A Morning at LA Madison School, Marine Parade

Friday, December 12, 2014

Last week, Dylan, Alexis and myself were invited to LA Madison School for their preview class. I was rather excited about attending the preview because I've actually been looking at potential weekend classes that I can send Dylan to, particularly songs and dance classes because he likes it so much!

With the timely invitation from LA Madison School, we accepted the offer and made our journey down to Marine Parade - a 1.5 hour bus ride from our place.


LOCATION

Spot my cheeky boy!
LA Madison School is located at Parkway Centre, directly opposite Parkway Parade and sharing the same building as McDonald's. Even though Marine Parade can be quite out of the way because it does not have a MRT station nearby, it is still pretty convenient for most people because of the huge number of buses passing around the area.

It is also easy to locate the school, even though we hardly visit Marine Parade.

PROGRAMMES

LA Madison School is specially for children between 1.5 and 6 years old, splitting them into 5 different classes:

Happy Feet - 18 months to 3 years old 

Happy Feet focuses on the development of functional independency and important sensorial and cognitive skills through fun and carefully prepared learning opportunities and themes that connect to one another in a structured and meaningful way.

Children will learn about the body and its function while developing sensory areas.

Children will be able to develop relationships with other children and be part of an environment with different play areas designed for learning opportunities, where a child will get to explore, learn and express freely.

Explorer - 3 to 4 years old 

Explorer will be focusing on the learning of phonics and language through activities such as dramatization and role playing, concept of math through logical reasoning, and planning and implementation of simple scientific investigations.

Thinker - 4 to 5 years old 

Thinkers have greater thirst for knowledge, children will be exposed to differentiated and fun learning possibilities to challenge their logical and critical thinking skill and their understanding of math and science concepts.

Enlighter - 5 to 6 years old

The Enlightenment phase is where children learn how to use all that he knows for his future learning. Focus will be on the development of greater independence and self-control in the children.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

CENTRE LAYOUT / CLEANLINESS

When I first went into the centre, I felt that it was very spacious, with lockers near the entrance for children to place their belongings inside and three rooms for classes. Apart from that, there were also ball pools and some small toys for the children to play while waiting for their classes to start.

For Dylan, these toys are excellent for him to warm up to his surroundings.


Children and parents are also required to remove their footwear at the entrance, which I personally think is a good effort in maintaining cleanliness.

PREVIEW CLASS

Class Duration

The preview class was about 1.5 hours long, with us starting at about 10.30AM and ending at about 12PM. Actual classes are 2 hours long with a break in between, but personally, with children between 1.5 to 3 years old, I feel that classes should not exceed 1.5 hours.

In fact, just towards the end of the 90 minutes session, I can see that some of the children are getting restless and wanting to get out of the room to play with the enticing ball pit outside, haha!


Themes

When we first stepped into the classroom, Dylan was wowed by the beautiful decorations on the wall. The walls were dotted with cute little ocean creatures, from dolphins to whales, to starfishes and turtles. These beautiful decorations sparked those curious minds immediately.

I was further impressed that the entire lesson was structured around the same theme - underwater & the sea. We sang a Chinese song involving little fishes with Ms Xu, the Chinese teacher, while Mr. Andrej, the English teacher, read them a story.

Mummy Ruth being Mummy Whale while her Chubby goes around collecting baby whales for her

We also played a game where 3 mummies have to be Mummy Turtle, Mummy Starfish and Mummy Whale.

The children were then handed random baby turtles, whales and starfishes and they have to return these babies to their respective mothers.



Aaaaaand.... that's my Dylan hogging onto all of the baby turtles because according to him, they are "so cute! Mama. Baby Turtles so cute!"

Sorry, Mama Turtle. Don't think you're getting your babies back. 

This game is not only fun and engages mothers and children, it helps children to identify the animals, retain them in their memory and match them correctly.

Class Size & Materials

While I love what was installed for the children, it was rather unfortunate that the kids found it difficult to settle down quickly. Most of them were very attracted to the beautiful decorations and ended up in their own underwater world instead of listening and cooperating with the teachers. 

LA Madison integrates both montessori and Reggio Emilia approach in early childhood education in their programmes, and I learned from the teachers that each class will have about 10 children, but judging how active these little ones are, I'm thinking ten kids may be a little too many.

***

After a session of singing (we only sang one song for the day. While I think we can possibly have more songs in the sing-and-dance segment of the class, having one song is also fine if the child understands and appreciates the song), story-reading and play, we finally moved on to hands-on sessions. I truly believe this is when the kids are REALLY enjoying themselves!


My little boy messing around with plasticine - something we've never let him play before. He loves it so much and I am impressed that he actually made a telephone receiver with them and proceeded to give me a call.

"Hello mama! Where are you?"


Still sticking close to the theme, Dylan proceeded to make himself a shoebox aquarium.. which kinda turned out to be a "let's stick stickers on paper!" session, but no matter, because through this sensory play, he learned new words such as "seaweed", "sea horse" and "yatch".

He loved this activity as well.


While Dylan was busy with his shoebox aquarium, other kiddos were occupied with colouring sea creatures and sticking shapes on a giant octopus stuck on the wall. Like what the kids like - they were doing different things at the same time and I think that really made them very happy.

We ended off the session with, I think, all children's favourite BUBBLE PLAY.

Oh my god. I think that was the only time I see the children doing the same things simultaneously - catching the bubbles!!!!

Overall, the preview session ended on a high note, with all the children happy and learned one thing or another. Both Dylan and Alexis knocked out on the bus ride home!

LA Madison School Open House

If you would like to understand more about the classes, or experience them yourselves, LA Madison School is having a open house on:

Date: 20 December 2014, Saturday
Time: 9.30am to 12.00pm

Event Invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/336603329853459/ 

Programme talks and programme preview with the Teachers

0930 to 1030
1030 to 1130
1130 to 1230 

RSVP for the programme talks and preview via call 82004052, email enquiry@la-madison.com or via Eventbrite.

Special class package for Hellomrstan's readers 

Quote HELLOMRSTAN when you register your child at LA Madison during the Open House and get extra classes for the first month. Sign-up for their daily programme (5 days/week) and get additional 4 Saturdays of free classes or sign up for their 3 days/week programme and get additional 2 Saturdays of classes for free.

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