I am so excited to write this post!!!!
The other day I was invited by the Julia Gabriel Centre to attend a Positive Parenting Talk (the first of a series). There are two brands under one umbrella – Julia Gabriel is a speech and drama center (enrichment center) for children aged 6 months to primary school, while Chiltern House is a preschool for kids aged 2-6 years.
Tadah! The outside.
Ohhhh so this is Julia Gabriel Centre! It’s located on Jalan Bukit Pantai and is located near my old office. I used to pass it by and think it was an Italian restaurant WTF (cos of the red canopy).
Impressed with the outside already. Everything looks so cheerful and pristine!
The front door.
Here’s the lobby and reception area.
So upon arrival I was ushered into the assembly area (which is upstairs) for Julia Gabriel’s talk. In case you don’t know (I certainly didn’t) Julia is a real person!
Julia Gabriel is the founder. She’s been teaching since 1983, and is an accomplished storyteller, performer, speaker and lecturer who has written and recorded educational TV programmes for the Ministry of Education in Singapore. In 1993, the Lord Mayor of London awarded Julia life membership of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Okay I think she’s fully qualified to teach Fighter. Lol.
Her talk was about the importance of imagination for children and how to nurture it. Having a great imagination is crucial to a lot of things including creativity, empathy, inventiveness…
Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited but imagination encompasses all.”
The definition of imagination…
It’s true right! When you’re a kid, anything goes. I remember as kids me and Ooib would hole up in our storeroom and tie a torchlight from a ladder and call it a light and the storeroom was our detective headquarters wtf. And we obviously had no cases to work on so we just spied on our neighbors for suspicious activity WTF.
And a lot of other games la. We used video cassette tapes to fashion a maze for our pet turtles who didn’t do anything besides poop in it wtf. And we created a whole ‘nation’ with our stuffed animals complete with political system lol.
And I do feel that as an adult I have less wonder and new ideas already. I even feel a difference now and ten years ago.
Julia Gabriel Centre and Chiltern House’s educational philosophy focuses on what they call a EduDrama methodology. According to their release, “children learn by drama, role play or imaginary play – designed to motivate students to express themselves at their best, when learning is made fun for them.”
It sounds perfect because it’s very important to me that Fighter’s imagination and learning is stimulated, and not that he’s only forced to study and memorize.
I also went on a tour of the place! Again I was impressed how warm and clean and orderly everything looked. I don’t know la I don’t remember my kindergarten being this clean last time wtf.
That’s Maggie, their BookRoom Coordinator.
And a gorgeous reading nook!
Here’s the stairs going upstairs… walls are all plastered with kids’ handiwork and class photos.
The corridor between classes upstairs. The red shelves are cubby holes for students to put their stuff.
Here’s me totally not being creepy staring into classrooms lol.
Dammit! Nearly five feet!
Sneaked in to take this photo.
Classroom decor! Apparently they change the theme every semester. ^^ I’m guessing this term it’s barnyard animals?
And the bathroom!!! Sooooo cute!
The toilet bowls are all mini sized! Some more got cute jungle decor on top hahaha.
Anyway after the visit, I decided to sign Fighter up for a trial class to gauge for myself. I’d been thinking of sending Fighter somewhere a couple of times a week or so, just to let him see more of the world. As it is I already don’t let him watch TV or ipad so the most he does at home is play with his toys (of which most are stuffed animals), me or the nanny.
As a result I think his motor skills are quite good for his age (cos every day practice picking up toys wtf) but I thought it’d be better for him to mingle with other babies his age and get him involved in different learning activities.
The class we attended was Playnest – for babies aged 6-18 months. So we got to the class where the teacher and assistants already knew him by name! They all sang out merrily, “Hello Jude!” to which he blank-stared them since he thinks his name is Fighter LOLOL.
Before class officially began was free and easy playtime. Fighter kinda sat there like a dungu for a while… before reaching for toys!
In ecstasy with the teachers. Hahaha. He lovesssss adults in general I feel. He doesn’t really know what to do with other babies which is why I wanted to let him meet more.
Then it started with a Welcome song sang by the teachers, and a session where they met and interacted with a stuffed monkey haha. No photos here cos I was busy getting Fighter involved in the singing and clapping.
After that they read a story and did a paper activity with the babies based on the story! It was about monkeys so the task was to glue paper cutouts of monkeys on a sheet of paper depicting a bed.
Of course I had to do it for Fighter. Lol. But it was something new explaining it to him and showing him the paper and glue.
Next up was snack time!
MOST ADORABLE SCENE EVER. 3-4 babies sat at a table together and the teachers handed out snacks. The day’s snack was rice crackers, but the teachers told me it differs – sometimes it’s cookies, sometimes fruit, etc.
Here’s Fighter eating like a champ.
“May I have some more?”
Super proud of him cos the other baby at the table didn’t eat hers while Fighter finished his portion. #competitivemom
Then it was art time! Painting to be specific.
The babies were made to strip down to their diapers HAHAH. Some parents brought waterproof aprons hmph next time I bring too.
Then the teacher showed Fighter what to do with the water soluble paint provided.
Fighter had his go! Not sure if he actually understood the instructions or just saw red paint and thought “oooh what’s that lemme touch.”
I was pretty surprised he went for it though! At home if I give him food pieces which are a bit wet or mushy, he normally doesn’t like the texture and drops the piece. I thought he might have a complex about wet textures so I was pleasantly surprised he took so well to it.
“HERE MAH MASTERPIECE”
A very joyful Fighter. He super enjoyed it!
After that I cleaned him up in the bathroom sink and settled him down for more singalongs to end the day.
All in all, I think Fighter enjoyed himself a fair bit! He seemed interested in the other babies although he didn’t make a move to interact yet, and he was extremely excited to see the teachers and other parents (and helpers).
Some of the things they asked the babies to do (like glue monkeys on paper) seemed pretty out of their capabilities to do, but that could be because they create high standards so the babies will attempt to reach it? The other activities like singing along and clapping and other hand actions, the other babies were doing very well actually. And the painting which I would have thought out of reach, was also pretty skilfully handled by the other kids.
And Fighter, seeing the other babies crawl around at the speed of light, or even walk around, attempted harder than he’d ever done to crawl too! He managed one step forward before he face planted lolol but I was impressed at the effect of a group on him.
Also I liked how clean and efficiently Julia Gabriel was run! Immediately after every activity, assistants swooped in to sanitize and wipe down the areas used. A big plus point in my book!