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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

How to help your child speak English with confidence?


Many Malaysian children have to learn several languages at once with higher emphasis on BM, Chinese or Tamil in national and vernacular schools.

In an environment where English is not the main language of communication and minimal opportunity given to practice speaking in English, children worry about making mistakes when they talk and getting laughed at by their peers. They become shy, afraid and do not speak English with confidence.

What parents can do to improve their child's English-speaking skill?

1.Encourage your child to read.

English storybooks teach readers how to show emotions, express ideas and tell a story. The more they read, the more exposed they will be to how English is used today.

2.Don't interrupt when your child is speaking.

Let them finish their sentence, then say the word or sentence correctly and encourage them to repeat.

3.Practice speaking skills in a fully English-speaking environment

This is the fastest way to learn a language. If you do not speak English at home and your child is attending SK, SJKC or SJKT where the focus is not English, you can enrol your child in English enrichment programmes to give them an environment to practice speaking English confidently with their peers.

This post was brought to you by Scholastic Super English.

Build your child's confidence with classes that they enjoy! Join a free demo class today and get your child started on the path to English fluency.

Scholastic Super English provides a fully English-speaking environment, with small group classes for effective learning.

Led by Scholastic-trained educators with over 10 years of teaching experience, your child will get access to quality online learning modules aligned with CEFR standards, designed by Scholastic, The Most Trusted Name in Learning®.

Join their free trial class and get a free book by applying code <Mumsgather>. Click here to sign up: https://forms.gle/idw8rVh7z7XivVyX7

Monday, January 17, 2022

e.LT’s International English: Learn English Effectively for Smoother Back-to-School Transition


Children who are proficient in English can communicate efficiently, helping them to perform better at school and even secure a job in the future. But worldwide school closures – coupled with limited social interactions – impede their language development.

As schools reopen in March 2022, children with poor language skills in English may experience low confidence in going back to school. At e.LT, we can help.

Our International English programme caters to students with various proficiency levels. This fully online programme incorporates the award-winning Link & Think Methodology and delivers comprehensive lessons through fun, simple and effective activities.

Our English modules are designed based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) standard to ensure quality education. Our lessons focus on enhancing children’s language skills in 4 aspects: reading, writing, listening and grammar skills.

Further, our classes incorporate 21st century learning skills to prompt children to think creatively and critically while developing strong communication and collaborative skills.

Course options

Phonics bridging programme:

Learn the basics of letter sounds, sound blending, phonetic and spelling rules to read individual words and short sentences. This programme also covers grammar and writing foundations.

Global level modules:

Improve reading, writing, listening and grammar skills through modules that are aligned to the CEFR standard. 

To learn more about our programme, visit https://elt-education.com.

This post was brought to you by e.LT Education.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

10 blogs and articles on Tips for non-Chinese Parents sending their kids to SJKC


It is not  uncommon to see non-Chinese students studying in SJKC. As a banana mom I struggle with sending my kids to SJKC because I do not understand the language. (Banana mom is a term often used to describe a parent who is like a banana ie yellow skin (Chinese) on the outside but white inside. Some may take it to be a bit derogratory to be described in this manner. However, there is nothing more to it then just the language part of it ie a Chinese parent who is more used to speaking English than Mandarin. It does not imply that you are any less Chinese or prefer Western values).

I digress. As a banana parent, I struggle because it is hard to support a child in school when  you do not understand the language. How do you teach a child Math and Science or other subjects when you can't even understand the text book? It's tough. 

However, to a non-Chinese, it is even more tough because not only do they have to struggle with not understanding language, they have to deal with a whole different culture ie to make sure to educate their own children in their own culture while exposing them to another. That is tough x2. I really admire the courage and commitment of the non-Chinese parents who send their kids to SJKC. 

We have quite a few parents in our FB group in this dilemma. This post is written for them. While searching for relevant information, we found mostly blogs by muslim parents who send their kids to SJKC. There are few articles or blogs by Indian parents but we hope that this will be useful to them too. Below are the articles or blogs we found online on Tips for non-Chinese parents who are thinking of sending their kids to SJKC.

1. In "Pengalaman Menghantar Anak Ke Sekolah Aliran Cina Selama 6 Tahun", Mummy Julia shares about the registration process, the homework, discipline, safety, communication, transportation, tuition and more. In this comprehensive post, she shares her experience of sending her child to 2 years of Chinese kindergarten and 6 years in SJKC.

2. This post on "Pengalaman Hantar Anak ke SJKC" is written by an anonymous poster on IIUMC confession site. In this post, the parent shares what it is like to send his/her child to SJKC including discipline, support, agama classes and the need to be mentally prepared and the sacrifices required. 

