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Monday, January 16, 2017

Music Lessons – At Home Or At A Music School?

Should I send my child to music lessons at a centre or should my child have music lessons at home? Which is better?

According to Airina Lee from The Music Factory, this is one question frequently asked by parents. Here we share with parents, the following major differences she observes when a child goes to music lessons at a centre compared to having music lessons at home with a private tutor.

1. Students come to class mentally prepared

Having home lessons means students will enjoy the comfort of their own homes - sometimes being 'too comfortable'. They tend to get easily distracted with the on-goings at home, especially when the class location is not in a contained (i.e. a room) environment.

If lessons are conducted in a classroom environment however, they are emotionally prepared for lesson and better attention spans can be achieved. This is because most children are familiar with the classroom environment and conventional classroom rules.

Home-based learning might work better with adult learners as they are able to stay focused throughout.

2. Exposure

While it might save you some travelling time to have lessons at home, students who learn at home miss the opportunity to get to participate in activities like recitals, concerts, and group activities that are often held by music centres.

Through recitals, the child gets to learn how to play confidently at a young age. The importance of performance opportunities in young children should never be undermined, it teaches that practice makes perfect, and most importantly, is a great self-confidence booster! If you are good at something, wouldn't you want to be able to showcase it confidently to others?

Sadly in many children's musical journeys, the only audience they have is often the examiner when they undergo music exams.

3. A holistic learning experience

A large part of enjoyment in playing music is when one learns to play with others, for instance in a band, an orchestra, or chamber music groups. Being in a music school means the child will have a chance to meet others who share the same interests.

It serves as a source of motivation as well when they see their peers being able to master the instrument. They are given the opportunity to build friendships from there and eventually, form their own jamming sessions with students of the same age groups/ learning abilities. 

Music Lessons at home or at a music school? We hope that this sharing will give you a better idea of what to expect when you send your child to music lessons at a centre.

Here are some other tips brought to you by The Music Factory:

· How To Motivate Your Child To Practice Music
· Tips For Parents To Choose The Right Musical Instrument

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Milo® UHT Pack in the Energy for Champions Workshop

Recently a few lucky members from our Facebook group: The Malaysia Primary School Parents On Facebook had the opportunity to attend the Milo® UHT Pack in the Energy for Champions Workshop held at the Cilantro Cooking Academy in Subang Jaya. In this post, we will share tips we learned at the workshop with the rest of our FB group members who couldn't attend the workshop.

The Milo® UHT Pack in the Energy for Champions Workshop was moderated by Sheahnee Iman Lee, emcee, media trainer and former TV host who did a wonderful job getting the audience to warm up to the session.

Sheahnee Iman Lee, Puan Yan Diana and Puan Nurul Iliani
At the start, participants had the chance to get some tips from Senior NestlĂ© Nutritionist, Puan Nurul Iliani on the importance of packing to school and eating right. The most important tip is the fact that kids will go through energy deprivation in school at various intervals while at school. This is because the hours between breakfast and lunch is rather long with breakfast taken as early as 6 am in some cases. She suggests that parents pack recess or bento boxes for their children with healthy nutritious meals to counter this energy deprivation.

On this note, Puan Yan Diana an admin from Kelab Bekal/Bento Malaysia came on to show participants that packing to school doesn't need to be complicated and can be prepared in a flash. Puan Yan makes Bento Boxes on a daily basis for four of her school going children.

The creative Puan Yan Diana demonstrated how to make 3 creative Bento Boxes in quick succession. She made the adorable Giraffe Chicken Sandwich, a cute Japanese Doll Sandwich and an amazing looking Rapunzel Noodle Box in minutes.

Giraffe Chicken Sandwich
Japanese Doll Sandwich
Rapunzel Noodle Box

Quick Tips From Pn Yan On Preparing Bento Boxes

  1. Ingredients. Do not be overwhelmed by using unusual items. Use normal items that your kids like to eat like fried mee hoon, spaghetti, fried rice, bread, beans etc and build on those
  2. Preparation. Ingredients may be prepared the night before or during the weekend to save time
  3. Involvement. Involve your kids in the preparation and the ideas for their Bento Boxes. They will be more likely to eat them that way
  4. Shaping Items. Use cheese and seaweed sheets to carve out or cut out unusual cartoon characters or shapes. Tomatoes may be used to carve out lips or ribbons.
  5. Appearance. Use flat boxes so that your creation will maintain its appearance at recess time hours later to avoid them from tumbling about.
  6. Vegetables. Introduce vegetables slowly but repeatedly for the reluctant vegetable eater
  7. Drying. Do not mix wet items with dry ones. Wipe dry first before working on your Bento
  8. Cleanliness. Make sure you wash your hands before preparing and keep them clean throughout
Puan Nurul Iliani stressed that a balance of protein, vegetables, fruits and carbohydrates should be kept in mind when selecting the ingredients for a Bento Box meal. She added that children can greatly benefit from the Activ-Go™ in MILO®, a unique combination of PROTOMALT®, minerals and vitamins such as Vitamin B, specially blended to provide efficient release of energy from food to help them take on a full day’s challenges. MILO® also contains calcium to maintain stronger bones and teeth and Vitamin C for increased absorbtion of iron from food. You can easily add a convenient pack of MILO® UHT in the Bento Box or in your little one’s school bag to ensure he/she has sufficient energy to take on the day!

