Best hospitals for kids – and mums

1st July 2020 by Lindsay Yap 3 Min ReadA great benefit of living in Singapore is having access to top-quality medical care. There are many good public and private hospitals available for different healthcare needs, from family medicine and gynaecology to geriatrics and oncology. If you’re planning to start a family or already have kids, it’s handy to know which are the best children’s hospitals in Singapore. Read on to find out where to go for paediatric care and women’s health.Concord International HospitalThe private hospital has three renowned services: comprehensive cancer treatment, minimally invasive surgery and women’s health. They have a Women’s Centre which offers ladies access to all treatments in one place. There is a dedicated team of specialists, including oncology, breast surgery, aesthetic and plastic surgery and gynaecological surgery. They aim to provide patients with personalised service for greater comfort and quality of care.19 Adam Road KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH)Dedicated to women’s and children’s health, this facility is one of the most popular children’s hospitals in Singapore. KKH’s offerings include a breast centre, an endometriosis centre, a gynaecological cancer centre, and a plastic reconstructive and aesthetic surgery centre. Patients will be accompanied in every step, from diagnosis to treatment. Emotional and psychological care are also provided when needed. Check out the hospital’s complete list of services now.100 Bukit Timah RoadMount Elizabeth Novena HospitalMount Elizabeth offers healthcare in a modern facility, with a comforting and stress-relieving environment. In addition to services for women and children, the hospital offers adapted rehabilitation therapy services, ranging from occupational therapy and physiotherapy to speech therapy and immunology.38 Irrawaddy RoadRaffles HospitalRaffles Hospital provides a 24-hour service for emergencies as well as family medicine and multidisciplinary specialist clinics. Its niche lies in strengthening western medicine with the benefits of eastern medicine to deliver the best possible care to patients. They have a specialised centre providing health services for children and infants as well as a fertility and women’s centre.585 North Bridge Road Singapore General Hospital (SGH)SGH sees patients referred by family physicians as well as specialists in both public and private practice. It is more budget-friendly as it is a government-run facility. They offer a comprehensive range of medical specialties and services, including breast surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology and family medicine. To make stays more comfortable, they have bedside iPads for patients to access their individual medical information such as schedules, diagnoses, vital signs and test results. They can also ask questions and put in requests for water, pillows or housekeeping services. Outram RoadThomson Medical CentreThe family-friendly medical facility offers a variety of services, ranging from fertility and maternity to children’s health and Chinese traditional medicine. They also have a dedicated breast centre and a 24-hour family clinic for outpatient consultations.339 Thomson RoadWhere are they located? Want to know more?To find out more about the healthcare facilities in Singapore, check out UEX’s comprehensive list of private and public hospitals.Are you covered by health insurance?To understand how health insurance plans can cover your healthcare costs, approach the friendly UEX team for information and guidance. With UEX, you can obtain a quote for both AXA and APRIL health insurance contracts, customised to your needs and requirements.Written in collaboration with:UEX Global3158 3677 | [email protected] | uexglobal.comRead more in our Health and Fitness section.What vaccinations do my kids need?Is it time to renew your health insurance?

Who is The Grange Kid?

