Top 5 Best Spots to Catch the New Year’s Eve Fireworks (2016 Edition)

Fireworks visible from the Fullerton Hotel Singapore and its vicinity.
Photo by The Fullerton Heritage
Fireworks visible from the Fullerton Hotel Singapore and its vicinity.

An eventful year, 2016, is going to exit with a big bang. As we bid farewell to 2016 and usher in 2017, New Year’s Eve will be a sight to behold here on the shores of Singapore. Without doubt, Singaporeans and visitors alike will enjoy the spectacular fireworks display and a myriad of other exhibits even more as space for revellers are designated as ‘vehicle-free zones’.

Head to the Marina Bay precinct and join in the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2017, Singapore’s annual iconic New Year’s Eve celebration.

From this focal point, you can find spots to catch beautiful views of the fireworks and other exhibits on display. Check out our suggested venues for an awe-inspiring night, including some practical tips on what to do if your child becomes nervous at the loud celebrations happening all around.

1. Fireworks from the Benjamin Sheares Bridge

It really pays to know one’s bridges and the history of a fine President. The Benjamin Sheares Bridge is named after Dr Benjamin Sheares, a distinguished obstetrician and gynaecologist who became the second President of our Republic.

Incidentally, the bridge is the longest and tallest in Singapore.

The Benjamin Sheares Bridge offers pedestrians a splendid view of the fireworks on Marina Bay. Here, you can celebrate the arrival of a New Year with your family, with a prominent historical landmark as the backdrop.

2. Fireworks from The Lawn @ Marina Bay and the Promontory

The Lawn @ Marina Bay and the Promontory are not smack in the middle of action, but you can still catch decent views of the fireworks.

The Lawn @ Marina Bay is where you can catch fireworks from ground level, while the waterfront Promontory looks directly onto the Bay.

3. Video Mapping on The Fullerton Hotel’s façade

The special light display at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.
Photo by The Fullerton Heritage
The special light display at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.

 

View of the fireworks from the Clifford Pier, in the same direction as One Fullerton.
Photo by The Fullerton Heritage
View of the fireworks from the Clifford Pier, in the same direction as One Fullerton.

As part of the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2017, the spectacular 3D projection show ‘A New Dawn’ will light up the façade of The Fullerton Hotel Singapore from 26 to 31 December 2016 at the following times: 8pm, 9pm, 10pm and 11pm.

On 31 December 2016, the extra show at 11:54pm will be followed by splendid fireworks display. These shows can be viewed from Cavenagh Bridge across The Fullerton Hotel, and at One Fullerton.

4. Sumptuous Dining or Glass of Champagne at the Mandarin Oriental Singapore

Dolce Vita restaurant
Photo by The Mandarin Oriental Singapore
Dolce Vita restaurant, with Harbour View Terrace just steps away

Indulge in a 6-course Italian set dinner at Dolce Vita (S$298++), and at this prime position, you will have full view of the fireworks. Seats are filling up fast, so you might want to make a reservation quickly. Otherwise, it’s walk-ins (no reservations and standing only) at the outdoor Harbour Terrace for $75 nett with a glass of champagne. Guests are welcomed here 10pm onwards, with a full view of the fireworks.

5. An Organic Wonder with Fireworks at Gardens by the Bay

Set amidst beautiful pavilions and wide open lawns, the Bay East Garden at Gardens by the Bay offers amazing views of the Marina skyline and fireworks display.

The Garden is open 24/7 and admission is free, which makes it a perfect place for the whole family to usher in the new year. Enjoy!

Not sure what to do when your child gets nervous about the fireworks display? Head over to the next page for some tips!

6 Effective Ways to Compliment and Motivate Your Child

how to compliment and motivate your child

What parent doesn’t love to praise his or her children? When a child does something praise-worthy, from accomplishing a difficult math problem to creating a piece of art, a proud parent can’t help but be enthusiastic.

Yet, parents should be wary of over-the-top, glowing praise that focuses on stroking a child’s ego. Over time, hollow phrases like “Good job” become white noise, either not heard or ignored by your child.

how to compliment and motivate your child

Here are 6 specific ways to constructively compliment children:

1. Encourage

Encouragement is effective because it:

a) Allows you to select a characteristic or behaviour you want to develop or foster in a positive and constructive way

b) Lets you call attention to their process

You support the process and help build your child’s confidence. When she comes home with a poor grade on a test, you might say: “I like the effort you put into studying. Maybe a bit more next time, you think?”

You are complimenting the process, not the outcome. You are making her responsible.

