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Friday, August 17, 2018

What School Bag To Buy For Children Starting School In 2019

Every  year without fail we have parents talking about school bags! What brand of bag to buy? What type of bag to buy? When to buy a school bag? Trolley bag vs backpack. Size of school bag, weight of school bags. How many school bags. You name it. We talk about everything. The discussion usually starts around October to December.

However, this year I noticed the discussion has started much earlier ie in August! Perhaps it is because we will have a huge intake next year with dragon babies starting school in 2019! Due to the high demand for discussion, we are starting our 2019 school bag discussion thread earlier this year.

It is our dream to see happy kids with light loads like this. We even did a day to day measurement of our children's loads to compare weights and many parents even came up with novel ideas to lighten the load including "dissecting" the textbook into many parts.

Hopefully, in 2019, we will no longer see scenes like this. Subject periods have been reduced to no more than 3 a day in an attempt to reduce the load.

Hopefully, kids will also not be required to carry so many bags to school next year. This is something many children had to do to distribute the weight. Sometimes, when they have to carry extra co-curricular uniforms, projects, artwork etc to school along with their few bags, they look like they are going to an outstation trip!
Anyway, though we always have lots to say about bags, we will stop here and let the parents take over on the school bags 2019 discussion thread. Feel free to join us. If you are not a member of our group, apply now to join and network with 28000 parents.

Friday, August 10, 2018

10 Reasons Why Your Should Hug Your Baby And Older Children Daily

A Hug A Day Makes Your Stress Go Away.

Hugs make you happy. It is warm and sweet and chases our daily stress away. You should practice giving one minute hugs everyday. Not a quick hug and let go but hug and then count for one minute and just enjoy the warm, wonderful feeling. Do this for every member of your family especially the baby. Baby and you will both benefit from this precious and joyful moment.

Here Are 10 Reasons Why Your Should Hug Your Baby And Older Children Daily

1. Children Grow Up Too Quickly

In the blink of an eye, your newborn is a toddler, then a preschooler, a primary school child, secondary school student and before you know it, they have left the nest so cherish every moment you have with them now.... with a one minute hug!

2. Hugs Promote Bonding

Hugs promote bonding. Any form of touch, in particularly hugs promote bonding. What better way to communicate with our babies and children than through hugs which promote bonding without even a need to say a single word. That is the power of a hug. Next time you feel like shouting at the baby or  kids, give them a hug instead.

3. Hugs Make Babies And Kids Feel Secure

"It's okay. Mummy is here." That's what you are saying when you give your baby and kids a hug. Hugs make babies and kids feel safe and secure. It gives them a sense of peace and security, a knowledge of knowing that you are close and always there to support them. In fact, it makes you feel secure too.

4. Hugs Help Your Baby Sleep Better

What better way to sleep than to be snuggled and patted to sleep. That's what babies love the most. Don't be in too much of a hurry to let them cry it out and learn to sleep on their own. They need you. You can't spoil a baby or child with too much love.

5. Hugs Are Calming

You have had a difficult day. You struggle with lack of sleep. Your baby or kid is acting up again. What do you do? Why not give them a hug. It will help calm you down and give you a minute to recollect and calm yourself down from the situation. Not only that, hugs work the other way around too. They calm the little person being hugged too.

6. Hugs Is A Way Of Expressing Love

Hugs is a universal way of expressing love. How do you feel when you are hugged? Do you feel tensed and annoyed or do you feel happy and loved? You will feel loved without a doubt and when you hug your loved one, you are telling them that you love them and they will feel it too.

7. Hugs Are Nurturing And Natural

Hugs are something instinctive and natural to us. We hug because we are nurturers. To "hold back a hug" because you are too angry or to "forget to hug" because you are too busy is not natural. Next time, you are angry or busy, stop what you are doing or the anger you are feeling by doing the one minute hug. Count up to 60 to hug for a minute.

8. Hugs Help You Relax

Hugs help you relax so give your kids a hug after a hard day's work. You will feel happy and relaxed immediately. They will feel happy to be hugged by you and look forward to that daily after work hug. So will you!

9. Hugs Reduces Anxiety

When sending your babies to babysitters or toddlers to daycare, a hug before you leave and a hug as soon as you see them again helps reduce their anxiety about being apart from you. It tells them that you will always be there for them and dispel their fears and separation anxieties.

