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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What is the Montessori Method?

Lilbeans has adopted the Montessori method of education, especially for the three and four year olds. Hence, I think that it'll be relevant to share some insignts on the Montessori method of education here.

Before I proceed, however, I must say that we do not adopt this method 100% as we need to cater to the needs of the Malaysian education system as well as the changing times. One thing for sure, we want the children in Lilbeans to enjoy learning in fun, engaging and purposeful ways! Wow, that's a mouthful. That's why we have incorporated the Thematic Approach as well as a new concept The Reggio Emilia way as well.

If you read the link on the Montessori method from wikipedia, there are a few principles that are important in a Montessori school.

(sorry, I'll leave my post now - urgent matter cropped up. Will continue after the Christmas holidays)

Anyway, Merry Christmas and Happy 2010 to all!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Magic of Science

We have also included the Magic Science programme into our holiday programme. Science is best learnt through hands-on experiments. It takes too long to explain each rationale behind the theory. Instead of attempting to explain each one, I decided to show you pictures of the children in action. See the joy on their faces as well as the wonder of discovery as they run through the experiments with us. The photos are uploaded into my facebook account. Just click on the Little Beans words on the Facebook badge at the top of this page.

You may need to create a Facebook account in order to view the photos.


It has been an interesting two weeks. We did many activities based on the rhymes, we enjoyed reciting the rhymes and the children learnt new vocabulary as well.

I also saw some young children attempting to read some nursery rhymes books in school. They took turns to recite the rhymes and it always warms my heart to see children reading.

Lastly, we ended the programme by playing a mystery bag game. One of the teachers helped me to collect many items to represent each rhyme. For example, an egg for Humpty Dumpty, a pail for Jack and Jill and a sheep for Baa Baa Black Sheep. We passed the bag around, had the music on and when the music stopped, the child with the bag had to take something out from the bag and recite the rhyme that was represented by the object.

I noticed that the children had no inhibitions to recite the rhymes. Some may do so softly, of course, we have some that sang the rhyme at the top of the voice! I marvel a 4-year old girl's ingenuity to adapt the lyrics of the rhymes (she actually forgot, but no qualms about replacing the words). Confidently, she recited:

Pease porridge hot,
Pease porridge cold.
Pease porridge in the bowl (she was holding a bowl, not a pot.)
Nine days old.

Children! They are adaptable and are not worried about any outcomes. They are risk-takers and confident. As their caregivers, we should encourage this positive trait instead of inhibiting them or discouraging them from trying new things.

Well, the holiday programme has come to an end. I would like to introduce more rhymes to the children, perhaps not through a holiday programme but through our daily sing-along or story-telling sessions. I believe there is much more to be explored and learned.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thanks for a great 2009!

Today is the last day of school, as well as our Christmas party. Today, we also had water play and we bid farewell to Teacher Teng. We also had a small celebration amongst teachers. Phew!!! It was hectic and we were very tired and happy!

2009 has been a very exciting year. There were ups and downs, laughter and tears as well. Working together in the confines of a small space is not easy - but through sheer hard work, mutual respect and understanding as well as great commitment and passion for our dear children have make everything seem worthwhile. I know many of my teachers share the same feelings. Most of them have been with me many years, through thin and thick - for this I am very grateful. Without them, Lilbeans will not be what it is today.

Parents often comment that Lilbeans is good because it is clean, the activities are very hands-on. At the same time, we do not forget academic, social, emotional as well as cognitive development. Most, if not all, feel that their children, are happy here. I agree and feel proud with their comments. However, I wish to add that the teachers and the two kakaks are the heart and soul of the school. The school is very much like a second home to us, hence we make every effort to make this into a joyful and happy place for us and the children.


We may make mistakes along the year and I would like to apologise for these mistakes. Our door is always open and we welcome any feedback or suggestions for a better 2010.

Here, I would like to thank Teacher Teng for being a great teacher. Teng is like a burst of sunshine that brightens up the mornings. She is moving on to another school as she has moved to a new home. We will miss her, and will always be welcomed back to Lilbeans. All to best to you!

I've downloaded some photos of today in my Facebook. Feel free to have a look!


Jack be nimble
Jack be quick
Jack jump over the candlestick.

This is one of the last ryhmes which we did for the holiday programme. The children enjoyed reciting the ryhme as well as watching the experiments involving the candlesticks. Too bad, we did not have time to let them jump over the candlestick ... perhaps another time.

I used some candles and different jars to show the children what a candle needs in order to burn. I was surprised that the 5 and 6 year olds remembered this experiment from our Junior Scientist programme. They remembered that a candle needs a wick, wax and oxygen to burn. One boy knew that the bigger a jar, the longer a candle burns.