I find looking for schools tough. As a parent, I have my ideas about how I want to raise my children, so I like the concept of holistic education. I like the idea of setting kids up for personal rather than academic success. That’s why, during the search for my child’s school, I would ask the following questions:“What is the school about?” and “What personal qualities do they foster in their students?”I was pretty impressed with the response of The Grange Institution to these questions because they’re all about creating thoughtful individuals. They have created an avatar – The Grange Kid – and they use this as their focus in designing their curriculum. The Grange Kids are archetypes of the children that the school wishes to develop for the future world.Who is The Grange Kid?According to the school, The Grange Kids are truly global citizens. “As a result, they see the Earth as their home and recognise that they have an active role to play in the community where they live. Being internationally-minded, they embrace similarities and differences between cultures. The Grange Kids have genuine respect for other people, plants and animals, and the environment. They are passionate individuals who understand the meaning in relationships they have with others.”It takes eight to createIn addition to adopting the avatar, the school has connected a philosophy to The Grange Kids notion that ties in with the number eight. “We believe The Grange Kids can be ‘Cre8tors’. We create a learning ecosystem where conditions exist to support the development of The Grange Kid through a unique Cre8tors-in-Action philosophy that focuses on developing eight key competencies and eight key personal attributes” The Grange Kid Cre8tes!Let’s take a look firstly at the eight key competencies that The Grange Kid is expected to develop. What I like about these is that none of them are academic. Instead, they are transferrable skills that are foundational for creating other successes in life:Construction and design: The ability to conceptualise an idea and take it from design to the final product.Respecting the environment: The ability to implement sustainable practices to respect, care for and protect the environment.Entrepreneurial spirit: The ability to identify a niche, then market and deliver an idea for a product or a cause to a target audience.Active citizenship: The ability to take personal, localised or far-reaching action for causes they are passionate about.Teamwork and partnership: The ability to collaborate with different partners and to adopt different roles in a group to achieve a common goal.Original ideas: The ability to challenge their thinking to come up with new and original ideas.Recognising issues: The ability to research and be aware of issues affecting humanity on a personal, community or global basis.Service leadership: The ability and passion to devote time and energy to community causes that they are passionate about. The Grange Kid is curious!Personal goalsThese are eight personal goals that the school wants The Grange Kid to aspire to:Adaptability: “I can cope with unfamiliar situations and approach tasks from different perspectives and explore different strategies.”Communication: “I can use a variety of tools and technologies to communicate my ideas and thoughts in different contexts and for different audiences.”Collaboration: “I can work with different people and adopt different roles depending on the needs of the group and the tasks at hand.”Critical Thinking: “I can identify and think through issues by considering different perspectives and developing my reasoned point of view.”Inquiry: “I can ask and consider searching questions related to my learning and to carry out research and investigations related to those questions.”Integrity: “I am honest. I act appropriately according to my moral standpoint and can explain the reasons for my actions.”Resilience: “I can stick with a task from beginning to end. I can cope with disappointment when I fail. I aim to keep trying and not give up easily.”Respect: “I can maintain self-discipline and show empathy and care for other people, living things and the environment.”These blueprints have children in mind. But it’s worth remembering that these are characteristics that we could all use as a compass, even as adults. These are the ingredients for a truly engaged citizen of the 21st century.Find out moreIf you would like your child to experience this approach that embraces holistic education, The Grange Institution is taking enrolments for Semester 2 of the 2020-2021 academic year. Click here to learn more about the team there!The Grange Institution is at 449 Yio Chu Kang | 6817 3630Interested in reading more about schools in Singapore? Check out our Schools section, and then read on for more: Keep the kids busy over the holidays at these holiday campsNeed some fresh air? Check out these outdoor gems!

Meet the new principal of MSIS

26th June 2020 by Kate Marsden 2 Min ReadAfter 25 years of living in the UK, SUKH COLEBOURNE has returned to Singapore to take up her new role as Principal of Melbourne Specialist International School (MSIS), a special education needs school in Singapore.Sukh trained in mainstream education here and in 1991, her nephew Ashwin was diagnosed with autism. “It broke my heart,” says Sukh, about being exposed firsthand to the challenges that Ashwin and his family faced. Shortly afterwards, she moved to the UK and seized every opportunity to get experience in special needs education. While teaching at an international school in London, she had the opportunity to work with a high-functioning student with autism in a mainstream setting. This experience gave her the confidence to take the plunge. Sukh approached a special needs school and the rest is history!“What started out as answers for my nephew and his family turned into a mission to share my knowledge and experiences,” she says. “I didn’t want another parent to go through the level of difficulty they had to. His parents, like many parents today, weren’t provided with answers or a succinct plan on how to progress him along. I started out by wanting those answers for them.”Fast forward to now, and she is approaching her new title with the same empathy and child-centred focus. “Education for our children should encompass the outdoors, engage all senses and include their interests as much as possible. I like to see our pupils lead their own personalised learning journey and our teachers match their varied learning styles. At MSIS, we encourage each individual to lead their own learning platform. If a child is motivated and has a special interest in art, their skills will be developed using that motivation. We will continue to follow their lead until they change direction or focus. This fosters a sense of ownership in their own learning journey.” There is no doubt about how excited she is about the path ahead. “Twenty-five years ago, there was little knowledge or interest in special needs schools or special needs education in Singapore. But now there’s clear interest, which I’m thrilled about. MSIS has a great pool of teachers with amazing dedication and focus. And for me it’s always about the students. Children and adolescents with special needs are the most interesting people in the world – I can engage with them all day long. I look forward to seeing them every day and I’m privileged that I get to spend time with them.”Melbourne Specialist International School is at 75C Loewen Road.6634 8891 | more in our Schools section!

5 reasons to choose this Singapore preschool!