3. In this post on "Pengalaman Hantar Anak ke SJKC", Marsha the blogger shares her experience including how she manages the schedule, the food arrangements and how once she almost gave up but persevered. 

4. In "Buat tatapan ibubapa yg nak hantar anak ke sekolah Cina", Julia shares how to prepare your child for SJKC, how to monitor homework, liase with teachers and teach your child to communicate with others in school. Her child "survived" Chinese school from 4 years old till UPSR with excellent results.

5. This tuition center wrote a "Panduan Hantar Anak ke Sekolah Cina SJKC" including preschool readiness, the challenges faced on religious education, time, food and managing emotions and school work. 

6. In this FB post by Mohd Emil Azril Bahari on Perkongsian tentang menghantar anak kita ke sekolah jenis kebangsaan cina SJKC which was widely shared (6.3k shares), this dad shares the pros and cons of sending kids to SJKC and how important it is to do preparation before sending your child to SJKC. He shares the importance of being in a support group so that you can help your child catch up with  homework. He also shares about managing religious classes, food, and the importance of parental involvement.

7. In "9 Dilema Seorang Ibu Hadapi Apabila Hantar Anak Masuk Ke Sekolah Cina" Sis Fa shares how she manages friendship, religious classes, homework, PIBG meetings and sports days when all events and communication are fully in Mandarin.

8. "Perkongsian Pengalaman : 9 Tips Hantar Anak Ke Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina" which was published in the Raykat post includes tips on getting ready from kindergarten, discipline, homework and the role of parents.

9. "Sebelum Hantar Anak Ke Sekolah Kebangsaan Cina, Ini 10 Perkara Mak Ayah Kena ‘Alert’ from Siraplimau.com is an article for parents who wish to send their children to SJKC but don't know where to start. It includes school selection, early preparation , managing food and religious studies, having a support group and getting additional classes.

10. "Tadika Cina untuk Anak" is by Nina Salleh, a mother of 3, who shares the experience of sending her children to a Chinese kindergarten in preparation for sending them to Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina later on.

Finally, below is a video sharing on "Kenapa Hantar Anak Ke Sekolah Cina?" by Jom Mandarin Official Channel.

Most of the sharing above are dated before the pandemic. During the pandemic most of the learning was conducted online. We can only imagine how challenging that is for a non-Chinese speaking family who sends their children to SJKC and that includes banana moms too.

Monday, December 27, 2021

LEGO Chinese New Year 2022 Series

I love the LEGO Chinese New Year limited edition series. They are an excellent way to teach kids about culture and festivities and they make great decorative pieces for your home during the Chinese New Year. I first came across the LEGO 80101 Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner set and fell totally in love with it. It is so adorable and very relatable. There was also the LEGO 80104 Lion Dance set which is very nice to use as a Chinese New Year decoration center piece. That set me up to be very excited to find out what is the LEGO new release for Chinese New Year 2022 which is just around the corner.

Below are the LEGO Chinese New Year 2022 series. The series was very nicely reviewed by  Ashnflash, a very nice channel for Lego fans and lovers, which does daily LEGO videos and content. 

1. Lego 80108 Lunar New Year Traditions (CNY Series)

The LEGO Lunar New Year Traditions is for ages 8 and up. Of course with LEGO fans, the "and up" can be any adult age. It features 8 festive activities scenes including shopping for food, spring cleaning and decorating the house for Chinese New Year, visiting family during CNY and exchanging Angpows. Scenes which all Chinese celebrating the Lunar New Year will be very familiar with. 

Now the fun part about this set is each scene comes with separate building instructions so the whole family can play together, with each person or team building a different part or module, definitely a perfect activity during Chinese New Year! The modules can then be arranged together to create a unique display.  You can arrange them in a circle or upwards in a vertical display. It is made up of 12 LEGO mini figures  including the God of Wealth figurine and a family of 6 people - grandpa, grandma, father, mother, son and daughter, very nice for kids to role play after building. In keeping with the times, the kids have digital gadgets like smartphones. As for the parents who are busy with the housecleaning, is that a coloured feather duster I spot there? Very cute.

Where to buy:

Brickmonster on Shopee

2. Lego 80109 Lunar New Year Ice Festival (CNY Series)

The Lunar New Year Ice Festival set is suitable for ages 8 and up. It features a very detailed winter scene with a frozen lake, equipment rental shop, sweet potato vendor's cart, photo booth, spring festival ice sculpture, vending machine, penguin-shaped sled, ski slope, snow capped trees and more. This could be used to teach kids about how cold countries celebrate their Chinese New Year. 

