Sunday, August 05, 2007

Mummy’s entry – Music class

Lilypie 2nd Birthday Ticker

This is not a sponsored post.

Rye Li has been attending Kindermusik® since she was 8 months old. I was a little bit skeptical initially on this as I felt like I was being a total kiasu (hokkien: scared to lose) parent.

I got to know about this classes when Rye Li was over a month old by my cousin whom at that time her 2 year old was (and still is) attending the classes. She told me that they also take infants as young as 1 month old.

I actually went to ask on the classes and I asked them how do they teach such young babies when they are asleep most of the time. They said that they can and that sleeping babies also absorb the surroundings around them. I proceeded to ask how old was the youngest then in the class I was interested in and they said 10 months old. So I told them that I will come back again when Rye Li is above 6 months old.

When Rye Li was nearly 8 months old, I enrolled her in the Village class for infants till 18 months old. I thought I would just give it a go and see how well this girl will like it.

She was alright when we started the class. Of course, she had her moods too now and then and will get cranky especially if she is sleepy or hungry.

There is 8 classes in one semester and the classes is once a week for 45 minutes each session.

After her first semester, I was asking myself do I still want to go for another semester? Mind you, these classes don’t come cheap, RM340 including materials for each semester. But I did and while I always had these questions running through my mind like “is it really beneficial to rye li?”, “am I being too kiasu?”, “can I really afford this in the long run?”, “is the girl really enjoying herself?”, etc, I always ended up enrolling her for another semester when the current one ends. Of course, it didn’t also help when her teacher said usually when the kids are at least 2 years old, we will see the effect of these classes on them (I know, I know, I feel like such a sucker too!)

Anyway, I’m glad to report that I didn’t have to wait till she is 2 years old to see the effect. In her third semester already, I could see her reacting to her music and that she knows what actions come along with some of the music. And also, she was participating in class from 3rd semester onwards when she’s in the mood most of the time. Her progress was pretty impressive that when it came to the 5th semester, I was contemplating to move her to the next stage, Our Time for 18 months old to 3 years old since she will turn 18 months by the end of that semester.

However, she was very cranky most of the times during the classes. Two of the classes, it was so bad that I ran out of patience and took her out of the class when she was throwing her tantrums. One of them, I refused to go back in and left (looks like I was the one with the tantrum eh?!) and the other one, I just passed her to her papa to handle her. And while I went to the toilet, her papa took her back in to class and she was better behaved. So from that day, I told him that he will take her into class the following weeks (he’s also the more patient one compared to us two). Well, it lasted for only a class (and she behaved alright) as after that, her papa didn’t want to go in.

When it came to the end of that semester, I consulted with her teacher whom I got to know then that she was resigning whether Rye Li should move on to the next stage or remain for another semester in the baby class. She said that I could give it a go and see how Rye Li adapts in a trial class as she said some babies will automatically adapt well while some won’t with older kids.

The following week, I went for the trial class with a new teacher and this girl was more interested in the elder kids and the adults than the contents of the class. She was of course the youngest while the rest of the kids were over 2 years olds. I, on the other hand were impressed with how most of the other kids were participating very well in class. Rye Li only participated perhaps 30% that day and I was anticipating that the new teacher will say that perhaps Rye Li should remain another semester in the baby class. But she didn’t, instead she said she noticed how independent Rye Li was and that she didn’t allow the elder kids to bully her. She added that Rye Li is the in between stage of the baby class and the toddler class so she suggested instead of going back to Village, I might as well stay on and let Rye Li get used to Our Time’s class. So, I enrolled her in this (it’s slightly cheaper than Village) and will start in 2 weeks time (after our Penang trip).

When we went for this class after 2 weeks, the new teacher was not around, instead the owner (who has taught Rye Li on several occasions before) and another trainee replaced her for that day. This girl, upon seeing the trainee (which I’ve to admit looks elderly compared to the other teachers called her “arn tee” (aunty). She knows how to say “tee-chur” but I was laughing inside when she called out “arn tee” instead but of course, I corrected her. ;)

How the girl participated in class that day? Well, I’ve to proudly admit that she participated about 80% with a little stubbornness and crankiness in between (there were times when the trainee asked her to do some stuff, she replied “don wan”). Even the trainee was impressed with her and the owner was impressed with her speech. She said that Rye Li is picking up on a lot of words and I replied that she hangs out a lot with elder kids at the nursery and she said she’d rather believe that it has got to with Kindermuzik since Rye Li started as a baby. She said she noticed how kids started younger speaks better like her daughter so I just added that Rye Li’s speech probably has got to do with both (must give her some credit too-lar).

