Top 1% for five consecutive years

For the 5th consecutive year since 2011, MindChamps has been placed amongst the top 1% of Singapore’s leading corporations and SMEs. The rankings, which involves stringent and intensive reviews of over 70,000 audited financials obtained from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore (ACRA), was announced by DP Information Group – the official ranking body of companies in Singapore.

 

MindChamps Founder and Group CEO, Mr David Chiem, explained the reason for its consistent success: “Success in education is the result of earning people’s trust. We were very pleased, this past year, when an independent survey showed that MindChamps is most often associated in people’s minds with programmes based on strong research and science.”

 

To ensure that standards could be implemented organisation-wide and the quality of its education and service is solid and scalable, MindChamps spent years developing its ‘Champion-GOLD Standard’, a comprehensive array of educational, operational and service-oriented benchmarks that can be applied and measured across every service it offers.

Through the development and implementation of the ‘Champion-GOLD standard’, MindChamps is working to take the gold-standard of education to a whole new level so as to achieve the very highest standards of quality.

David expounded: “MindChamps is already the mark against which other organisations measure themselves. Now, the Champion-GOLD Standard is the mark against which we, at MindChamps, measure our own performance.”

 

Media Contact:

Mr. Alwyn Chia
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
MindChamps Holdings Private Limited
DID:  6828 2675
Email: alwynchia@mindchamps.org

Communicating With Your Pre-schooler – Fostering Effective Communication and Social Skills (Part 3)

gentle alternatives to time-out

Golden Rule #3: Provide Support While Encouraging Independence

Empowerment does not mean doing everything for your children – is means giving your children the guidance and confidence to back their own judgement.  It is an important part of preparing a young person for the demands of the world.  The more your children come to rely on you, the less able they will be to rely on themselves.

Guidance – Not Dependence

When presented with a challenge facing our child, it is by far the easiest approach to use our experience to create a solution, which can then be given directly to the young person.  Problem solved.

If we know an answer, the quickest and least demanding response is to provide it, so that things can move efficiently onward.  If we see our children making a mistake, is it natural to ‘set them straight’ immediately – even forcefully – to avoid inconvenience, embarrassment or extra work that the mistake might produce.

But is this the best approach?

Remember the role of the parent is that of a ‘guide’ – not oracle, dictator or ‘fairy godmother’.  If the young never have to solve problems or deal with adversity or consequences, how can they learn how to react to such events, when you are no longer there to solve everything for them?

During times of disappointment or crisis, let your children know that you still love and support them, no matter the result.

communicating with pre-schoolers

The research of Professor Allan Snyder indicates that being able to cope with and embrace the learnings provided by setbacks and adversity is one of the key markers of championship.

In What Makes a Champion!, Professor Snyder writes:

Champions are often familiar with adversity.  They have to ‘fight’ to get where they are…They learn how to convert…’upsets into setups’…Struggling is the early learning process possibly acclimatises us to difficulties, and may advantage us in dealing with adversity [later].  What has emerged from our research is the possible necessity of overcoming adversity as a preparation for being a champion.

 

As a parent, your support for your child during periods of adversity is great for their morale.  Show that you will help if they need you to, but don’t offer or try to solve every problem for them immediately.

For parents of pre-school children, this may be as simple as allowing your child to see if they can balance on a balance beam by themselves and resist the temptation to run up and hold their hand before they ask.

It could be standing back and giving your child some time to test their negotiating skills if you observe that they have begun to argue with their friend over the use of a toy.

We may watch our child attempt to follow the instructions on the Lego packet, even if they become a little frustrated and make mistakes, rather than doing it quickly for them.

We might encourage our shy child to stand at the ice-cream shop counter and, using their ‘big voice’, give their order to the shop assistant themselves rather than doing it for them.

Gradually Introduce Responsibility

By assuming accountability one small step at a time, young people learn to develop responsible attitudes.  They feel more useful and valued, and invariably respond positively.  To learn responsibility, they need to practice being responsible.

Your example is important, of course, but you wouldn’t expect a child to learn to ride a bike just by watching you.  Observation gives them the basic principles, but they need to sit on the seat and ‘get a feel’ of the pedals and handle bars, and learn to balance if they are ever going to become an accomplished bike rider.

