Trial class with Artlette

I love that quite a number of new art schools have been popping up in the neighbourhood.

My boys don’t go for regular art lessons. Their schedules are packed enough as it is, and I think I don’t really like the idea of a very structured program for learning art in one place.

I like to sign them up for adhoc art classes during the holidays.

So it turns out I won a trial class for Jo at the newly opened¬†Artlette at Thomson Plaza so I just paid for the older boys so they could all go together. I have to say it’s a good place to dump the kids for 1.5 hours! HAHA

The boys drew a desert landscape with cactuses. They learnt about perspectives – how the size of cactuses differs depending on how far they are. The younger boys used oil pastels with watercolour (interesting pairing) and they came up with very vibrant pieces. Sean painted his piece wholly with watercolours which the teacher said was definitely harder.

I appreciated that the class size was small and the teacher could give them her full attention. Her feedback was, Jo was very patient and can paint well for his age (I think because he likes drawing/art and does a fair bit at home). Ryan is very neat and proper (in other words, a perfectionist) and Sean – who I realised could hardly sit still the whole lesson – is very creative (read: fearless, messy, don’t care). Ha, I love hearing how other people perceive my boys ūüôā

Other things I can say about the place: The teachers are very passionate about art and the place is very well-laid out and conducive for painting. More details on their schedule here Рif you are really keen, you can do a trial class (SGD38)!

Artlette

301 Upper Thomson Road

Thomson Plaza, #03-18,

Singapore 574408

Painting with Artflock

The school holidays are here!

Artflock recently moved a few doors down and as part of their anniversary celebrations, they had a 1-for-1 trial class promotion so I signed Ryan and Jo up.

The boys drew zebras and did a bit of watercolour resist art with thin strips of masking tape for the stripes. I thought it was very creative and interesting for the kids! They went crazy with the colours so the zebras look very pschedelic, and they even sprinkled salt on the muzzle… for texture, maybe?

It was really nice to see how much Artflock has grown since its early days Рthe boys took art lessons with them in 2016 when they just opened! They are quite established in the Sin Min/Thomson neighbourhood now and they have a lovely gallery space to showcase the works of the students.

We will heading back soon for one of their Santa’s Holiday Workshops¬†– do check them out!

Artflock

221A Upper Thomson Road
Singapore 574353
info@artflockstudio.com
+65 64514514 /¬†+65 ‚Äč84953463

Ryan’s taekwondo grading for yellow belt

Ryan missed his taekwondo grading for yellow belt back in September because of his broken arm. He finally made up for it three months later.

Sean got his yellow belt with green tips at the same time too so he is one belt ahead of Ryan.

They really like Taekwondo. I think it is because it is relatively easy (compared to their other activities, like piano) – they only go for lessons once a week and there is no great need to practice the moves at home. I find the lessons quite expensive and have been gently suggesting they drop it because their schedules are so packed but they refused to. Let’s see how far they can go in their taekwondo journey.

Ryan graduates from kindergarten (sobs)

Ah, my little Ryan is graduating from kindergarten!

Graduation is such a bittersweet rite of passage Рhe has grown from a cherubic 3 year old to a smart, chatty and lanky almost 7-year-old!

Here he is on the morning of the big day! (His teachers and I have been a bit worried because he just broke his arm back in August and¬†we weren’t even¬†sure if he would be able to perform for the concert! Thankfully, he could!)

Ryan being Ryan, has told me everything about the concert. From the songs he would be singing to his role in his play to his costume and makeup and how nervous he was about the whole thing¬†ūüôā

Here are the opening songs by the K2 children (this is also the point I start bawling in the audience):

His class, Respect, performed a¬†meaningful¬†skit about everyday heroes amongst us. Ryan is a bus driver, and the best bus-driver at that! ūüôā

And finally the closing songs (it is quite a long wait to get to this point):

I loved that all¬†the teachers came on stage at the very end and they prayed for the children’s journey ahead.¬†I¬†hope that the children will always have fond memories of their time in kindergarten and¬†know how loved they are by their teachers!

Congratulations to my little graduate Ryan! May you go on to have wonderful adventures in primary school! We love you always.

Sean’s first piano exam (Grade 3)

At the end of September, Sean (9yo) sat for his first piano exams ever – Grade 3!

