Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Sayonara 2014

Finally, December 2014 is here and that means that the school session for 2014 is already come to an end. Letzhop Selayang has managed to organize several annual activities such as camping and visiting the National Zoo with the autistic children.

We conducted an indoor camping program the centre, where all teachers were involved during the three days and two nights session, including a few volunteers who were brought along by the teachers. We received so many positive feedbacks from the parents as at first, they were quite doubtful in allowing their children to join the program due to some worries like unable to adjust to the new surrounding at night without their parents or guardians. The parents were eventually amazed and felt quite a relieve when they found out that their children were very comfortable and had a lot of fun throughout the days as teachers did so many activities such as egg peeling, colouring, and outdoor activities at the nearest playground in the Selayang’s Metropolitan Park, near the centre. The main objectives of the program were to strengthen the relationship between parents, teachers, and the children in getting a stronger bond with one another. The program was also held to help the children to be more independent without their parents, and to improve the children’s self-help and living skills. 

Besides than taking them to the nearest playground, we also brought them to the National Zoo on the second day. With the help from the volunteers, the visit went quite smoothly. Children with Autism may have difficulties to walk around a place that is surrounded with animals or any unfamiliar figures/objects. In this case, our students were not familiar with the bigger animals at the zoo and at first, they were terrified of the animals and refused to get close to the animals' compound. However, the teachers managed to persuade the students to walk through the area and help them to conquer their fears. The children had a lot of fun with the trip and enjoyed the experiences and new things gathered the whole day. It was also a relief to the teachers seeing that the parents were also happy to find out that the children were safe and had a great time.  

The memorable trip and camping program were truly meaningful to each and every one of us here at Letzhop Selayang as we ended our school year in 2014 with a lot of challenging, interesting, and yet, inspiring experiences with our children. We are hoping that the year 2015 will give us more happy, yet meaningful experiences with our children. We wish to also improve ourselves in helping the children to live their lives as other children out there. As teachers, we are willing to help them as much as we could and hoping for the best. We hope to see everyone again in 2015 and we wish everyone a Happy New Year. “Bye-bye 2014, and welcome 2015!”

Please go to Letzhop Selayang's main Facebook page to view the awesome pictures captured during the camping program!



Authored by,
Teacher Edia
LETZHOP Selayang

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Authentic Art and Directional Art Activity

I was reading this article today and what a timely article it was! As I was observing my students’ various wonderful artwork over the year, I have come to the conclusion that both authentic and directional art activities should be allowed to be experienced by ALL children. We should stop dictating what is right or what is wrong, or why a child needs to color in the boxes or why an elephant has to be grey, or why a police car needs to be blue and white in color.

At Letzhop, we advocate both authentic artwork and craftivity. There is a need for directional art, for there are undoubtedly benefits in learning to follow instructions and creating something in sequence. But at the same time, giving space to children to do their own interpretation is absolutely essential as well, because how else would they exercise their creativity other than having the freedom to express themselves?

For example, in making a paper plate giraffe, it is totally okay if the giraffe is purple in color or if certain parts of the giraffe isn’t colored. As long as the general instructions in making the art are followed and the goals of the class are achieved e.g. learning about zoo animals, then learning is hopefully acquired.

As educators and parents, we have to always remember that children will complete a task at their current skill sets and capabilities. Pushing them to do exactly as how it is supposed to be will only supress their individuality, their own uniqueness. Not only that, forcing them to do something that is beyond what they’re capable of currently will only result in frustration for both educators/parents and children, as well as undesired environment in learning, leading to a gradual diminishing of a love for learning. We certainly do not want to generate robots or unthinking, unquestioning people in the future.

So, yes, the next time a student wants to color his penguin blue, or if a student wants to have just 3 spots on her giraffe, or if she decides that her finger-painted flower has stripes for petals, I’m going to say, “What a wonderful, authentic, genuine art!” 

P.S. There is actually a very well received (overseas) approach to what I described above, which is called the Reggio Emilia approach, where the child is at the center of his own learning and teachers are co-learners and collaborators. Read on here



Authored by,
Puan Sarini Bujang 
Principal and Teacher
LETZHOP Damansara

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Practice Good Manners to Kids

Teaching good manners seems like a lot of work, but it is as important as brushing teeth twice a day. As a teacher, here at Letzhop Mind Enrichment Centre, we are always on our feet to ensure that our students practice good etiquette when they are here at the centre.

Based on my experience as a teacher and an adult, children imitate each and everything that an adult does. Therefore, showing appropriate manners in front of them is an effective way to educate on the appropriate manner we wish them to follow. This effective approach, however, needs time. They also need to be constantly rewarded and reminded of the appropriate manners we wish to instil.

The fundamental of inculcating good manners in children starts with greetings. At Letzhop, we make sure that the teachers say ‘good morning' or ‘how are you?' and give Salam (for Muslim students) and we wait for them to reply back. After a few times, you could see that they are the ones who will start greeting the teachers first. Eventually, this good, positive habit is followed with ‘goodbye' and ‘thank you' when the school has finished. 

Other than ‘greetings', ‘goodbye' and ‘thank you', we are also exposing an appropriate way of asking for things by adding the word, ‘please'. Often you will hear our children say, "May I play with the toys teacher? Pleaseeeeee….." or "Teacher, can we do that again? Please, please, pleaseeeeee…." 

