Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Emma's progress with Morris Allen English Enrichment

Books, small tables and chairs.

To my surprise, the classrooms at Morris Allen looks like a mini library more than anything. I was expecting a classroom with just table and whiteboards since it’s a English enrichment class. But, I’m glad that the class is more fun than I could imagine.

It has been 2 months since Emma started her English learning with Morris Allen Jurong Point. She looks forward to the class and is enjoying herself. While it’s a 2 hr evening class on weekday, Emma has never complained about tiredness or not wanting to attend the class. We thought of weekends class but we didn’t want to pack the 2 days to the brim and thought spreading it over the week would be more manageable for all of us. Thankfully, it’s working out pretty well so far.

At the start of K1, Emmalyn’s child care teacher asked us to work more on Emma’s writing and phonics; and even suggested phonics classes. She found the foundation of her class pretty weak and admitted that it would be hard for her to drill their basics individually. Naturally, I was worried and spent a little more time to go through activity books and reading. However, I must say the teachers have put in great hard work as we seen great improvements in Emma. 3 quarters went by, she’s able to read much more and write a lot more.

However, I was reminded that it’s actually not just about being able to write or read well as we move along. No doubt, it’s important to be able to write and read as it’s the basics to learning. But, they will eventually master it after lots of practice. Thinking skills, problem solving skills, social skills, curiosity and creativity are far more important in learning & life; but they hard to inculcate. So, why not spend more effort to work on what’s truly important at the peak of their learning?

I do want Emma to perform well academically, ie. good grades, but I don’t want to be forcing it down her unnecessary. Instead, I believe that with strong foundation - good attitudes, interest & skills and supports from teachers & parents, the child should be able to do reasonably well. That’s what we are working on now. I love to watch her emerge to be an independent learner as she grows up.

I’m grateful to have Morris Allen supporting us to help Emma build her foundation as well as English language. You might be wondering since it’s English enrichment class, it should be all about reading and writing English. Yes, but with much more! For K1, Morris Allen English enrichment adopts a holistic & integrated approach aims to work on:

1. Phonics & phonemic awareness
2. Pre-reading & pre-writing skills
3. Independent reading
4. Fine motor skill
5. Speaking confidence & social skill
6. Creative thinking & problem solving
7. Early sentence & story telling
8. Preparation for primary school

Emma’s teacher, Lauren Jones, is good with children and encouraging. She’s from England and have taught children from 18 months to 16 years old in international schools and English language schools. Emma thinks she looks like Elsa! I think so too!

During the 2 hour (with snack break in between) class, they learn through activities based on themes. Emma’s currently on insects theme and sea creatures weeks before. In class, they learn to listen, think, perceive, read, speak, write, draw and even get to colour. There are lots of oral communication, listening and thinking. Teacher Lauren would normally ask the students to share their thoughts about the worksheets activity before guiding them to complete. The class is normally very lively and interactive. They have “workbook” where they store weekly worksheets, parents notices and information sheets. One of the key feature of Morris Allen’s classes is the “homework”. Students get to borrow 3 books from the class library and read them over the week. Emma enjoys borrowing and reading a lot!

Her reading and writing have improved at a faster rate after 2 months of class. But the more obvious change in her was her confidence level and speaking confidence. She speaks a lot when she is with us but used to be very reserved, don’t speak up and take some time to warm up with others. These days, she speaks to strangers without us prompting or encouraging her. Just few days back when I took the girls out on children’s day alone, she chatted and spoke with many strangers. I was pleasantly surprised. She also asked many more questions in deeper level. Eg. Instead of asking what is it, she’s asking more of why things happened.

So glad that she’s progress well with Morris Allen. I look forward to a happy and more confident learner!

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