It’s been a really long ¬†music journey since he started music lessons at 4yo. Amongst all his extra-curricular activities, I would say piano is hands-down the most challenging one. It requires a great degree of perseverance, patience, left and right brain coordination and the ability to keep a steady sense of rhythm. Personally, I can testify Sean has matured and benefitted greatly from piano-playing. For that, I will push him as long as I am able to ūüėČ

Here he is playing his Grade 3 pieces (which he has been practising for a full year):

And finally his favourite, Clowns:

The exam pieces are only one part of the exam. There were also the scales, sight-reading and the dreaded aural segment which wasn’t one of Sean’s strongest suits. He did extra time with his teacher every week and I did a lot of aural practice with him on our car rides to and fro school.

He said he was nervous on the day of the exam. We did a practice run at the exam venue – and I think it helped to ease his jitters a little. He came out pretty confident and felt he did well. I was just happy to know he tried his best. Turned out he scored 122 (Merit)! YAYYYYYYY

(In a show of solidatarity, or you could call it madness, I signed up for the Grade 3 exam with Sean. I have been thinking of picking up the piano again and I figured it would be a good starting point. BUT… big BUT, I kinda underestimated how darn rusty I was and how difficult the pieces would be. I didn’t take any lessons and I procrastinated practising till the last 2-3 months. Argh, I would say the exam was a lot more stressful for me than it was for Sean! I was a wreck at the exam and made so many mistakes. Thankfully, I passed (115), haha! I don’t think I will attempt another piano exam without proper lessons again.)

Jo’s Nursery Sports Day

Back in August, we attended Jordan’s first Sports Day ever! I had no clue what he would be doing – he is just like Sean who could never tell me what was happening in school. (Ryan is the exact opposite from the two of them!)It is always nice to see the kids because I have hardly seen him in school this year. His class did a marchpast with his very enthusiastic¬†teachers (love them!)¬†and sang a few opening songs. I didn’t manage to take any pics or vids of them singing because he was all the way at the back and erm, not really singing/dancing.

This was his class routine. Go, Jordan, go! Okay he was a slow lory Рhe was a bit shy from all the attention.  (Ah, he has really lost his baby fats Рhe is so skinny and lanky now!)

It was nice to see the kids in action. Till next time!

Early appreciation for classical music with Virtuoso Bears

Did you know that classical music has positive impact on mental and physical health for children and grownups? 

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Recently, I got my 6-month-old niece a Virtuoso Bear in the likeness of famous 19th century composer Ludwig van Beethoven. Check out the adorable details such as the signature red ascot and thick grey mane!
Created by a stay-at-home mum Joanna Skubisz, the plush Ludwig Virtuoso Bear¬†plays 40-minutes of seven of Beethoven’s most-loved compositions (namely¬†Fur Elise,¬†Symphony No.5,¬†Moonlight Sonata,¬†Pastoral Symphony,¬†Emperor Concerto,¬†Sonata,¬†Pathetique and¬†Ode to Joy)¬†with a simple touch of a button.

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My niece perks up whenever she hears the soft music coming from the bear. I like that the bear is velvety soft and the music is soothing and pleasant to the ears. Such a wonderful change from the loud and ‚Äėnoisy‚Äô baby toys we are accustomed to!¬†It is said that by listening to classical music, a baby is developing good habits of focusing on the regular harmonic sounds and longer time scales.¬†In fact, classical music offers less direct repetition than other genres of music. In the long run, children gain better concentration, pattern recognition and memory and gain a lifelong affinity for music.

Adults too gain improved sleep, reduced stress and even lowered blood pressure!

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Each Virtuoso Bear comes with a short biography of their namesake artist tucked inside the inner pocket. With the music device safely concealed in an interior pocket, the bear is easy to clean making it a bonus for caregivers.

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Besides Beethoven, there is also Amadeus Mozart Virtuoso Bear which plays seven tunes including Piano Concerto No.21 and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

I’d say it make a lovely and unique baby gift for a special baby in your life!¬†You can purchase the bear at www.vosego.org. Quote ‘FREESHIP18’ for free shipping within Singapore.

National Gallery Children’s Festival – Small Big Dreamers

Last weekend, we attended the opening of the¬†inaugural edition of National Gallery’s Children’s Festival: Small Big Dreamers.¬†We loved the Children’s Biennale last year – it remains one of my favourite family-friendly events to date. So we went for the event with sky high expectations and hey,¬†we were¬†not disappointed at all!

