KidStartNow has moved to Bedok, just a quick 3 minute stroll from the MRT station! Being easties, we were very pleased with this move, and one can stroll around the relatively new Bedok Mall or check into one of their cafes whilst waiting for the kids to be done.
Check out their spiffy new centre on the third floor.
How did the kids find the Superhero Holiday Camp?
Firstly, they were pleased to receive postcards specifically addressed to them, in the mail a week before their camp.
It contained a teaser on the main storyline, and asked that the kids draw out some ideas on how to save Panda Baby, who had been abducted by the Robotic Wolf. The girls had fun pondering on that for a bit. Soon, the week of their four day camp (2 hours every morning) arrived!
Superhero Holiday Camp for 3-5 year olds – role-playing and conversation skills
B speaks very little Mandarin, though she sings Mandarin songs that she learns in her kindy with aplomb. So I was quite happy that she could tell me the story of 熊猫哥哥和熊猫妹妹 fighting 机器狼. The story as shown in animated cartoons subtitled with Chinese characters tailored for their level, was engaging enough to grasp her attention.
There was also a great theme of eschewing petty infighting between siblings so as to help those who are truly in need. When she came home, B would sometimes burst into the song that they learnt at the camp.
It was nice that B’s teacher was able to notice the differences in learning styles between B and K, and suggest how I can help B better in her learning journey. So I did put in extra effort after picking her up from class, and spoke almost exclusively in Mandarin over lunch! She did ask for lots of translation, but gamely repeated phrases after me, and answered where she could in her awkward tone.
Later that evening, B brought a Mandarin book (that her kindy uses) to me to read together! Which was an encouraging sign. I guess it’s a fine balance between systematically exposing her to more Mandarin, but not insisting or forcing it on her, such that she develops an aversion. Would really like to keep Mandarin fun, and something to look forward to, instead of something she dreads.
Superhero Holiday Camp for 6-8 year olds – show & tell and word recognition
Since I personally offer K very limited guidance after school in Mandarin, I credit KidStartNow’s teacher most, with regard to her performance thus far. Although she only goes there for a few hours each week, the added regular practice has given her a good foundation to build on, and she’s always very motivated to revise her school’s 听写.
At the end of Term 2 in end-May this year, we were again really heartened to learn that her Chinese teacher in school has graded her strongly in 汉语拼音, writing, reading, as well as her interest in learning the subject, though she has to improve in taking the initiative to volunteer answers and speak up more loudly in class.
Even at KidStartNow, 红梅老师 has observed how she has come quite far since she first started classes with them in K2. Within 18 months, she has developed enough confidence to deliver a show-and-tell speech loudly and clearly, when she was always rather hesitant in speaking Mandarin aloud, in the first few months.
K has definitely built up a strong rapport with her teacher too, and once when we casually suggested that she need not attend class any more, she insisted that she wanted to! We took that as a sign that she really enjoys the lessons there, and doesn’t find them boring, or a chore to attend.
For this holiday camp, the animated story books were similar to those used for the younger kids, just that the vocabulary used is more difficult, so that the older kids learn more descriptive phrases and idioms. This is how it is during term time too.
K has had Chinese e-learning homework from school, and her 快乐伙伴 P1 Chinese syllabus does make regular reference to e-learning. So she’s no stranger to using technology to revise the language, and it does jazz things up a little, as compared to scrawling through worksheet after worksheet.
For this KidStartNow camp, the kids drew a picture, and prepared a short show-and-tell speech, presenting it to their classmates on the last day. I hadn’t helped her at all, and was nothing short of astounded when she repeated her story on 《我和我的妹妹》 to me after the camp! 发音，抑扬顿挫等，都不错！
I guess the most important thing to me is that she enjoys learning Chinese. During the last week of the school holidays, she picked up two previous editions of 《好朋友》, this Chinese subscription magazine from school, and asked to do all the exercises. I guess my expectations are not very high, but I was quite impressed that she could do them all without much help, just that she lacks confidence sometimes and would seek some affirmation before writing the answer down.
All in all, I must say that K has reached a certain level of competency and self-motivation with regard to the Chinese language – now to foster the same with B, who seems to need considerably more immersion!
209 New Upper Changi Road #03-649
(Above Sheng Siong Supermarket, with lift near supermarket entrance)
Tel: 6444 8280, 6444 6310, 9820 7272
Opening Hours : Monday – Friday 11am to 7pm | Saturday – 10am to 6pm | Sunday – 11am to 7pm
Note: We received an invite and a discount for K & B to attend the holiday camp for the purpose of this review.