10. Hugs Is About Giving And Receiving

When you hug you are giving and receiving at the same time. It is the same for the person being hugged and hugging you back. The act of hugging is like a gift. You give a little piece of  yourself and your warmth to the little person you are hugging and you receive a gift in return. A gift of warmth as the person welcomes you into their arms and hugs you back. Hugs makes you both feel closer.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Coding - An Essential 21st Century Skill For Kids

Myth: Coding is an Extra Co-curricular Activity 

Many parents have the misconception that coding is an extra-co-curricular activity or enrichment class for kids. They send kids for ad-hoc or once off programmes, sometimes during the school holidays and expect kids to learn some skills from it. Sure, these programmes are useful to give children exposure and an idea about what coding and computer programming is all about. However, kids need to be immersed in the programmes on a regular basis in order to derive the most benefit.

In the past, coding may have been an extra co-curricular activity done outside of the classroom. However, many countries in the world now recognize that coding should be included within the school curricular and not treated as an enrichment class. That is why in recent years, you find countries pushing for coding to be included in school syllabus, including Malaysia.

Truth: Learning Coding is a 21st Century Skill

In the present and in the future, you will find that learning coding is as necessary as learning to read and write. Coding is the new literacy because programming is everywhere. Everything we use, all the apps that make our lives easier and more convenient are there because someone created a code for it.

Before we go on to discover more about coding, we should know what are the 4Cs of 21st Century Learning.

The 4Cs of 21st Century Learning

The 4Cs of 21st Century Learning are identified as

  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Communication
  3. Collaboration and
  4. Creativity
These are the skills that all students should have today. Students should learn to solve problems, convey their ideas well, work in teams to achieve a common group goal and learn to think out of the box. 

The 5th C - Computational Thinking 

Some schools go one step further in their 21st century teaching objectives by incorporating computational thinking through coding as the 5th C of essential 21st century skills for kids. In recognizing that coding is a 21st century skill and not merely an extra co-curricular activity, these schools are preparing the students for their future career. Similarly, parents can prepare their children for the future by changing their mindset on the myth that coding is an extra co-curricular activity.

What Parents Can Do 

Here are a couple of things parents can do to make sure that their children is equipped with computational thinking skills and coding, an essential 21st century learning skill.

  • Monitor the current syllabus of schools. Is coding part of the school curricular? Are schools offering it as an extra activity? Attend school PIBG meetings to get the latest information
  • Keep abreast by reading up and researching articles on computational thinking and coding. To be able to help your children, you first need to have knowledge
  • Teach them coding yourself - for those who have the time, you can search for websites that teach coding to kids and use them to teach your kids
  • Send your kids to a computer programming school to learn coding, not ad-hoc during a 2-day programme but on a regular basis. 
Not sure where to start? Check out KidoCode's free trial class. You can even attend the trial class with your kids to give you a better idea of what is involved.
This post was brought to you by KidoCode. KidoCode is a Computer programming and mathematic school for primary, secondary and high school students, from ages 6 to 18 at Kuala Lumpur.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

FAQ on Std 1 2019 Intake Application Results and Appeal

Do you have a dragon baby going to standard one in 2019? If so, you must be feeling excited and maybe a little bit anxious about the results of your standard one application for the 2019 intake.

The results come out today 1st August 2018 and as always, discussion start from 12 am as parents start congratulating each other, finding and making new friends who will be going to the same schools. There are also some who seem totally confused on how to check for the Std 1 2019 application results or how to make an appeal if their choice of school is rejected. This post is for you.

Below are some of the issues parents face when checking results. We compiled it here to make it easier to refer to. This post is work in progress and we will update it as we go along and receive more information from parent.

FAQ by parents checking for Std 1 2019 Intake Application Results

1. Where to check for the results? 
Go here to check for the results of your application online. https://public.moe.gov.my/

2. I applied for 2020 intake. Are my results out now? 
If you have applied for 2020 intake, relax, your results will be out in August 2019.

3. The online portal is not working.
This is probably due to heavy traffic at the time you were checking. Try again later.

4. No school is listed under the "Sekolah Ditempatkan". What should I do?

Try different browsers, try mobile instead of desktop etc. If all else fails, contact the e-daftar officers or  call up the school you applied for, inform them that you have a blank page and ask the school to check whether your child has been placed in the school and advice on what to do next.

5. If the school of your choice is listed, what's next?

The online process is incomplete until you go to the school for confirmation of your placement.

Click "Semakan", then click "Pengesahan Penempatan" followed by "Cetak Surat".  You will then see the message shown in the picture below.