Finally, parents and children worked together as a team to create the most creative Bento Box in the MILO® UHT Bento Box Challenge. Participants were provided with MILO® UHT’s Bento Box, ingredients and a packet of of MILO® UHT that fits in nicely in the Bento Box.. 

Below are pictures of the ingredients, tools and Bento Boxes provided.

Watch the video below to see some of the creations by parents in the MILO® UHT Bento Box Challenge. You will be amazed at their creativity as many of them were preparing Bento Boxes for the first time. The video will also give you some ideas on what to prepare for your kids for recess.

Most importantly, everyone went home with new knowledge gained on the importance of packing balanced and nutritious meals for kids and how to do so in a non-stressful and fun way.  MILO® UHT comes in convenient single serve packs of 125ml and 200ml and is available in all convenient stores, mini markets, supermarkets and hypermarkets.

For more upcoming initiatives of the MILO® UHT Pack in the Energy for Champions campaign, visit

Pack a MILO® UHT in your child’s bag pack for the energy they need to take on the day!

Congratulations to the winners of the MILO® UHT Bento Box Challenge

MILO® UHT single serving packs in 125ml and 200ml.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Chinese New Year School Holidays 2017

Today is 3rd January 2017. It is the first or third day of school depending on which state you reside in Malaysia. However, it is not too soon to plan for your Chinese New Year holidays because it is only about slightly over 3 weeks away. Since the school will break for about a week, all races can plan for the holidays irrespective of whether you celebrate Chinese New Year or otherwise.

If you have not had enough of the holidays, this must certainly be good news for you. However, you may face a small challenge to persuade the reluctant little ones to return to school after the festive break!

Now for the Chinese New Year School Holidays 2017 dates:

The first two days of Chinese New Year 2017 falls on 28 January 2017 (Saturday) - 29 January 2017 (Sunday) this year.

The Festive Holidays 2017 or Cuti Perayaan 2017 as allocated by the Ministry of Education, Malaysia (Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia) are as follows:

For Group A - In addition to 28/1 and 29/1 , the following days will be off 30/1, 31/1, 1/2, 2/2
(Schools in Kedah, Johor, Kelantan & Terengganu)

For Group B - In addition to 28/1, 29/1 and 30/1 (replacement off day on Monday), the following days will be off 26/1, 27/1, 31/1
(Schools in Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Pahang, Sabah, Sarawak, Wilayah Persekutuan, Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya)

Source of Info: MOE, Malaysia (Surat Siaran Takwim Penggal Dan Cuti Persekolahan Tahun 2017)

Due to the different weekends, Group A schools should have something to cheer about because the festive holidays stretch over two weekends making the holidays 9 days in total.

Group A Schools
On the other hand, Group B schools will have a 6 day stretch unless you happen to be in Wilayah Persekutuan, Labuan or Putrajaya which will have an additional day off on 1st February 2017 for Federal Territory Day.

Group B Schools

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ergonomically Correct School Bags For Kids

What Is Ergonomics And Why Kids School Bags Should Be Ergonomically Correct

Ergonomics is the science of  refining the design of a product for optimal human use. Characteristics such as the user's weight and proportions are considered. These days ergonomics design for school bags are essential because children carry heavy bags daily for years. If heavy school bags are not properly designed or adjusted, children using them may suffer from bodily fatigue, stress and even injury.

Besides textbooks and several exercise books for each subject, children are required to carry many workbooks to school as well. In addition, they have their lunch boxes, water tumblers, art materials, gym outfits and more to fit into their school bags. That is why more and more parents are now opting for ergonomically correct school bags for kids.

Where To Buy Ergonomically Designed Bags For Kids In Malaysia

One of the places to buy ergonomically correct bags or spine protection school bags is Dr. Kong. Dr. Kong Malaysia is well known for their healthy shoes and foot care products. Established since 1999, they are dedicated in developing functional foot and spine health products including their pressure free chirobag. This spine protection bag is designed to reduce the pressure from the neck, shoulder and back.