When I put the candle on a shallow tray of water, and then placed a jar over it, another boy commented that water will seep into the jar. I was surprised because obviously these children learnt these basics before. I could not recall when, but they told me that one of the teachers showed them this experiment.

I was pleasantly surprised as this again reinforced that children learn best through hands-on activities. They grasp a better understanding of the concepts, they appreciate the experiment better because they see, hear and do things themselves. They are not being spoon-fed or forced to learn by rote.

That should be the way that children learn - unfortunately we are constantly pressed for time to cover the Malaysian education syllabus. Isn't it time we slow down and enjoy the process of learning, rather than the end results??? Is getting the best results more important than knowing more about the wonders of nature, the interpersonal & intrapersonal skills as well as being "street smart" - vital traits for survival in this world? I don't think so!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


My sons, including the youngest, are very into Facebook now. In fact, they are hooked to it; chatting with their friends online, downloading stuff from YouTube and playing the online games.

I am not particularly fond of the computer, except for work, and often lament that they spend too much time in front of the computer. Until, I discovered Blogger and then Facebook.

I find that blogging is therapeutic and gives me an avenue to express myself. This activity helps me to focus, reflect as well as contemplate future plans. I begin to be more aware of the happenings around me, and took much opportunity to document the daily events in school through anecdotal observations and photography. This is also part of my coursework requirement - to be observant of the developmental progress of the children at work and to chart future actions to enhance the children's learning.

Facebook is simply amazing as it has enabled me to reconnect with some long lost friends. I would also like to use it as a platform to inform and update parents of Lilbeans on the activities at school. Hopefully, more parents will join this network. I promise to keep all information within the circle of our own community.

My second son has been persistently asking me to chat with him online. My reaction??? Don't be silly, we should have real face-to-face conversation. Talk me to me directly if you have something to tell me. Ha .... but this son never gives up. He kept on asking me to chat whenever I'm logged into Facebook. In the end, I responded to his messages.

It was quite funny. We chatted casually, with his answers mostly monosyllabic with "yes" or "no" or "perhaps. I encouraged him to give me longer answers by prompting him with many open-ended questions. Gradually, the answers became longer and I discovered that his English was quite bad ... Perhaps he was using SMS language, all shortened words, with wrong spellings, grammatically incorrect such as "Wat u 2?" I could not accept the atrocity, at the same time did not want to discourage him too much. So, I gently corrected his English online and I believe this is one good way of getting him to improve. At the very least, the next time we chatted online, he tried very much to use proper English. Hopefully, he will want to continue chatting with me and will not find it a bore because Mummy keeps correcting his English!

Technology is certainly playing a major role in our lives today. We have to expose our children to it, yet must be able to guide and control its usage. Otherwise, computers, TVs or video games will be the children's babysitters! This is definitely not healthy. One way to control its usage and to be 'in-the-know" of course is to join him and play his games as well! I did it not because I enjoyed it but to understand what he and his brothers are doing.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Incy Wincy Spider
Went up the water spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
Incy Wincy Spider
Climbed up the spout again.

Snippets of photos on what we did for this nursery rhyme.



To be honest, when the teacher proposed this game, I was quite apprehensive. I was quite apprehensive. I was afraid that parents woudl object to their chidlren getting wet and quickly bought some raincoats for them! What can I say now?

When I watched the children as they practiced, at one time, I was overwhelmed by their determination to go on despite the difficulty. Water was streaming into his eyes, and hair was dripping wet but I could see one of the boys moving forward with deep concentration and with only one aim in mind - to pour his portion of water into the pail. I see this in most of the children and I am certainly very proud of them.

This is a very good game to develop the children's determination and sustaining power. This is a skill that is lacking in many children - they give up too easily! We want our children to have a good, positive attitude, and to have that sustaining power. Just a little bit more effort, to move forward and brave the new challenges of life. Let us lay the foundation of determination and courage, especially for our Navy Beans who will be facing a whole new world next year as they embark into Primary One. Good luck to all of you!

