For most people during this circuit breaker period, it might mean more time on their hands and maybe even an opportunity to learn a new skill like baking or finish reading those books they’ve been putting aside for the longest time. But for mothers like myself with school-going kids, that means we have to take on extra responsibilities to ensure that our little ones can cope with their Home-Based Learning and keep them occupied with activities that continue to develop and stimulate their minds and bodies. For working mothers like myself and with four kids, you can imagine the load on my shoulders. Now my two older kids in Secondary 2 and Primary 6 (taking her PSLE this year!) can be more independent so I don’t have to sit next to them to find materials and guide them through it. And thank goodness Nykki’s preschool My First Skool provides an extensive array of home-based learning resources which keeps her plenty busy and entertained while learning throughout this stay home period, so I couldn’t be happier that I had enrolled her into this preschool.
Choosing a preschool for our precious little ones can be a daunting task and even after making a choice, it might not be what we expected in the first place. Trust me, I’ve been through the whole process before. With my two older daughters who were born in France but started their preschool days here in Singapore, I actually changed schools for them before settling them down in My First Skool where they completed kindergarten and thoroughly enjoyed their time there. In fact my third daughter also went through My First Skool throughout Nursery and Kindergarten and my youngest one Nykki is still there and enjoying her early childhood years just like her older sisters.
The key difference among the four of them though, is that Nykki is currently going through Home-Based Learning with My First Skool which her sisters never got to experience. With the current circuit breaker measures, it really is a first time experience for us all having to adapt to schooling from home and this comes with not knowing what to expect. But I must say, I’m impressed with how My First Skool had very quickly put together home-based learning resources and support for the children and their parents so that we can continue to keep our little ones engaged and developing throughout the circuit breaker.
My older girls Nyx who is in Secondary 2, Nya who is taking her PSLE this year and even Nyla who is in Primary 2 can be very independent and complete their school assignments as well as tuition work by themselves while I briefly supervise and ensure that they’re logged in to their live virtual classrooms on time. They usually have their assignments from various subject teachers listed online and they have to ensure that all assignments are checked off, while their tuition assignments are completed and scanned back to their teachers for marking. Even Nyla’s art and craft lessons are also carried out via live virtual meetings now and once they’re logged in I can pretty much leave them alone to do my work.
With Nykki who is 4 years old now, you may think that I need to sit next to her the whole time when she is completing the activities and worksheets given to her by My First Skool. But actually with many of the activity sheets that allow her to learn independently as well as the zoom live sessions where she is kept engaged by her teachers, it actually gives me a breather so I can once again do my own work and even teach my own virtual classes! The regular check-ins on the well being of the children by their teachers during these live classroom sessions actually are great for parents like myself to see how we’re coping during this challenging period.
Of course I appreciate the parent and child bonding type of activities that allow parents to do meaningful stuff with their little ones too. I actually learnt a thing or two from some of these activities myself!
My First Skool’s Home Based Learning Resources
I really appreciate how the various home-based learning resources prepared by the teachers cater to the children of different levels and are thoughtfully chosen to keep the children engaged and interested. It really helps a lot in addition to the regular live sessions that we have with her teachers.
There are worksheets and activities that help us bond even more with our kids and entertain them at the same time while they’re learning. And I really like the fact that they’re updating their Youtube regularly to help parents like myself share videos with our kids which we know will benefit them instead of having to search and pore through tonnes of videos which may not be appropriate.
There are a variety of video resources available on the My First Skool’s Home-Based Learning page which include:
1.Art and Crafts.
The kids get to follow the simple step-by-step instructions to make lovely crafts using materials that they can easily find from home like paper towel rolls and paper plates, etc.
2. Language and Literacy.
Having their teachers guide them through fun phonics songs and activities gives them continuity in their learning even though they’re not physically in the classroom.
3. Mother Tongue Learning.
I love how they are also able to continue learning from their teachers conducting lessons over these video resources in their mother tongue. Especially when I’m still working from home and I can get very busy sometimes, I will have her sit next to me and she learns through these videos with me by her side to explain when the need arises.
So easy to use. So once some of the videos start, I can sometimes continue to do my work next to her.
These are such great ideas and simple-to-follow videos that are also nutritious and tasty! And it really helps me see what the kids eat at school because they’re mostly recipes and videos of the in-house cooks of My First Skool sharing their healthy and mouth-watering dishes.
I love letting my kids troubleshoot and solve problems by themselves. So I was very pleased when there were activities involving the kids having to build a pom-pom drop wall and using materials that they can easily find at home to build it.
