Oh, the places you’ll go!

Whether your child loves to read or prefers rolling around in the grass, enrichment classes can provide the extra oomph that they need to go further in life.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Photo: 123RF.com
Photo: 123RF.com

Whether your child loves to read or prefers rolling around in the grass, enrichment classes can provide the extra oomph that they need to go further in life

Aidan Seow was born towards the end of his academic year. Like many babies, he was curious, cheerful and a natural born learner but Aidan struggled to keep up with his peers in nursery. When his learning difficulties continued in kindergarten, his parents took action. They enrolled him into a comprehensive English language enrichment class at Lorna Whiston Schools and lo and behold, Aidan began to progress! By age six he had cultivated a voracious reading habit and by age nine, Aidan was consistently scoring one of the highest marks in his Primary 3 class.

What do I do if my child is falling behind his peers?

“I think parents recognise the need to give their children a firm foundation before they start their formal school years from Primary 1 onwards,” says Esther Wong, Regional Director for Marketing and Business Development at Lorna Whiston Schools. “Enrichment programmes play an essential part in giving children a head start. All parents want their children to be well-prepared so that their kids can truly enjoy school,” she explains.

Other early educators agree. Sue Lynn Lee from The Learning Lab, says an academic-based programme taught in a low-stress environment is particularly important for children who are five years old and below. “Kids at this age should be constantly engaged, so enrichment centres which apply kinaesthetic methods and introduce interesting topics to these young minds would be ideal,” says the senior teacher and trainer.

How do I ensure I’m not over-exerting my child?

Enrichment doesn’t just relate to academia either. While good grades and educational achievements are lauded in Asia, there’s also a case to be made for playtime, movement and spontaneity too. Anna Salaman, Executive Director at Playeum, champions the role of creativity and imagination in a child’s development saying that “there is a raft of practice-based evidence that demonstrates that giving children space and time for unstructured and undirected open-ended play allows them to discover their own inner resources and creativity.” She stresses that parents have to remember that children won’t always be children but also the leaders of tomorrow.

Which enrichment classes are best?

Singaporean parents have a plethora of activities to choose from in whatever area they want their child to excel in. These include art, dance, music, sports, reading, writing, mathematics, science, brain-training, motivation, or a combination, but with such a wide range on offer, how do parents narrow down the field?

Esther believes it should depend on the child. “Enrichment programmes should be stimulating and interactive so your child feels motivated to learn, but while it should stretch his abilities, he shouldn’t feel burdened by the lessons at hand,” she says. With those words of wisdom in mind, no matter what path you dream up for your child, there’s definitely going to be a class for it!