This set features 13 LEGO mini figures including a person in a tiger outfit to mark the year of the tiger in 2022. Other accessories included are smart phone, ice-skates, hockey puck, penguin ice sculpture and ice-sculpting tools.

Just like any other LEGO sets, it can be played individually or as a team with other members of the family with lots of role playing opportunity for kids and adults who love LEGO. Great to add to your LEGO collection display.

Where to buy:

Brickmonster on Shopee

Both of the above sets are also available as a bundle here:  

Monday, December 13, 2021

What are the 4Cs and why are they vital for your child?

Guest post by Geoff Taylor, the Head of Young Learners at the British Council in Malaysia

Previous generations learned that the ‘three Rs’ were vital in school and life. For today’s young people however, the three Rs of Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic are taken for granted. The new skills we are told that children today need are the four Cs:

  1. Critical thinking: finding solutions to problems and analysing information
  2. Collaboration: working with other people
  3. Communication: talking, emailing, messaging, public speaking and so on
  4. Creativity: thinking in new ways, looking ‘out of the box’
So why are the 4Cs so crucial? Well, in short, employers, educators and young people themselves believe these skills are necessary. This alone is a good enough reason to ensure children have them.

More than this however, if we look more closely at school performance, research has shown that  American children who received instruction on these skills did better in more traditional areas. On average, they performed 11% higher in exams, showed an improved attitude to learning, spent more time on schoolwork, had better behaviour and showed greater motivation in the classroom. They were also more resilient emotionally, being less prone to depression, stress and social anxiety. Rather than being a ‘new’ set of skills that students had to learn alongside the traditional academic studies, studying the four Cs actually increased their ability in traditional school subjects and had a good impact beyond the classroom.

The good news is that many schools in Malaysia and around the world are increasingly aware of the importance of the 4Cs. There is also a lot parents can do to help.


If your child does any team sports, they are learning the benefits of working collaboratively. Likewise, if they do projects with their friends, they will be developing this skill. If your child is not interested in sports or clubs, you can do something at home, as a family. This can be simple tasks such as getting your spouse and children to all tidy up or do the dishes together. Sometimes things like this can be made into a fun game. The important thing is that they begin to see the benefits of working with others to achieve a common goal. It can be faster, more efficient, more enjoyable and they can learn other ways of doing things from seeing others in action.


Playing games with your child is a great way to teach them how to communicate. This is the classic ‘tea party’ type activity for younger children, and more complex role-playing games involving superheroes or popular film characters for older kids. Putting yourselves in different imaginary situations is a great way to teach your child the correct way to communicate in different settings. Sometimes it is useful to directly teach your children how to behave, such as explaining the best way to greet a receptionist, or a bank employee, or a street sweeper. Encourage your child to say hello too in these different settings. Also, and this is very important, be aware of how you interact with others when your child is present. Parents are the most influential teacher and what you do will impact on your child’s behaviour far more than what you say.


There is more to being creative than liking art. It is about seeing possibilities that others miss. It is finding solutions to problems that seemed intractable. It is also a fun ability to develop. Dancing, storytelling, drawing and playing dress up all nurture creativity. However, if they don’t like doing a particular activity, don’t force them to continue with it, this should not be stressful! You can get 
creative yourself with some funny questions for them to try and answer (Why don’t humans have tails? Why are clouds white?), some of their answers may really impress you! Absolutely key to this process is remembering that it is not about being ‘correct’. Creativity is about exploration and imagination, not about attempting perfection.

Critical thinking:

Critical thinking is another skill that parents can really impact. A simple way to teach your kids to think critically is by encouraging them to think of as many solutions to an issue as they can, and then going through the advantages and disadvantages of each solution. This could be to resolve problems such as how they could get money for a new toy, or how best their dolls could redecorate their house. Ask your child to think about their ideas and opinions. Ask them “Why do you think that?” to get them to reflect on how they reach conclusions. You can also share your own thought process with them.

The 4Cs are becoming increasingly important. They are valuable in their own right, but they also impact on other vital areas, such as success in school and in the world of work.

Find out about how the British Council develops the 4Cs!

About the British Council in Malaysia

Our teaching centres in Kuala Lumpur, Damansara and Penang offer English courses for kids and teens. Your children will learn more than just language, they will develop skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, making connections and leadership. Find out more.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Where to buy KF94, KN95 and KF99 masks online

Today we are going to explore KF94, KN95 and KF99 masks and where to buy them online. We won't be going into scientific details but just touch on them very generally. First we should know about N95 masks. In short N95 masks are the US standards for respirator masks; KN95 masks are the Chinese standards for masks and KF94 are those with Korean Filter (KF) or Korean standards. Recently there are KF99 masks as well. Many people are now looking at these masks because in terms of breathability, they are better since the masks are not close to the nose when worn, so they are more comfortable then double masking with a 3 or 4 ply mask plus cloth mask for long hours of use. However, the downside is they cost more.