Yes, ‘please' is an amazing magic word – they are using the word even when they want to borrow something or to take turns doing something. These words and positive behaviours result in the students' practice of respecting each other. For example, remind the children to take turns and give a chance to their friends when queuing in a line and wait for their turns to speak and not to interrupt when others are speaking. Children learn by seeing. 

So, show them that, to gain respect from others, one needs to respect the other. 

What about table manners? Are we teaching them the right way? The teachers at Letzhop are doing their very best at inculcating good, positive manners especially on washing hands, sitting properly, reciting doa', not talking when mouth is full and elbows are off the table. Learning about manners may be seen as an easy thing to do but it is seldom showed accordingly. 


Authored by,
Teacher Azila
LETZHOP Bandar Baru Bangi

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Indoor Activities

Letzhop has always believed in children's learning by playing and fine motor play as we think that these methods are not only fun to do, it gets our kids to learn about things differently. 

There are a lot of interesting plays that we often do with the children and if you have been following Letzhop's programs, we incorporate the games for the plays using all kinds of materials that are easy to get at home. Main materials that we use are recyclable items like the toilet rolls, plastic bottles, glass jars, egg cartons and many more. 

The plays that we love most in class will be the arts and crafts play - which the children are expected to get messy and use 100% grip of their motor skills.  According to Professor Fergus P. Huges, play is the most natural of childhood activities and one of the most frequently observed (Spontaneous play in the 21st century, 2003)

He listed three criteria that may help to define play as freedom of choice, personal enjoyment and focus is on the activity itself rather than its outcomes. These three criteria are the foundational to the play process and in connecting children’s development with their learning. Building on these
foundations of play are the characteristics of play. 

Similar to Hughes, Letzhop also believe that the characteristics of play of self-directed, self-selected, enjoyable, flexible and motivating will let the children to develop more meaningful learning.

If you are wondering the kind of activities that you could do with your children (at home or school), we are sharing here with you some interesting play websites that we adapt from to offer to our children at Letzhop!

  1. http://www.teach-me-mommy.com/2014/02/fine-motor-play-from-recyclables.html
  2. http://www.toddlerapproved.com/search?q=Mom+and+Tot+Craft+Time
  3. http://www.howweelearn.com/create/art-activities-for-big-kids/
  4. http://lemonlimeadventures.com/category/sensory-play/

Have fun playing and making crafts with your kids!


Authored by,
Adibah Mutalib
English Master Trainer
LETZHOP HQ


Reference:
Hughes, F. (2003). Spontaneous play in the 21st century. In O. Saracho & B. Spodek (Eds.), Contemporary perspectives on play in early childhood education (pp. 21-40). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Monday, 17 November 2014

A New Journey at Letzhop

I started searching for a job immediately after I graduated in August, 2014. Previously, I studied in Diploma in Early Childhood Education at the Methodist College, Brickfields. I have always loved children and teaching. This is about the start of a journey of a my career at Letzhop Bandar Botanic, Klang.

The reason why I enjoy teaching here the most is that the educational content provided itself. The curriculum follows a structured and holistic approach of learning in which child-friendly topics are introduced in class together with the supporting media of songs and videos as well as the interactive activities that are easily accessed on the interactive, touch panel screen. Here at Letzhop, the students are taught on the body parts, how to dress up, the types of food and even how to make friends with the help of teaching tools like the songs and videos from the Sesame Street TV Program where you can find the cute and furry Sesame Street characters like Elmo, Cookie Monster and Grover! The characters seem to have helped to enlighten up the learning mood in class.

Another factor that will surely make everyone including the teachers love the lessons in class is the adorable puppets or muppets! A different and unique approach of getting the students to get engaged with the lesson taught in class - a way of instilling the love to search for new things and knowledge in children.

The centre where I am working now offers English Language Learning program for children from 3 to 12 years old but I am assigned mainly to teach the K1 to K3 (3 to 6 years old) students. In the past four months of my teaching period over here, I have come across many children with distinct characteristics - some are quite difficult and the others are rather easy to handle. I must say, a teacher with zero experience and passion for teaching, may find the job stressful. As for myself, I would usually take up a breathe once in a while and think of all the positive things around me so that I could build up again an enthusiastic energy and fun vibes the next time I see the kids.

I started off my journey at Letzhop as a part time educator for a month or two. Then, I decided that I would take up the full time teaching while furthering my studies next year (2015). Here at Letzhop, my career path is not only channeled into teaching the students per say, I am also involved in planning and preparing the lessons, keeping the centre neat and clean, as well as ensuring the students' safety inside the centre's premise.

Other than the main job responsibilities, I enjoy the most preparing and planning for a story-telling class for the students who are attending the school holiday program. During the planning, I could only foresee what is to be expected during the class but once the program is executed, and the students are having fun, learning a lot from the program I planned, it made me feel good and relieved. Due to that, my motivation to be more involved with the students' learning increases quite tremendously. I look forward to this kind of task every time I am asked by the principal - this will look very good in my Resume, definitely! Another interesting opportunity that I get, working at Letzhop is that I can be part of the promotional activities of the centre. This is rather new to me as I am to entertain parents' inquiries about the programs offered at the centre. However, it seems quite easy to do since I am just informing the parents about all of the great things about the lessons and activities done here with the children. It is like telling another person, the good things about the product you are taking or using and you would be rather happy that they agree with you. Another advantage that I could add to my experience.

