Archive for the ‘Just us’ Category

Origami Collection : Japanese Girl In Kimono

One of the favourite past times that I have with our boys is making ORIGAMIS. We have a large collection of origamis ranging from animals, fruits, costumes, faces to playground items. These origamis are not only nice collections, they are good decorations too. Of course, they are often used on our self-made greeting cards. Papa and boys have even suggested that I conduct classes to teach origami making *grin*. To admit, Darren is a young MASTER in origami making and I am often amazed at how he could remember the different steps for different designs in that small little brain. Hmm…totally agree that Interest does add to that success:) This morning, we tried this origami - Japanese girl in kimono. Very sweet indeed. Hmm…thinking of making a bigger one, adding the face features and framing it up:) If you are interested to also try out this origami, check out this step by step instruction at this website. Hope you enjoy origami making as much as we do:) Another of those educational bonding activities between parent and child…

Gifted Education Programme

What is Gifted Education Programme?

Tomorrow is the Gifted Education Programme (GEP)’s Screening Test for the cohort of primary 3 students in Singapore. After which, about 4,000 primary 3 students will be shortlisted to go through the selection tests in October. At the end, only about 500 primary 3 students will be admitted into the Primary 4 GEP.

During the screening test, these students will sit for English and Mathematics papers. As for the selection test, students are tested on English, Mathematics and General Abilities.

It is certainly not easy to be among the final 500 being admitted. So, I am aware of parents who send their children for private lessons to prepare them for the GEP tests.

So, what is it in GEP that appeals to parents?

Elite teachers? Smarter cohort? Better future? Distinctive curriculum? Higher emphasis on social studies? A more secured way into integrated programme in secondary school?

For this, I can’t comment.

For sure, I know Bren made it into the integrated programme in secondary school too without being in the Gifted Education Programme  in primary school. In fact, I did not even sign him up for the GEP screening test years ago. Maybe, it was a right decision then because it at least boosted Bren’s confidence as he excelled academically and topped the class in the mainstream.

If you ask for my view whether we need to let our children go through preparatory classes for the GEP tests…

Now, that it is Darren’s turn, we decided to let him sit for the GEP screening test.

However, no. We don’t embrace the rationale for pre-training for GEP tests.

As  it is defined, GIFTED means “being endowed with high general abilities” or “having exceptionally high intelligence”.

Naturally, the eventual cohort in GEP will be made up of exceptionally bright students, the curriculum will be tougher and the competition will be intense.

If my child makes it through the selection (due to forced or rigorous preparation before the tests)…

- is he able to cope well under that educational system?

- will it too stressful for him if he is not endowed with that exceptional intelligence?

- am I causing my child to end up with a low morale at the young age of 10 years old, striving everyday to catch up with the smartest lot and building early disappointment in his education life?

I decided. I would rather let Darren attempt the tests and let nature take its own course. If he is successful using his inborn abilities, then certainly he will be more ready to survive in the cohort.

Furthermore, now that Bren is in the integrated programme, I fully understand the challenge a child faces when placed with the cream of the crop and I do not wish to give Darren the undue educational stress.

Do most parents let their children go through the GEP screening test?

I do not have the statistics but in my own social circle and at least in Darren’s class, most of his classmates are sitting for the GEP screening test.

What is this General Abilities Test (GAT)?

Though our elder boy had never attended the primary GEP screening test or selection test, he has a try of the General Abilities Test (GAT) during the Direct School Admission Test to some top secondary schools. On his experience, he had to attempt many questions (which include identifying tough picture patterns) within short time frame.  I can imagine that small mind thinking smart, fast and accurate and yet  remaining calm as time ticks by. Though Bren fared very well for the GAT, there is no way that he could prepare Darren with the model questions/answers. Again, I emphasize that it depends on individual’s abilities.

So, what I am going to do is : let my child get enough sleep the night before the screening test to better focus during the test and not give undue stress. Hmm…Yes! I will let nature takes its own course.  No pressure on him or myself.  If he succeeds in being the final cohort in the GEP, I guess he is ready and able to manage.  If he does not, I believe he will enjoy his mainstream education as much as Bren did too:)

“All the best my boy!”

Making : Horse on Stick

This year for Darren’s birthday, we put up a skit with a cowboy theme.  So, Bren wrote the script and each actor/actress in the family designed our own props to fit our roles.

Personally, I love this involvement because it is not only educational but the outputs often bring about much laughter and sense of fulfillment and we get to see the creative flair of our boys.


I am glad that our boys echoed my thoughts.

As the notorious cowgirl for this celebration, I had the idea of making items like a horse, a whip and a cowboy hat. The birthday boy, who has always been creative in designing decorations for all our birthday celebrations, was certainly fast to embrace the idea.


not forgetting our effort to “go green”, after getting some ideas from the web, I recycled some unused socks, some left over cloth, ribbons and strings and we started assembling a “horse on stick”.

pic12I didn’t have velvet cloth (thicker material and hence can have a pair of stiff ears) at that moment or I could have sewn them on as ears and eyes.

Involve your kid in the making because the process is easy and our birthday boy was already galloping around with his horse the first day it was ready:)

Enjoy another of this parent-kid bonding project!


Items needed to make “horse on stick”

- 1 adult sock

- velvet cloth

- ribbons

- strings

- cloth or materials to stuff into the socks

- a thick stick or even a hanger (something hard enough to support the horse head)

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