Print out the document and bring to the school along with your child's birth certificate for verification. Some schools may require you to bring other documents not listed below (eg. your child's vaccination records)  so please check with the school first to avoid having to run back and forth due to incomplete documents. (Also see 6 below)

6. I got the school we applied for. What documents do I need to bring to school?

Note that some schools appear to require you to bring different documents. Best thing to do is to call up the school or check the school's website or Facebook pages. For example, we checked the SJKC Kuen Cheng 2 Facebook page and found the following which is useful as a reference.

Below is the letter of instruction from SJKC Puay Chai as found on their website.

6. I need to appeal, what should I do?

The online appeal process is incomplete until you go to the school to confirm your appeal.

Read the "Manual proses Permohonan Rayuan Sekolah" (See the link in blue in the picture below. Click on it when you are in the portal to view the latest manual proses permohonan rayuan sekolah. The link above we provided was shared by parents from previous years, so do go to the link provided in the portal for the latest one)
Click on "Pengesahan Penempatan", then you will see a red link for "Rayuan".
Click on the red "Rayuan" button and complete the form.
Finally, print out the document and bring to the school which you have been placed to confirm your appeal.
The period of appeal is between 1st August 2018 to 30 September 2018.

7. When will the results of my appeal be out?
You can expect the results of your appeal around November 2018.

8. I got the school we applied for but I wish to cancel. What should I do?
If you changed your mind, for example, you wish to cancel because you are now sending your child to private school, there have been cases where parents just ignore and proceed to the private school. However, the responsible thing to do is to print out your approval documents, go to the school to do verification and then inform the school of your cancellation so that the school can now allot your place to another child in the waiting list.

If you wish to change to another school not within the same state, you will not be able to appeal online because the school will not appear in your appeal list. You may have to go to the school that you have been placed to do verification and then inform them that you wish to do a transfer then check with the school for the procedure.

9. Others 

If you have other questions not answered in this FAQ, go to this thread on our Facebook group to ask your questions. Parents going currently going through the results and appeal process will be able to assist if they have completed any of the process required for verification, appeal and cancellation.

Good Luck to all parents. Hope that you are placed in the school of your choice!

Network with parents facing similar issues. Join our Facebook group.

Monday, July 30, 2018

British Council Year-End Holiday Courses 2018

Learning English Through Science

Confident Speaking and Writing through Science and Technology

The theme for British Council Year-End Holiday Courses 2018 is Confident Speaking and Writing through Science and Technology. Science and Technology are broad and fascinating subjects which give children the chance to be creative, do experiments, get messy, make crafts, and learn more about the world around them. When children are engaged, motivated and having fun, English learning happens without them even noticing!

This holiday programme is excellent for students to be exposed to learning English in a fun way instead of the conventional textbook way they learn at school. ‘Confident speaking and writing through science and technology’, use a wide-range of topics to get students excited about using English to solve problems, present ideas and be creative. The course is focused on both speaking and writing skills.

Students are split into 4 age-groups, and each group will take part in experiments, make crafts, research, give presentations, and write about their discoveries, giving them opportunities to practice their public speaking skills as well as developing their writing skills.

Below are the course details for the different levels.
For 5 – 6 year olds

Students will explore topics such as ‘The Animal Kingdom’ and ‘The Solar System’ using English as the medium of instruction. They will take part in interesting activities such as
  • mysterious and fun science experiments, 
  • making crafty and colourful posters, and 
  • building the tallest tower. 
At the end of the workshop, they will write about their creations and have the opportunity to practice public speaking by presenting their projects to the group.

For 7 - 10 year olds

Students will learn about science, engineering, and computing, and write about and present their ideas. They will conduct exciting experiments with volcanoes, waves and wind power. They will tap on their higher order thinking skills (HOTS) and analytical thinking as they work in teams to complete different challenges in English. Students will achieve confidence in speaking by presenting their findings to the class.

For 11 - 13 year olds

Students will become "researchers" using technology to find answers to scientific problems. They will develop confidence in speaking by interviewing their classmates, and develop their writing skills by being journalists for a day, investigating and writing about natural disasters, living in zero gravity, and medical mysteries.

For 14 - 17 year olds

Students will work on scientific challenges such as building the strongest bridge, producing a detailed plan for an expedition, and recording a presentation about living on Mars. They will strategise, plan and collaborate with classmates to complete their assignments. This will drive them to fluently use English in speaking and writing, priming them for college readiness.