My journey as a teacher here at Letzhop gets more and more interesting when there will be times that when the students are the ones who constantly inspiring me when it's my job in the first place to do so. They inspire me in so many ways - to look at life in a different perspective and for that, I have truly believed in the say, when you teach, you learn even more from the learners. Phillip Di Bella once quoted;

Passion is the one thing experience can't teach.

It is true indeed that teaching is an intense endeavor and yet one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever encountered in life. 


Authored by,
Teacher Khavittraran 
LETZHOP Klang

Monday, 10 November 2014

An Experience as an OT

Definition of OT in the title is referring to the term, Occupational Therapist - the role is to work with a client to help them achieve a fulfilled and satisfied state in life through the use of "purposeful activity or interventions designed to achieve functional outcomes which promote health, prevent injury or disability and which develop, improve, sustain or restore the highest possible level of independence (AOTA Inc. 1994). 

As coping with autism child in term of their behaviour issues at home can be very challenging, parents have to deal with anything from toileting issues to self-harm, and this can be very hard for some parents to do it by their own. These children with autism have complex needs, some parents and carers may find it difficult to trust other person to care for their autistic child - but that is not the issue that I’m dealing with the parents right now as they do trust all staff including the teachers and myself. I believe that there is a good cooperation from all of the teaching and support team that makes us easier to provide service at the same time, reaching goals for each child – bear in mind that each child under our care is targeted to achieve development of their gross motor, fine motor and self-help goals in our 5-days per week program. 

The occupational therapy is to determine each child’s need for sensory integration accommodations and provide consultation to the team and parents in strategies to address individualized sensory processing disorder goal in every setting. My other role as an OT is to support the children in improving their play skills, living skills, social skills, and education. Here at Letzhop EIP Selayang, we are focusing greatly on the sensory processing, which refers to child’s ability to take in information from environment and appropriately process and respond to the sensory system.

Sensory processing is seen through a child’s ability to respond to, engage with and learn their own body and how they can relate it to the surrounding. This will help them to be more capable in interacting with the environment and increasing participation in daily living skills.

At Letzhop EIP Selayang, we provide a one-to-one therapy session for once a week for each child. The session is to support the objective and goals targeted. Both the OT and the teachers plan for every child’s needs and will take into account their strength, challenges, development and sensory profiles. We believe that this will help the children to be more independent in their work, personal care, and social interaction. 

As read and learned, autism is believed as an unseen disability since it is quite impossible to identify one’s condition through the physical or external signs. Autism children with similar physical and external features like other kids may not act similarly with children with no learning challenges or special needs. Strangers and public with no autism experience may not know or familiar with how they act and behave – this could be one of the reasons why some parents choose to not leave the home and this issue later on is leading the whole family with an autistic child becoming socially isolated. 

Our responsibilities here at Letzhop is not to only achieve the targeted goals but to also ensure parents with autistic children get confidence on how to tackle such “obstacles” when going out or dealing with strangers with zero-knowledge (and maybe sensitivity) of autism. An experience I had, based on an observation at a public area – the KTMB railway station, there was a boy who was running around all excited, and ignoring his mother’s yelling out his name was later on jumped off the station onto the train rails. He was later saved by the public but the KTMB staff scolded him, not realizing his condition or even asking the child’s mother of his condition – the reason why he jumped off the station and all. I had to go and tell the staff that obviously, he is a child of special needs and that his scolding was not necessary. 

The mother was not entirely unlucky to be dealing with the child’s tantrum when they were in the train. I could still see other people who are kind enough to give away their seats for the child and his mother although they were not sure of his condition. All these kind people need are a little bit of information and probably more awareness on autism and autistic children. That way, we could help the children as well as the parents whenever that we encounter such incident again out in the public. 


Authored by,
Nurul Huda Binti Nor Kasani 
Occupational Therapist 
LETZHOP Selayang 


Reference:
AOTA Inc. (1994). Policy 5.3.1: Definition of occupational therapy practice for state regulation. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 48(11), 1072-1073.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Right or Left Brain?

Children of all ages have different ways on acquire learning. This is from what we observe our children do differently at Letzhop. One third of our students in the class may be excited about coloring pictures all day long while the other 2/3 of them prefer counting numbers and learning alphabets. It was quite challenging for us, teachers to understand them at first – having very few experiences handling young learners, but all we kept having in mind is that, “this must have something to do with how their brain works!” and from what we have been reading, a young child’s brain will let its dominant side to take over, without blending it in order to reach the brain’s full potential (Lipoff, 2011). 

In her article also, Lipoff highlighted that the brain consists of two main sides which known as the right and the left where the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and otherwise (2011). Right side of the brain is responsible for creative, social, visualize skills and intuition while the left side deals with language, math and rational thought. The integration of the right and left parts of the brain encourage the working of the whole brain which enable the brain to reach its full potential. Thus, it is crucial for the children to learn through various types of activities that suit them that may help to integrate the right and left side of the brain. 

So, here at Letzhop, we let our children go through an interesting session every morning before class which we call the Hello! session that incorporates the Brain Gym exercises to initiate a fun learning mood (Letzhop Ready-to-Learn).

 Our P level students are doing the Log Roll


These are our Three-2-Six students doing the Log Roll early in the morning!


The exercise movements that we adapt from Brain Gym help the students to activate the brain cells and also to prepare their body for the upcoming activities of the day. We adapt the Brain Gym movements and activities from the original 26 Brain Gym movements and these activities replicated the movements that are naturally done during the first years of life when one learns to coordinate the eyes, ears, hands and whole body. Some example of movements that the students do at the centre is crawling, Commando-crawling, rolling and Bear-walking. 