2. Mirror

If you are consistently responsive, your child is more likely to be confident. It can be a trick on a skateboard, a gymnastic feat, a piano piece mastered or almost mastered, a tennis match won or almost won. Let her know that you see her and recognize her accomplishments, large and small.

Ask to see her collection of dolls, or rocks, or something similar. Observe and talk about how orderly it is, how well she’s protecting it. Or ask, “Where did you find all these things?”

Your undivided attention is worth more than platitudes shouted from another room. Showing an interest in what’s he’s interested packs more of a punch than simply saying, “What a fabulous collection.” It positions your child as an expert — what a confidence boost!

3. Listen

Most of us are overscheduled and distracted, often too distracted to give children what they need. Acknowledge them and give them an honest assessment of what they’re doing. Take time to listen and make sure your children know you’re listening. Listen to complaints and be empathetic. Don’t immediately take your child’s or the teacher’s side, for instance. Hear his point of view.

Allowing your child to explain tells him you value his point of view and observations. Being heard is a powerful motivator.

4. Reward

Focus on the direction your child is moving in. You might say: “You improved so much since your last report card. Aren’t you proud of yourself? You should be.” When your child is memorizing a poem or words for a spelling test, you might say: “You almost had it. You’ll get it.”

And when your child succeeds (a grade improvement or a sports milestone, for example), you might say: “You got an A! You just proved to yourself that you should never give up.”

You are teaching your child to internalize her abilities and to eventually be able to evaluate herself accurately.

5. Reinforce

You might say: “I like the song you sang for grandma and grandpa. Would you sing it for me now?” Or, you might ask your child to retell a joke or ask for instruction: “The dog seems to respond so well to your training. Show me how you get him to do that, please.”

Reliving bright moments reminds children of their “strong suits”. You are telling your child she has something worthwhile to offer and share with you. Showing a genuine interest allows a child to relive accomplishments, and this kind of response can cultivate diligence and determination.

6. Question

You might say: “How did you choose the colours for that picture? What did you use to make those lines? It’s so unusual, interesting, real, pretty, cheerful…”

You’re asking about the process, making your child think about how he created his work or tackled a project and what he might do next time.

When you combine these techniques and use them regularly, you put your child on a direct, merited path toward self-confidence. Isn’t that what compliments are for in the first place?

 

Suggested Reading: 5 Lessons Kids Can Learn from Losing

 

Republished with permission from Dr Susan Newman, social psychologist, parenting expert and best-selling author.

4 Ways to Curb Internet Addiction in Kids

The risks are very real. Internet predators do lure kids into meeting them, resulting in tragedies that include abduction and murder. So in the same way that you appropriately monitor your child’s physical whereabouts, you’ll want to supervise your child’s Internet usage and teach her web smarts, from net etiquette to web literacy and simple safety.

Where do you begin? Online, of course. Start by educating yourself – then you’ll be in a better position to protect and direct your kids. Just remember that while your kids may know more than you do about technology, you know more about life. And you are allowed to set the rules and enforce them. You are still the parent!

how to curb internet addiction in kids

Keeping your kids safe online doesn’t just mean keeping them safe from predators. The most common danger of kids using devices is the addiction. Most adults have a hard time managing their own device usage, so it’s not surprising that our kids beg for screen time and have a hard time turning off their devices.

Tired of fights about screen time? There are some things you can do to help your child avoid device addictions, beginning with these tips:

1. Face the Truth about Devices

They’re addictive, and they change the way our brains work. When we let our children use devices, we are leaving them at the mercy of this addiction. That’s why it is our responsibility to support our children in learning to manage their use of devices.

2. Take Responsibility for Your Child’s Use of Devices

Which devices are you going to allow in your house? How can you teach your children to use each one responsibly? At what age is it appropriate to introduce each kind of device to your child? It is your right as a parent to manage your child’s activities online because that is a public sphere (unlike a diary, for instance, which is private).

3. Walk Your Talk

Needless to say, if you barely look up from your phone when you’re with your child, you can expect your child to act the same way in a few years. Children often say “My mum snaps at me when I interrupt her when she’s on her computer….” That’s only natural. But is whatever you’re doing at that moment really more important than your child?

4. Guide Your Child

If you’re going to let your child use devices, you can expect some “addicted” behaviour. Don’t blame your child. Give him or her the support needed to manage his or her relationship with electronics. Make some family rules, such as:

  • Talk to your kids about each new social media channel or device when they start using it
  • Make written contracts
  • Keep all device usage in the public areas of your home
  • Constantly monitor and enforce your agreements
  • Use timers and monitoring software
  • Be the computer administrator
  • Schedule some technology-free time on weekends
  • Enforce the “No social media until after homework is finished” rule

 

See A Problem in Your Child’s Device Usage? Most Likely, There’s A Real-Life Problem Too.

