when I tried to give him his antibiotics before I left my mother's house. It's really scary. This is the first time Reese shouted and screamed and was really angry sort of scream.

Any good ideas as to how to get him to take the medication and not SPIT it all out? mixing in food is not an option... someone suggested pinching his nose while giving him the medication...anyone? help...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Pronunciation Problem (English Language)?

Do you have problem understanding what your little one says? Do you get frustrated trying to teach your child to pronouce a word properly? Over my years of teaching English, the best way to help your young child overcome his pronunciation problem is learning phonics.

Phonics is also the key to reading and spelling effectively. To start off, teach your little one the 26 short sounds of the alphabets(44 sounds in the English Langauge). Not sure of the sounds? Go to and learn from there. It's free. :)

Once the child knows the sounds, start to associate different things with the same beginning sound and eventually your child will understand how to associate them. For example, if your child knows 'F' is 'fff'... associate it with 'fff' fish, 'fff' fan and so on....
It's a very effective way to correct their pronunciation of words. Reese is quite good in his pronunciation but there are words that he can't get it right. Last week I started to associate the phonic sounds with the words that he can't pronounce properly. It actually work very well.

Some words that he can finally pronouce properly:

Aki mouse (Mickey mouse) = 'M', 'mmm' Mmmickey
Utterfly (Butterfly) = 'B', 'berh' Butterfly
Santa (Fountain) = 'F', 'fff' Ffffountain
Uttershoot (Parachute) = 'P' 'perh' Ppparachute

Now I also make it a habit of telling him the beginning sound of a new word that he learns in preparation to teach him reading.

I will be attending the National Early Childhood Conference this weekend. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Lilian Katz, a world renowned early childhood educator. She will be talking about Nurturing Thinking Learners In The Early Years. There are also several concurrent sessions on different areas of learning and I will be attenting the ones on Math and Science! by Dr Elizaberth Munroe. This is to prepare me to teach Reese Math and Science! Not one of my strong subjects...haha.. Next week I will share some of the things I will be learning at the conference!!! Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The start of a homeschooling journey...

Ok... I can't wait to start the Sonlight homeschooling program and also I felt that Reese is ready!! So yesterday I decided to start with two books. Harper Collins Treasury Picture Book Classics and Eloise Wilkin's Stories. I went through both the books briefly and I fell in love with them instantly especially Eloise Wilkin's Stories. These books have superb illustration and the best of all, the stories talk about everyday things that a child can relate to. The pictures are big and therefore appealing.

Harper Collins Treasury Picture Book Classic includes some the great classic like Goodnight Moon, If you give a mouse a cookie and many more...

For Reese's homeschooling program (Core 3/4), it does not have a fix schedule. According to the parent guide book, just read to the child whenever you and the child feel like it. For this core, it is divided into 3 trimester only. For the first trimester, it has a list of stories to be read aloud to the child and accompanying activities.

So far it looks flexible enough and all I need to do is play with Reese, read to and with him, do some arts and crafts, sing and do actions with him and whatever I can think of! I really hope I can be successful in homeschooling to pray very hard.... hehehe....

Harper Collins Treasury Picture Book Classics

Illustration from the story 'If you give a mouse a cookie'

Illustration from the story 'George Shrinks'

Eloise Wilkin's Stories (Little Golden Book Collection)

Some of the illustration

Stories here relates to everyday things

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Train Ride Training

Phew.... good news... Reese overcame his fear of train rides!!!!

On Sunday morning, we went to eat noodles in Jalan Tung Shin. Then we drove to University Station and took the LRT to KLCC. There were 9 stops altogether.

We kept telling Reese that we are going to take train and go Gai gai. He was ok we approach the station...he started to panic.. refused to go up the we carried him..and kept assuring's ok... On the platform... we look at things, and also one of the trains. Then we boarded our train. He was scared, whiny but didn't cry. Just held on tight to daddy. It's tough carrying a toddler (14kgs) and standing on a moving train!. I had to support hubby on the side. Reese refused to let us sit.

At KLCC station, we headed to the park. Nice place actually. They even have a really big area for children to play water. Two waterfalls and obstacles for children to play. There is a huge playground too. Reese had fun playing at the playground. After that.. we headed to KLCC, went to the bookshop, window shopping a little and then our little prince wanted to sleep. So he slept lying on mummy's shoulder. Mummy sat and drank ice blended coffee while Reese slept and daddy went and did some price check on some earphones. After 15 minutes, Reese woke up because of mummy's cough! We then proceeded to KFC for lunch. and then went to Toy's R Us. Reese had fun and forcefully took a small balloon and we had no choice but to pay for it plus a nice foam ball. Up to today...Reese is still holding the balloon whenever he can and refuse to let go.