 

To Sum Up

When assessing your child’s performance or achievement when dealing with challenges:

  • Show that you will help if they need you to, but don’t offer or try to ‘solve’ every problem for them immediately.
  • Gradually introduce responsibility to your children.

 

Suggested Reading:
Communicating With Your Pre-schooler – Fostering Effective Communication and Social Skills (Part 1) (Part 2)

 

This article is a modified excerpt from the book ‘Pre-school Parenting Secrets – Talking with the Sky’. Get the book here or from major bookstores. 

 


Communicating With Your Pre-schooler – Fostering Effective Communication and Social Skills (Part 2)

From birth, our children are actually ‘hard-wired’ to respond to a smile with positive emotion. It banishes fear or insecurity, and says, ‘I am here for you. Nothing you have to say can change the way I feel about you.’

So remember, whatever you want to say to your child, begin with a smile…

communicating with pre-schoolers

Golden Rule Number Two: Give Your Full Attention to All the Possibilities in a Communication Situation – No Matter What the Distractions.

Confidence is the key to success. By far the best way for a parent to build confidence in a young child is to show them respect, acknowledge that they are important and that what they have to say is important.

We cannot hope to guide or inspire if our children think we do not care – or that their concerns are not important enough to warrant our total attention.

Whether we are communicating face-to-face, or just wish our child to know how we feel about them, focusing on all manner of communication modes is the key to effective inspiration.

Paying Attention

If you are reading or watching TV, stop and make it obvious that you are stopping willingly to talk about something ‘more important’.

Communication is primarily an emotional activity. By stopping what you are doing, and giving your child your full attention, you are giving the right emotional signal to open up strong communication channels.

If it is impossible to talk at the moment your child approaches you, it is important that they understand that it is no reflection on their importance, but simply a result of circumstances. Following up on the conversation as soon as possible afterwards reassures the child, and shows that you respect them and their issues.

communicating with pre-schoolers

The Power of Touch

Young children are very kinesthetic. A touch or a hug can communicate as much positive emotion as any words.

Social signals can be confusing – especially for the young – but the meaning of a touch is generally unambiguous.

A hand laid softly on the arm or the shoulder; the backs of the fingers touching or running softly down the cheek; holding the child’s gaze while taking his head gently in both hands and drawing him towards you until your foreheads meet; a protective hug in times of high emotion – these are almost universally effective gestures of love and support, even in families which do not usually practice them.

One common symptom of dysfunctionality within a family is the inability of family members to display warmth and affection through tactile displays.

Smiling

Most people underestimate the power of a smile. A smile opens up the channels of communication – even with total strangers – because it communicates at a non-conscious level.

From birth, our children are actually ‘hard-wired’ to respond to a smile with positive emotion. It banishes fear or insecurity, and says, ‘I am here for you. Nothing you have to say can change the way I feel about you.’

So remember, whatever you want to say to your child, begin with a smile…

Find ‘Private Time’ for Important Moments

The best time for communication between you and your child is when no one else is around. It means they only have to focus on one person, without splitting their attention.

Only involve other parties if there is some specific reason why they need to be involved. Young children feel less ‘pressured’ one-on-one.

 

To Sum Up:

When you wish to really communicate with your child, or when they really want to communicate with you:

  • Pay attention to the conversation and to your child as an important individual
  • Be free with hugs and other tactile signs of affection
  • Teach yourself to smile
  • Maintain a sense of privacy between you and your child

 

This article is a modified excerpt from the book Pre-school Parenting Secrets – Talking with the Sky. Get the book here.

Suggested Reading: Communicating With Your Pre-schooler – Fostering Effective Communication and Social Skills (Part 1)

The Simple Art of Saying What You Mean (To Your Kids)

The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.
~ Joseph Priestley

As a parent, you might, once or twice, have found yourself making a comment — something like this:

“My child never seems to do what I ask! He always seems to do the very thing I ask him NOT to do!”

Well, you may be surprised to find that your child may have actually been doing exactly what you asked all along! Read on to uncover a simple language strategy that can help all parents communicate more effectively with their children.

preschool years

The Pre-School Years Are a Time When Language Blossoms!

During pre-school years, children experience rapid language acquisition. As they learn about the world, they experiment with language by ‘trial and error’.

Every parent knows how delightful it is to be around pre-schoolers who are experimenting with their newfound and fast-improving language skills. Learning language is skill that occurs so naturally, and yet it is neurologically very complex.