Intervene appropriately. Don’t wait. Stay connected with your child so you know what’s going on in his life and sense when there’s a problem.

 

Suggested reading: All You Need to Know About Impulse Control

 

Republished with permission from Dr. Laura Markham, founder of AhaParenting.com and author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting and Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life

MindChamps featured in The Business Times on 29 March 2016

Dear Parents,

It gives us great pleasure to share with you that The Business Times has featured the MindChamps ChampionGOLD Standard and the appointment of our Chief Academic Officer, Mr Steven Andrews, in their paper on 29 March 2016.

MindChamps-BT (29 Mar 16).jpg

As a progressive and innovative education institute, we do not believe in resting on our laurels and will continue to raise the bar for education with the development of our ChampionGOLD Standard, which is a comprehensive array of educational, operational and service-oriented benchmarks. This will allow us to implement our standards organisation-wide and ensure that the quality of our education and service is solid and scalable. Importantly, as MindChamps is already the mark against which other organisations measure themselves, the Champion-GOLD Standard is now the mark against which we, at MindChamps, measure our own performance.

Champion Gold LOGO
The ChampionGold Standard logo, our mark of distinction

We are also pleased to introduce to you, Mr Steven Andrews, who has joined us as our Chief Academic Officer. Steven’s distinguished career include his appointments as the former Senior Education Advisor to the United Kingdom government under the Tony Blair administration, former CEO of Tanglin Trust School, Singapore and the former Director of Education, Leicester City. Steven will play an important role in the implementation of our Champion-GOLD Standard and help us achieve the very highest standard of quality.

Lastly, we are proud to share with you that our Founder, Chairman and Group CEO, Mr David Chiem, was amongst the 56 out of 2,000 business leaders from the top Singapore 1000 corporations and SMEs who were featured in the Business Times (see below and attached) yesterday as well.

Business-Leaders-Feature-Page.jpg

Thank you for your continuous support and we look forward to sharing with you more of such exciting news in the near future!

What is Your Child’s Learning Style?

Is your child’s constant fidgeting while doing homework or their need to listen to music while studying causing you to worry? There’s no need to lose sleep over this – he/she might just be doing what is needed to learn.

your child's learning style

According to child psychologists, every child learns differently, and finding out your child’s learning style can help you work with him/her towards academic success. In a classroom setting, some kids learn best by hearing the teacher explain it, some learn by observing what’s on the whiteboard, while others learn through hands-on activities.

Do take note of the following types of learning styles to find out what works best for your child:

Auditory Learners

Auditory learners typically absorb information from spoken words, and they may like to study by reciting information aloud. If your child is an auditory learner, he/she may need may need a quiet space to study with soft music playing in the background.

Strategies that work:

  • Talking to themselves or with others about what they are learning
  • Reciting important information aloud – they may even record it and play it back again
  • Using word associations to remember facts, or creating a tune to help them remember information
  • Limiting distractions and background noises/activity

Kinaesthetic Learners

Kinaesthetic learners learn best by “doing and touching”. As they prefer to be active while studying, they may have problems focusing when sitting still. They process information by writing it down or doing hands-on activities.

Strategies that work:

  • Reading aloud and tracking words on a page with their finger
  • Writing things down multiple times to help them memorise
  • Highlighting and underlining key points
  • Taking frequent study breaks
  • Doing hands-on activities, such as building models and playing games

Visual Learners

Visual learners take in new information by reading, looking at and drawing graphics and charts, or watching a demonstration. Children who are visual learners benefit from seeing information presented in a chart or graph, and may get impatient listening to details and explanation for long periods of time.

Strategies that work:

  • Organising facts by using flash cards, charts, tables, mind maps and illustration
  • Highlighting, underlining and colour-coding information
  • Taking down notes and reviewing them

your child's learning style

What to do next

Maureen McKay, author and founder of Optimistic Outcomes, a website that provides tips to parents based on their child’s learning style, advises parents to keep in mind that although it is tempting to stick with learning strategies that work, their child’s preferred learning style may change as he/she grows up. In addition, people who learn in a variety of ways are known to be  able to absorb information more easily.

“Really well-balanced students will be able to be comfortable learning in all ways. Knowing that and working on that when they’re young gives them a competitive advantage,” she says.