Something really funny happened in KLCC. While window shopping, Reese pointed at a lady (probably Japenese). The lady was fair and wore a fisherman hat. You know those round ones? Anyway, guess what Reese said? Hehehe...Reese pointed at her and call her a FARMER!!!! It was hilarious...She did look like one of the farmers Reese saw in his books. :)

When we took the train home... Reese was quite happy and even sat down with us eventually... So next week will try again and maybe take him on a bus ride...hehe...
6 Random things about me

Got tagged by Ann and Kathie...

Here are the rules …
1. Link to the person who “tagged” you.....person being you!
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.

1. I have extreme taste when it comes to music... sometimes like DBKL... I can listen to heavy metal to classical and whatever my hubby download for me! I also enjoy going to rock concert and jump like a monkey with the crowd....hehe..

2. I love to be hugged, touched and kissed at all times if possible... *wink wink to a certain somebody*

3. I am more emotional ever since I became a mother. For example..while watching the opening ceremony of the China Olympics, for no apparent eyes welled up!

4. I used to be very creative...reckon now lost touch...but I think I have a thing for interior design...

5. I am a bookworm. I love the smell of books and I love to collect books. I am already building up Reese's own library of books!

6. I am a softy and probably can be easily bullied and I am the type that will think of others first and myself last.

I tag Soo Li , mumsgather, blessed mum, Leona and Ling.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Reese is such a lucky Boy

Reese is lucky because there is a wonderful God watching over him.

Reese is lucky because he has loving parents who will do anything for him.

Reese is lucky because his parents devote alot of their time on him.

Reese is lucky because he has got 2 sets of great grandparents.

Reese is lucky because he gets alot of attention from everyone.

Reese is lucky because he has a mother that make sure he is properly fed. *winks*

Reese is lucky because daddy and mummy has his education planned out and giving him the best that they can afford.

Reese is lucky because mummy is a WAHM and can spend alot of time with him.

Reese is lucky because he gets to enjoy alot of things that both daddy and mummy never had a chance to when they were young.

Reese is lucky because financially daddy and mummy will make sure there is something to help him kick start his adult life.

Reese is lucky because he has shelter, food and love.

Reese is lucky because all his needs are taken care of.

Reese is lucky because he was born in Malaysia... hahaha...

Reese I hope when you grow up and read this post, you will understand why mummy and daddy sometimes will punish you, get angry with you, tell you to be obedient, tell you to be contented with what you have, learn to value things, do charity, be respectful to your elders, be courteous, do not be self-centered, study hard and always give thanks and praise God. You are indeed a lucky boy.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

What to teach this month?

So far, Reese is like a sponge when it comes to learning. We don't have to do much.... just need to introduce something in a fun way.. and Reese will pick it up very quickly. I used to do flash cards with him on numbers and alphabets. I will flash the cards, stick it on the wall and play matching with him.. Using the computer helps and also some children programs like Sesame street and Barney. He is quite advance for his age. He already knows all the alphabets (both upper and lower case) and their phonic sounds, numbers 1-29 (missing a few 20s). He knows all the common shapes, colours, vehicles, animals and many other things. Lately I haven't been actively teaching him anything in particular. Just lazy and also not sure what to teach... haha...


What should I be teaching Reese this month? Maybe I should try a little whole word learning (make big flash cards with common english words) or maybe I should teach him to blend phonic sounds to create 3 letter words (flash cards)? Or should I teach him textures (play with flour and water, saga seeds, barley, playdough, sand paper,vegetables...) and colour mixing? (messy activities...)

I think I should also start to do read aloud stories with him, continue to sing songs with him and play more outdoor.... :)

I am also thinking of introducing Chinese to him. I saw some interesting flash cards in Chinese. I don't know how to read or write Chinese but I believe with Han Yu Ping Yin... I can learn and teach him as well. :) It's also an excuse for me to learn some Chinese words!!!

When Reese turns two... I will start the Sonlight Core with him. Can't wait...

So much to do and yet so lazy....
How many miles to Babyland?

How many miles to Babyland?
Anyone can tell;
Up one flight, To the right;
Then please ring the bell.

What do they do in Babyland?
Dream and wake and play;
Laugh and crow,Fonder grow
Jolly times have they.

What do they say in Babyland?
Why, the oddest things!
Might as well
Try to tell
What a birdie sings.

Who is the queen in Babyland?
Mother, kind and sweet;
And her love
Born above
Guards the baby's sleep
And her love
Born above
Guards the baby's sleep.

Monday, August 04, 2008

One of those great moments....