We also incorporate PACE – Positive, Active, Clear and Energetic before the children activate their brain buttons. Well, brief information of how the abbreviation works; 

  1. Energetic – before we start off the activities, the children are encouraged to sip or drink some water. Not any water, it has to be a glass of plain, H20. 
  2. Clear – they need to clear up their minds, while breathing slowly, massaging their collar bones or what the teachers and Letzhop children call, the Brain Buttons.
  3. Active – our children will be guided by the teacher to do some cross-crawl movements – they could either touch their elbows and knees (crisscross movement) or as simple as by touching or patting their hands to their knees (left-to-right or right-to-left), slowly, at a medium pace.
  4. Positive – this is when our children start to relax their minds from the active movements done in #3. They will do interesting movements that we call “Hook-ups”. They will cross their ankles, extend their arms in front and cross one wrist over the other and clasp their hands up towards the chest. While doing the “Hook-ups”, the students are to inhale, touch he tip of their tongue to the root of their mouth at the hard palate and relax, before exhaling. 
The movements that we do with our children bring about dramatic improvements in areas such as concentration and focus, memories, academics, physical coordination, self-responsibilities, organization skills and attitude whenever we start the lesson in class. 


At Letzhop Shah Alam, we really believe in encouraging our students and even parents to do the movements so that they could see the wonders of using both the right and left sides of the brain. 


Authored by,
Teacher Siti Hajar 
LETZHOP Shah Alam 


Reference:
Lipoff, S. (2011, April 26). Funderstanding. Retrieved November 3, 2014, from http://www.funderstanding.com/theory/child-development/right-brain-vs-left-brain-children-and-creativity/

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Our Little Letzhop VIPs

Hello. It is my turn again to come out with an article for your reading. I hope this article will be beneficial to all readers. This time I would like to share about my experience with Letzhop children. 

I would like to let you know how I get my interest in teaching. I really admire teaching since I am in primary school. I always believe all the teachers are brilliant because they are able to produce successful doctors, engineers, pilots, officers, business persons, and eventually a useful human being! For that, I have the biggest respect of their career and wish to become a passionate teacher myself. 

Here at Letzhop, I am officially a teacher for these wonderful kids. We always hear that teaching younger kids are tough. However, I take that as a challenge! Although teaching and nurturing them is a huge responsibility, I still find it interesting and fun. How can we resist from their laughter and cute smile? The difficulty I encounter whenever I am teaching them seems to disappear when I get to hear them giggle and having lots of fun in class. 

My passion grows every day as I see their innocent faces at school. There will be times when they are just difficult to deal with (our little VIPs), they argue with one another and cry when they don't get what they want - but that is solved quickly with a little bit of love and attention from a teacher. 

When dealing with our little VIPs I always make sure to remember that they are just innocent and they are not matured enough to think or do things like an adult. Hence our job as a teacher to assist and guide them as well as to nurture them with patience about how to do things. As a teacher, I make sure that the children are familiar with a routine (when going to the toilet, washing hands before and after eating, and even on how to greet their friends at school). 

Apart from that, you will see the children running around, picking on their friends or even taking other children's pencils/toys. This is the part where my role as a teacher comes in - to mould on good, positive behaviors in them. Manners, the dos and don’ts, and a whole lot more other things that I need to consider when I am called a teacher. 

Now, why am I doing all these and not just teach everything there is in the book again? 

That is definitely because to me, children are like gold, you won't get it as clean as the ones you see on the shelves. You need to wash, clean and polish it - so that it could shine.



Show and tell the children the way to do things, they will surely do wonders. 


Authored by,
Teacher Zeeda,
LETZHOP Bukit Jalil

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

An Eye Opening Experience at Sekolah Bimbingan Jalinan Kasih

We had a wonderful opportunity on 17 July 2014 to teach English to destitute street children at Sekolah Bimbingan Jalinan Kasih near Chow Kit in Kuala Lumpur. The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) event, called the “Program Prihatin Ilmu”, was held in collaboration with Zurriyat Ventures Sdn Bhd and Malaysia Islamic Children’s Fair (MICF).


It was an eye-opening experience for us as we have not had any experience teaching these children before. What came as a wonderful surprise to us was that they could understand some English words, and they were quick learners too! We taught about twenty primary school children, the various body parts of a human and proceeded to teach them on how to make a muppet out of paper bags and cut outs.






What I learnt personally from these bright children is that, all children, regardless of their background, family history and status, need love, a nurturing hand, support, attention, acceptance, validation and acknowledgement to thrive in this world. Everybody deserves second chances – same goes to these children.

Before we left, one of the little girls from the class came up to me and and said goodbye. She hugged my legs and innocently asked me, "Will you come back and teach us? I really liked the English class."

I said, "I really hope so too, kid", hugged her tightly.


Authored by,
Ms. Sarini Bujang
Principal and Teacher
LETZHOP Damansara

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Simply Learning by Playing

Hi, my name is Farhanim and I am known as Ms Aniem here at Letzhop. I have been teaching Letzhop children for almost a year now and teaching the K1 children (3 to 4 years old) has been a fun working experience for me by far. Teaching in a K1 class is especially fun when I can play together with my students – to be one of them.

Learning and playing are two ways that I personally that can’t be separated. I prefer my K1 to move about in class instead of asking them to sit still and just listen to me or to look at the white board while I'm standing in front of the classroom. As for some teachers, that may be fine but not for me, not for my students – learning should be fun, in which they should move about, explore and imagine things.