Things you should watch out for when buying a mask

1. Make sure we are not getting counterfeit or knockoff masks. Check that they comply to the standards set by the countries and that they are approved by the authorities of countries which produce them. In Malaysia, they should be registered with the MDAR (Medical Device Authority Register), and also be SIRIM certified, while in Korea the approving authority is the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) Korea.  Generally, avoid those being sold online for dirt cheap prices. When something is too good to be true, they probably aren't. We DO NOT want to get cheated when it comes to masks.

2. Make sure you get the right fit. The mask should fit the wearer's face without any gaps anywhere. It should have a good seal so that no air can get in or out anywhere. Before you buy a whole box of mask, try to see if you can buy just one or two sheets to test out the fit.

3. We should also understand what this means when we see them on the box. BFE (Bacterial Filtration Efficiciency), PFE (Partical Filtration Efficiency), VFE (Virus Filtration Efficiency. Here is a good article that explains this in simple terms: Testing the Efficacy of Face Masks. What do the numbers 94, 95 and 99 mean in KF94, KN95 and KF99? The numbers measure the filtration efficiency of the masks ie the partical efficiency or PFE. In layman's term, the higher the number, the better. For example, 94 means it has 94% efficacy in filtering out particles.

4. The shape of N95 is pointy like a beak and its sometimes called a duck bill mask. The KF94 mask is like a cross between a 3or 4 ply mask and a duck bill mask. It has material that runs across the face, up the nose and down the chin. 

Now that we know some basics, let's have a look at some brands. Some brands we come across the market include the following. Biomate, Yukazan, Respack, Neutrovis, Iconic, Callie and more. You can buy most of these at pharmacies or online from Shopee or Lazada.

Mask Brands and where to buy them

Below are some common brands currently being sold in the market. Readers are advised to do their own research on whether the masks are approved and certified by relevant authorities before buying any masks. Remember, if any deal is too good to be true, it probably isn't to prevent buying counterfeit masks. Be wary of fake resellers too. 

1. Biomate KF94 masks

  • ≥98% BFE
  • ≥96% PFE
  • available in adult and kid sizes in 10s, 30s or 50s per box
  • small size is for kids age 4-11
  • adult size is for ages 12 and up
  • kids size is 145mm x 90mm

Where to buy: 
Kmommy's Pick on Shopee (Ships directly from Korea) 
Use codes to get 5% discount:

2. Respack
  • ≥98% BFE
  • ≥99% PFE
  • available in adult and kid sizes 
  • has many variants. also has the KN95 masks
  • Size = 214 x 80mm (adults) or  165mm x 65mm (for ages 4 and up)
  • suitable for ages 11 and up

Where to buy: 
Respack Official Store on Shopee
Elosie Lim Enterprise (Lazada)

3. Yuka Zan
  • ≥99% BFE
  • ≥99% PFE
  • there is also a KF99 variant

5. Iconic Medicare
  • ≥99% BFE
  • ≥99% PFE
  • available in adult and kid sizes
  • has a hijab series
  • has KF94 and upgraded KF99 variant
  • uses copper oxide material

  • ≥98% BFE
  • ≥98% PFE
  • has KN95 and KF99 mask
  • picture shown is the KN95 mask

Where to buy:
LH Mart on Shopee
Exquisite Gift Galaxy on Lazada

7. Medishield Malaysia
  • ≥98% BFE
  • ≥99% PFE
  • has Hijab variant
  • has KN95 and KF94, KF99 masks

Thursday, December 09, 2021

Cute Santa Clause Outfits for Boys and Girls

It's the most wonderful time of the year. The season for gifting and joy and dressing up our trees, homes and little girls and boys. For those who love to dress their little kids up, here are some Cute Santa Clause Outfits for Boys and Girls and baby too! They also make excellent gifts for kids who love to dress up.

You can get adorable Santa Clause Outfits for kids from Merry Collective. Merry Collective is an Australian and Singaporean design team that creates beautiful Christmas outfits for children, adults and families. The outfits are specially designed for countries with warm seasons, so they are made of premium grade cotton which is cooling when worn. 

Here are some of our favourites.

1. Unisex Santa Outfit for Boys and Girls

This is a two piece unisex outfit with short sleeves and Santa detailing design in cooling breathable cotton for kids age 0 - 11 years. No belts to worry about as the belts are imprinted on the outfits.