They key here is to use a variety of approaches to help kids learn. For example, when your child gets bored with the same flash cards routine (a visual strategy) to learning Maths, McKay suggests using a family board game that uses two dice and asking him/her to count how many spaces each player should advance. This is a kinaesthetic approach which may also appeal to visual and auditory learners.

An Understanding that Strengthens Family Relationships

Indeed, when parents are aware of their child’s learning style, this can help to reduce study battles and strengthen the parent-child bond.

“It’s very empowering for families to really understand each other and how they learn and how they think to work out problems,” McKay says. “This kind of involvement is a great way to bond with your kids and to impart knowledge, and it’s really fun.”

Diamond Rain

raining diamonds

Imagine this.

Tomorrow, when you wake up, you swing your legs out of bed, find your slippers with your feet, and make your way across to the window to open the blind and let in the new day.

It is raining. Again.

Nothing particularly unusual, you might think – except that as you watch the rain falling down outside the window, you realise that this time it is different.

Because, this time, instead of raining… rain, it is raining diamonds. Beautiful, brilliant-cut, high-quality stones – some the size of pigeon eggs, some barely a carat, but all of them perfect.

The breakfast announcer on the radio, his voice even more hysterical than usual, informs you that this miraculous diamond rain phenomenon is repeating itself across the entire planet, on every continent, in every major population centre. Billions and billions of the precious stones, falling like a gift from the heavens.

For a moment, it is better than Christmas. A fortune dropping out of the sky; yours to pick up and possess.

You rush outside to fill your pockets. Perhaps you take a shopping bag, so that you can gather even more of the treasure.

Some of your neighbours are already out there, raking the stones into piles, shovelling them into wheel-barrows or sacks, smiling like Aladdin in the cave of the forty-thieves.

But then you stop, as the realisation strikes.

There is no point in rushing to gather up the precious stones, to store them away like a squirrel’s cache of winter nuts.

The phenomenon is worldwide. Which means…

That from today on, diamonds will be as common, worldwide, as pebbles or rocks.

That the value of a diamond will, therefore, be about the same as that of a pebble or rock.

Virtually worthless.

And that goes for the diamonds which in the past, you spent so much of your hard-earned salary to buy.

We live, today in an era akin to the diamond rain of this imaginary scenario. The sky has not unleashed a storm of the once-precious stones, of course, but human ingenuity has, almost overnight, devalued what has been, for most of human history, the most valuable commodity known to Man – information.

Like the diamonds in our story, it falls from the air around us, bidding us to pick it up and use it – but as we will discover later – its very availability renders it, in and of itself, almost valueless.

In the world of the Information Revolution, our concepts of information and knowledge – and of education itself – are in drastic need of a rethink.

Information – in the sense of raw data – is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other and we need them all.
~Arther C.Clarke (scientist and author)

The above is a modified abstract from the book ‘The 3-Mind Revolution‘.
The
3-Mind Revolution discusses the concept of a “trinity of minds” that consists of:

  • The Champion Mind
  • The Learning Mind, and
  • The Creative Mind

If we are to negotiate our way successfully through our exciting new world, all the three minds need to develop in unison. Join our complimentary workshop to learn more about how MindChamps programmes are specially designed by experts in the fields of education, neurology, psychology and theatre from around the world, to develop the 3 minds of young children.

lightbox save my spot

Which is Better for your Child – Digital Books or Traditional Books?

digital vs traditional books

Recently there has been considerable, and sometimes heated, debate in the media regarding the relative merits of digital books and traditional (or paper) books.

So, which format is better for your child?

This question involves what educational researchers call ‘a false dichotomy’. After all, very little – in education or in life – is ‘either/or’.

Some parents are concerned that the quality of digital books is not as high as traditional books, and are avoiding using them at home. As technology continues to move forward, however, we must accept that some, if not all, books and stories our children will read later in childhood and into adulthood will be in digital form. Given this reality, it is prudent to prepare our children, by familiarising them thoroughly with digital formats.  Having said this, however, we must exercise caution and good judgment in regard to the books we choose – in any format – and the ways in which we use them.

Both traditional and digital books have beneficial features that can assist the literacy development of our children, as we can see here:

Beneficial Features of Traditional Books

The main benefit of traditional books for pre-schoolers (especially babies and toddlers) is that they have tactile features that digital books do not have – such as moving parts and a variety of surfaces.  Young children have a heightened tactile affinity and benefit from the stimulation of an unusual surface in a book, or opening, closing and sliding parts to add meaning to the story and generate greater interest and excitement.