15th June 2020 by Kate Marsden 3 Min ReadFinding a preschool in Singapore (well, anywhere!) that ticks all of the boxes can be tough. With 16 centres across the island, we’ve got five solid reasons to check out this Singapore preschool group – Kinderland – plus a bonus recipe! Got your attention now? Read on!#1 Kinderland preschools started with a musical missionKinderland was founded in 1978 with a mission to provide a program that had music at its core. Integrated curriculums that incorporate movement and music have been shown to enhance children’s language literacy. So far, Kinderland has stayed true to its founding philosophy – the children take music classes and learn keyboard, percussion, singing and rhythm. Sounds fun, right?#2 Finding a preschool in Singapore where your child can become an all-rounder!Besides the music-based program, Kinderland offers a range of classes for preschoolers; a bilingual programme teaching English and Chinese, literacy using IT and tech, KinderFit Cardio-Wellness and STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading and wRiting, Engineering, Arts and Maths). These help to develop children as a whole, exposing them to a variety of activities. This gives them a chance to land on a few things that they enjoy and love, which is important for building their confidence.By the age of six when a Kinderland child graduates from their Singapore preschool, they will minimally be able to play an instrument, read, write and express their thoughts fluently. Just the start every kid needs! It’s never too early to learn to love learning#3 Kinderland has corporate partnerships (hint… you may be able to get a discount!)Imagine finding a preschool in Singapore where pick-up and drop-off can be done at your place of work. That’s the dream, right? Kinderland provides preschool and also infant care services to several organisations by having centres located in the building where those offices are. Most of these centres in the workplace are open for enrolment to members of the public as well.If there isn’t a centre available in your building, no worries! They also have a corporate tie-up programme with many companies, offering a preferential rate to the staff of these partners. Visit the website to find out more about these corporate partnerships and to get in touch with Kinderland about them.#4 Kinderland is accredited as a Healthy Preschool!What is a ‘Healthy Preschool’ anyway? Well, the Healthy Preschool Accreditation recognises pre-schools that tick the boxes of having comprehensive school health promotion practices for students, parents and staff. A Healthy Preschool passes these ABCs:A: The preschool needs to be a supportive environment that provides healthy meals and actively promotes time for movement.B: The school will help build positive habits for sustained health in kids.C: The preschool educates and equips the staff and parents with the right information to promote these behaviours both in and outside the classroom. Grub’s up at this certified Healthy Preschool!#5 The menu has been designed by an in-house nutrition professional!Every dish on the Kinderland menu is planned by a certified nutrition professional. The balanced menu provides everything that a growing preschooler needs to be active and to thrive. Kinderland believes that exercise and a nutritious diet is essential for a child’s physical development. It’s also important to tie in a balanced diet with exercise and positive habit-forming behaviour. The regular exercise and meal times also put children into the right headspace for learning; active and engaged.The food is so good at Kinderland, we thought we’d give you sneak peek of what’s on offer! So, we’ve included one of the kid’s favourite recipes below. This one is an excellent source of vitamins E and C, while also packed with antioxidants, and rich in protein and important minerals such as zinc and selenium – all the goodies to keep young bodies nourished and healthy, and ready to learn and play!! (And who doesn’t love some avo and eggs on toast?)Avocado ToastIngredients: wholemeal toast, avocado, egg, fresh baby spinach (serves one)Instructions:Cook fresh baby spinach over medium heat in a frying pan, then set aside.Crack an egg into the same frying pan and cook over medium heat until fully cooked. Set aside.Mash the avocado with a fork and spread evenly on a piece of wholemeal toast.Top the avocado toast with spinach and egg.Season with salt and black pepper to taste.Kinderland has 16 centres across the island.6881 8818 | If you’re looking for more articles on early childhood, then have a look at these:Great online activities and classes to do at homeSTEM and STEAM: What are they? And how are they taught? 