Consider that all humans first learn language by associating images of objects and living things with sounds. The brain creates an internal image of a thing and connects it with the sound.

Once learned, the information is stored in our brain, ready to be called up as needed. For example, once children learn and store what a tree is, you could ask them, ‘What is a tree?’ and they will access their created internal image of a tree and begin describing that particular image.

What is really interesting is that if you said to children ‘Do NOT think of a tree!’ they will still bring up an image of a tree in their mind. Once the object, thing or idea has been spoken, the mind automatically responds by accessing that image.

Try this experiment – I’m going to ask you NOT to think of a juicy mango. Did you just recall an image of a mango in your mind, even though I asked you not to?

Of course you did!

The Non-conscious and Conscious Minds – When ‘No’ means ‘Yes’

Saying What You Mean

The human mind has long been discussed in terms of having two main ‘divisions’ – the ‘conscious’ and the ‘non-conscious’ (or subconscious, or unconscious – the term are quite imprecise).

Alternatively, we could think of the conscious mind as the General and the non-conscious mind as the Soldiers who follow the orders of the General – most of the time.

Using the analogy of a computer, the non-conscious mind is like all the software programmes and files stored on the hard drive. The conscious mind is like the desktop – including the document or file you are actively working on at the moment.

The non-conscious mind is the storehouse of all the information that we have learned throughout our lives – and of all the automatic behaviours and reflexes which have been ‘hard-wired’ into us by our genes, through evolution.

Our conscious mind selects information from the non-conscious storage depending on what is needed. For example, all the language we acquire is stored in the non-conscious mind. So, when a child learns that an object with brown bark and green leaves is called a tree, the internal image and sound for ‘tree’ are stored in the non-conscious mind.

Only when we’re actively thinking and talking about a tree – or if we happen to be surrounded by trees – will the information we know about trees appear as it by magic into the conscious mind. It is important that our mind is organised into non-conscious and conscious, because it would be impossible to consciously think of all the things we’ve ever learned in our lives all at the same time – we’d go crazy!

We simply don’t have the capacity (the RAM) to think of everything we know. It would be the equivalent of opening up every programme, every document and every file on your computer simultaneously – the CPU gets instantly overwhelmed, and the system freezes.

Apart from the ‘day-to-day housekeeping tasks’ of constantly monitoring the body’s condition and states, and adjusting and fine-tuning every aspect of our physical function, the non-conscious mind has many other roles.

For example, it is designed to follow instructions in a direct, literal, non-judgemental and almost ‘robotic’ way. It does not make decisions because its job is to store and present information as requested. The non-conscious mind is also the storehouse of the imagination and emotions. There are so many functions within the non-conscious mind that it is no wonder scientists believe it accounts for more than 90% (some say 99%) of our brain’s functions.

Of all the things the non-conscious mind can do, there is one thing it does not do very well, especially when a human being is very young.

The non-conscious mind does not understand the words ‘not’, ‘no’ and ‘don’t’. So when we instruct it not to think of a tree, it still brings up an image of a tree.

Likewise, when we ask it not to run, it will think of running and send impulses to our legs to run. Luckily, as we get older, our lifetime of experience trains the conscious mind to become good at interpretation – at quickly ‘flipping’ the instruction to read:

‘If I shouldn’t run, then I should walk…’.

When children are young, however, they are inexperienced, so they have not yet developed this ability.

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Communicating With Your Pre-schooler – Fostering Effective Communication and Social Skills (Part 1)

As parents, we create a home environment which supplies our children with the raw materials from which they can construct a Champion Mindset. Part of this mindset involves developing highly effective communication skills, which most experts agree will be their most valuable asset in the world of the 21st century.

communicating with pre-schoolers

We are our children’s role models for effective communication. How we communicate is of crucial importance for their language development and for the development of their world view.

The key to effective communication is that as parents, we must keep the channels of communication open between ourselves and our children. This means we need to talk to them, every day and about everything.

The main benefits of open channels of communication are:

  • Enhancing attachment and bonding between parents and their children
  • Developing your child’s sense of belonging and their self-esteem
  • Increasing your child’s emotional intelligence and resilience
  • Being able to inspire and guide our children especially during times when they are under pressure

What is the best way to communicate with pre-school children?