Course Details:

Confident Speaking and Writing through Science and TechnologyDate: 3 - 7 December 2018

Time: 6 1/2 hours per day including 1 1/2 hours of breaks (total of 25 hours classroom time)
Fee: RM940 *Early bird discount of 5% if  you register by 31 October 2018
Pax: Limited to 20 students per age group 

Venue: British Council @ Kuala Lumpur, The Curve and Penang centers
Contact: For more information or registration details, visit www.britishcouncil.my/holidays or call 03-2780 3894 (Kuala Lumpur / The Curve) or 04-202 0014 (Penang).

The following is also available at British Council, The Curve only

Confident Speaking and Writing through Art and Culture 
(available only at British Council, The Curve)
Date: 10 - 14 December 2018
Time: 6 1/2 hours per day including 1 1/2 hours of breaks (total of 25 hours classroom time)
Fee: RM940 *Early bird discount of 5% if  you register by 31 October 2018
Pax: Limited to 20 students per age group 

Venue: British Council @ The Curve
Contact: For more information or registration details, visit www.britishcouncil.my/holidays or call 03-2780 3894 (The Curve)
  • 7 – 10 year olds - making a musical instrument, planning a model town and writing a comedy script
  • 11 – 13 year olds - reinterpreting classic paintings, participating in a movie award show and giving a live performance of a self-written story
  • 14 – 17 year olds - writing a dialogue for a movie script, pitching an idea for a sculpture project and writing a limerick 
This post was brought to you by British Council Malaysia.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

10 Pencil Selection And Handwriting Tips For UPSR Candidates

When Is USPR 2018?

UPSR 2018 is just round the corner. It will be held on  20, 24-27 September 2018. You can get the full UPSR 2018 schedule and examination guidelines from the official portal of the Lembaga Peperiksaan Malaysia.

One of the most important preparation you need to do for your UPSR test is to get the right pencil for your exam. We have compiled 10 Tips to help you choose the right pencil for your UPSR exam below. These tips can be used for school term tests too.

1. Use The Right Pencil For Multiple Choice Or Objective Questions

Below is the screenshot of the exam guidelines or directive on pencils required for the UPSR exam. "Use only 2B or BB pencils"

Make sure you use the right pencil as prescribed in the exam guidelines. Avoid pressing on your pencil too hard or making holes on the answer sheet.

2. Use A Pencil That Can Give Wide Coverage For Fast Shading

When answering objective questions, make sure you shade the entire space. More importantly make sure you shade the right space. Sometimes candidates get the correct answer on the question paper but make a mistake of shading the wrong space when transferring their answers to the answer sheet.

3. Get A Pencil With Better Smudge Resistance For Cleaner Handwriting

In recent years, the introduction of HOTS questions and the newer UPSR format has seen a move towards more subjective questions which require a lot of writing. This is true for all of the subjects including the language papers.

It is important to get a better smudge resistance pencil to achieve cleaner, clearer handwriting. For example, the candidate below has nice handwriting but it is hard to read due to the smudge which makes the writing look thick and unclear.

4. Choose An Ideal Exam Lead Grade Pencil For Longer-Lasting Fine Writing

When writing English Essays, BM Karangan, or 作文, it is important to get exam grade writing pencils that won't become blunt easily compared to normal pencils. You want to keep writing, not sharpening or changing pencils which can be distracting and make you lose your train of thoughts

Here are some common handwriting mistakes to avoid during essay writing.

Wordings too close together 

Writing too small and alphabets too close together

5. Choose A Long Lasting Pencil With Strong Tips That Won't Break Easily 

It is important to get a pencil that does not break easily and last longer. As time is of the essence, you do not want to spend your time sharpening pencils during the exam. However, just in case, you should also make sure you have a few spare pencils at hand. Inspect and sharpen the pencils the night before the exam.

Tip Strength Test: Do the lead wear test by using your pencil during your trial examinations and school tests. Don't wait till your UPSR exam to use it.

6. Don't Forget To Do An Eraser Smudge Test

Good pencils should not leave a smudge or dark mark when you erase.

Smudge Test: Test your pencils out by writing your homework or school essays and erasing as you normally do. It is a good idea to do this test before and not at the exam hall.

7. Choose A Pencil With A Comfortable Grip

Does your pencil give you a comfortable grip?

Comfort test: Remember to get used to the grip by using your pencil before your test. Practice using your pencil during school tests or homework to get used to it. Do you feel comfortable or do your fingers hurt after using the pencil for some time.

8. The Outer Wood Should Be Smooth And Not Brittle

Good quality pencils should be smooth and not splinter easily when sharpening.

