Picture courtesy of Tickle Your Senses
Singapore mums Jaclyn Yap and Lydia Ang started Today Got Class – a free Web portal for busy parents to search and book quality enrichment classes – to save time navigating a jungle of enrichment options and spend it with their children, family and friends instead. Read about how they got started here.
Here, the two founders answer your most pressing questions about picking enrichment classes for your kids.
What programme is worth splashing out on?
Both Jaclyn and Lydia believe that there is no hard and fast rule on which programme is worth spending money on; every child and parenting style is different. Their advice is to consider these three factors:
Your child’s personality and interests: You know your kid best. You will be the best person to tell if he is interested in a programme, especially when he shows an enthusiasm to attend the class. It does, however, take more than one class to determine his interest. This is especially so for younger kids, as their emotions can vary from day to day – a tot who’s cranky for the day may not enjoy a trial class, but may be more receptive on a day when he’s in a better mood.
Location, location, location: It goes without saying that convenience is a key consideration. Both Jaclyn and Lydia make it a point to go for classes located close to their homes and kids’ schools. Their site makes it a breeze to search for classes based on your location.
The people factor: To Jaclyn and Lydia, this is a key indicator of whether a programme is right for your child. The people to look out for include the centre’s directors or owners, teachers and even the person at the front desk! That’s because not only should the enrichment centre have a strong syllabus, but it should also be a place that will help reinforce the values you are working to instil in your children.
How much enrichment is too much?
According to Lydia, a clear sign that a child is overloaded is when he has no time to play and bond with family members. She sticks to enrichment activities geared towards her children’s interests and strengths, and makes it clear to the kids that it’s okay to eliminate activities or classes that just aren’t working out – no matter how “good” those classes are supposed to be.
What’s the quality of programmes listed on Today Got Class?
Today Got Class curates classes across 10 categories, including English literacy, science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and music & dance. For a varied level of exposure, Jaclyn and Lydia say they try to ensure an equitable number of classes per category.
To ensure that each programme is thoroughly vetted for parents’ peace of mind, the founders personally meet the staff behind every enrichment centre to better understand how classes are conducted, the teaching methodology and how its curriculum is developed. Sometimes, class observations are conducted to better assess the interactions between students and teachers, as well as those between parents and teachers.
Feedback from the Today Got Class community and friends who are parents is also taken into consideration. Jaclyn explains: “As a guiding principle, we look out for centres that we would consider for our own children.”
What types of enrichment classes are best?
Being on the pulse of local enrichment classes, Jaclyn and Lydia recommend three types of classes they think will most benefit Junior right now.
Music classes: Music is everywhere in our lives, and plays an important role in early childhood development; mentally, socially and physically. You can find a wide range of music enrichment classes on Today Got Class from centres such as Juzmusic, Kindermusik, Seimpi School of Music, and Presto Studios.
Picture courtesy of Presto Studios
EQ, IQ and growth-mindset classes: This new area of enrichment is growing in importance. Think leaders like Jack Ma, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg – what comes to mind isn’t their academic achievements, but their leadership traits – a high emotional quotient (EQ), the ability to foster teamwork, a never-say-die attitude and a continuous quest to learn. Get classes that develop these soft skills at centres like The Little Executive, Tickle Your Senses, People Impact, and Kids Discovery Works.
Picture courtesy of The Little Executive
Chinese language literacy: In today’s world, being able to read, write and speak Mandarin is important. Yet, many Chinese children in Singapore today struggle with the language as they tend to be more exposed to English at home.
In conjunction with the national Speak Mandarin campaign, check out Today Got Class’ exclusive deals with these established Chinese enrichment centres: $60 for two Mandarin Playgroup classes (U.P. $80), or 50 per cent off trial classes at Hua Language Centre, free trial classes at Yang Language School, discounts at Funtastic Chinese Education Hub and Apple Pie Language, and more.
Picture courtesy of Hua Language Centre
Simply book a class on www.todaygotclass.com by August 25, and you stand a chance to win a pair of tickets (worth $196) to catch Paw Patrol “Race to the Rescue” live show on September 1! Two winners will be drawn.