Artificial Intelligence

Activities for children & parents for the school holidays in Kuala Lumpur

School holidays are here and just like any other year you are looking for ideas to keep your little one engaged. School holidays are a great way to bond with your children. You get to spend quality time with them and be an active part of their world.

To make your life easier, we have compiled a few ideas of things to do this time and make the year-end memorable for your family.

Enjoy the sun at KLCC Park

Just head to KLCC park and let your children enjoy the children’s park and the water park. You can laze around in the cool shade of trees with a book in your hand. If you feel hungry, head to the Suria KLCC food court and treat your kids to whatever they like, life cannot get better than this. If you stay till evening, you can enjoy the Lake Symphony at the KLCC fountain too. We’re sure the kids will love it.

Take them for a cultural performance

Exposing children to culture is important and what better way than to take them to some local performances. Malaysia Tourism Centre Matic holds hour-long dance performance every day at 3pm from Monday to Saturday. There is also a cultural show at Central Market every Sunday at 8 pm. A little culture will go a long way in giving them fresh ideas and create a different perspective for them.

Spend some quality time at KL Eco-Forest Park

Spend a few hours enjoying the greenery at the KL Eco Forest, formerly known as Bukit Nanas. Acclimatise your children to different kinds of trees and enjoy a nice canopy walk. You will be able to see many types of birds and monkeys. You can also take your kids to the mini zoo inside. There are many trails and walks to enjoy. The Eco-Forest Park is easy to access from Menara KL and Jalan Raja Chulan. Get Oxycodone Online

Reach for the stars at the Planetarium

A visit to planetarium can be mesmerising especially if you are a kid. The idea of new stars and a whole new world out there can open the floodgates to the imagination. Although the KL Planetarium is not the best in Asia, yet, there’s much to learn here and definitely deserves a few hours. They run 3D films that are fun for enjoying the 3D experience. A really cool place to visit during the holidays.

Cycle around the city

Do your kids love to cycle? If the answer is a big yes, then head to the many cycling areas in the city such as Taman Tasik Titiwangsa or Desa Park City. On Sundays, Publika Shopping Centre becomes a cycling path. Cycling is not only healthy and fun, it is also a great way to spend time with your little ones.

Take them to a skate park

If your children love skateboarding or rollerblading, you can visit the skate parks in Mont Kiara, Putrajaya and Shah Alam. Nothing like a little adrenaline to get the blood pumping and create some excitement and competition within the family. Some places also offer free informal skating lessons such as the Wheel Love Skateshop. You can find them on Facebook.

Spend a crafty weekend

The Islamic Art Museum Malaysia organises art and craft workshops every weekend for children aged 4 to 12 years. Children under 6 years of age have to be accompanied by an adult. Each workshop has a specific theme and starts with a storytelling session. They are ideal to enhance your child’s imagination. The timing of these classes is from 3pm to 4.30pm every Saturday and Sunday.

Volunteer for gardening

Planting trees are so important and it is imperative that the young ones learn this from an early age. Visit the Free Tree Society in Bangsar and volunteer at their nursery. They will provide all the tools. You will be planting new plants, rearranging pots or be a part of the landscaping. It’s a fun activity and definitely a great lesson for your kid.

Take a trip out of the city

There is no better way to bond than going on a trip together. More so if you are a family. Pack-up, get the map out (or Waze!) pick a location and go on a roadtrip for a weekend away.  We are spoilt for choice when it comes to travelling in this country. Pack your kids’ favourite snacks, play car games, sing songs and enjoy the beautiful scenery. They are going to love it.

Visit the National Science Centre

To merge fun with learning, take your child to the National Science Centre. It has innumerable exhibits and mini-activities to keep children engaged and excited. Tickets are priced reasonably at RM6 for visitprs over 13 years of age and RM3 from children from 7 to 12 years. Children below 3 years can enter for free. They hold a science show every day at 12pm and 3pm where they involve children to exhibit scientific experiments. It’s completely fun while you learn.

Hope these ideas helped you plan a range of fun activities to keep your child engaged. Enjoy the holiday season before another round of school days starts.

Have fun!

Why The Montessori Method Stands Apart

Parents of Bukit Jalil rejoice! The children’s house is extending its welcome to you and your child! Situated in the heart of Bukit Jalil City, the centre’s strategic location is ideal for busy working parents in the vicinity of Bukit Jalil to send their children to a trusted preschool. The children’s house has absolute confidence in providing your child the best early years education.