Being a headmaster in a crisis

My father was the headmaster of a tiny little school in the middle of nowhere in Africa, but I can’t imagine what it would be like being in charge of a large international school in Singapore. Especially in times of a crisis! I recently spoke with NICK MAGNUS, headmaster of Dulwich College (Singapore). Dulwich is one of the newer international schools in Singapore, but already regarded as one of the top international schools on the island. Its “mothership”, Dulwich College in London, is one of the oldest schools in the world.Dulwich College was founded by Edward Alleyn, a contemporary of Shakespeare, in 1619. Alleyn decided to establish a school in London that would provide sound learning, strong artistic pursuits and good manners. And that thread is still prevalent today throughout its international network of colleges, with a rich curriculum that not only focuses on academics but also sport, music, the performing arts and global citizenship. I asked Nick a few questions about how he and his team managed through the pandemic, from the challenges they faced to the things they learnt.Dulwich has schools in different parts of the world; did this help in preparing for the onset of the COVID-19 crisis?            Thanks to our connections with our sister schools in China, we received word around Chinese New Year that things were likely to get a lot worse. We started planning right away and were fortunate to benefit from the experiences of our international network of schools who were ahead of the curve and had already switched to e-learning. This gave us a significant head start; so when the Circuit Breaker kicked in eight weeks later, we were well prepared with our own e-learning programme.Once the penny had dropped that this was going to be fairly serious, what were your first steps? There are many crisis management exercises that organisations go through as part of leadership and management training, but schools and their leaders are particularly well prepared for such eventualities. Crises occur in different guises and schools must be proactive in trying to predict what will happen. We planned and then adjusted plans in line with what was happening on the ground, and kept communicating to make sure everyone was informed. It’s important to always have a clear reason and purpose for our actions, to support the students at the College. Nick Magnus, the headmaster of Dulwich College Singapore with some early years students.What were the key challenges for the teachers with home-based learning?Online learning for children under the age of seven can be challenging due to the level of personal interaction that this age needs with adults. My sympathies go out to parents who were trying to support their children’s learning at home while juggling their day jobs and worrying about loved ones all over the world.The wellbeing of our teachers, students and parents was always our priority, and getting involved in community initiatives helped to keep spirits high. We have had parents sewing masks, students organising deliveries of essential items and teachers volunteering their time with local charities. We are all in this together. The inventiveness, commitment and work ethic of teachers is always something I reflect on and it fills me with hope to see this in challenging times like these.What have been the main points to come out of home-based learning for you as the headmaster of Dulwich College (Singapore)?I think that certain elements of it are here to stay. Although we’re fortunate enough to live in a country where community cases of the virus are under control, I predict that other places around the world will be less fortunate; spikes and school closures may occur again. There is a temptation with e-learning to get caught up in the technology, but the technology is just the vehicle: it’s the teachers who make the difference. Teaching is at its best when it’s interactive and engaging, so the focus, whether it be face-to-face in the classroom or remotely through e-learning, should always remain on what makes good teaching and learning. How do children learn best? What inspires and interests them? If you continue to focus on this, then learning and a love of learning can take place anywhere.What feedback – positive or negative – have you had from parents? This has been a difficult and challenging time for everyone, and we’ve seen a huge change to the norm. That always brings anxiety. But our parents have been magnificent and incredibly resilient; their loyalty and support have been truly humbling as has the kindness and appreciation that they’ve demonstrated towards our teachers. We have sought feedback on a regular basis from students and parents, and where changes have been suggested we have adjusted the e-learning offering wherever possible. We’ve tried hard to remain flexible and adaptable, and to be nimble in adjusting course where necessary. Our partnership between home and school has never been stronger as a result. Dulwich College SingaporeWhat have you learnt from these last few months, and how does it affect your vision going forward? It has enabled us to have greater clarity on what the Dulwich difference will be moving forward. The world has changed, but necessity is the mother of all invention, and switching to online learning has forced us to think creatively. What we have realised is that there are actually many positives from our e-learning experience, some elements of which we will choose to retain as we go forward.Universities have long been promoting hybrid learning and we believe this should be our model for the future – a hybrid learning programme rooted in the best pedagogical research that draws upon the feedback of students on how they learn best. This is a pathway to personalised learning in the 21st century. One size has never fitted all and our children deserve the best. We’re already implementing this, and we’re calling it “The Dulwich Difference”.What do you love most about being headmaster of Dulwich? The future of education has never been so exciting. We’re at a crossroads. We can turn our backs on recent events and carry on as before or we can draw upon our recent experiences and proactively look forward to a brave new world. The kindness and support that I’ve received from our Dulwich family over the last four months means that there is no place in the world I would rather be. As parents, my wife and I consider ourselves so fortunate that our own children have the opportunity to go to a school like[embedded content]

