Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Fasting during Ramadhan at Letzhop

Ramadhan is a holy month where Muslims around the world gratefully celebrating it. During Ramadhan, Muslims fast and perform good deeds to seek forgiveness and blessing from Allah S.W.T. Fasting during Ramadhan means that one refrains from drinking or eating during the day after their Suhoor; in some interpretations Muslims also refrain from other behaviour which could be perceived as sinful such as swearing, engaging in disagreements, backbiting and procrastination. Fasting for Muslims during Ramadan typically includes the increased offering of solat (prayers) and recitation of the Al-Quran and last Ramadhan, our students at Letzhop were also fasting – some were trying to fast for the first time.

Fasting is fardh or obligatory for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, travelling, pregnant, or breastfeeding. Young children are also not forced to fast but some parents who wish their children to practice to fast will usually encourage them to at least try for a day or two – we even have children who are not told to fast at all by their parents but still insist on trying to fast. Imagine that our 3 to 6 year old students who were really eager to practice fasting, they did not eat or drink when they were in school but they are still able to focus in class and join all the activities. We were very impressed with their determination. 

At Letzhop, the learning is mostly conducted by using the smart touch panel visuals and the fun is added with the Sesame Street English program with all of the Sesame Street characters delivering the day’s topic. What makes our students enjoy coming to school more is that learning is at Letzhop is made easier and fun altogether. Although they were fasting during the Ramadhan, their time of at Letzhop is filled with many fun activities and we did not have anyone being too tired or unproductive during that holy month. 

Here are pictures from an activity that they enjoyed the most during the last days of Ramadhan – making the Eid’s Hari Raya cards to be sent to their friends and family, wishing everyone dear to their hearts a great Eid celebration.

We made a Ketupat Hari Raya card

They wished to send their cards to their grandparents this year!

We would like to wish to all Muslims;
Selamat Hari Raya Aidilifitri and have a blissful and joyous Syawal!

Authored by,  
Teacher Hajar & Kartika

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The right environment for optimal learning

Hi there! Today we are going to discuss about learning environment for young learners. Based on my own experience, positive learning environment will definitely lead to their physical and mental development. Just imagine if the children are left in an unorganized, noisy, and crowded space and they are being instructed to listen to the lesson, do you think they will be able to pay maximum attention to the lesson? Obviously, they can’t! This is because some of their attention is being channeled to other elements of the class that are making them feel uncomfortable. Thus, it is important to have the right ambiance to optimize the learning process of young children. 

The initial step in creating a positive environment for infants, toddlers, and preschool children is to examine how young children learn and develop. As a teacher, I do realize that each stage of development has unique characteristics that influence how a child will experience his or her environment.

For example, infants and toddlers learn about their world by acting on objects and materials in their surrounding. Thus, their learning environment should be designed to cater this need by providing them opportunities to explore their surrounding freely and safely. That is why at LETZHOP, materials (e.g. ball, soft toys) that can promote such learning to infants and toddlers are stored strategically so they can easily play and explore the learning materials. 

For preschoolers, their learning generally takes place when there are meaningful activities that involve doing and moving. For example, when I taught my 3-4 year old students the word ‘sniff’, I allow them to sniff the smell of a fragrance that the centre had prepared for the class. Based on my observation, they automatically understood the meaning of the word ‘sniff’ once they were allowed to do the action by themselves - sniffing! 

Besides preparing the right materials for optimal learning, areas at LETZHOP’s centre also clearly communicate to preschoolers what kind of activities occur in a specific area. For instance, the flower table that they have in the class is their work station where they can color and draw, while the space in front of the smart panel is the place where they can watch Elmo’s World as well as sing and dance. When they recognize the culture of each area, this will definitely encourage and improve their language interactions, socio-dramatic play, and the construction of experiences based on their level of understanding. 

As a conclusion, I would like to emphasize that all children have their own learning style and need and they should be exposed to the right environment to optimize their attention, thus, their learning ability. 

Authored by, 
Teacher Zeeda
LETZHOP Bukit Jalil

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

New experience every day, all day

From the very first call that I got this job, I was so excited, thrilled and somehow nervous. Excited and thrilled as I get to spend time with kids, you know, the adorable and cute kids. To watch them learn, to watch them grow. It was so very exciting for me. Back then, I was only exposed to high school kids, which is a very big experience for me too. As that was the first time I got to teach and deal with attitude. I admit, it was pretty tough. But then, hey! I survived.