At MindChamps, we have developed four ‘golden rules of communication’. Over the next few weeks, we will discuss these golden rules in detail through our series of ‘Communicating with Your Pre-schooler’ articles.

communicating with pre-schoolers

Golden Rule Number One: Be Aware of your Pre-schooler’s ‘Processing Limitations’

Pre-school children have not yet developed the strategies to cope with complexity and stress as well as adults. The pre-frontal cortex of their brain is still developing, and they are far more likely to respond with their ‘unthinking’ emotions than with their logical faculties when challenges arise.

Controlling the Situation

As the adult, you must be the one to control emotional situations, and avoid creating unnecessary frustration. Inspiration is about empowering the young person to achieve and you can do this only if you are communicating effectively – and without misunderstanding.

To enable and encourage your children to face their challenges successfully, you need to communicate with them in ways that are emotionally intelligent. This means that you are sensitive to their emotions and have the capacity to control your own emotions. It is particularly important for a parent to respond with emotional intelligence in potentially ‘emotional’ situations such as when your child has misbehaved or is in the middle of a squabble with a sibling.

Typically when a child has misbehaved, a parent may seek to quickly find out the truth of the situation. We may ask a number of questions one after the other.  Asking two questions in quick succession, such as “What are you doing with that?” and “Why did you get it out of my cupboard?” will more likely cause a young child to ‘short circuit’ – both cognitively and emotionally.

If you are lucky, your child may be able to answer one of the above questions, but more likely they will ‘freeze’ or stutter as they start to formulate an answer to the first question, only to have the thought process interrupted by the second.

As adults, we have the ‘parallel-processing circuitry’ to be able to handle both questions simultaneously and then order our responses. It is a necessary skill for a complex and fast-moving world, which we have developed through years of practice and experience. Young children have not yet developed this capacity.

So the golden rule when asking your child questions is to ask one at a time. And once you have asked that one question, count to three in your mind to give your pre-schooler time to answer. Using this method will reduce the stress in communication, especially in emotional situations.

 

This article is a modified excerpt from the book Pre-school Parenting Secrets – Talking with the Sky. Get the book here.

The ‘Hour-Glass’ Model of Learning

My father was a wise man. Not because he held university degrees or a wall full of certificates, and certainly not because he held positions of great power. He was born with no great advantages, and he struggled all his years to build a life for his children that was better than the one he had inherited. He was a wise man, because, having spent every spare moment of his life in the pursuit of knowledge, he understood what it truly means to be educated.

The purpose of education is not merely to give us the answers we need right now, but rather to provide us with the confidence to go out and teach ourselves

I was about twelve years old, but I still remember the words he used to explain his philosophy to me. “The purpose of education,” he said, “is not merely to give us the answers we need right now, but rather to provide us with the confidence to go out and teach ourselves – for the rest of our lives.”

The complexity of modern society and the demands it places upon all of us – especially the young have resulted in information overload. The world is shrinking, and we are bombarded with data from so many different sources that it is difficult to make sense of it all. At school, the curriculum is filled with topics and facts, processes and techniques in all the myriad subjects, and students have available to them more raw information than at any other time in history.

Raw information can be daunting

But such an array of raw information can be daunting. Which facts are vital? Which are irrelevant? What do I already know that may be important? What do I still need to find out, and where can I access it? For a student facing these issues in a number of disciplines, the task can seem impossible, and the individual can slip into what psychologists call ‘overwhelm’.

But this form of overwhelm is just a symptom of the 21st century obsession with data, where the devil is, indeed, in the details. Our society and, consequently, its educational institutions have become so tied up in content that method is often lost in the background noise.

When I began teaching back in 1976, one old teacher warned me of this tendency. “Teaching,” he said, “is a cumulative profession. They keep adding things, but they don’t take anything away.” That was thirty-seven years ago, and the trend is accelerating. With the availability of so much information – from so many more sources – and with industry and the commercial world demanding so much more schools and their students, teachers are faced with crammed curricula, and it is a heroic task just to negotiate the information. But there is little time left to concentrate on the best approaches to learning.

What is needed is a model of thinking – a simple and effective approach to study – that enables the student to deal with the complexity of the available information in a way that controls it and focuses on the essential details, while filtering out the ‘white noise’ of irrelevant facts and erroneous opinion that fills so much of the internet and many print publications. To achieve this, we have developed an Hourglass Model of Learning:

 

Click here to find out more about how the MindChamps Hourglass Model of Learning is applied in our programmes and redeem a complimentary personal coaching session for your child (Pre-school to Tertiary level).