I believe in learning by playing where the children can use their imaginations and creativity – touch and feel the object used as the topic of learning, sense with their fingers the rough or smooth surface of a triangle shape to recognize what is a ‘triangle’ and to even cut their own play dough so that they’ll learn the process of cutting.

Learning by playing deems the teacher’s creativity to prepare interesting activities so that the children can explore the topic learned in class and here, I would like to list and maybe suggest to all teachers out there, the activities that I have done so far with my K1 children.

Cutting Play Dough 

An activity that will help the children to practice on holding on to a pair of scissors correctly and cut better – a simple activity in which I will ask the students to cut their play dough (or associate it with a food item) so that I can eat it. They will be so eager to “feed” when I told them to do so.


It may be a simple activity but the role playing and imaginative play that they are associated with imposes a lot of learning possibilities. You might be surprised at what these children may learn from the activity – at a time, a child showed team work when he saw one of his friends were having a difficulty holding on to a pair of scissors – he showed to his friend and said, “this is how you hold the scissors” and you’ll be glad to have that simple cutting activity.

Build your own House Cake?


Initially, the activity was supposed to be on building their own big house with the play blocks but as they were building their “houses”, it ended up becoming a cake! They brought up the “cake” to me and asked me to blow the candle. I was so impressed with their imagination as later after that, they started to imagine on how to bake the cake in the “chair oven”.


The play they imagined showed how they have had been exposed to knowledge on cake and baking – they could replicate the oven found in the kitchen with a chair! That indicates how their brains and experience can relate objects using their critical and creative thinking skill that eventually leads to what I have always believed in – they learn by playing.

Clean-up Session 

A clean-up session after an activity may be seen as not important but this is when they show their team work – I get to see them cleaning up their toys, moving the toys containers and pass to everyone in the class and then I’ll see everyone moving and walking around the class to put the toys inside the box, until the class is clean. There will be times that they will fight with one another over the “moving boxes” out of making sure that the class is super clean, but what is important to me, they work together.

When the clean-up session is fun, I'm sure they will not have any problem to do it again and again. The activity may take time but as long as they are doing it together, that means that they are doing it okay.

There are so many other things in the world that we could do with them to teach or to impose well, positive values. I would suggest more in my next entry so that you could do with your children at home or even at your own school.

Until next time!


Authored by,
Teacher Aniem
LETZHOP Bandar Baru Bangi

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Letzhop Sports Day 2014

Apart from a formal learning, physical activities are equally important in children’s development and process of growth. Sports, in specific, contribute not only to the physical well-being, but also for the psychological and social development of children.

In order to promote a healthy lifestyle among our students, Letzhop conducted a Sports Day event on 17 May 2014 at Pusat Komuniti Sri Petaling. The event, joined by our Bandar Baru Bangi, Selayang and Shah Alam centres, was quite a successful event.

 
At the beginning of the event, there was a School Marching competition between all participated centres. Letzhop Shah Alam won the best school marching contingent award, followed by Letzhop Bandar Baru Bangi and Letzhop Selayang, at the second and third place, respectively. All centres were very much participative in giving their best performance.


Letzhop Sports Day is unique because we added a carnival atmosphere to the event. All students need to complete five (5) challenges in order to collect prizes at the final checkpoint counter. The games and activities are carefully selected from fairground favourites. Each of these fairground games comes complete with a checkpoint card that can be used to collect prizes. So, it is like attending a fun fair!

 
 
Congratulations to the students for the enthusiasm and sportsmanship. Sincere thanks for parents for the continued support, and deepest gratitude to all teachers and the whole team members for the dedication and commitment!

 


Authored by,
Ms. Aishah
LETZHOP HQ

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Communicating with Our Internet-Gen Kids

One of our children surprised us (my husband and I) with his recent achievement in the mid-term school exam. We felt it was timely to reward him with what he really wanted. Like many kids of this era, he likes computer games. When asked what he really wanted to get with his cash reward, his reply was a premium version of the same game from the internet. He told me the price of the game in US currency and the equivalent of it in Ringgit. He convinced me that there would still be some savings after purchasing the game. The day before we purchased the game, I wanted him to explain to me why he liked the game so much. He did so patiently and happily despite my constant interruption with questions and the need to correct his statements (ahem… playing a dual role of mom and teacher). I could see that he felt frustrated but he did not give up. So I said “Son, you have to explain to me about your game like you are talking to a layman”. He lamented, “Mom, I feel I am talking to a caveman!” When it comes to technology-related matter, my children always think they know more and agree unanimously that I am far behind!

These days, children use a lot of computer terminology in their day-to-day life. I recall one evening I had to dress up for a relative’s wedding dinner. When I walked down the stairs in a long dinner dress with my hair neatly blown and tied, my children looked up at me with a pleasant expression. My youngest said “Wow... mommy, you have upgraded!” I took the statement as a compliment. As I could not decide on the accessories to match my dress, I wore and switched between a few ear studs and sought for opinion. I recollect this reply from one of them “the latest version is awesome” (he meant that the last pair of ear studs was the best).

