Aki's Preschool Years

First Day High (Part II)

Part I here

 
As soon we arrived at the school, Aki looked for his friend and nursery classmate, Enzo.

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Parents were given a few minutes to watch from the windows.

Aki’s seat is on the last row. He said he likes his seat because of the aircon.

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Kids nowadays are so lucky.We only had ceiling fans in classrooms when I was still studying.

Teachers are lucky too. They now have laptops and projectors.

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Listening to Miss Malou like a boss..

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Continue reading “First Day High (Part II)”

Aki's Preschool Years · Family Traditions

First Day High

Today, Aki went to school without Ate Doring or me, accompanying him. First time ever. The service van arrived 20 minutes earlier than schedule. Aki just stepped out of the bathroom. Ate and I dressed him in a hurry. He was holding one shoe, trying to figure out if it should go to left or to the right foot. I grabbed the shoe and put it on his foot. Aki got upset and said,” Mummy! You are not a good mommy. I want to wear the shoes by myself. I can do it.” That was the first time he told me that I am not good. I was stunned. I realized that I was not being a good parent by doing something for my son that he can do on his own. I apologized, removed his shoes and gave them to him. I went to the door and told the driver’s assistant that we will be out in a minute. When I turned around, Aki was already wearing his shoes. I gave him his bag, kissed him on the cheek, said I love you and whisked him away.

Hay hay. Where did that helpless demanding baby go?

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We have been preparing him for the big school since summer started. We have been telling him that he’d be going to the same school that his dad, uncles and most of his godfathers attended.

Our daily drills included writing his name and A to Z’s. We also have a lot of on-the-spot Q&A’s. What do you say if you have a classmate who looks different from everyone? What if you have a classmate who does not have friends? What if your classmates won’t let you join their game? What if your classmate can’t carry his things? What if you have a classmate who likes to play with dolls? What if someone tries to bully you? What do you when someone tries to punch you? I posted a snippet of our Q&A in my Instagram in case you want to see. I hope he remembers everything we taught him — friendliness, tolerance, handling rejection, and self-defence.

Days before school started, we went to his barber.

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Ate bought “aircool’ sandos and socks in the market.

I covered his books, wrote our last name on each side and taped the sharp corners. The only fun part  was when I slid my scissors thru the plastic cover but the rest of the process is just boring. I hate it when I realize too late that I did not allot enough allowance.

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Aki tried on his uniform.

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Continue reading “First Day High”

Aki's Preschool Years

Good morning, Lord! Thank you for giving us this day.

Today, I release Aki  into Your loving hands as he goes to his new school for the first time.

Please send him friends who will be good influences to him. May Aki be a good influence to them too.  Shield him away from bullies. And if Aki ever has to come face to face with a bully, remind Aki the skills that he learned in his bullyproof class.

Lord, please give Aki’s teachers the knowledge, patience and motivation that they need.  If their students are driving them crazy, whisper to the teacher’s ears words that will calm them down and clear instructions on how to deal with situation. Also, guide the rest of the school staff so they can do their job well.

I pray that You always keep Aki’s school service van away from harm. When there are rude drivers on the road, when the traffic is unbelievable, when their passengers get too rowdy, please tell the service driver and his assistant what to do.

May Aki always come home with a smile, eager to tell us about his day. Teach him to prioritize his homework over his toys. And if there is something that is bothering him, please make sure he feels that his parents are always here to listen.

When Aki starts to feel that the lesson is too difficult, that he is not good enough, that he does not belong, that he is better than everyone else,  please push the devil away so it can no longer whisper lies to my son’s ears. Lord, please keep him excited to go to school.  May he always be curious and always wanting to learn new things. Keep him resilient so he will continue to push forward despite past failures. As you know, Aki sometimes tends to be too competitive. Show him that being a winner is not everything.  With the help of his new school, reveal to us the talents that you gave him and how can we use them to glorify You.

 

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

 

Aki's Preschool Years · Family Field Trips

Field Trip

Happy Monday! Can you believe it’s June already?

Aki starts school next week. I am both excited and sad. It just seems like yesterday when we were playschool hunting. In few days, I am sending him off to the big school. He will meet new friends and new teachers. From a class of 16 students, he will now have almost 40 classmates. His old school was progressive. His big school is traditional. Haaay. How I wish I can watch him 24/7.