There are also loads of Home Activities that have been prepared for the children of My First Skool to keep them learning and developing each day. One such activity is also an experiment that teaches them the importance of using soap to wash their hands. And Nykki also particularly like the activity we did on counting money. She even set up her own mini supermarket at home to test her new skills!
Comparing the Various Pre-Schools’ Home-Based Learning Resources
Based on the various points, I’ve made a comparison to help you understand what you should look out for when it comes to a more holistic home-based learning program. And I’m really glad that I have the support of My First Skool this circuit breaker period to keep my little girl engaged, intellectually stimulated, creative and active.
1.Ease of Use
How user friendly is the resource and can you easily access it. My First Skool children have access to My First Skool portal which allows us not just access to the worksheets and links to videos that their teachers put up. But it is also where we can easily communicate with their teachers as well. In fact My First Skool’s Home-Based Learning page is available for everyone who needs good quality home-based learning resources to help their kids to continue learning and developing during this stay home period.
2. Age Appropriateness
Are the resources segregated to various age groups/levels and are each of the videos, worksheets and articles suitable for children of different stages of preschool all the way to K2. In fact, My First Skool even has HBL resources for infants which parents can use to help stimulate their little ones.This is hard to come by as not many pre-schools have resources catered for infants.
3. Mother Tongue
Are there resources available through the school’s home-based learning program which caters to the various Mother Tongues? I really appreciate how My First Skool has Mother Tongue worksheets videos and audio books for the children to learn with. As a matter of fact, the extent of resources available for Mother Tongue is rather impressive as they have many videos on storytelling, 手指谣，故事舞台, and even motor skills development activities such as eye-hand coordination to engage the children.
4. Resource/Effort Intensity
Are the quality of the resources put up of good standard and fulfil the needs of the students? The videos put up for the activities, language and literacy and Mother Tongue learning prepared by the dedicated teachers of My First Skool are so engaging and fun and very relatable too. As with videos specially made for the children of various pre-school ages, more effort is put in by the teachers of My First Skool to film and edit them so that it can be more engaging for the young ones when they watch the videos. With over 300 videos to date, they have way more compared to other pre-schools. And in order to offer even more learning resources for the children, My First Skool has even made the effort to collaborate with their partners including Active SG.
Especially with the activities to teach the children about the need to practice good hygiene, Nykki had such much fun sharing about them with her sisters too! Knowing that these resources are prepared by their teachers and regularly updated also sets my mind at ease.
5. Variety across various learning domains
Does it cover the various learning domains which include Fine Motor, Gross Motor, Language, Cognitive, Social/Emotional, Self Help/Adaptive and Morals. The fact that My First Skool has different formats (e.g. videos, worksheets, audiobooks) rather than just worksheets as compared to other pre-schools makes sure that the children don’t get bored and have a variety of learning domains to keep them intellectually stimulated.
Does it have interactivity such as worksheets, videos, live sessions and activities that engage the children. Apart from the live virtual classes that we log in to with her teachers and classmates, I like how it also helps parents bond more and do more activities with the littles ones. The recipes are one of our favourite things to try out together, and it teaches her how food is prepared thus giving her more appreciation of the in-house cooks at school too.
Here’s a table that can help you identify which schools currently check off on the above criteria. My First Skool is currently the only one with a link on their website to some free online home-based learning resources. For the other schools I had to seek out mummy friends with children in the other schools to inquire and they include:
- My First Skool
- PCF SparkleTots
Find out more about the resources that offered by the various pre-schools here at the Early Childhood Development Agency.
Home-based learning resources really should be easy and convenient for us as parents to use for our precious ones and I love the fact that My First Skool offers it on different platforms and not just for parents of children from My First Skool, but even for those who aren’t. Go to their Home-Based Learning website to find out more about My First Skool’s wealth of HBL resources and get a sneak preview of the curriculum which a My First Skool child goes through.
Live Centre Tour of My First Skool
You can now register your interest to go on a Live Centre Tour of the school’s various centres during this Covid-19 period. Such a great initiative which considers the safety of the children from the school as well as convenience for parents who are keen to inquire more. Through this LIVE centre tour, you will get an opportunity to go on FaceTime with centre leaders of your preferred centre to learn more about My First Skool curriculum. You will also get to “walk” through the learning environment of the centre virtually through the video call. How cool is that?
Register for the Live Centre Tour here and let your little one see the centre of your choice too!
In addition, you’ll also get a goodie bag worth $80 when you complete a Live Centre Tour and successfully enrol your child into My First Skool by 31 July 2020! Click here for more details on the promotion!