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School Holiday Programme December 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017



December 2017 Holiday Programmes At British Council Malaysia



















For the end of 2017 school holidays, British Council Malaysia has lined up a range of holiday programmes designed to build confidence and encourage creativity in kids from ages 5 to 17. This is timely as our schools have been working towards the goal of nurturing kids to become more well-rounded individuals who are able to speak confidently and write well.


Over the last couple of years, we have seen schools encouraging creativity and self-confidence through class projects that require greater teamwork. Kids are being encouraged to think out of the box with more Higher Order Thinking Skills questioning in UPSR, PT3 and SPM. In PT3, some subjects are now fully project-based culminating in a presentation by the students. The PT3 exam tests speaking and listening skills in English.

There is also a move towards more open questions in exams which require kids to be good at expressing themselves in writing. In UPSR, the English writing paper is now considered as a separate subject paper with its own grading.



Children will benefit from these enrichment courses that help develop their speaking and writing skills. The school holidays is a good time to prepare them so that they can start their next academic year in 2018 with confidence.

Check out the 5-day programmes at British Council Malaysia which have been specifically tailored, targeting children from different age groups (ages 5 to 17).
  1. World Games For Children (focusing on life skills)
  2. Confident Writing and Speaking (focusing on design, creativity and presentation skills)
  3. Creative Writing (developing skills in planning, organising and editing writing)
  4. Confident Speaking (improving public speaking and debating skills)
Click here for more detailed information on the December 2017 holiday programmes at  British Council Malaysia KL, Mutiara Damansara and Penang.



Mistakes To Avoid When Making Or Renewing Passport For Children 18 Years Old and Below



It is the peak season for making or renewing passport now with the year-end school holidays just around the corner. This post is a reminder to parents on the mistakes to avoid when making or renewing passport for children 18 years old and below. If you avoid these mistakes, you can have a  renewed or new passport in your hands in a few hours. No stress of running around or extra waiting required.

Mistake No. 1

Not bringing your child's birth certificate. You will need to bring your child's birth certificate. This is required EVEN IF your child has an identification card. This is a common mistake many parents make.

Your child is over 12  years old and is an IC holder. You think that the IC is good enough as an identification document. However, you will also need their birth certificate IN ADDITION to the IC. Possible reason is as a parent, you need to sign their application forms and the only proof that you are the parent is the birth certificate. That makes sense right?

Note that the birth certificate is required EVEN IF you are making RENEWAL of your child's passport if they are 18 years and below. Again, this is a very common mistake. You may be thinking that after all this is a simple renewal so you may not need the birth certificate. Again, the birth certificate is the document of proof of your parent child relationship. You will need it.

This mistake will save you a lot of time going home to fetch your child's birth certificate or having to return another day to queue up to make or renew your child's passport.

Mistake No. 2 

Not making photocopies of the documents required ahead of time. When making or renewing passport for your children 18 years old and below, make sure you photocopy and bring along with you

  1. Your child's birth certificate
  2. Your child's IC (if any)
  3. Your own IC 
Note: Check the link at the end of this article for documents required in special situations eg. divorced, deceased parent, children who are married, foreign spouse etc.

It is not really a big deal if you forget, you can still make photocopies on the spot at the photocopy station at 60 cents per copy. This is quite convenient for forgetful folks but if you would like to save a little bit of money, make sure you get your documents ready beforehand. (this is experienced at the time of writing this post at the Jabatan Imigresen Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Kompleks Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN), No 69, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Off Jalan Duta, 50550, Kuala Lumpur)

Mistake No. 3

Not  bringing enough cash. You can always pay by credit card but it is always a good idea to bring enough cash just in case of system down time. This mistake can save you from having to run around looking for an ATM machine. The ATM machine of your bank may not be at the offices. Of course, it is okay if your card has MEPS, you just have to pay a little bit more but then ATM machines can also run out of cash. So be prepared, just in case.

Fee - RM200 if your child is 13-18 years old or RM100 for children 12 years old and below

Mistake No. 4

Arriving late. It is always good practice to arrive early for things like this. The earlier the better. You don't have to queue up at 4 am. Just arrive at opening hours is fine. Operational hours for Passport Office = Monday-Friday : 7.30 am - 5.30 pm / Friday Closed On : 12.15pm - 2.45pm (Visit the link at the end of this post for the full operational hours for all states in Malaysia. Some states open on weekends while states observing Friday and Saturday as weekend have different operating hours as well.)