Fun kids’ toys and gear to buy

9th June 2020 by Lindsay Yap 3 Min ReadSummer’s looking a little different this year, with no travelling back home or heading overseas for a getaway. So, to keep the brood entertained, it’s handy to know where to buy kids’ toys and gear in Singapore. From scooters, activity books and games to backpacks and water bottles for a fun day out, here’s a list to get you started. (Thank us later!)White & Black TradingIt’s always nice to head out for some fresh air, but it’s even better to head out on a scooter! And a fun scooting sesh with the kids is a fab outing for any family. White and Black Trading is a great place to find some of the best kids’ toys in Singapore. The store offers a cool range of Micro scooters for all ages, including safety equipment such as helmets and lights, to keep everyone safe on the go. Plus, orders above $100 get free delivery. Psst… The store also carries other great outdoor toys including skateboards! We’ve got our eyes onThe new Micro Sprite Deluxe Black ($180) is the remake of the classic Micro Sprite scooter. It comes with a set of cool features, including integrated tube lights and reflectors, a longer rear brake, added mud guards, and a curved and wider handle bar for greater comfort. It’s perfect for older kids and teens.Great for kids aged six to 12, the Maxi Micro folding LED ($255) now comes in a new berry-red shade. It has sparkling LED wheels, which are not only cool but offer greater safety. The scooter can be easily folded with the touch of the hand.For the little ones (18 months and above), the Mini2go plus ($225) is a good choice. It comes with a parent handle and a detachable drawer and seat. Get it in blue, mint, red or pink.6521 7018 | sg.whiteandblacktrading.comHasbro Hasbro is known for its toys and games all over the world. From Playdoh and Nerf to My Little Pony, the company has loads of cool stuff to keep the kids happy and entertained for ages.We’ve got our eyes onThe Monopoly Longest Game Ever Board Game ($49.90) comes with an extra-long game board and cute tortoise and hare tokens. It’s different for the regular version as the game won’t end until someone owns every single property!Play-Doh has got to be one of the best toys from our childhood! Get down and dirty with the Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Drizzy Ice Cream Playset ($29.90). It’s easy and fun to use and comes with sprinkles, candies and a special “drizzle”. Ideal for ages three and up.Got young ones who love running around? They’ll enjoy having the Nerf Ultra One Blaster ($99.90). This cool product comes with advanced design and performance and can send darts flying up to 25 metres away.Products can be found at major stores, including Lazada and Toys’r’us.More great kids’ toys and gear!  Loop d’Loop Giant Bubble Kit, $25, Cj Bubble Productions Mini or Junior Giant Bubble Kit, $22 or $25, Cj Bubble Productions Game Blocks, $11.90 Tangram, $17.80 myFirst Camera Insta 2, $144 Herschel Little America Youth (Space Robots), $169.90 Herschel Heritage Youth X-Large, $109.90 How Cities Work Activity Book, $12.60 Trains Board Book, $12.60 Justice League 3D Backpack, $69 Justice League 2D Backpack, $55 Racer Car Pool, $83 Grey Rabbit Hopper, $53 Unicorn Hopper, $53 Mini Wind up Magnetic Fishing Game, $1.90 15cm Magic Spring, $2.20 Glow In The Dark Sea Animals Wall Decal, $1.60 per box Capezio Bunnies Studio Bag, $54.50 Capezio Heart Barrel Bag, $52.50 Personalised baby bib, $24.90 Personalised photo puzzle (12 by 8 inches), $28.90 Crocodile Creek Balls Dream Team Sports Activity Set Mermaid Tail Klean Kanteen Insulated Kid Classic Water Bottle 12Oz (Paper Dinos), $46 Klean Kanteen Insulated Kid Classic Water Bottle 12Oz (Unicorn Leap), $46 Wild Republic Living Ocean Mini 12” Shark Great White, $23.90 Parkland Edison Dino, $59.90 Parkland Sweet Sixteen Rainbow OS, $39.90Cj Bubble Productions | or Junior Giant Bubble Kit, $22 or $25Loop d’Loop Giant Bubble Kit, $25Kiddy Companion | kiddycompanion.comGame Blocks, $11.90Tangram, $17.80Kid On The Move | Camera Insta 2, $144Lazada | lazada.sgHerschel Little America Youth – Space Robots, $169.90Herschel Heritage Youth X-Large, $109.90Lonely Planet Kids | Buy at major bookstores or onlineHow Cities Work Activity Book, $12.60Trains Board Book, $12.60MELON | shop-melon.comJustice League 3D Backpack, $69Justice League 2D Backpack, $55Mothercare | Car Pool, $83Grey Rabbit Hopper, $53Unicorn Hopper, $53MTrade Singapore | mtradenoveltystore.comMini Wind up Magnetic Fishing Game, $1.9015cm Magic Spring, $2.20Glow In The Dark Sea Animals Wall Decal, $1.60 per boxOKHBallet Centre | okhballet.comCapezio Bunnies Studio Bag, $54.50Capezio Heart Barrel Bag, $52.50Photobook Singapore | photobooksingapore.comPersonalised baby bib, $24.90Personalised photo puzzle (12 by 8 inches), $28.90The Children’s Showcase | thechildrensshowcase.comCrocodile Creek BallsDream Team Sports Activity SetMermaid TailThe Planet Traveller | theplanettraveller.comKlean Kanteen Insulated Kid Classic Water Bottle 12Oz (Paper Dinos), $46Klean Kanteen Insulated Kid Classic Water Bottle 12Oz (Unicorn Leap), $46Wild Republic Living Ocean Mini 12” Shark Great White, $23.90Zalora | zalora.sgParkland Edison Dino, $59.90Parkland Sweet Sixteen Rainbow OS, $39.90Looking for more for kids?Preschools & kindergartens reviewedSeriously cool kids’ furniture