Here are some things you should know about The children’s house:

Longest-established Montessori Preschool in Malaysia

Yes, you’ve read it right. Enroling your child in TCH means your child is in the most trusted hands of Malaysia’s longest-established Montessori preschool. It all started when Nan Civel, or fondly known as Aunty Nan opened the first TCH preschool in Damansara Heights. Inspired by Dr Maria Montessori, Aunty Nan developed great respect for the unique and magical minds of children. As she delved deeper into Early Childhood Education research to gain greater observation of children’s minds and the Montessori method, The Teacher’s House, a centre that provides in-house training was established where professional and trusted educators are trained to facilitate in the optimal learning and development of children.

Co-founder, Nur Jiwawati Anis fell in love in Early Childhood Education and began to involve herself in improving the quality of children’s experience in TCH by injecting creativity-inspiring ideas into the elements of the Montessori method. Educators of TCH highly value teamwork by working together as a family instead of co-workers while sharing the same ethics and respect. The TCH community always puts children first to ensure their development and well-being are taken care of by establishing a harmonious relationship between parents and educators.

 Standing Out From Other Preschools

Other preschools in Malaysia may have featured the Montessori Method but none are as comprehensive as The children’s house. The children’s house is Malaysia’s first ever preschool to adopt and apply the all-inclusive Montessori Method of education and it has positively impacted the country’s early childhood education landscape.

Your child will be immersed in the Montessori Method that is further enhanced by dedicated staff who care deeply for the development of children under their care. The co-founder is personally involved in uplifting the quality of children’s learning experience. Nur Jiwawati Anis has been researching and applying new ways to make each class more exciting and informative for the children. Rest-assured that you child is attending a preschool recognised for its evergreen high-quality Montessori education throughout the country.

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Benefits of the Montessori Method

The children’s house believes in the Montessori Method and the benefits that it would bring to children in the long term. TCH has all the didactic materials needed to support the 5 core values in the Montessori Method: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Number Work and Culture.

In Practical Life, children are engaged in home-like activities that require them to utilise common materials like trays, jugs, bowls, spoons, ladles, tongs and dressing frames. These allow children to imitate common physical tasks such as carrying, scooping and transferring, enabling them to develop greater focus at tasks, movement coordination, sense of order as well as independence.

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Sensorial materials help a child make sense of the environment. Materials are made to be multisensory, sequential and self-correcting to refine the child’s senses. Using Montessori-based language materials, children are able to gain better control of the writing instrument to easily form the letters of the alphabets using stereognostic sense in which a child feels an object and recognises it based on the feeling.

Number Work materials effectively help children master complex concepts like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division including zero, odd and even numbers. Culture activities ensure children have a better understanding of the world. There are also activities in the school that involve nature walks and talks, helping children develop an appreciation towards nature and life forms.

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This method makes a child happier as learning is done in a rich and fun-filled environment that motivates children to enjoy learning. Here in TCH, children are given the freedom to choose their own materials and work, whereas teachers are only facilitators who guide children when necessary. This method allows children to explore their interests in various fields, giving them time and space to learn and develop skills on their own.

 Montessori Method Around the World

There are Montessori schools around the world like the Cambridge Montessori School (USA), Toronto Montessori Schools (Canada), Perth Montessori School (Australia), Seisen International School (Japan) and Oxford Montessori Schools (England). This shows that the Montessori Method is globally recognised and practised as an effective teaching method for crucial stages of life.

TCH is proud to utilise the method in the most fundamental stage of life – preschool. The Montessori method nurtures children to be well-rounded individuals who are confident, responsible as well as well-mannered and intelligent, which explains why it has a large presence in Malaysia as well as Singapore.

Visit Us at Our Grand Opening!

All parents want the best for their children, and TCH is ready to provide the best form of education that will shape children into well-rounded individuals ready to be leaders of tomorrow. Witness for yourself the enriching early years education TCH can offer at its Grand Opening on 20th April (Saturday) of its latest preschool at Bukit Jalil City from 10am to 2pm. Bring your little ones along and let them experience the Montessori education through fun-filled activities. It’s going to be awesome!

Is Quality Education in an International School a Leap of Faith?

For parents, it is becoming increasingly hard to see through the marketing glitz and glamour, and essentially see the true potential any particular international school has.