2. Santa Junior Elf Costume for Boys and Girls

In the bright Christmas colours of red and green, this Santa Junior Elf Costume is a two piece outfit with short sleeves and shorts which is perfect for countries with warm season as they are cooling and comfy. Santa's Elf costume is available for kids from 0 - 11 years old.

Where to buy: https://merrycollective.sg/product/santa-junior-elf-set/

3. Baby Santa's Helper Romper Set

Baby Santa's Helper Romper Set is a unisex onesie for baby boys and girls. This Santa baby's one piece bodysuit is good for babies from age 0-3 with snap on buttons for easy dressing and changing. The material is made of breathable cotton to keep babies nice, cool and comfortable. 

Where to buy: https://merrycollective.sg/product/baby-santa-helper-romper-christmas-santa-set/

The baby romper set is available in Santa Clause and Elf design too. Just choose the design, then pick the size, whether it is 0-3 months, 6-9 months, 12-18 months right up to age 3.

4. Sweet Santarina Dress for Girls

What's Christmas without Mrs Santa or Santarina? You can turn your little girl into an adorable Santarina with this red Santarina dress with white trimmings, short ruffled sleeves and imprinted heart buttons and black belt. Imprinted designs gives the perfect look without messy ribbons and frills. This stylish cotton little Santarina dress is suitable for girls from 18 months to 3 years old.  

Where to buy: https://merrycollective.sg/product/santarina-dress-for-girls/

This post was brought to you by Merry Collective. Merry Collective ships internationally from Singapore.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Christmas Gift Idea for kids and teens who love kawaii things

CutieSquad has landed on our shores and this is good news for parents shopping for Christmas gifts because it gives us one more Christmas Gift Idea for kids and teens who love kawaii stuff.

First, let's meet the characters from CutieSquad - Jacky, Ray, Mo and Jess. These little cuties are collectible merchandise that are useful for everyday use, tote bags, mugs, notebooks, plushies and more. You can get just one or two or a whole set based on just one character or a mix and match. Let's have a look at some of the merchandise!  The merchandise are suitable for kids, teens and adults who love cute stuff!

They're all so cute, we don't know where to start. Let's start with some stickers. They are sponge stickers actually, so they are raised, giving them a 3-D appearance. You can get them in any of the CutieSquad character. Very nice for decorating your items to make them look a little cuter.

Here are some notebooks! Who loves notebooks? We all do, because they are useful for any age. Note that CutieSquad has two types of notebooks. One is a bullet journal with dots inside instead of lines for ddrawing and art. The other one is a notebook with lines for writing. So make sure you get the type you like for your personal use. There is a picture cover for the front and back with little CutieSquad design with a protective plastic cover for both front and back. 

Next up, here are some Washi tapes. Washi tapes are a type of decorative colored adhesive tapes which you can use to decorate your journals, or use them as borders for your artwork or cards. The Washi tapes have the little CutieSquad characters on them and everything is in sweet pastel colours. So sweet and cute.

Here are some plushies. Don't you just love plushies? They are so adorable. The CutieSquad plushies are palm sized. There's the Kawaii Penguin, Mermaid cat, Red Panda and Unikitty bunny. Aptly named because they look as cute as their names and they feel soft too. View our video at the end of this page to have a better idea of the plushie size.

If your kid is a school going child, you will want these water tumblers. The tumblers have straws which are detachable for washing or detachable permanently if that is what you prefer. Even if you detach the straws, the covers are non-leak screw on types so it is really up to you which you prefer. You can also pick the design you prefer too, 6 designs, all in lovely pastel colours. 

I love these mugs. They are good quality mugs that have a tapering shape, smaller at the bottom with a bigger top. They are available in 7 Cutie Squad designs. Mugs make great gifts for everyone, especially mugs that are so pretty and cute. They are excellent gifts for Christmas, birthday, teacher's day,  mother's day and more.

There's also a tote bag to carry your notebooks and stickers and water bottles. Don't let these totebags fool you. They look average in size but oh my, they can really fit in quite a lot! You will see in my video at the end of this page.  Can you count the number of CutieSquad merchandise I managed to put in the tote bags?

CutieSquad is currently having a Christmas bundle promo. *This Christmas promo applies to Asia only. This is the best time to buy because you will get a whole set of CutieSquad items specially picked for you at great discount prices. 

Where to buy the above CutieSquad kawaii merchandise:


To know more about the Christmas bundles, check out the following links.

Bundle Set A : 

Bundle Set B : 

Bundle Set C : 

Bundle Set D : 


Can you count the number of items in the tote bag? 

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