Talking about racism with children

How do you talk to children about racism?The death of George Floyd in the US and the following protests and riots have made talking about racism front and centre. Children might overhear a news story or their friends talking, which means it’s key for you to have a plan of action for discussing racism with your children. Teaching children to recognise and challenge structures and practices that fuel inequality and cause harm will not only change society for the better, but it will empower your children, too.The most important thing you can give your child? Yourself. Children need a trusted adult they can talk to during rough times, whether it be a discussion on racism or something else.But what should you say? According to DR SANVEEN KANG, a clinical psychologist and the founder of PsychConnect, the way a parent approaches the topic of racism should depend on the age of the child. Talking about racism with younger children#1 Be honestDon’t encourage children not to “see” colour or tell children we are all the same. Rather, discuss differences openly and highlight diversity by choosing picture books, toys, games and videos that feature diverse characters in positive, non-stereotypical roles.#2 Embrace curiosityBe careful not to ignore or discourage your child’s questions about differences among people, even if the questions make you uncomfortable. Not being open to such questions sends the message that difference is negative.#3  Foster prideTalk to your child about your family heritage to encourage self-knowledge and a positive self-concept.#4 Lead by exampleWiden your circle of friends and acquaintances to include people from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences.Talking about racism with older children and pre-adolescentsAs children move into older childhood and pre-adolescence, take a firmer stance.#1 Model itTalking about racism with your child and discussing the importance of embracing difference and treating others with respect is essential, but it’s not enough. Your actions, both subtle and overt, are what your child will emulate.#2 Acknowledge differencesRather than teaching children that we are all the same, acknowledge the many ways people are different, and emphasise some of the positive aspects of our differences — language diversity and various music and cooking styles, for example. Likewise, be honest about instances — both historical and current — when people have been mistreated because of their differences. Encourage your child not only to talk about what makes them different, but also to discuss ways that may have helped or hurt them at times. After that, finding similarities becomes even more powerful, creating a sense of common ground.#3 Challenge intoleranceIf your child says or does something indicating bias or prejudice, don’t meet the action with silence. Silence indicates acceptance, and a simple command such as “Don’t say that” is not enough. First, try to find the root of the action or comment: “What made you say that about Sam?” Then, explain why the action or comment was unacceptable.#4 Seize teachable momentsLook for everyday activities that can serve as springboards for discussion. School-age children respond better to lessons that involve real-life examples than to artificial or staged discussions about issues. For example, if you’re watching TV together, talk about why certain groups often are portrayed in stereotypical roles.#5 Emphasise the positiveJust as you should challenge your child’s actions if they indicate bias or prejudice, it’s important to praise them for behaviour that shows respect and empathy for others. Catch your child treating people kindly, let your chld know you noticed, and discuss why it’s a desirable behaviour.Talking about racism with teenagersTeenagers are able to have more intense conversations, so focus on keeping the conversation going.#1 Use current issues from the news as a springboard for discussionAsk your teen what they think about the issues.#2 Stay involvedAsk your teen about the group or groups they most identify with at school. Discuss the labels or stereotypes that are associated with such groups.#3 Live congruentlyDiscussing the importance of valuing difference is essential, but modelling this message is even more vital. Evaluate your own circle of friends or the beliefs you hold about certain groups of people. Do your actions match the values you discuss with your teen? Teens are more likely to be influenced by what you do than what you say, so it’s important for your words and behaviors to be congruent.#4 Broaden opportunitiesIt may be natural for teens to stick to groups they feel most comfortable with during the school day. These often are the people they identify as being most like themselves. Provide other opportunities for your teen to interact with peers from different backgrounds. So, suggest volunteer, extracurricular and work opportunities that will broaden your teen’s social circle.#5 Encourage activismPromote healthy ways for your teen to get involved in causes they care about. When young people know they have a voice in their community, they’re empowered to help resolve issues.The New York Times recommends the following books about racism:Connect with Dr Kang here. She also offers virtual counselling sessions.Intersted to know more? Then read on to discover how stress affects children.

