Ever since I stayed home with my three kids, the youngest has been getting the shorter end of the stick. There’s a whole lot of homelearning fun but the activities I planned hardly included him. Well, I did try to get Nat to do some art until he decided it was better to lick the brush than paint. I read flashcards to him every alternate days and an occasional storybook, but that’s really about it. He has about half an hour of playground fun with Ben and Becks daily, and then stays home for most parts of the day with the helper while they are at kindy; not that fun if you compared it with the things he used to do at infantcare – crafting, singing nursery rhymes, playing masak masak, cutting cheese, squeezing cold toothpaste and chasing bubbles, balls and balloons – with ten other babies his age.
So when Baby Nat was invited by Gymnademics to attend their Pre-Fellow weekly lessons for a term, I couldn’t be happier. Finally, he was going to get some engagement, stimulation and much needed physical exercise beyond the confines of our home and the playground downstairs.
Gymnademics is the first and only intellectual enrichment and gym centre in Singapore that is affiliated with the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP) in Philadelphia, USA. IAHP is founded by the guru of flashcards, Glenn Doman, and is a non-profit organization that does research on how to develop and enhance a child’s brain growth through a combination of physical education and intellectual stimulation.
At Gymnademics, classes are built upon the concept of purposeful play, because play is a child’s natural way of exploring the world. This sets a strong foundation for a lifetime of discovering and learning for children.
If you’re telling me that Nat would get to learn, play and exercise all at the same time, I’m saying yay all the way.
The Pre-Fellow class Nat is attending now (suitable for 1-2 years old and parent-accompanied) encompasses three core components – intellectual, physical and social. Each lesson lasts 1 hour 15 minutes. The first 15 minutes is free play, getting used to the environment and warming up to teachers and friends, and the subsequent hour is packed with 10 activities, lasting 10 – 15 minutes each.
Some of the things Nat does in class include:
Reading aloud (ok, not yet, so I read aloud after Teacher Selene instead) word cards, encyclopedic cards and picture cards
These help to stimulate his visual and auditory pathways. There are also stories and music to make learning fun for both parent and child.
Gym activities that focus on balance and mobility, and at the same time develop his manual and tactile competencies
Nat’s favourite so far is the gym circuit. He has a skip in his step when it’s time to go on the obstacle course.
Activities that teach social behaviour and encourage the development of his fine motor skills
With Teacher Selene’s help, Nat learned to tie a knot to string a bell. On another occasion, Nat learned to use his thumb to peel off tape so he could stick some shapes to make a paper plate pizza.
What I especially appreciate about the programme is that Gymnademics provide a Parent-Child Bonding Package after each lesson. The package includes materials used in class, as well as extra activities that parents and the whole family can engage in to reinforce what the child has learned that week. This means that I can do things with Nat without having to specially plan for it, and he gets some homelearning fun together with me as well.
It’s been two lessons so far (one trial lesson, plus his first lesson last week) and Nat has shown me that he has enjoyed every lesson thoroughly. The range of activities they do in class with children his age within that one hour is indeed impressive and tremendously engaging. At home, I sing him the songs he sings in class and he starts jiving and grooving. I show him flashcards and he readily sits himself in front of me to babble and point. I am sure he looks forward to his Gymnademics lesson every week. Do follow me on Instagram and Facebook if you’d like to find out what this little fella is learning and how he is progressing.
- Gymnademics Early Enrichment Centre is located at SAFRA Toa Payoh 293 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh #02-01 Singapore 319387
- Tel: 6259 0307 | 8518 7910 | 9651 9331
Disclosure: Nat and I were invited to attend the Pre-Fellow Class at Gymnademics for review purposes. All opinions here are Motherkao’s own.