Yesterday after playing way past his nap time... I took Reese to the room to help him nap. As we play on the bed... I told him.. mummy is going to sing song song with Reese.... he quietly lie down and slowly came closer to me until he was snug up nicely between my legs. We sang Doe a deer...then Row row your boat.... as I sang to him... I stroke his forehead...mess around his ears...rub his chest... and slowly watching his eyes flutter...and very slowly... he closed his eyes and slept.... I love moments like these...

Lately Reese will look for me more and likes to rest his head on my chest or just simply be close to me... I love it... can't wait for him to kiss and hug me......
Monorail ride and...

Yesterday for the first time, we took Reese on a monorail ride (first time for us too) in town. This is his first ever public transport experience and since we are going to take him to Hong Kong in September, I thought better expose him to train rides... and how did it go?

First, we bought tickets for a short ride from Berjaya Times Square to Bukit Bintang. As we walk up to the platform..we kept telling him..we are going for a ride... he seems ok at first..but the moment he saw many people and the loud sounds coming from the platform.. he stopped..and demanded to go down the steps... So I carried him and he protested.. once on the platform.. we distracted him with big fans and things around. He was ok...the moment the monorail approached and stopped... he got scared... and refused to go in.. when we boarded the train... he started to cry..really loud...thoughout the journey... People were staring and I just can't be bothered..hehe.. both of us were trying our best to pacify him...but it didn't work.. then we realised that we were on the wrong train... so... again we got out and went and took another train and again...Reese got very frightened and cried all the way... once we reached Bukit Bintang... took him to walk around..and he was ok again..the mentioned of 'go sit train'... he got all cranky again.... after somtime... we walk back to the station and he got scared and started to cry...went into the train.. had to kept pacifying him but thank God... it was slightly better...he got distracted by the things outside the train...and only soft whimper.... phew...

We are wondering... whether he will react the same in planes!!! *sign*
We will be taking him for train rides every weekend from this week onwards and hope that he will over come the fear else... we will probably not take him to Hong Kong with us.
Hubby kept telling him that if he wants to see Mickey Mouse.. he has to sit train and don't cry.. haha... after all... we will be taking MTR most of the time in Hong Kong.

Mummies... have you had similar experiences? How do you over come the fear ah?

Maybe we should also take him for a bus ride? It's quite similar to a plane....mmmm...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

22 months

Reese turned 22 months 3 days ago. So this is a delayed post. So what is new in his milestones? mmm... in most area it's about the same except in speech, physical and vocab and counting.

Still a fussy eater but I have my mom to make him his favourite noodle soup and fried noddles. Usually I only have time to prepare one main meal for Reese as I have to work. So lately my mom is preparing his other meals whenever I am not around. Oh.. he doesn't seems to like meat (except KFC chicken) or vegetables. He will usually only take the noodles and eggs in his soup. The only time he gets vege and some form of meat his from his mushroom soup(carrots, brocoli and potatoes blended and fish and mushroom)!

Whenever I am not around him for a long period of time (5 to 6 hours)... according to my dad he will look for me and cry but can be easily distracted most of the time. Hehe hehe...

He is able to feed himself with hand, fork and even drink from a cup on his own without spilling! Has been letting him eat more on his own...seems to work... :)

He is making longer phases and now can say up to 5 syllabus in his phases.
Example : 'Apple fall down ground', 'Play hike and seek', 'Find shield and sword'
When I sing to him... instead of finishing my line with only one he will finish the line with two words.

He continues to amaze us with his numbers. He can recognize numbers up to 29 missing a few 20 something :). Sometimes instead of saying '20' he will say twenty zero!! He can also count but missing a number or two. From our observation... when he see two things... he will automatically say two (thing) like 'two ball' or 'two house' and his vocabulary... mmm.. always learning new words and it's hard to keep up... oh..his favourite word is NO.

He doesn't like building blocks but instead he likes dismantling whatever we built even with puzzles... He enjoys it. He can imitate frog jumping(since more than 1 month), he can march, he can jump really well, he can even jump down a step!(since yesterday). Previously he can only walk up the steps on his he can also walk down the steps on his own.

Temper wise... definitely throwing more tantrums. Learned to shout and shriek in his cry too. Thank God it's short usually for less than 1.5 minutes. He can still be easily distracted. He still has phobia against very loud noise made by a big crowd of people. Be it clapping or laughing. He is cheeky and playful. Always full of energy. He used to take about 1 hour naps but now.. he takes at least 1.5 hours to 2 hours and sometimes...2.5 hours. Still sleeps around 9pm and wakes up around 7.30am.

Reese loves water...well..most kids do eh? Anyway.. I allow him to play water whether in the pool or just in the bathroom whenever possible. Some improvement in the wading pool. He will roam freely on his own in the pool without a float...also refuse to let me hold him. He loves playing hike and seek.

He is around 14 kgs and height unknown. Definitely lost some weight over the month. Still has a little tummy. :)