Other Things You Should Know About

Clothing - You need to dress your child in dark coloured clothing for the photograph but this is not really an issue. A cute poncho to cover your kids clothing is available for young kids or jackets for older kids.

Hair - There is no need to tie  your child's hair. Just tuck long hair in behind the ears when taking photos. The officer will guide you on what to do.

Photo taking - Your child can smile while taking the photo, smile with mouth closed without teeth showing. According to the immigration website, children under 4 years old are encouraged to bring along two (2) pieces of photograph with white background measuring 35mm x 50mm

Forms - These days, you are not required to fill up any forms. All you need to do is affix your  thumb print and signature on pre prepared forms. Easy right?

Time - Making passport is a lot more painless and efficient these days. During a peak season, we managed to arrive at 7.30 am and leave with passport in hand by 11.30 am.

TIP - BRING A BOOK ALONG FOR BORED KIDS

Process 
  1. Queue to get a number. You will be required to submit documents both photocopy AND original at this stage.
  2. When your number is called, proceed to the counter to get your photo taken and affix thumb print and signature on pre prepared forms. No form filling required.
  3. Your number will be called a second time to make payments
  4. After paying, you may go for a meal and return to the immigration office an hour later to collect your passport. Proceed directly to collection counter to collect your passport.
Useful Links from the Malaysian Immigration Office Official Website
  1. Applying for Malaysian International Passport - Fees and Documents Required
  2. Operational Hours of Immigration Office at various states in Malaysia
  3. List of Branches Address and Location
We hope this post helps parents apply for their child's passport in a painless and efficient manner with reduced waiting time. Enjoy your vacation!

Location Map for Jabatan Imigresen Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, No 69, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Off Jalan Duta, 50550, Kuala Lumpur

Thursday, October 12, 2017



Educational News Round Up October 2017


There has been a lot of interesting news for parents with school going kids so far this month of October 2017. Here's a quick look at some of them.

Starting next year, imported English textbooks will be used instead of local ones. (Star Oct 5, 2017). According to the Star article, preschoolers, Standard 1 and 2 including Form 1 and 2 students will start using the new CEFR-alligned curriculum. CEFR stands for Common European Frame­work of Reference for Languages. Parents on our Facebook group reported that their Standard 1 and Form 1 kids have received these textbooks this year but they have yet to start using them. Priced between RM78 and RM135, the books are given free on loan to students under the Skim Pinjaman Buku Teks

While on the subject of books, starting next year, work books not approved by the Ministry of Education will no longer be allowed in schools. (NST Oct 11, 2017). Perhaps this will mean the reduction in bag load. Did you know that History and Moral were not even supposed to have workbooks? That's according to this news report on the Ministry moving to end the heavy bag ordeal for pupils (Star Oct 12, 2017).

In another news, it was reported that the Education Ministry is introducing an Internet safety, online ethics, and time management module, for Years One and Two students next year. (Star Oct 8, 2017). The modules are developed by the CyberSecurity Malaysia (CSM) in collaboration with the ministry and will be introduced as a pilot project to a few selected schools once ready.

That's quite a lot of interesting news for the new academic year in 2018 don't you think?


Wednesday, October 11, 2017



Pros and Cons Of Sitting For The SUEC in Chinese Independent Schools


After completing SJKC, many students move on to SMK, Private or International Schools or Chinese Independent Schools. Each type of school will have its own challenges and special issues. This post is about UEC examinations in Chinese Independent Schools (CIS) and the questions that parents who choose this route must ponder at some point of time.

Students in CIS sit for the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC). Some Chinese independent high schools opt to teach the national secondary school curriculum (in Malay) alongside the independent school curriculum (in Chinese) and require students to sit for PT3, SPM or STPM in addition to the UEC.

Credit: The following is published with the permission of the parents who posted this topic on our Malaysia Secondary School Parents on Facebook group recently.


Common Question:

My son is studying at a Chinese independent Secondary school. I have no idea what is the choice of further studies after his SPM exam. His school offers both UEC & SPM exams. Should my son consider continuing higher secondary until UEC exam or just take the SPM results for studying in college, Foundation or switch to A level?

This question was raised recently on our Facebook group. We are reproducing the question and answer on this blog to reach out to more parents. We feel this is a really beneficial and useful topic for parents with kids studying or those who are thinking of sending their children to Chinese Independent Schools in Malaysia.