Quarrelling and fighting among my kids is a common scene in my house. I recall there was an occasion where two of them quarreled over their possession of toys. One was so angry at other sibling for taking away his toy that he screamed that he would delete the latter from his life. Where would you think they learnt the word “delete” from, if not from the use of computer! As my children grow older and start to attend school, I begin to give constant reminders to them about completion of school homework, maintaining self-hygiene and many others. The regular reminders are no longer effective as I realized I said the same thing all the time and received either no or super delayed response. One of them suggested that I get him a phone and let the phone replace my role in giving reminders… and he added that the reminders are “not so boring”! Is he hinting that I am a boring mom or that his life is boring without a device???

Kids of today’s generation capture and retain information super well from the electronic gadget they are exposed to at home (I shall refer this as “family gadget”). On one account, my children were playing a board game with their cousins which require a good amount of English vocabulary in order to win. Not surprisingly, words that they formed on the board included G for Gmail, F for Facebook, Y for Yahoo, I for iPad and S for Samsung. I start to wonder if it is time for our educational materials like school books, learning posters, educational videos to be reviewed to incorporate the information (both pictorial and words) our children pick up from the family gadget.

On the other hand, I have to get out from the cave… and start to use more computer terminology in my daily chat with children of this era (surely my children to begin with) so that they find me more interesting to talk with. And I certainly do not want my role being replaced by the family gadget.


 
Authored by,
Ms. Lim Pheak Buen
Principal, LETZHOP Klang

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Don't "Handicap" Your Child



IS YOUR CHILD TOO SPOILED? “Who else we want to pamper if not our own child?” I have to agree to that statement – definitely! However, the main purpose of raising a child is to ensure that he or she will be a functional human being and most importantly is that to be independent – especially when the parents, care-takers, siblings or even teachers are not around. 

This is crucial as based on my experience as a teacher, I could tell a child is being pampered by his or her parents too much that the student can’t get to be independent in class during a lesson. The possibility of such consequence may result from lack of positive reinforcement activities at home. For example, if a task as simple as making the bed after waking up every morning is not fostered, the child may not develop a habit that incorporates cooperativeness or being independent. The habitual activities are to be trained at a very young age by their parents. Other task that helps to foster positive behaviour in a child is cleaning up their toys when they are finished – one of the things that will definitely facilitate the child’s positive growth at school among other children. 

The lack of discipline may seem to be petty but what I wish to highlight in this entry is that, teachers may find it a challenge to convey a simple instructions or have clear communication with the students with lack of exposure to cooperative task or being independent at home. This will then hinder the learning in class. 

One way that I see on how we could minimize the hindrance in class is to foster among the students as early as possible on encouraging them to assist the teacher to clean up after activities in class – as simple as helping to put the books back on the rack or pick up a small paper rubbish on the floor into the dustbin won’t do any harm. Soon, the child will see the routine or habitual activity as a norm and practice it at home – assisting their parents with bigger chores. Children with such motivation will learn to love his or her school environment that allows children to be diligent and cooperative which eventually lead to positive communication among each other. 

Authored by, 
Teacher Dila 
Teacher, LETZHOP Selayang



Reference:


  1. Picture Credit to http://childrensmd.org/browse-by-age-group/child-behavior-problems-3-steps-getting-help/


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Nature-loving generation

Children and nature goes together like peanut butter and jelly, don’t they? I am one of those who love both!

Getting in contact with nature may be a source of wonder and inspiration for all, especially children. It is also rather essential to the children’s development of health and sense of spirituality. At Letzhop, we encourage them to love and appreciate the Mother Nature and one of the ways to get them to do that is by bringing them closer to nature. Letzhop has organized a field trip to the Farm in The City, Seri Kembangan on 11 September 2014.


Our one day trip gave our children the opportunity to touch and experience the various species of animals and plants. They were given the chance to feed and pet the animals available at the farm. They got pretty excited especially when they got to touch big and small animals like a deer, a rabbit and the guinea pigs.


Back from the trip, the children shared a lot of insightful info that they gathered from the farm. You may probably think that they were all fun and play with the animals but what I did not realize was that when our children mentioned about, how an Ostrich egg can hold up a man weighing up to 250 lbs without breaking the egg!


The field trip to the Farm in the City is not only allowing our children to just learn about the animals but to also appreciate the nature more. We hope to produce more children who will love the nature and eventually appreciate all this while they still can.

Authored by
Teacher Kartika and Teacher Hajar
Teachers, LETZHOP Shah Alam

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Significance of Play

If you go into a preschool and you don’t see any block play, art activities or any games being played at all, you need to seriously question whether it is the right preschool for your child. This is due to a theory and what parents often hear of the importance of play among children as they are learning – playing with blocks or interactive games are suitable to be collaborated with the academic transmission between the teacher and child, and also among other children at school. Let’s see how play can be very significant to learning.

A preschool program that acknowledges the importance of play is going to be able to offer your child the best opportunities to learn. Although it might seem as a tiny element in a child’s whole academic progress it may also be a basic foundation towards an excellent success.


There are many benefits of games and play to a children development such as vocabulary expansion. For example, when playing with other children or adults, vocabulary and language skills are nurtured. Your child will listen and learn the language he or she hears without even realizing. A simple activity like playing with cars, trucks and trains as well as animals increases new vocabulary as children learn the names of each, what they do, what they eat or where you can find them.

In addition, blocks are helpful play tools in Mathematics and problem solving activities. I have been observing my students playing blocks for months and surprisingly, they are able to imagine and create different things with the same blocks each day. Either it’s a tower, camera or even an imaginative cheese cake; it shows that their creativity is expanding day by day. The creativity that they develop eventually leads to greater success in learning – it goes back to tackling the basic concepts in mathematics that could be related to the exposure of various shapes and sizes observed, as well as skills in problem solving.