Help kids ‘play’ back from lockdown

30th May 2020 by Rebecca Bisset 3 Min ReadChild’s play: how it helps kids work things outBy Caroline EssameThere is a new monster under the bed. It may stay there during lockdown, but for many children it will rear its ugly head once they are free to get out more. But children are resourceful and play is their secret weapon to overcome the anxiety and the sensory and physical deprivation of lockdown. Parents can help them to express and process their fears through play so that the beast under the bed won’t stand a chance.The power of play to help children overcome trauma is well documented. After the 9/11 attacks, children in the US played more violent and superhero games. At first, people thought it was a reaction to shocking footage on the television. But psychologists realised it was the children’s way of finding inner strength when they didn’t feel safe. They needed to be the heroes and overcome the bad guys. More recently, in Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh, therapeutic play is used to support Rohingya children to make sense of what they have lost. So here are some tried and tested tips to give them positive play experiences.First, let the children lead their play. They know what worries them and they will know what they need to do to deal with it. Support free play by letting them know there is no right or wrong in play, and that you understand it’s important to them. Don’t direct their play by suggesting what they should do. Allow them to make choices and mirror what they say and do so that you validate their play, using the language of sight such as “Oh, I see Teddy needs looking after” or “What a great den you’ve made, it looks really safe and cosy” and “I see the paint is so messy – that’s OK.” Create free but safe spaces, allow some mess, and give children time to work things out for themselves.Young children find it easier to talk through metaphor rather than directly. They don’t really understand viruses – all they know is that something scary is lurking out there. So help them feel strong, don’t try to get them to explain what they feel literally and in words, and don’t ask too many questions. There’s a reason why children love to play Disney princesses and Marvel superheroes: they give them a sense of power and control in a frightening world. Give them lots of opportunities for this kind of play. Finally, make sure your child has lots of movement and multi-sensory play after lockdown. Fear and uncertainty impact our bodies and children store a lot of their experiences there, so get them out into gardens, playgrounds and beaches again. Let them climb, jump, crawl, run in water – help them feel free, literally throwing off the shackles of lockdown. It will do them more good than you’ll ever imagine. They’ll forget the monster was ever there, and it will simply disappear.Play resources in SingaporeFree play resources designed to support children play in the way they need to – 30 stay-at-home activity resources based on developmental play in one group page, multiple languages and tagged by developmental levels.Parent courses on the importance of play: createcatt-academy.comPlay Therapy Summer Sessions: Kaleidoscope Therapy Centre offers specialist support for children with anxiety and developmental needs arising from the coronavirus. Available June to August individually and in small groups, they give children the chance to create, play and move in a specially designed environment with guidance from staff trained in developmental play. Email them at [email protected] Caroline Essame is an arts, play and occupational therapist with a Masters in play-based education. Working in Singapore as a clinician and educator, she is the pioneer of CreateCATT Developmental Play and author of Fighting the Dragon, Finding the Self: Why Art and Play Matter in Early Childhood.Kaleidoscope: 6468 8991

Technology, with respect!

22nd May 2020 by Kate Marsden 3 Min ReadWe’ve all learnt plenty of things lately, and one is what a positive impact tech can make when it’s used meaningfully. At Sir Manasseh Meyer International School (SMMIS), staff and students are showing the community exactly that. In the February issue of Expat Living, we profiled the school’s innovative use of technology in its STEAM initiative known as the Makerspace Programme. Now, in the face of the COVID-19 crisis and the need for a remote online teaching programme, this is being used within the scope of technology for online schooling as well as ongoing student learning. Collaborate & ListenLike many schools over the past month or more, SMMIS has had to quickly plan and implement a remote online teaching programme. What helped, according to the team, was the rapid professional development of staff in preparation for this move to online. It meant that as soon as the school’s students began learning from home, the staff were able to shift their focus to the task of educating, rather than concentrating on mastering the technology itself.Emma Shulman is a Digital Innovation and Change Consultant for the school. She says, “SMMIS’s strategic plan incorporated elements of digital transformation and ICT integration well before COVID-19. So, when the move was made to learning online, they didn’t need to scramble for a solution.”For Grade 4 and above, Microsoft Teams is the platform facilitating staff and student communication. Every base is covered: face-to-face synchronous learning, collaboration, the deployment of the curriculum, assessment and feedback.With the younger years (Grade 3 and below), SeeSaw continues to be the game-changer. Students and teachers are using it to collaborate, create and go through the process of feedback and reflection. And they’re doing it in a way that’s easily accessible. What’s even more wonderful is that it opens up the learning so parents can see it, feel involved and support and encourage their children’s growth outside the classroom.A set of new responsibilities comes hand in hand with emerging tech. The safety of students online is always paramount, and the school says that it takes this very seriously. This means there is filtering on the Wi-Fi, and safe-searching is always turned on at the network level. Furthermore, students are taught about digital citizenship, and teachers constantly explore and reinforce topics of privacy, safety and netiquette. Brave New WorldThis response to the changes wrought by COVID-19 is presenting students with the opportunity to use technology to set themselves up for their world of work post-study. Their future workplaces, after all, will require them to have the ability to communicate effectively and collaborate using digital tools. They’ll also be required to evaluate and be critical of the deluge of information that they’ll be exposed to through digital sources.When technology is purposefully integrated into the curriculum, it increases student engagement. It also helps teachers to gather analytics needed to personalise learning for students. But, most importantly right now, technology is what is helping us fulfil that most basic need of humanity – connection.Sir Manasseh Meyer International School is located at 3 Jalan Ulu Sembawang.6331 4633 | article first appeared in the May 2020 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!