Anyhoot, before Aki’s school year starts, let me tackle my last small-school post.
Aki joined his first ever school field trip last February.

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Here are the contact info of the travel agent in case you need one.

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As it was his first and last in his old school, I made myself available to be his chaperone for the day.

First stop, Balik Bukid. Yey! It was our second time to visit the farm. See my post on our playdate and photoshoot there 2 years ago here. Nice to know that although there were additional activities, overall nothing much has changed.

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Rabbit and hamster feeding. FYI. The hamsters (or are there Guinea pigs?) were greedy eaters and almost bit Aki’s fingers.

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Fishing. I caught a tilapia as big as my hand but was not able to take a picture.

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Chocnut, the Carabao.

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At the sandbox. Back in the bus, I found sand in every corner of his body…. behind the ears, between his toes, in his armpits. Days after the field trip, we still kept finding sand in our things.

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But of all the activities in the farm, Aki loved horseback riding the most. He rode the horses 4 times. His favorite horse is Glemor.

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No matter how loud Aki shouted, ” Giddy Up!”, the horse did not run. Hehe

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Haciendero Helio

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Goodbye, Fun Farm! We had fun. Hope to be back soon!

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Continue reading “Field Trip”

Aki's Preschool Years · Costumes · Memoirs of a Mummy

Goodbye, Playschool

Last March 19 marked another milestone for our family. It was Aki’s Moving Up Day and last official day in his first school. Goodbye, Playschool! Hello, Big School!

Proud parents with the proud owner of an ice pop
Proud parents with the proud owner of an ice pop

It was a bittersweet day. I was so proud that Aki’s transferring to his dad’s alma mater but so sad that we won’t be seeing his first friends and teachers anymore.

The picture on the left was taken on the day, we went to the school and inquired. Aki was a couple months away from his 2nd birthday.

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The picture on the right was taken on his last day. Aki was 4 years old and 5 months.

After I posted this entry, I have been getting a lot of inquiries from mothers who are looking for the best preschool here in Betterliving, Paranaque. I was in that place just 2 years ago. Preschool hunting can be frustrating and challenging. There are a lot of choices and a lot of factors to consider. You have to consider the location, the facilities, the teaching style (Montessori, Traditional, Progressive etc), the tuition fee, the class size, the teachers, the feedback from other people and many more. Lucky for us, we found a school and fell in love with it immediately.

When Aki entered the school, he spoke an alien language. Now, we can’t make him stop talking. He actually got an award for his neverending questions and thirst to find answers. When Aki entered the school, he did not have any friends. Now, he has a lot and even has a crush.  Aki: My crush is Kylie. Me: Why? Aki: Because she has cool shoes but when I looked down, my shoes are much cooler because it has a dinosaur and it can roar. 🙂 When Aki entered the school, he was terrible dancer. Now, he is a terrible but adorable dancer brimming with confidence.

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Thank you Teachers Joy, Tina, Julie, Aica and Jam. We will never forget your patience and lambing.
Thank you to Aki’s little friends. How we wish we can still see you regularly.
Thank you to my fellow stage parents. I wish we had more opportunities to bond. Continue reading “Goodbye, Playschool”

Aki's Preschool Years · Memoirs of a Mummy

Our Big School Application Experience {Part Dos}

Part I here

Since we had a lot of time to kill, we stayed in the school premises to again, observe. First stop was the canteen to check their products. The meals were very affordable and there were a lot of choices. I personally loved the cereal bar. Think Cerealicious but more affordable.

The stage school mummy in me wants to  buy more fish and plants for this aquarium :p

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Aki’s first time to use a water fountain.

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We were watching a basketball PE class when a guard asked us to leave. Loitering in the school premises is not allowed according to Manong. Ffffffffine! Hmmp! We transferred to a nearby mall. By this time I was still feeling antsy. I thought the written exam will take only 15 minutes.  To my surprise, it would take 2 hours. An hour and a half depending on the batch of examinees. Aki goes to a progressive school and is not used to the traditional pen and paper assessments. And not to mention that my Nursery son who technically has only 4 months of formal education was about to take the entrance exam that he was supposed to take  this year. In order to skip a level (Kinder), he needed to pass this 2 hour exam. Ayayay!! Franco kept assuring me that Aki got this. And so to relax my OA nerves, we went to our favorite noisy place, Timezone!