Anyway, I have to admit the programs of Kindermuzik are good but I don’t quite like the management’s attitude with their policy and this is also one of the reasons why I was contemplating whether I should continue or not.

You see, one of their rulings is that only one parent and a child is allowed in the room at any one time (no other siblings even). I am alright by this but I noticed double standards many times when I see both parents (not walk-in trial ones as trial ones allow both parents to be in) and also other siblings in class before. There was one time, a parent wanted her mom to sit in and observe her baby but she was chased out (I actually felt bad cause she was pretty elderly and to be chased out like that on her own some more – I think the parent has stopped attending class already).

In Rye Li’s 5th semester, there was an elder sibling of a baby who also sits in the class and Rye Li always get distracted by her in the corner (as she will be doing her colouring book, etc) so Rye Li will join her there instead of participating in class. This got on my nerves as whenever I pull Rye Li back to participate, she will fight back with me (which caused her few tantrums that led to my frustrations as well). I know I should have voiced out my displeasure with the management on this but I also felt bad that I will have to chase that girl out of the class so I suffered in silence (well, I complaint to hubby all the time on this).

And then I got to know that I can only do replacement class within a week instead of replacing them anytime. I was totally pissed with this fact because whenever I wanted to replace a class for Rye Li over the weekends, I am declined of this due to a full class and was asked to replace it during the week. How can I possibly take leave all the time to do replacements?

And their policy is to also have a medical certification should your child fall ill if you want a replacement class. This I find is totally ridiculous as we all know that when your child has a fever, you don’t immediately take him or her to the doctor’s unless it is a very high fever. Usually, your child will be monitored with fever medication and if the fever does not go away after a day or so, then only you will take your child to the doctor’s. Geez!

They should be flexible in replacements, I mean one week is totally not fair for the parents and it is not the parents fault when there isn’t a class available over the weekends. They should allow replacements at least within a month.

Lately, another thing I got to know is that the kids are not allowed to bounce on the balls in class anymore since there were a few bursting in class incidents and the management feels that it is expensive to replace these balls which costs RM35 each. If you asked me, the fact that the kids were introduced this in the first place means it is part of the program. And if balls are bursting means the quality should be looked at and thus, the kids should not be penalized of this. I know the bouncing act on balls is one of Rye Li’s favourite in which was why I got the ball for her in the first place when she just started the class. The reason of it being expensive to replace them should not be the Management’s reason at all and I found it so lame of them to say this.

And yesterday, they didn’t use the balls in class at all as the teacher said there are not enough to go around and she wouldn’t want the kids to fight over them. Again, I was fuming as it shows the management didn’t want to replace the balls…anyway, I will give them the benefit of the doubt, and will see in the next few weeks whether if this is the case or not.

Due to these, I am still contemplating whether to continue or not…, I will stay on for another semester (till my patience run out) as Rye Li does enjoy the classes a lot and she looks forward to attending the classes every week. Anyone can recommend another good children’s program? I am thinking of Gymboree as a replacement but don’t know of anyone who has attended that before for feedbacks. I know Sichida (I think) is a good program but not only it is very expensive, it is also located in the heart of town and there is no way I want to go to town over the weekends. I am looking more on the social and play parts for Rye Li, yea the fun stuff, not so much the academic parts as I feel once she attends Chinese school later, she will be tortured enough then. Haha (sorry for the stereotyping).


KittyCat said...

Hi Syn - thanks for this honest sharing. That's the story of childhood education here but I'm surprised to hear this about Kindermusik since it's a franchised program.

I love teaching and the frustrations we faced was either with management or the system. (I feel sorry for the old lady too; such a lack of respect!) I'm seeing the same problems now when I scouted out daycare centers for Lucas earlier this year. Horrors!

I see a business opportunity here but dunnolah, esp since his Papa is also the more patient one hahaha

ryeli said...

kittycat - u should! if it's not there's a good thing to venture into but i'm not sure whether getting the license to teach is easy or not but worth a try. anyway, i think u're more patient than i am from what i can tell so that means u can teach and also since u like singing. ;)