How stress affects children

Stress in children can impact both their health and behaviourElevated stress caused by isolation from loved ones, cultural adjustments, the school environment, the constant noise of the online world, or the current COVID-19 situation can impact our health and how we react to everyday situations. So, what should you be aware of when it comes to stress in children? And what do you need to know about managing the issue?Clinical Psychologist and Founder of Psych Connect DR SANVEEN KANG answers our questions and shares how she helps families manage mental health issues of this kind.What impact does living in a stressful environment have on children?When any child is growing up, they face uncertainty and adversity, both of which can cause stress – this can include things that we as adults might not pick up on. Everyone needs a certain amount of anxiety to perform well; yet, if children are chronically stressed, it means their stress levels remain perpetually high. When this happens for an extended period of time, it can have long-term effects. Dr Sanveen Kang of Psych ConnectWhat effect can this stress have on children?Heightened stress responses impact the body. When young people go through what are known as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), it results in the activation of the “fight, flight or freeze” response, and the release of adrenaline and cortisol. In the long term, we start to see the systemic response of the body to these stress hormones. Having an elevated level of stress over time is related to medical illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer and even unhealthy behavioural coping mechanisms.So, how do you help children and families?We help find ways to cope with life’s challenges through psychological therapy. This focuses on understanding what factors led to the current experiences, and learning skills to navigate them. The aim of therapy is to enable people to cope with adversities and to assert a sense of control over their lives.Most of our clinicians are trained in more than one therapy modality; they select a modality based on their client’s individual needs. For example, therapy is not limited to talking; we can also work with children using movement, play and art.Can you share some examples of how you’ve helped children?We had an 11-year-old girl referred to us who was having difficulties focusing at school and completing academic tasks. She was diagnosed with ADHD at age six, and had become non-compliant with medication over the years.After the initial consultation and re-assessment, we found that while she didn’t meet the criteria for ADHD, she did have executive functioning and emotional difficulties. This led to further investigations where we discovered that her mother had had a stressful pregnancy and inter-generational trauma. We then focused therapy on supporting the child’s mother and school, by creating a safe and supportive environment for the child.The girl was taken off medications. Both her behaviour and her academic performance naturally improved as she became emotionally regulated, and her living environment became more supportive rather than restrictive.Another case was a boy who was referred for an assessment of sensory processing disorder, as he’d refused to have a haircut for 18 months. Through investigation, we found that he was having challenges with coping with the family’s relocation to Singapore two years ago. Not having a haircut was the one way he attempted to assert control over his life.Therapy focused on addressing the emotions he felt and facilitating a conversation between him and his parents. He was seven years old at the time, and soon after had a pretty cool haircut, much to his parent’s relief! What are some tell-tale signs for children suffering from mental stress?Notice if your child presents any learning, emotional and behavioural challenges. For example, you might observe regression in milestones, or increased emotional or behavioural outbursts.Identifying ACEs is a complex process requiring professional input – so, don’t be daunted to seek help!What advice would you give to parents who are concerned about their children?Be sensitive to their emotions and coping strategies. Recognise that each individual has a different threshold for coping with emotional stress. When in doubt, it’s essential that parents are open to consulting with a psychologist – a psychologist trained in assessments will be able to identify the underlying reason for the behaviours and recommend therapy if it’s required.How does Psych Connect make a difference?Deeply rooted in our values is the importance of creating a respectful and safe place where individuals, regardless of age, feel reassured and supported in their own personal therapeutic journey.Psych Connect therapists feel passionate toward partnering with our clients on their journey of emotional and personal growth. Our clients are a testament to what humans can achieve. At the root of all human interactions is the power of hope, appreciation of compassion and need for love and acceptance. When our clients feel supported through therapy, their potential is limitless.Psych Connect provides comprehensive psychological testing and therapy for children as young as two years of age, up to early adult years, in areas of mental health that include the following:Varied types of anxietySelective mutismStressEmotional regulationTraumaSleep problemsGender identity issuesSelf-injurious behavioursSpecific phobiasAttachment disordersGrief and adjustment disorderAcademic challengesDisordered eating patternsBehavioural and social challengesFunctional gastrointestinal disordersDr Kang is registered with the Singapore Register of Psychologists (SRP) and Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), and is approved as a clinical supervisor by both. If your family needs support with any mental health concerns, access the free resources at or call the clinic at 6493 0244.This article first appeared in the June 2020 edition of Expat Living. 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