Answer:
There are pros and cons of sitting for the SUEC in Chinese Independent Schools.

Pros of sitting for SUEC
  1. If you are undecided to proceed with what course, there's no harm to continue sitting for the SUEC in the meantime
  2. When you sit for the SUEC, you will have no trouble adapting because of the familiarity in environment
  3. If you leave after SPM you wont be given a certificate in CIS. You will only receive a school leaving certificate which rather defeats the purpose of studying in a CIS
  4. It is way cheaper compared to doing Pre-U, GCE A levels, AUSMAT and etc to prepare yourself for further studies
  5. A shorter course period, you will need just another 10 months and you can start immediately once school begins session in January
  6. The UEC paper may be accepted internationally in most universities
  7. It depends on each CIS. In some CIS subjects would be taught in English, in some others it is fully Chinese (for example main subjects like advanced maths/ physics/chemistry may be taught in English except Biology but you could still opp to answer the Biology paper in English during SUEC through self learning).
Cons of sitting for SUEC
  1. There will be more subjects to handle
  2. The paper is tougher especially for science stream students
  3. Not many reference books are available
  4. You have to cramp all subject from Sr 1-3 in 10 short months
  5. The homework load is really heavy 
  6. It is 100% exam based

Monday, October 09, 2017



Roald Dahl Themed Children's Workshop For Kids Aged 7-9



Upcoming Event at Enhance Academy, Klang

Children's Workshop for kids from 7 - 9 years old on Saturday 28 October 2017 from 11am to 1pm


Hi there parents,

Wow, it is already October. Time has passed by quickly and our children are now sitting or about to sit for their year-end examinations. Soon, it is time for them to relax and to enjoy some of the things that they didn't get to do during their busy school year. Now it is time for them to be kids and have fun, learning English through play in a way that is so different to what they are used to.

Here is a chance for you to let your children do just that. This coming 28 October, 2017, Enhance Academy is conducting a Children's Workshop specially for members of our parenting platform.

The good news is many games and fun activities have been planned for kids from Std 1 to Std 3 aged from 7-9 years old. The Children's Workshop will have a Roald Dahl creative theme to it. They will use activities like treasure hunts, speech and drama combined with Enhance Academy's style of creative writing to let kids learn English in a fun environment.



Your kids can choose to either join the class and games and activities or just the games and activities. There will be a games corner for kids coming in late or for those who prefer to just join in the fun and games without participating in the class. Games and activities include a Who wants to be a millionaire grammar quiz and puzzles. Prizes will be presented to the winning team.



You can invite your child and his or her cousins or friends along so they can have fun together. Coffee and snacks are provided. Moms and dads who are accompanying the kids can wait at the center or drop and shop at the Aeon Bukit Tinggi Mall which is just across the road. (See location map below).

The even better news is, this workshop is complementary for members of our parenting platform! Seats are limited so hurry and leave your name on this comment thread on our Facebook group to register for this event. Registration is on a first come first serve basis.


Monday, October 02, 2017



Preparing Your Kids To Embrace Technology And The Digital Future

Technology is disrupting and replacing traditional business models we were so familiar with. We live in an era where we can hail taxis from an app and where solid objects can be printed using a 3D printer. With the advancement of technology, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and 3D Printing, new jobs are created in new sectors while old ones become obsolete. More and more new graduates are starting their career by creating or joining start-ups where tech knowledge is essential.



Are We Preparing Our Children Enough To Embrace The Digital Future?

We must prepare our children for the future of digital technologies and new jobs in the creative and tech sectors. In fact, digital  advancement is already here and growing at an incredibly fast rate. One way is to encourage and equip kids with the skills necessary to be confident in using technology. We should not hold on to dated concepts just because the new digital learning of the 21st century is unfamiliar and therefore rather intimidating to us.

We can empower our kids with tech knowledge by paving the way for them to learn technical stuff like coding, robotics and the computer sciences, even if we don't know how.



When Can Kids Start To Learn To Code

You want your kids to be ahead of the curve by preparing them for the digital future but just when can kids start to learn how to code. How do you help them when you don't know a thing about coding yourself?

Some call coding the new literacy. Did you know that kids as young as 6 can learn the foundations of computer coding even before they start primary school? Learning how to code can be fun for kids too. Kids can learn to make their own games instead of merely playing them. They can get "behind the scenes" to understand how these games work through the use of certain computer commands. They need to have lots of patience, perseverance, creativity and problem solving skills in order to get the games and apps to do what they want.