9. Use A Transparent Pencil Case For Your Pencils

The last tip is an exam tip rather than a tip on choosing pencils. During UPSR, candidates are not allowed to bring in their normal pencil cases. Pencil cases need to be transparent or see-through. It is allowed to tie the pencils and other stationery together using a rubber band.

10. The Importance Of  Clear Handwriting Should Not Be Underestimated

Make sure your script is legible. When the examiner has to mark hundreds of papers, clean, clear handwriting really stands out and makes it easier for the examiner to read and award points. Make sure you write neatly and evenly spaced out.

Good Luck to all UPSR 2018 Candidates!

This post was brought to you by STABILO Malaysia.

Choose STABILO Exam Grade 2B WRITING PENCIL – the new Exam Grade Writing Standard. Available in 6 body colours.

Readers get 30% OFF for STABILO Exam Grade writing series. Use promo code STABILOM3 to redeem.  Code is valid till 31st August 2018. Claim Now.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Complete List of DLP Schools in Selangor

One of our biggest pet peeve is the difficulty in finding a proper list of all the schools doing the DLP (Dual Language Programme) including which school is doing it school wide and which school is doing it for selective classes only. We are into the 3rd year of DLP now and yet, this list is illusive.

One of the FAQs in our groups, the Malaysia Primary School Parents on Facebook and the Malaysia Secondary School Parent on Facebook is on DLP with the following question topping the list.

"Is ABC School doing the DLP?" 

If you go to the MOE website to search for "DLP" you will find the first list ie the 2016 list.

We compiled the 2016 and 2017 list for parents who asked, after digging very hard online. Finally, we managed to get the 2016 list from the MOE website and the 2017 list from the PPD Pasir Gudang site. The 2018 list remained a mystery for some time till a member shared it in our group. It came from a parents whatsapp group.

As the list is not cumulative, you need to look at all 3 if you wish to know which are the schools approved for DLP near you. Since parents obviously want to know this information when trying to decide for a school for their child whether in primary or secondary school, it would have been good to have a complete list available.

However, recently we discovered that there is such a list available for schools in Selangor from the Portal Jabatan Pendidikan Selangor.

Parents in Selangor who wish to find out the complete list of DLP Schools in Selangor can click on the link below to download the complete list of primary and secondary schools in Selangor approved to run the DLP (Dual Language Programme) for teaching Math and Science in English.

There are two lists available ie the primary school and secondary school list. The list is complete. It includes schools approved since the start of the DLP programme with the year shown next to the school name so you will know how long the school has been running the DLP.

Complete List of DLP Primary Schools in Selangor
Complete List of DLP Secondary Schools In Selangor

Credit: The above is from Portal Jabatan Pendidikan Selangor

For schools in all other states, you can check the lists below. Unlike the above, the lists below are non-cumulative. You need to view all lists to get the complete information.

3. Third Cohort (2018) List (This list was shared by a parent from our FB group) * You will only be able to visit this link if you are a member of the group.

1. No SJKC is running the DLP
2. All 76 SMJK is approved to run the DLP

You may also like to read:

What Parents Need To Know About DLP

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Coding For Kids Free Trial Class in Klang Valley

Starting Your Coding Journey

We all know that computer programming and coding is not a fad. It is here to stay because we are living in digital times. Yet, how do you get your kids to keep up with the times when terms like Raspberry Pi, Arduino,  HTML, CSS, and Javascript completely baffle you? How do you introduce them to coding?

The most obvious way is to send them for a free trial class. Not only will this introduce your child to the concept of coding, at the same time, you will be able to find out whether they have an affinity and liking for it.

Where Can Your Child Attend A Free Trial Class On Coding In The Klang Valley?

KidoCode offers free trial classes on coding and computer programming for kids and teens from age 6 to 18. KidoCode is located at Solaris, Mont Kiara.

L-5-01 Solaris, Mont Kiara, Off Jalan Duta Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Landmarks: Entrance by the roundabout, just beside Cold Storage
Parking Area: Block L, Basement 1 & 2 (Green Pillars)
Opens 7 days a week from 10 am to 10 pm.
Phone: 03-6411 0967

What Can You Expect From A Free Trial Class?

3 hours of free education for kids & teens ages 6-18, spreading awareness of what coding can do now and in the future. Children will learn to do the following:
  • Introduction to Coding and knowing the importance of learning coding
  • Using coding to create mobile app (in MIT environment) 
  • Python Programming Language flavoured with Math & Geometry
*Activities may vary depending on the age of the child.

How To Book A Free Trial Session For Your Child

Click here to choose your preferred date for a free trial session.

This is an advertorial.

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