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.

JSM&SMC July 2019: Therapeutic Conversations

It was refreshing start to Term 3, as Charis Patrick, Family and Martial Therapist, Trainer and Family Life Educator, addressed a crowd of 51 mothers on 25 July 2019 at the SAJS Thinkubator.

Mingling at breakfast

As morning refreshments were served, mothers mingled and interacted during the session to discover:
– the different communication styles
– how to talk so your child will listen
– how to listen so your child will talk.
Research shows that when we communicate, only 7% of the content is received, while body language and tone takes up most of the message.
Charis spoke with passion on actions speaking louder than words. She suggested that as parents, we take a step back and do not nag our children. The less “rescuing” or reminding our children, the more they will take ownership of their situation and increase their personal motivation for action.

Our natural parental fear will lead us to want to “rescue” our children, but allowing our children to exercise personal choice helps to motivate them. For example, if the child chooses not to do his homework, he will have to face the consequences at school and not blame the parent for not doing the homework.

Supporting our children doesn’t mean rescuing them. Support creates a trust that our children have the ability to complete their tasks, which motivates them further when the tasks are completed because of their ability.

As parents, when we lose hope, we tend to try to rescue our children. However, rescuing has many implications:

  • Rescue leads to disempowerment in the child.
  • Rescue will never be appreciated by the child.
  • Rescue will lead to a sense of “self-sacrifice” by parents (in the hope of making everyone happy), which leads to feelings of resentment. When we are resentful, we’ll be angry and will likely punish (perpetrate) our children.

“Self-sacrificing” is a common phenomenon among stay-at-home mothers. As stay-at-home-mothers, their “KPIs” include their children’s performance in school. However, when mothers “self-sacrifice”, they send a message to their family that they can sacrifice and their time and wishes are not important. When their families start to taking self-sacrifical mothers for granted, these mothers would feel resentful.

When we reduce our tendancy to “self sacrifice” and build up our sense of self instead, we create healthier boundaries for ourselves, that our children can relate to. This will also lead to healthier relationships with our children and our spouses.

Interactive participants

As parents, we have to learn to be aware of our emotions and regulate our emotions. This will help us better understand ourselves, and in turn better understand our children.

We can listen to our children’s passions, even though we may not agree with them. We can also be passionate with what our children are passionate about. We do not have to burst their bubble. We can give them space to explore their options.

3 important ingredients for communication.

Every communication is an incidental teaching. Round up the conversation with a hug. Let our children know that we are their safe space, so that when they have difficulties or problems, they know they can come back to us, their safe space.

Steps to have a therapeutic conversation.

Deborah thanking our speaker.




JSM March 2019: Unlock Our Children’s Motivation

Mrs Sophia Lim introducing the speaker.

JSM participants at the Thinkubator.

With SA1 around the corner, mothers would like to help our children to unlock their greatest potential.

On 28 March 2019, 46 SAJS mothers gathered at the SAJS Thinkubator to learn about the 10 intrinsic motivators that can be found in every child, and how mothers can use them to help “Unlock Our Children’s Motivation”.

Our speaker was Mr Elmer Lau, a training director at Acorn Training. He specialises in the Reiss Motivation Profiling for children, a tool to profile the intrinsic motivators of a child. Elmer is also a St.Andrew’s alumni and a fellow parent of 3 boys in our junior school.

Our speaker, Mr Elmer Lau.

In the hour-long session, the mothers had a lively discussion on the challenges they faced motivating their children. Elmer listed the 10 intrinsic motivators children have, and shared some examples of how to motivate our children beyond the use of reward and threats:
1. Acceptance (need for approval)
2. Understanding (the need for intellectual stimulation)
3. Family (the need to spend time with family)
4. Idealism (the need to help others)
5. Order (the need for structure)
6. Power (the need for achievement)
7. Social Contact (the need for companionship)
8. Status (the need to feel important)
9. Tranquillity (the need to feel safe)
10. Competition (the need to win)

The talk ended with a light hearted question and answer session.

Mrs Sophia Lim was our host for the session.

A light refreshment followed, which allowed the Junior Saints Mums to mingle with one another.

For details about our next Junior Saints Mum Meeting in April, do like our Facebook page for the latest notification. 

JSM February 2019: Bullies Are A Pain!

About 40 Junior Saints Mums met on 28 February 2019 at the SAJS Thinkubator to hear from Ms Vivienne John, who shared candidly from her many years of experience as a counsellor in SAJS and as a mother.

Mrs Vivienne John sharing on bullying.

She shared about how to identify bullying situations and how she taught boys in the school ways to deal with it.

Mrs Vivienne John on identifying a bullying situation.

The participants found the session very useful and many felt empowered to help their children handle a bullying situation. Mrs John also addressed concerns about bullies and bullying at the Question and Answer session after her presentation.

The areas Mrs John covered include: 
– The definition of a bully
– How bullies can harm others
– How not to become a bully
– Signs to look out for if your son is bullied
– What to say when your son gets bullied (including slides to role play with your son, if he encounters a bully)
– How your son can defend himself if he faces a bullying situation
– Strategies of how a child can face up to a bully
– Myths about bullies

The slides Mrs John used can be downloaded here: Bullies Are A Real Pain!

The meeting ended with Mrs Deborah Lee, the SAPTA Chair, inviting the Junior Saints Mum to refreshments where the ladies enjoyed a time of getting to know one another.

Mrs Deborah Lee inviting participants to refreshments.

The next Junior Saints Mum meeting will be held on 28 March 2019, on the topic “Unlock Your Child’s Motivation”. More information on sign up will be available on our Facebook Page closer to the date. Do like the Facebook page to be informed of our upcoming SAPTA events.What Motivates My Child?
– Discover what are the 10 intrinsic motivators in a child
– Learn how to spot the motivators in your child
– Learn how to motivate your child beyond the use of rewards or threats.

About our Speaker:
Elmer is an expert in coaching students and parents in the area of motivation. He is one of the very few coaches in Asia who specializes in the Reiss Motivation Profiling for children, a powerful and scientifically validated tool to profile the intrinsic motivator of a child.