Article by Mr Brian Caswell, MindChamps‘ Dean of Research & Programme Development

How Parents and Teachers Can Work Together

how parents and teachers can work together

Knowing how and when to partner with your child’s teachers can help to contribute towards the success of his/her education. Research has shown that children whose parents take an active role in their studies and well-being have a better attitude towards learning and perform better in school. Schools recognise the value of cultivating this relationship, and good teachers constantly look for ways and means to engage parents.

In order to make things work, it is important to remember that a partnership is a relationship, a two-way street. Unless there is mutual involvement and respect, what a teacher does alone will only have limited impact.

Parent involvement in Singapore sits on the moderate end on the scale, and this decreases exponentially as a child grows older. It is mostly during specially arranged meetings concerning bad behaviour or poor academic performance that parents take an active role in their child’s education. Waiting until then may be too late, as the already tenuous relationship between parent and teacher is further strained. It takes a lot more effort to repair the relationship, and there is only so much that can be done to promote positive collaboration.

Working Together Towards the Same Goal

how parents and teachers can work together

Both teachers and parents want the same thing for a child: for them to learn and work towards their dreams and aspirations. With a common goal, teachers and parents should be looking in the same direction and speaking the same language.

However, this is often far from the truth, as the relationship between a parent and teacher is usually fragile and fogged with much judgment and misunderstanding. The same source of concern, which is the child, is often also the same source of judgment. Both parents and teachers constantly, and without basis, find themselves judging each other. As a result, the parent-teacher relationship is filled with doubt and suspicion.

Teachers, like parents, want the best for their students. Your child’s teachers are no different, and this should make you a team, not adversaries. Here are some tips on how you can foster a good relationship with your kids’ teachers by working together with them:

1. Make the First Move

how parents and teachers can work together

In most Singapore schools, there is a missing culture of parent-teacher interaction. Teachers get intimidated by their students’ parents for a variety of reasons, and choose to avoid any real interaction with parents. On the other hand, parents seem content to let the days and weeks go by without communicating with their kids’ teachers – just as long as nothing “comes up”. However, in doing so, they have lost many opportunities to team up with the teachers in order to give the best to their children.

Parent-teacher meetings do not have to be awkward and edgy situations that involve a group of adults pushing blame or trying to gain dominance. Do remember that the goal of this parent-teacher partnership is to establish positive contact and help each other support the child in school. It is not to absolve responsibility or to win for the sake of pride. As a parent, you can take the lead, and start building positive connections.

2. Smart Partnership

how parents and teachers can work together

Parent-teacher collaboration should not involve kiasu parents barging into the school office, demanding to do things their way. There have been instances where the parents refuse to back down until the school gives in to their requests.

Needless to say, after one stormy incident, the parent will inevitably leave an impression that sticks in the teacher’s minds. The teacher may start paying attention and check doubly hard on matters concerning the child, but often not in a positive manner. What ends up happening is that this set of parents will fall into the category of parents with whom the teacher may not want to work with and give their best to their kids.

Relationship building is probably one of the most vital yet difficult skills to master. As a parent, if you could model a successful partnership with the school, your child will benefit tremendously from not just the positive connections you make, but simply observing the way you collaborate with others.

With the same goal and the right attitude, parents and teachers can close the gap and become strong partners in education. After all, it takes a village to raise children.

Suggested Reading: 5 Ways to Raise a Child with High Emotional Intelligence

Article contributed by Leong Sou Cheng, a Singaporean educator with teaching experiences in local Singapore schools and international schools around the world.

MindChamps PreSchool @ MacPherson – Opening in Q1 2016!

Mums and dads who are working in the city or residing in Aljunied/Kallang, we will be bringing a MindChamps PreSchool centre near you very soon!

mindchamps preschool, macpherson
Entrance of MindChamps PreSchool @ MacPherson

MindChamps PreSchool @ MacPherson covers a total learning space of 5,800 sq ft and is a short 12 minutes’ drive away from the city centre.

For more details and to register your interest, please contact us at 82334400.

How to get there:

MindChamps PreSchool @ MacPherson is linked to the CBD via the PIE, CTE and KPE. The centre is also located near Aljunied MRT and the future Mattar MRT on the Downtown Line.