This is my new favorite game. I have always liked target shooting even back in my UP Fair days. That is a score of 193 over 200 which means I hit the bullseye 13 out of 20 attempts and got 9/10 in the 7 other shots.

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For lunch, we went to our newest discovery. This is one of the most sulit buffets ever. For only 180 bucks, we had

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Cream of Mushroom and Asparagus

Seafood Bisque

Gnocchi

Cauliflower and Cheese Casserole

Spicy Aglio Olio Pasta

Curried Shrimp

Are you already salivating? Am not yet done. Continue reading “Our Big School Application Experience {Part Dos}”

Aki's Preschool Years · Memoirs of a Mummy

Our Big School Application Experience

Hellowi!

When we wrote our 2013 card, one of the major highlights that we included was Aki’s successful application to the big school that we have been eyeing on for ages. I really prayed hard that Aki gets in because we have no other option. There are other schools of course but it would break my husband’s heart if Aki will not study in the same school that my husband, my brother-in-laws and Franco’s closest friends went to. I am sure you all will understand if I don’t give out the name of the school here for security reasons. I actually mentioned it a couple of times before and I had to go back, look for those posts and edit them.

Anyhoothoot, the application experience was really stressful for me. Not really because the process was complicated, or the fees were unreasonable or the exam was too difficult. In fact, the staff of the registrar’s office was very friendly and accommodating. The application fee was only 500 pesos and most of the certificates needed are on file. Using Aki’s very words, the exam was “soooooo easy”. What stressed me is that we did not have time to prepare. Cramming just is not my style. I am a planner and I plan ahead. I only learned that there was an upcoming entrance exam less than two weeks before the schedule. I have heard about the newly implemented K-12 system. I know that an additional year level/s was added to make sure our graduates are more competitive.What I did not know is that 6 year olds should now be in Grade 1. Aki is currently in Nursery. I was expecting that he will be in Kindergarten next year. Then, Prepartory. But no, with the new system, Aki should be taking Prep next year and Grade 1 on the year after that. I also learned, but please don’t quote me on this, that in the new system, instead of 3 levels of pre-Grade School, now there is just one. Different schools have different naming conventions. It is never too early to inquire if you have a big school in mind. If you have kids born in 2009 and 2010, get your phone and call pronto.

According to the registrar, there’d be two assessments. One interview and one written exam. We don’t review Aki’s school lessons at home. I check if he has assignments and we work on those. Once in a while, I pick up his workbooks and we discuss his lessons but we are not so hardcore in terms of his study habits (thinking about it, maybe we should start him soon).  But for the week leading to his exam, I tried to go home early and practice Aki to write his full name (oh why oh why did we give him three given names?!!), count, write numbers etc. Ask him about dinosaurs, dragons and Transformers and he will give you a very detailed answer and if you are lucky, he will require that you listen to a story that he just made up.  Ask him about some basics, and you will get either amused or frustrated. He may or he may not give you a straight answer. He is always on play mode. He might even turn the table around  and start questioning you. For a week, aside from the boring academic stuff, we also practiced his interview skills. I thought my background in recruitment will help me help him but no. This was our usual scene for that week.

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Haha. I learned that I don’t have the patience to pursue a career in tutoring preschoolers.

Speaking of tutors,  for 7 days before the exam, I got him a tutor. Teacher Joy is also Aki’s nursery adviser.  I saw her work with Aki and I was surprised at how attentively my son listens to her. I am glad Aki’s school offers tutorial services. I know I have a smart kid but I still got him a temporary tutor because I want to make sure that we make the most out of the 1 week and a half to prepare him for the exam.

Continue reading “Our Big School Application Experience”

Aki's Dinosaur 4th Birthday

Aki’s Dinosaur 4th Birthday: Dino Egg Hunt

Let’s move on to the finale of the party, the dino egg hunt!