My very first class here started. I was so scared. So many thoughts come through my mind such as, “Will they love me?”, “Will they enjoy the class?” and “Will they learn something from my teaching?”, but then again, as the classes were conducted, I learn new things in each class. Like how do you deal with tantrums, how do you cope with the students when their hyper, how do you get their attention to the lesson again. It's not only about me teaching them, it also about them teaching me. It's a two way teaching interaction.

Now let me tell you a story, for the first few weeks, before the class starts, this one girl, N, was crying so badly because her mom left which is somehow normal, because it is her first time being alone with a stranger. I have no idea how to deal with her, at first. But then, luckily I have my boss to help to persuade her. Observing how my boss persuaded her made me learned on how to deal with kids like that. For the first few classes, she would start crying before the class starts, and I have to persuade her to calm down. But then, when a new student came in, she stopped crying and acted like a big girl. This made me question, like, “Why all of a sudden you are not crying and help me persuade the new girl?”  N did help me to persuade A and she was so proud that she stopped crying and saying that she is a big girl now. I was like, “Oh, okay. Now I understand. N wants A to think that she is a big girl, that's why N did not cry”. Okay. Understood! Dealing with these situations made me learned on how to calm my students down when they are crying or when they are showing tantrums.

Another story is when they learned to say “Sorry” and “Thank you”. This made me so happy as I try my best not only to teach them the lesson of the day but also, some courtesy and manners. For example, JY kept on hitting H and she refused to say sorry even when she was asked to do so. After so many times asking her to do so, she started crying as she really didn’t want to say sorry at all. I was like, “Okay.”. The following week, JY did something to H again. I pretended that I didn’t see anything. Out of the blue, JY said sorry to H! I was like so amazed that she did say sorry without being told to do so. It is such a relief that they know when to say sorry and when to say thank you.

I have to admit, it was tough at first, but as time passes by, I am learning something new each day, not only from my students, but from my boss and the parents as well. Learning should be fun for the kids. We want them to learn something new, not demanding them to score A+ in each class. Kids at this very young age, only know how to have fun and play. Although they look like they are not learning anything, they are actually absorbing the lessons that are being taught by the teachers in their own way and at their own pace. As a teacher, I do believe that when my students enjoy the class, they will learn something. No worries parents. 

Authored by,
Teacher Nurul
LETZHOP Damansara

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Teaching is not easy

Well, I have to start with “teaching is not an easy work”. It needs patience, knowledge and creativity in order to teach students especially younger kids. In my experience teaching at SSE, it was a totally new environment in which I am teaching 3 to 6 year-old kids. Teaching kids at this age needs a lot of patience and requires the teacher to do a lot of research on how to handle the class and how to tackle their interest since some of these students are very shy and unable to respond to the teaching. What I have been learning and experiencing with these kids for the past few weeks is that the teacher needs to give them time to get use of the learning environment because to some of them, it is their first time in school.

Other than that, the teacher also needs to keep on teaching and not giving up even though by the end of the day, the kids can only say “Elmo” or “mimimi” or they just shake hands with you. To some parents, they might feel that the kids are not learning anything in class but this is also one part of learning especially to those who have never been to the kindergarten before. This minor development will later be developed into something greater such as learning effectively about body parts through songs that they heard repeatedly and music instruments played in the class – for example, one of our K1 students, who is only 2 years old and will only turn three years old this November. At her age now, her interest is solely on playing and making friends but for the past few weeks, she has been showing a lot of changes – she follows the teacher’s instructions, she engages with the media showed to her and she even repeats after the teacher and the host from the media! I honestly think that she is learning something though she might not be able to read or write anything yet.
Eventually, kids at this age should know that learning the English language is interesting and enjoyable. They should be exposed to the new way of acquiring the language through the usage of all their body-languages and hands-on activities. Teachers who allow students to respond even in their mother tongue language can also help students to gain confidence to acquire the language without demotivating them. This is also applicable to those who refuse to speak and only respond by nodding or smiling. Not to worry about that because from what I heard, some of the kids who refuse to respond in class, imitate their teacher at home in front of their parents. So, in my defense, I do believe that learning does take place by the end of the day!

Authored by,
Teacher Ila
LETZHOP Bandar Baru Bangi