Adding more to the pros, play also helps in gross and fine motor skills developments. In an article, Play in Preschool: Why it Matters by Geiser, she explained that the process of motor skills developments involve the large muscles of the legs and arms while fine motor development is building the muscles of the hands that will be used for writing (2013). Play can provide many opportunities to work on strengthening these muscles without your child even being aware of it! Based on my own experience handling younger kids at Letzhop, I believe play can cure problems like disabilities in writing neatly or even holding a pencil properly.


Besides that, at Letzhop we use interactive games as one of the play activities that can help to enhance students learning. Based on the previous article by Teacher Adeb, we were clearly informed that the content and games in the Sesame Street English lessons were specifically designed for preschoolers’ and are marketed as educational materials to optimize a child’s development. Therefore, the games in every lesson vary from puzzle, mix and match, to songs and many more.

In a nutshell, an effective academic program or learning centre should cultivate the elements of play and games to ensure that the students get a fun opportunity to learn and at the same time expand their imagination that helps to a brighter academic development. As a teacher at Letzhop, I am proud to be a part of a learning centre that provides play activities every single day with our beloved students. Last but not least, play and games are not useless activities that waste time, but it is the basic foundation to produce a champion! 



Authored by,  
Teacher Zeeda 
LETZHOP Bukit Jalil  


References:
  1. Geiser, T. (2013). Play in School: Why it Matters. Retrieved September 10, 2014, from http://www.education.com/magazine/article/play-preschool-matters/
  2. Mutalib, A. (2014). TV: Bad or Good for Kids? Retrieved September 10, 2014, from Letzhop Blogspot: http://www.letzhop.blogspot.com/2014/08/tv-good-or-bad-for-kids.html

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Introduction to Letzhop Sesame Street English Damansara

Letzhop Damansara Building

Letzhop Sesame Street English Damansara is situated at the famous Damansara Uptown business centre and is accessible via LDP, Sprint highway or NKVE. It is a corner lot and is located right above the Papparich Kopitiam and the Bald Bear Guitars. Other prominent landmarks include the Deloitte office building, Tadika Chim and Masjid Mujahideen Damansara Utama. You can also find us in Google Maps here.

Letzhop Damansara K1 Class

The centre has 3 well-equipped, fully air-conditioned and colourful classrooms, with touch screen TV panels, flash cards, storybooks and other teaching tools to adapt to the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners.
 
Letzhop’s Cheerful Teachers

Our teachers come from a variety of backgrounds. Miss Nurul has a Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), Miss Hani is wrapping up her studies in Psychology and will soon be awarded her degree in November, and Madam Sarini, who is the Principal, has a background in Child Psychology and Learning Disorders Management, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science.

We hope that you can come visit us soon together with your children. Trial classes are available! Hop on and grab this opportunity to quality education at a great value!

See you there!

Authored by,
Teacher Sarini
LETZHOP Damansara

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Understanding the Children’s Learning Styles

Children are born with different kinds of learning styles. The education experts suggested that the learning styles are grouped into auditory, visual and kinaesthetic. The experts said that 80 percent of what we learn is through our vision. Children of this style are drawn to paintings, craft and other arts. They also have a wonderful sense of imagination and are known to be very creative (Fiona Baker, n.d.). Visual learners learn more through matured and developed reading skills from books, and visual materials like flashcards.

Here at Letzhop, we teach children to learn through watching videos of topic related and content-based in order to help them to read and understand reading better. It is believed that visual and auditory learning styles to be the most dominant and many traditional classrooms are geared with such styles and suitable to cater to our visual learners (Fiona Baker, n.d.). As a teacher, we agree that for the children learning to make sense, they need to be able to see, visualise and illustrate their knowledge skills and concepts. We see our children here improve day by day. Visual and auditory learning styles motivate the children to enjoy reading and recognizing the letters or words. Visual learners will eventually get motivated to read more with stimulating reading skills games prepared by the teachers.

A sample of a game reading activity we did with our children at Letzhop, bring a hat (like a magician hat) into the class and hide as many words flashcards related to the story or topic learned during the day. The teacher says the word, “abracadabra!” and take out one card, show the card to the children and invite them to say the word aloud. This leads the children to read and the activity is later repeated, but teacher picks one of the children to say the magic word and pick a card from the hat. Let the child leads the class and this activity will encourage others to read along. The flashcards used as the visual materials attract the children’s interest and something for them to look forward to every time it is reading class!

Better learning is acquired by the children at Letzhop via matured and developed reading skills and attractive learning materials like flashcards. However, it is still important to acknowledge the children’s best learning behaviours, whether they are visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners. When parents or teachers know their children’s best way to learn, learning would be easier and more effective for the child.



Authored by,
Teacher Ila & Teacher Anem
LETZHOP Bandar Baru Bangi


Reference:
Baker, F. (n.d.). Mum's School Zone. Retrieved August 22, 2014, from kidspot: http://www.kidspot.com.au/schoolzone/Learning-Learning-styles-Visual-learning-style-in-children+4086+391+article.htm

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

TV: Good or Bad for Kids?