Friday, December 11, 2009

You're Invited To Dinner

One of my favourite games. In this game, each team will be given a special menu; in which they have to set a table for 4 guests. These 4 guests are quite hard to please, some prefer Western food, some prefer Chinese and they have to set the table according to their preferences. A Captain is in charge, assisted by 4 waiters or waitresses. She/He has to delegate the job function to the staff and they have to take the correct cutlery according to the designated style. Each setting requires 7 items in total.
Much learning is taking place here:
  • The Captain learns to delegate and the team members learn to listen to instructions.
  • The team members learn about quantity and counting as they count the cutlery.
  • This is a good exercise that is applicable to their daily lives. Joshua asked me why there was an extra (butter) knife when we went out for dinner the other day. The whole learning process has made him more aware of his environment.
  • They learn about teamwork as each member has to work with the others, checking and helping each other out whenever necessary. A lot of discussion takes place during the game. I always beleived that this is one of the most important qualities that a child should have - to have consideration aand concern for each other.
  • Lastly, after setting the table, we can admire the whole layout. The setting is very pretty and we are teaching the children aesthetic values. A beautiful setting encourages good appetite, don't you think so?

6As and 1B

Justin, my eldest son, has done very well for his UPSR exams. In fact, he achieved 6As and 1B. He requested a notebook as a reward from his dad and I did not agree.

Why??? I want him to know the value of money and that we must earn and work hard for something we desire. It's true that we can easily afford his request and that in many parents' view, he rightly deserves this reward.

However, to me, getting good results is his responsibility as a student... I will not mind if his results are not as good although it will be a bonus. Don't get me wrong, I am actually very proud of him! After all, good results will be a good stepping stone for a brighter future - entry into a good school, building up his confidence as well as to spur him to work even harder and smarter. This eventually leads to a better career path, perhaps? That's the future and this can be pretty unpredictable!

Right now, I want to instill a sense of responsibility in him. Academic achievement is very important and he has done well as a responsible student. I never had to worry about his schoolwork and homework. Very dependable boy.

Besides academic excellence, one must also be responsible for self, his family as well as the society. I would just like him and his brothers to learn about self-responsiblity for now. One area, as I mentioned above, is to understand the value of money and hard work.

I remember when I was a child, many things are luxury items - a trip to KFC, a story book or even a new pencil case. My family was not well-off, but Dad and Mum made sure we have the basic necessities. My husband too came from a poor background and his mother brought him and his brother up single-handedly. I imagine life was much more harder for him.

My three boys are very fortunate. They are given many items which I would term as luxury or even unnecessary things. There are many toys and books in the house. They have a desktop computer, Playstation, MP3 players to indulge in. On top of that, they do not have to do any housework, although I made it a point that they to put their clothes into the laundry basket, clear up their utensils and cutlery after meal and other basic chores.

Back to Justin's request for a notebook. As I said, I vehemently refused to buy him one. Of course, he reasoned that many of his friends already have one, he needs one to do his research from the net, etc. I think he also needs one for his social networking via Facebook as well as playing games!

I explained that getting good marks is a great achievement, but that would be his personal triumph. While we celebrate this achievement, we must not forget the other areas of development - especially interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.

One month has passed without the new notebook. He did not really bug me now, but is looking forward to receiving my old one instead! That's because I have upgraded to a better notebook and will hand over my old one to him, on one condition - he has to share with his two brothers.

Justin, Mummy may be harsh with you at times, but I know that you will appreciate all these when you face the working world later on and realise that things will not come easily for all.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

TELEMATCH - November 15, 2009

Some photos to show the activities of our Telematch cum Family Day. We had a lot of fun and were very happy. The weather was fine, not too hot and certainly not raining.

The children's faces tell a story of joy, courage, determination, teamwork and preserverance - all positive traits we want to inculcate in them. Parents too had a great time bonding with their children.

We worked hard to make this event a success. Thank you to all teachers and my two kakaks.

There are more photos in my Facebook account and Lilbeans. In fact, over 800 photos were taken and you are free to view them.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Making Egg Jellies

The children enjoyed this very much!

Baa Baa Colourful (?) Sheep

Yes, we have our own version of this popular Nursery Rhyme. Instead of using a black sheep, we created a colourful sheep using wool yarn.

First, I showed them an actual lambskin and let them feel and touch the soft, soft wool. I read "Charlie Needs a Cloak" and discussed the process of making a cloak, starting from shearing the sheep.

Then the fun part ... making our own sheep.
The younger group just pasted colourful yarn onto a template of a sheep. This activity helps them with hand-eye coordination, practise using glue as well to enhance their concentration and patience - a good preparation for reading and writing.

The 5 and 6 year olds have a more difficult task. Using the same template, we poke holes throughout the sheep and let them sew on the yarns. It was quite challenging for some as the yarn was too long and it was not easy threading in and out of the holes. Nevertheless, most enjoyed it and patiently threaded the whole sheep. Some needed help and guidance.

Now, we have a collection of very colourful sheep waiting to be taken home! Besides the sheep, teachers have also made bags to put all our Nursery Rhymes and Chrismas goodies. Perhaps, all children will have a BAGFUL of goodies to take home!