Preparing For The Growing Technology Driven Job Market

Learning to code is not about preparing your kid to become engineers or computer scientists. Nowadays computer knowledge and skills is applied to almost every industry and career you can think of including service providers, retail, manufacturing, consultants and more.

You should start your kids young, If you wait till they have completed their secondary school, they are already behind the game in this day and age.

Coding is no longer for nerdy kids. Coding is for Cool Kids!



Try Out A Free Coding Class

Will your kids enjoy a coding class? Why not let them tryout a 3 hour free trial class at KidoCode, a computer programming and mathematic school for primary, secondary and high school students, from ages 6 to 18 at Kuala Lumpur. Apply here to join the free trial class.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017



Vocabulary For Creative Writing

With much more emphasis being placed on writing in our English exam papers now, let's have a look at some fresh writing ideas. When it comes to writing, the importance of vocabulary must not be overlooked. Students who have limited writing vocabulary will find it hard to write essays or short stories.

There are many different ways to say or describe a thing, person, place or situation. You can replace bland or boring words with better word choices to make your writing really stand out.

Here are 28 commonly used words in writing. You can use this quick cheat sheet of powerful words to replace these words. These other more exciting vocabulary will improve your writing instantly. Next time you write, try using the suggested words on the following infograpic instead of the words on the list below.
  1. New
  2. Next
  3. Things
  4. Feel
  5. Seem
  6. Best
  7. Young
  8. Just
  9. Almost
  10. Right
  11. Old
  12. Long
  13. Important
  14. Other
  15. Sad
  16. Happy 
  17. Good
  18. Bad
  19. Like
  20. Nice
  21. Only
  22. Real
  23. Sweet
  24. Funny
  25. Little
  26. Big
  27. Pretty
  28. Smart
Moms and dads helping their children with English writing homework can use this cheat sheet too!



Image Credit: 28 Boring Words Alternatives - Improve Your Writing Infographic by Jack Milgram

Thursday, September 21, 2017



Parents Workshop: Tips To Help Your Child Become Better Creative Writers

UPSR 2017 has just concluded. Did you know that with effect from the year 2016, the English paper for the UPSR examinations was broken into two separate grades. The abbreviation UPSR stands for Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah, which is the Primary School Achievement Test taken by all Malaysian students sitting for national examinations at the end of their sixth year in primary school before they leave for secondary school.

English Paper 2 which is the writing paper is now graded separately. Not only that, the number of multiple questions for Paper 1 has been reduced while subjective questions requiring writing skills are now included in English Paper 1.

This means overall, a lot more emphasis is now given to writing skills in the UPSR examinations.

On our Facebook group, we have two groups of parents. One group have kids sitting for UPSR in public schools. They are concerned about this new emphasis for kids to write creatively in HOTS (High Order Thinking Skills) types of questions. The other group of parents have kids who are transitioning to private or international schools. They may skip UPSR but they are also faced with the issue of making sure their kids can switch to an environment which require more creative writing in English.

Either way, as a parent, you may wish to support and help your kids to write more creatively. Whichever group of parents  you belong to, you will find this parents workshop useful for you to get ideas on how to help your child write better.

In conjunction with their 20th year Anniversary, Lorna Whiston Taman Tun Dr Ismail is offering this Parents Workshop on Tips to Help Your Child Become Better Creative Writers to 20 lucky parents for just RM20 per person. We are now taking registrations for parents in our group. Parents, please go to this thread to leave your name in the comments section to secure your place. The workshop is on Wednesday 4th October, 2017 from 9.30 am to 11 am at Lorna Whiston Taman Tun Dr Ismail. It is for parents with kids aged 7 to 10 because it is ideal to pick up writing skills from young.

Details of the Parent Workshop
Title: Tips To Help Your Child Become Better Creative Writers
Date: 4th October, 2017
Time: 9.30 am to 11 am
For Whom: Parents with kids aged 7 to 10
Fee: RM 20 *subject to 6% GST
Number: Limited to 20 pax.
Venue: Lorna Whiston Taman Tun Dr Ismail
Address: Units 8 & 10, Jalan Wan Kadir 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: Tel 7727 1909 or email ttdi@lornawhiston.com.my
Our Facebook group members, please proceed to this thread to leave a comment.

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