Dr. Kong's Back To School 2017 Promotion
Parents, you can now get Dr. Kong's spine protection bags at a discount during their back to school 2017 promotion period which runs from 15 December 2016 to 15 January 2017. You get 15% off your first product, 20% off the second, 30% off the third and beyond. T & C applies. You can view their bag selections here
Besides bags, the promotion extends to their shoe products as well as shown below.

Where To Find Dr. Kong in Malaysia

Check out the chart of Dr. Kong's outlets in Malaysia below to find a Dr. Kong outlet near you.

You can also find them online here:

Free Printable 2017 School Time Table For Kids

Members can click on the image above to download the free pdf time table
It's getting nearer to the new school year 2017. Time really does fly. In the blink of an eye the year-end holidays 2016 is almost over. Those with children going to Standard 1 or Form 1 will soon be attending orientation days or just recently attended one. In no time at all, the new school session will begin. Kids will soon receive their new time-tables and they have to start getting used to their new school routines.

I used to create time tables for my kids when they were younger. They were in A4 size so they wouldn't misplace them. I would print one copy for them to put in their school bags and another copy for pasting on or above their study tables. In this manner, I always have a point of reference for them and for me.

Last year, I created a free printable school time table for kids for the members of our parenting platform which comprise our website, blog and FB groups. It was very popular and useful so I am making a new one for the year 2017. The time table is created using Microsoft publisher software with clip art from the software.

Members can click here to login and download this free printable 2017 blank school time table for kids now.

I hope you find it useful. You can print it out now for use in the next 1 or 2 weeks or bookmark this page for use in the next two weeks. To make the time-tables last longer, you can either laminate it or do as I did. I would print out the time-table, cut out a hard cover page from a recycled magazine or old unused book, then wrap it up using transparent plastic book wrapper and tadaaa I had a time-table that lasted all year round of "abuse" from being taken in and out of bags.

Tip: Hold back on the wrapping part for the time being because in the early part of the term, there may be some changes here and there. However, if there are major changes, you can always print out the blank time table and make a new one! 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Why Kids Should Learn To Code

At one time, Computer Programming and Coding was the domain of technical specialists and computer programmers. Not anymore. Not in a world filled with applications where computers work at a touch, a click, or a swipe. We are now living in the digital computer age dominated by computer software programs in just about everything that we do.

Computer technology is everywhere in our homes including the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom and more. We carry our cellphones filled with apps with us 24/7. We are now surrounded with incredible devices that extend what we can do with our brains. With these, people can do faster things, keep track of vast amounts of information, and share your ideas with other people. It is no wonder then that many countries and schools have been pushing to add coding as a core curriculum in school syllabus. Learning coding is important in the 21st century and having computational thinking skills are vital for everybody especially children.

Besides obvious skills of learning how to write programming codes, kids who learn computer programming will also pick up other important living skills.

5 Essential Living Skills Acquired When Kids Learn Coding

1. Computational Thinking – Kids will have a structured way of solving problems by having these qualities: Conceptualizing, Combining of mathematical and engineering thinking, and having more ideas that inform our technology and lead to their creation.

2. Patience - Kids must learn to persevere and be persistent when things go wrong. They must not be easily frustrated and must go through each step patiently sometimes repeatedly till they get the results they want.

3. Team Work - Kids will learn how to collaborate with others when working on a sub-task on a bigger computer programming project.

4. Logical Thinking - Logical thinking and reasoning is essential in coding. Kids will have to apply logical thinking when they learn the if-then concepts.

5. Creativity - Coding is much more creative than many people realize. It is not just boring, mathematical computation. The programmer needs a creative side in order to come up with games and applications that generate sounds, images, animations etc.

Where Can Kids Learn To Code in Malaysia

Kids can get an introduction to familiarize them with the IT World in KidoCode located at Solaris Mont Kiara. They offer courses in Mobile App Development, Web Development, Electronics, Python programming combined with Mathematics, and more! This course is open to kids from age 6 to 18. The content materials are dynamic and the system is running by Artificial Intelligence that makes the learning individualized depending on their ability.

KidoCode’s program aims to introduce kids and teens to technology and provide learners with a unique learning experience in the 5 main domains of I.T. at their own scheduling! They are operating 7 days a week from 10am-10pm, even Public Holidays!

Parents who want to find out more about this course can sign their kids up for a FREE Demo which is being conducted from Tuesday-Sunday until the end of December to February.