Featuring a special commission inspired by the life and practice of one of Singapore’s pioneer performance artists and a Cultural Medallion award recipient,¬†Lee Wen, together with other interactive installations, the Festival aims to encourage children and the young-at-heart to dream big through art and play.¬†Even though I am not familiar with the artist, I am so heartened to see that we are appreciating local talent in such a big way!Hands On (by We Make Carpets)

From pool noodles to kitchen sponges, did you know that there are many things in your home that can be used to create art? Dutch art collective, We Make Carpets, taps into the creative potential of everyday objects, experimenting with different materials to create playful and intricate works of art. Their inventive artworks help us to see familar objects in new and interesting ways. See that last pic¬†in the collage below¬†– I can’t believe it is made entirely out of kitchen sponges!¬†¬†This was our favourite room by far because there was just so much to see and do! The boys spent a long time here playing with the pool noodles peg board, wooden pieces on the giant canvas on the floor as well as the velcro artwork. Rainbow Passageway

The Cosmic Dancer is a character from Lee Wen’s 1981 book, A Waking Dream. Follow him along the Rainbow Passageway¬†and up the stairs. As you walk, notice how the rainbow transforms into yellow threads like the sun’s rays.

This journey is a reminder of the bold steps Lee Wen took to become a performance artist using his body, rather than painting or sculpting, to tell a story.

Even if the significance of the exhibits is lost on you (like they were for us, haha), they make for great photo ops!

Daydream Tunnel

Do you ever daydream? Lee Wen invites you to let your imagination take flight in his Daydream Tunnel. You will meet Sun-boy and Yellow Man, characters that Lee Wen created for his 1981 book A Waking Dream and 1992 performance Journey of a Yellow Man.Rainbow Concert Hall

If colours could make sounds, what sound would a rainbow make?

Music is important to Lee Wen and he often uses it in his art. Rainbow Concert Hall is inspired by his painting Yellow Man, where are you going? Lee Wen created this painting in 1990 just before leaving Singapore for London, where he participated in a sculpture symposium and stayed on to study art and design. It represents his departure from his hometown to his arrival in London to begin a new artistic journey.

The kids will have fun here making a HUGE¬†RUCKUS with everyday objects like salt shakers and pots – you’ve been warned: earplugs recommended!
Anatomy of Dreamers

Lee Wen performed Journey of a Yellow Man no. 2: The Fire and the Sun at a farm in India in 1992. He performed Strange Fruits more than ten years later, walking the streets and coast of eastern Singapore while carryinig a cluster of red lanterns. Here, Lee Wen invites you to design your own Small Big Dreamers journey by choosing one of three paths and discover the different journeys that the Yellow Man has taken and explore Sun-Boy’s land of dreams.

The boys had fun poking at the overhead red lanterns, balancing on the ropes and making their way through the rope obstacle course.
We didn’t manage to see all the installations – they were a good number and all quite spread out – but we definitely had a great time there. You can expect to spend at least 2-3 hours – you can have your¬†lunch there (food is pretty good)!¬†It wasn’t too crowded since the place is¬†huge. However I would still recommend going on a weekday if you can! ¬†There are performances and workshops on certain days as well. More details in the website.

Small Big Dreamers¬†will be at the National Gallery¬†from now till 9 Sep 2018. Don’t miss it!

Ryan lost his first tooth

Ryan (6yo) has had this recurring issue with one of his premolars.

He complained that it was painful about a year back and when I brought him for a checkup, the dentist Dr G said that it was badly infected and because he was still very young and the adult tooth would only come in when he is around 9-10 years old, Dr G tried to save the tooth by doing a root canal treatment and patch it up. Dr G warned us that the infection was likely to recur again and if it does, it is probably best to extract it.

During the start of the June holidays, my mum and Foops brought Ryan and Jordan to School Dental Centre (at Health Promotion Board) for a regular checkup. The dentist took an x-ray of Ryan’s teeth and said that the premolar was infected (see black patch in x-ray pic). So she recommended to extract it on the spot ūüôĀ

Ryan was very brave and didn’t make a sound during the extraction even though I am sure the injection must have hurt and he must have been quite scared! Wish it was a lot less dramatic but¬†that’s the story of how¬†Ryan lost his first milk tooth. Jordan (4yo)¬†had his¬†first ever dental checkup. He had one cavity – sigh –¬†so the dentist filled it up. (Sean went on a separate day to Dr G and he had one cavity too. Double sigh!)I have always been quite diligent about their teeth brushing so I felt I had failed them ūüôĀ

The dentist shared that besides good dental habits,¬†the choice of children’s toothpaste is equally important. Apparently, the Kodomo toothpaste that we use at home has very low fluoride content (500ppm). See the below pic for the list of recommended toothpaste for children. I promptly went out to buy new toothpaste for the boys that very day and threw out all our Kodomo toothpaste. Hmph!¬†My KPI for their next dental visits shall be no cavities!!!