Parents are often mistaken with the idea of putting a child in front of a TV and assuming that the kid will absorb whatever language or content they listen to and watch. Well, yes, it is somewhat true that nothing can occupy a child quite like television. However, Alice Park, a journalist from TIME Magazine stated that the more time children spend sitting in front of the screen, the more their social, cognitive and language may suffer (2009). Television also delays learning by reducing the youngsters’ ability to communicate and socialize with others. However, Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician from the University of Washington, looked at one major weakness of the study but he can’t say for sure whether kid-targeted programming could really lead the children to vocalize, talk and interact with their parents more. That is if the parents put on the TV and really engage with the child verbally. There may be several drawbacks on the idea of exposing the preschoolers to the television, but never to assume that there are no advantages of it if the content showed to the youngsters and preschoolers are properly tailored for the specific learning objectives. 

In an article taken from IFAS Extension, Making Good Decisions: Television, Learning, and the Cognitive Development of Young Children (2011), it has evidently stated that the content for pre-schoolers has been around for decades and one of these contents would be the Sesame Street English. The content was specifically designed for pre-schoolers and are marketed as educational materials to optimize child development. 

In addition, television and videos are quite common in the lives of children and can influence their development. Hence, the exposure of a significant amount of adult television might be inappropriate for the children especially when they are exposed to it without any supervision or verbal interactions – explaining to them about what’s going on or pausing and responding to the child rather than being too occupied with the show. Meaning to say that, early brain development of children starts when they have positive interactions with their environment in which the development of neural pathways enable positive development (Going to School by Craig T. and Sharon L. Ramey). So, it is important for the parents and teachers to know the kind of television or content to be shown to the children. 

Children whose parents allow them to watch more educational tv program would usually excel in school, have higher grades, speak wider vocabularies, and show more creativity due to the massive information and activities that they see on TV as compared to those who watch more violent or purely entertainment content of television. In an article, A Teacher in the Living Room? by Garrison and Christakis, the Sesame Street program, probably the most studied television programs of all time, has shown to have a variety of benefits for preschool children, including increases in vocabulary, ability to count, and general school readiness. So, this Sesame Street English program would definitely help our children to develop their learning styles – to not only be able to speak, read and write but also to show their creativity and ability to initiate self-learning. This is an absolute difference that our Malaysian children need. 

“With respect to development, what children watch is at least as important as, and probably more important than, how much they watch.” ~ The Future of Children, 2008. 



Authored by, 
Teacher Adeb 
Master Trainer, HQ 


References:
  1. Craig T. Ramey and and Sharon L. (1999). Going to School : How to Help Your Child Succeed. Goddard Press, Incorporated. 
  2. Garrison, M., Christakis, D. (2005). A teacher in the living room? Educational media for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Kaiser Family Foundation. 
  3. Park, A. (2009). Study: TV May Inhibit Babies' Language Development. TIME, 1-2. 
  4. Toelle, D. C. (2011, December). Making Good Decisions: Television, Learning and the Cognitive Development of Young Children. University of Florida IFAS Extension, 1-3.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

My Inspiration to Inspire

Hi there readers!

My name is Adeline and my students call me Teacher Adeline. I’m a part time teacher at Letzhop Mind Enrichment Centre at Bandar Botanic. Words could not describe how much I love working and spending time there and I believe that the students feel the same as well. We always look forward for classes (well, occasionally, kids will be kids) as they are always filled with great fun and joy…and at the end of the day, we go back home with something new that we learn.

Robert Frost once said that “there are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fills you with so much quail shot that you can’t move, and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies.”

Allow me to share a story and experience that I personally went through as a child. When I was little, I was not very good with academics. I loved drawing, singing, playing the piano and making crafts. While on the other hand, I have two other sisters who are very good with studies. They are always the top in class, winning awards and on top of that, they are very good with music and sports as well. Almost an all rounder I would say. I remember wishing that I was as good as them. However, there was this beautiful lady; let’s address her as Miss C, who was also my piano teacher that changes my life. Every week as I went for my lessons, she never failed to encourage and inspire me. It made me wanting to do better each time. It is true that I improve so much in piano. I believe that the influence of a teacher is very strong and it has a great impact on a student’s life. Although Miss C was only my piano teacher but her weekly motivation has helped me to do better academically.

Just like most of the Malaysian students, we all have to undergo a major examination known as UPSR in Primary 6. On that particular year when I was in Primary 6, it was my turn. I remember I was so nervous when the examination was approaching as I wanted to prove it to myself that I could do it. I could pass with flying colours as well. As usual, I went for my piano classes weekly and Miss C continued to be an inspiration to me. On the day the results were released, to my amazement, I scored a string of As. It was one of the happiest days in my life as I had never scored all A’s in any examinations before.

Never did I dream that I would be a teacher one day. On the day I got the job at LetzHop, I told myself that I wanted to be a teacher just like Miss C. I want to inspire and motivate my students. I want to help them to reach their fullest potentials and still enjoy learning. I find that the approach and syllabi of the English programme at LetzHop are very interesting and fulfilling. I have never regretted being on this journey as there is so much fun in learning. I believe that in every class there is always a mutual exchange of ideas and thoughts for both the teacher and the students. That is one thing that I love about teaching. It is true that as teachers, we do not often see instant results from our hard work as teaching is a process. Nevertheless, for me, it is the journey that I walk with the students that matters. There is a special feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day when you notice that your students are actually applying whatever they have learnt in class. I love to explore with the children and I am inspired to be a better teacher. Just like Robert Frost quoted;

I want to be the kind of teacher that gives my precious students a push from behind as they soar to the skies reaching for their dreams.




Authored by,  
Teacher Adeline
LETZHOP Klang