Instead of the usual sweets-filled loot bag, I wanted the kids to be able to choose which souvenir  they get to take home. Instead of just lining up, I want Aki’s friends to be more involved. Treasure hunts are always a big hit with Aki so I was sure that his classmates would also love this activity.
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We placed plastic eggs with growing dino babies around the playground. These dino babies are the coolest. Submerge them in water and in a few hours, they grow at least 5X in size. Amazing. We are still playing with ours weeks after the party. Best of all, they are so affordable. I got 24 pieces for only 60 bucks in Divisoria.

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Here is my tindahan aka prize showcase.  I made a guide there on the corresponding prize per color of egg. In the end, the kids just chose which prize to take home.

Some details…

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All prizes, except for the Booksale books were bought in Divisoria. Binoculars for only 6.50 bucks a piece. Magnifying glass for 60 pesos for 20 pieces. I recycled brown paper bags by attaching straw handles and a thank you tag.
The kids loved their binoculars
page Continue reading “Aki’s Dinosaur 4th Birthday: Dino Egg Hunt”

Aki's Dinosaur 4th Birthday

Aki’s Dinosaur 4th Birthday Party: Cake and Pasta

I learned my lesson. Last year, Aki’s classmates barely touched the food we prepared. According to the teachers, that was not unusual. Most of the food served during parties are brought home and are eaten by the yayas. For this year, our menu was pretty simple – penne, cake and juice.

After blowing of the cake,

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We opened a couple of gifts. Thank you classmates for your thoughtful presents.
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Continue reading “Aki’s Dinosaur 4th Birthday Party: Cake and Pasta”

Aki's Preschool Years · Learning Through Play · Memoirs of a Mummy

Reading 101

If you have been reading this blog for some time, you’d know that reading is a favorite bonding activity in our family. I have been reading books to Aki since he was 2 months old. At first, he was only interested in chewing the pages but in a few months, he grew more interested in the pictures and the stories. When Aki was a baby, reading to him relaxed him and set the mood for a good night sleep. When he was a young toddler who was not talking yet unlike his peers, reading books about animals and the sounds that they make, inspired him to copy the sounds. As he grew older, reading to Aki made him more and more imaginative and creative. Now as a preschooler, Aki wants to read the books by himself.

When he started identifying the the beginning sounds and the beginning letter of words correctly (I did not teach him this by the way. Special thanks to Aki’s teachers in his toddler class),I took that as a sign that he is ready to learn to read.

I re-read my Guess Who is Talking Now book. This book suggested that we start with Dolch words.  I initially wanted to teach Aki how to read syllables and later on how to string them together. However, English is much more complicated compared to Filipino. So many rules to memorize and there are so many exemptions. So, Dolch it is for us.

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Here is how I teach him how to memorize the pronunciation of words

Every  2-4 days, I introduce him to 2-4 new words. I write the words in yellow stock paper. I use small caps since most of the words that he will need to read are not in capital letters. First, I read to the word. Then, I ask him to spell the words. Next, he traces the letters in the air. Sometimes, I give him some clues like “no” plus “t” is “not”. Lastly, my favorite part is asking Aki to use the new words in a sentence. See the list of his funny sentences here. To make learning fun, aside from Dolch words, Aki learns a new word of his choice. Some of the words that he chose are dragon, dinosaur, Mommy, minion and  Whispering Death.

Every day, we set aside some 10 minutes to review. When we review, he reads the words on my DIY flashcards, If he reads correctly, he gets to “save” the flashcard which means I put the word back in our pouch. At the end of the review, we re-read the words that he missed to read correctly. To add a fun twist, sometimes I flash the cards upside down. This never fails to make Aki giggle. Also, instead of flashing the cards, I sometimes ask Aki to close his eyes as he picks a card. I also noticed that Aki likes to be constantly moving when he is learning. Maybe that’s why he hates writing. When we are reviewing, he is on his car, he running or he’s jumping on the sofa. It used to irritate me but I realized that is how I can keep him interested.

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On weekends, I try to come up with games related to reading. I blogged about the treasure hunt, here.

We had a reading/bowling game recently. Here, he knocked a cup and had to read the word in the cup. If he read the words right, he gets to save the word. Continue reading “Reading 101”