The intonation and emotional interpretation a parent can put into reading a book is far superior to the pre-recorded voice of a digital book.

Beneficial Features of Digital Books

There are some fantastic features of digital books too, such as animation of pictures, sound effects and music. These features will capture the attention of infants and young children, and will add excitement to a reading experience – as long as they are carefully designed so as not to divert the easily-distracted child, thus interfering with the narrative flow and the association between the written word and the sound.

Despite its benefits, digital books come with a hidden danger too! Find out what it is on the next page…

Your Child’s Future is Collectively in Our Hands

Are you looking for a preschool for your child?
Unsure which preschool is the best for him/her?

You are invited to attend the MindChamps Preschool Curriculum Talk presented by Founder and Group CEO, Mr David Chiem.

Have your questions answered on the following:
– What is the school’s educational philosophy?
– What kind of training and credentials do the teachers hold?
– What is science behind our world-renowned curriculum?
– Why MindChamps PreSchool is voted as the No. 1 choice by Singapore parents?*
– How does MindChamps PreSchool prepare young children for the challenges of the future?


MindChamps PreSchool Curriculum Talk
Date: 19 March 2016
Time: 10am – 12.30pm (Sat)
Venue: Professor Snyder Theatre
Address: HDB Hub East Wing, Level 17, 480 Lor 6 Toa Payoh

Click HERE to register for the talk.

 

*According to a survey of 4,000 participants carried out by Brand Alliance, 2015

Communicating With Your Pre-schooler – Fostering Effective Communication and Social Skills (Part 4)

communicating with pre-schoolers

Golden Rule #4: Develop strategies for Controlling Negative Emotions in Any Situation

When emotions (yours or your child’s) create a barrier to resolving a situation, it is important to have strategies in place, to ‘defuse’ the moment.

1. Especially in times of crisis, or when they are ‘in trouble’, don’t ‘stand over’ your child.

Standing over your child may well win reluctant obedience, but our aim is to guide and share, rather than dictate and dominate.  Instead, physically try and get down to your child’s level (crouch, sit on a low stool or on the floor), then talk.  For an excellent example of this approach, watch a really good kindergarten teacher in operation.

2. If you are very upset or angry about a behaviour or an incident, allow some ‘time out’ to calm yourself down and regain control before ‘dealing’ with the incident.

Emotional responses are never as effective as considered ones.  Though you might feel the need to address the incident immediately, it is far better to deal with it effectively and with a positive resolution, than to take action that is fuelled by unmanaged emotion.

As a guide, it takes about 20 minutes for a heightened emotional state to subside, as long as there is an absence of further aggravation.

Give your child some time on his/her own, to think about what has occurred, and then find a way to disperse the anger before discussing the incident. Say something non-threatening like “We both need some time to calm down and think a little bit about what happened.  When we are both calm we can have a talk about it”.

3. Avoid asking “Why?” as your first question

“Why” is usually interpreted as an accusation demanding an excuse and puts the child on the defensive.

Begin by simply asking “What happened?” and follow with something like “Tell me all you can” or “How did you feel”. The “Why?” question will follow naturally, but without forcing the justification – which may be unclear.

Questions which draw out the truth without accusation reduce the level of ‘threat’ the child is feeling and lead to a resolution far more efficiently than threats or badgering.

 

What should you do if you suspect that your child is lying to you? Read on for more tips on the next page.

MindChamps PreSchool @ Buangkok is now open!

Parents, if you are residing in the Serangoon North, Ang Mo Kio and Hougang vicinities, do look out for the new MindChamps PreSchool @ Buangkok.

mindchamps preschool, buangkok, serangoon north, ang mo kio, hougang
The entrance of the new MindChamps PreSchool at Buangkok

Located on Level 2 of the new Popular Headquarters along Serangoon North Avenue 5, MindChamps PreSchool @ Buangkok comes fully equipped with 8,000 sq ft of learning spaces.

mindchamps preschool, buangkok, serangoon north, ang mo kio, hougang
MindChamps PreSchool @ Buangkok features spacious learning spaces to provide a comfortable learning environment to our champs.
Cheerful indoor playground for our little champs
Cheerful indoor playground for our little champs
Our spacious gymnasium
Our spacious gymnasium
Thoughtfully planned spaces
Thoughtfully planned spaces
Props for role-playing
Props for role-playing

For more details and to register your interest, please contact us at 88384863.

How to get there

MindChamps PreSchool @ Buangkok is a short walk away from Roysth Primary school and Hougang One.