JSM & SMC September 2019: Affirmation

With one more month to go to the SA2 exams and it being the start of the PSLE, the Saints Mums felt that it would be an excellent time to explore the topic of “Affirmation” with Ms Mina Lim on the morning of 26 September 2019.

Ms Mina Lim works at the St Andrew’s Community Hospital Senior (Day) Care Centres, taking care of dementia patients. She has 2 young-adult children, 19 and 21 years old. She shared from her perspective as a mother of her 19-year-old son, Barnabas. Her son’s name means “son of encouragement”. Barnabas was diagnosed with dyslexia at Primary 5, and has slow processing skill. With lots of affirmation from a loving environment, he managed to pursue his studies in SAJC.

For Mina, affirmation means to state your support for an idea or opinion, or to offer someone emotional support or encouragement.

There is scientific evidence that our brain has the ability to re-configure itself. It is called neuroplasticity. Our brain can be rewired. If your brain is hardwired negative, it will be negative. Thus positive daily affirmation is important to transform the brain’s ability to reorganise itself by forming new positive connections. Chemicals in the brain can be formed and strengthened into new neural pathway.

Ask ourselves whether we are emotionally connected to our child. Every child longs to feel accepted and be secure in their parents’ love. Anything that suggests the possibility of losing this approval is a threat to his sense of self. Affirm them as our child, as a child of God, and as someone who has so much potential to be a mature and respectable man or woman.

It takes a lot of effort to affirm another person. We have to be conscious about our action and be willing to be aware of our mistakes and learn from them. We need to understand the needs of our child and value him, to affirm him and not just his work. It is an effort of trial and error to discover how best to affirm your child, and the best time to start is today.

At the end of the session held at the Church of Ascension Hall, 33 mums from SAJS and SASS came out empowered to affirm their children daily.

Teacher’s Day Celebration 2019

5 September 2019, was a significant day to celebrate and honour the staff at St. Andrews Junior School.

SAPTA, in partnership with Church of Ascension created a memorable sports themed luncheon for the staff as “We are your biggest fans”!

Luncheon started at 12 noon at Church of Ascension Hall for over 120 teaching and non-teaching staff. Prior to the buffet lunch, the staff tried their skills on “a-minute-to-win-it” table games. It was hilarious as the staff pit themselves against each other, yet cheering for their colleagues. It was a sight to behold as the staff showed their fun side outside the classroom.

In the midst of all the excitement, there was not a moment of silence. Mr Khairil the emcee did a fantastic job controlling the noise level with the start of the Staff Appreciation video, followed by a 2-tier Teacher’s Day cake presentation dedicated to the management team. Both the video and cake was specially crafted and designed by two loving mothers who wanted to show their appreciation for the school. The teachers are grateful and thankful for such supportive parents and many were touched with the outpouring of gifts from the parents.

The staff enjoyed the opportunity to mingle, relax and chilled out with their fellow colleagues as they indulge in the buffet, and two “live-station” of tea tasting and gourmet coffee.

Mr. Khairil conducted the finals of the a-minute-to-win-it game followed by Ms Patsy Neo, addressing her staff and giving thanks for all the efforts in creating a successful event.

Next was a heart-warming segment when Mr Thomas Tham gave the opportunity to teaching staff and non-teaching staff to share testimonies on how each group supported one another. This demonstrated the St.Andrew’s spirit and values.

The two and a half hours flew by and everyone looked forward to receive the practical, usable microwaveable tupperware and cutlery set in a carrier specially sponsored by Church of Ascension. It was presented through the management team to the next tier and everyone was a happy trooper after the event.

The staff were thankful and very appreciative as this was only made possible by a group of like-minded parent volunteers spearheaded by SAPTA. The 2 months of planning and working as a team paid off as the parent volunteers saw the event to fruition. Everyone showcased their talents and contributed in one way or another and doubled our blessings!

We look forward to “Staff Appreciation 2020!”

JSM Aug 2019: Overcoming Learning Challenges

On 29 August 2019, about 40 mothers got together from 7.20am to 8.30am at the Thinkubator to learn how to help their children overcome learning challenges, difficulties in learning, and homework demands.

Mrs Serena Koh is an ex-teacher with more than 10 years in the education field, who became a stay-home mum to her 3 teenagers. She has a degree in Special Education and is currently a private Special Education tutor providing Education Therapy and Intervention to children with learning differences.

Serena shared openly about the challenges and difficulties her 3 children faced, particularly in relation to learning and homework demands.

Despite each child having different learning styles, she drew out clear strategies to support their learning needs and to help them develop life skills such as time management, and how to boost their weaker executive functioning skills.

1. Routine and timetableBy setting a routine and timetable, the child will not need to figure out the routine. They are expected to complete their homework before playing. There is no need to indicate the specific time for each homework, but each task has to be completed before moving on to the next task. If each homework is time specific, it might lead to anxiety of not being able to complete the work, and not having time to be able to play. The child will feel stressed and demotivated to complete their homework. Only dinner and bedtime will need to have fixed timing.

If play is permitted before or in-between work, it will be a challenge to shift the “gear” back to work. Instead, allow the child to have a 1 minute break of jumping jacks or a bit of movement then back on the task. As play is a very strong motivator, keep it to the end of work.

2. Clear expectationsOnce clear expectations are set, the child will not “test water”, but will know what can or cannot be done. When parents check school work,
– check that it must be completed (every page, every question, neat handwriting)
– do not need to check for right answer, or the teacher might have a wrong impression that the child knows his work. With mistakes, the teacher will be able to work on the problem with the class.
– homework must be done to the best of the child’s ability
– no random answers are allowed.

3. Understanding their challenges

Some children might have
– Dyslexia
– Language Processing Disorder
– Auditory Processing Disorder
– Slow Processing Disorder
We have to be sensitive to their needs and be creative in teaching. Play is a powerful tool to learn. Serena challenged the mothers in a dictation test to help them understand some of the struggles a Dyslexic child might face.

3. Accommodate their needs

Provide a suitable environment for your child to work on away from distractions. Be sensitive of their needs for movement. If necessary, they can be seated on yoga ball to do work as long as they can function and complete their work to the best of their ability.

Before starting work, activate their schema to bring awareness to the topic before starting homework on topic. This helps to bring the information nearer to where it is more easily accessible.


4. Encourage, Affirm, Appreciate EffortsMost importantly, reward them for effort and not the results. This will help to build self-confidence and self-esteem. Focus on building good work habit, as this is a life-skill to cultivate.

All mothers received practical tips and strategies to help their child and they look forward to the next talk next month.