Thursday, October 7, 2010

Julia Gabriel Bilingual Playclub

Last Saturday, Ryan had his usual Playclub session at Evans Road. The lesson was about the colour green and we were all asked to come in green outfits. Quite a number of parents and children did turn up in green, which was fantastic. If my son sees 15 parents and 15 children in the same colour, it makes a powerful image and when he is told that the colour is green, he gets a deeper impression. However, if 15 parents and 15 children are in different colours and Ryan is told that one of them is in green, he is probably not going to remember anything after that one person in green leaves his line of sight. Same principle applies to singing songs, doing the song actions, saying good morning/good afternoon, sitting down for storytime/magic box/snack time, acting out the appropriate expressions/feelings during dramatime, etc.

I believe that each and every parent in the classroom is also a teacher because there is always a chance that, at anytime, a child is looking at him/her and absorbing what he/she is doing. Perhaps because most of the time the parent is sitting or standing behind his/her own child, the parent may think that his/her child is not going to notice him/her so they don't bother to go through the motions. I prefer to analyse it this way - if Ryan is looking at some other parent across the room who is saying "Good afternoon" or a parent who is helping to act out the story during dramatime, then he is learning from that parent and I would return the gesture for his/her child. When you get an involved set of parents who understand that parent participation is not just for their own child's benefit but for the class as a whole, then it becomes a great learning environment. That's the power of a parent-accompanied class like Playclub.

Anyway, back to last week's class. For arts and crafts, Ryan surprised me because he showed a lot of enthusiasm for the painting activity. The activity was to make a turtle - paint the turtle shell green, stick on some green crepe paper squares, stick on legs and eyes and sprinkle some glitter on top. Normally Ryan hates to get paint on his fingers and just skips ahead to the sticking and the sprinkling. This time he was really gungho and paint was going everywhere. He took two paintbrushes, one in each hand, and he was painting everything that he could reach - the turtle shell (actually a folded paper plate), the newspaper lining the table, even the turtle of the child next to him! After there was nothing left on the table to paint, he tried to leave the table together with his paintbrushes to find something else to paint. I had to give him a second turtle to paint to keep him (and his paintbrushes) at the table.

For outdoor play, Ryan's class was supposed to go on the playground slides and little cars. Ryan went out ahead of me, while I tidied up our bags. When I got outside, the other class was still having their outdoor play and for them, it was waterplay. I thought to myself, "Ryan will be there" and sure enough, he was! He had crammed himself in among the other children and he was right up against the water trough, splashing the water around, playing with the water toys! Hahaha! Nobody seemed to notice, or perhaps nobody minded, so I let him be.

Ryan gatecrashing another class for the waterplay

Right at home
They soon started to pack up and all the children left to go back to their classroom. Ryan was, as always, reluctant to leave, but he had no choice as the teachers started pouring away the water and covering up the troughs. Still, he was happy that he had managed to steal a few minutes of waterplay and he was grinning from ear to ear as he ran off to the playground to join his actual classmates.

By the way, Julia Gabriel's holiday programme for November/December 2010 is now open for sign-ups, so if you're interested, go for it!


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