Register now at

KidoCode Sdn. Bhd.
+603 6411 0968
L-2-3A Solaris Mont Kiara,
Jalan Solaris Off Jalan Duta Kiara,
50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Sunday, December 18, 2016

KSSM - What's New Compared To KBSM

This post is for those going to secondary school or Form 1 in 2017. In this post I will talk about the new KSSM syllabus and subjects for lower secondary school going kids or SMR. I will not be talking about SMA syllabus or subjects.

Firstly before you continue reading this post, you should know some of the terms used and what they mean.

Terms used in this post:
  • KSSR = Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah
  • KSSM = Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Menengah
  • KBSM =  Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Menengah
  • DSKP = Dokumen Standard Kurikulum dan Pentaksiran
  • SMR = Sekolah Menengah Rendah (Lower Secondary School)
  • SMA = Sekolah Menengah Atas (Upper Secondary School)

What does all this mean to us as a parent? As a parent, reading all the acronyms make our heads spin a little. So, in this post, I will try to make it as simple as possible, cutting out a lot of technical terms with lengthy explanations. You can still get those too because links will be provided.

Please note that this is not an official document/article. This is merely what I got by researching and curating information found around the web to try to understand the subjects or syllabus that kids going to Form 1 starting in 2017 will be studying.

Kids going to Form 1 in 2017 will be the first batch that completed the new KSSR syllabus and sat for the new format UPSR in 2016 for the first time.

They will now move on to do the new KSSM syllabus in Form 1. Before this, secondary school students did the KBSM syllabus. So, what is the difference between KSSM and KBSM?

Here are some links you may find useful on this subject:

1. Taklimat KSSM kepada pengetua by slideshare user roszelan majid. Note that the slides were published in 2012 so there may be changes thereafter. The slides are embedded below for easy sharing.

Go straight to page 11 of the slides to see the subject changes of KBSM vs KSSM. You will notice that the following subjects are not in KSSM syllabus. 

Old subjects under KBSM 
  1. "Pendidikan Sivik Dan Kewarganegaraan (PSK)" and 
  2. "Kemahiran Hidup Bersepadu"
Ignore the new KSSM subjects in the slides because this appears to be a dated document.  (I merely included it to show the old subjects under KBSM because I could not find it elsewhere in the newer links which I shall share with you below)

Taklimat KSSM kepada pengetua. from roszelan majid

2. What are the new subjects included in KSSM?

Teachers can download the DSKP for each subject and this information and download links are often widely available on the internet. If you search online, you may find many teacher's blogs with the download links. Many of these are dated 2016 so this will be more recently updated than the link provided above.

Here are two places you can find the DSKP KSSM Tingkatan 1 (Form 1)

Both show two subjects previously not under KBSM. 

New subjects under KSSM 
  1. "Reka Bentuk dan Teknologi" and 
  2. "Asas Sains Komputer"
I shared the two links above because they are presented in an easy to read format. However, those who are interested in the official download links and who have time to go through long pages of documentation meant for teachers who will be teaching the subjects can download the DSKP KSSM Tingkatan 1 etc. from here: Bahagian Pembangunan Kurikulum Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia Document Download These will show you each KSSM subject in detail.

There are some who once the child reaches secondary school, do not follow the syllabus, subjects etc. as closely as they did when their child was in primary school. 

I remember the words of a secondary school teacher who once said "Many parents think that once the child reaches secondary school, they do not need as much guidance as before. Look! They say. My child is even taller than me now. He/She can very well look after themselves." As a result, many of the parents do not even know the children are playing truant behind their backs when they drop them off to school. According to the teacher, once the child reaches secondary school, they need just as much support as well as a different sort of guidance from us. That is why I feel it is important to at least know what they will be studying in school, don't you?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Free Christmas Themed Colouring Pages For Kids, Teens And Adults

I didn't realize that we are so close to Christmas because I have been busy working. I work online so sometimes working equals to surfing. It was while surfing that I came across this wonderful free Christmas Themed Colouring Pages For Kids, Teens and Adults. No, actually it is not merely colouring pages but a whole free downloadable holiday colouring book with 92 pages of Christmas themed art! The paperback copy is available on Amazon for $11.49 but you get to download the ebook for free. 

I downloaded a copy for myself and was delighted to find so many different styles of Christmas themed colouring pages. You will find Santa, Reindeers, Christmas Trees, Ornaments, Quotes, Snowmen, Christmas Wreaths, Angels, Gingerbread Houses, Christmas Doodles, and more. The illustration styles from participating Art Licensing Show Artists are varied and the designs suitable for everyone who loves colouring from kids to adults. 

Here's the download link for this free Christmas Themed Colouring Book. Enjoy! I'm off to colour my Merry Christmas Wreath now.

92 Free Coloring Pages

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