One of the quickest and easiest methods a parent can adopt in assessing potential international schools is to look for any type of externally awarded accreditation or quality assurance.

Accreditation is essentially about standards and approval of a school’s programmes and their implementation. Internationally, there are numerous bodies awarding kite marks to schools after varying degrees of inspection. Within Malaysia you can commonly see accreditation from the Council of International Schools (CIS), in the form of a British Schools Overseas (BSO) kite mark or an International Schools Quality Mark (ISQM) to name but a few.

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It has to be noted, however, that for many teachers, accreditation is still seen as amounting to nothing more than additional paperwork, more layers of bureaucracy, ‘box ticking’ and ‘hoop jumping’. Whatever stance you opt to take however, it cannot be denied that an international organisation has come in and assessed the school in question against their benchmarks. For a parent, that should provide some reassurance that the school, at the very least, is adhering to established benchmarks.

Another aspect to keep in mind is how students are challenged emotionally as well as academically. Mr. Rajan Kaloo, the Director of Services at elc International School, suggests “parents need to spend time in the school of choice, watching the students interact with teachers and their peers. Get a feel for the way they behave and talk – this will give a sense of the school as a whole. Regardless of what may appear to be state-of-the -art facilities, ask whether there is an ambiance for learning. Admissions and websites are designed to sell, so trust what you see with your own eyes and your own instincts”.

We need to remember that gone are the days when a school’s raison d’être was only to produce knowledgeable students. It was once believed that social skills and mental health were a given, and students were sufficiently active physically. Resilience was not a word that needed to be taught. Life skills were exactly that, skills that one picked up in life and teachers did not need to actively impart life skills. Now fast forward to today, and one is shaken by the new reality.

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We are guiding Generation Z – the first generation born into the age of social media. They do not know life before social media and consequently now live a life that is dictated by the hazy rules of social media. With some exceptions, the majority of Generation Z see themselves as constantly connected, but yet are disconnected from life as we, the earlier generations, know it. There is a great desire among them for independence while all too often, the reality is of grudging dependence. Mental health issues have become the new norm due to the existence and pressures of social media. Failure is too easily embraced. Self-esteem is at an all-time low and social skills are disappearing.

It is necessary for teachers now to develop student life skills. Students need to have high self-esteem and resilience to survive in today’s environment. If students are forced to address their weaknesses and build on them, they will learn that nothing is impossible to a determined person. All parents need to examine a potential school and ask how that is being achieved. For this to happen successfully, you will need a teaching body that is motivated and prepared to tackle problems head on, even if it leads to conflict with the student or potentially even the parents themselves! Do not dismiss a school that gives you a negative report on your child’s developmental progress, you need to know that the school is prepared to have difficult conversations with you without fear or favour.

Ultimately there is no sure-fire way of assessing if a school is right for your children and there are no shortcuts. A good place to start may be to ensure the school is accredited, as it indicates that the school has undergone a rigorous programme of self and peer review. Given today’s student and the problems they typically face, it is also important to look at what the school is doing to develop a student’s emotional resilience.

Finally, every parent needs to determine if what is being offered is in line with their own wants and needs for their child’s education.

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Talking to Children About Difficult Topics

How often do you find yourself in a situation when you have no idea what to tell your child? 

“Mommy, why is the sky blue?”

“Daddy, why do we have to cook the food before we eat it?”

Children have a naturally curious mind and it’s normal for them to ask bountiful questions! 

But, there comes a time when even parents become speechless at the questions posed by their child. 

“Mommy, why does that person look like that?”

“Daddy, what is that *political* sign talking about?”

In a research conducted by a nonpartisan fact tank, The Pew Research Centre, found that 48% of parents with children under the age of 5 years say that their child has interacted with a tablet computer while 55% of them have used a smartphone. The same group of parents are both relieved and concerned with the amount of screen time as it provides both entertainment and education for their children but also, age inappropriate content. 

Young children are impressionable and observe through their daily interactions. Some parents might find it difficult to digest how fast their child is growing, while others may be more shocked about the information they bring home. 

Speaking on difficult subjects such as racism, global warming and environmental issues and the current pandemic can be a difficult issue in itself for parents. First and foremost, we want our children to be safe and feel safe but our parental instincts naturally kick-in and we want to shelter our children from the calamity of the world. And as much as we try our hardest to shield our children’s innocence from the realities of today, we cannot elude these sensitive topics for long. 

As parents responsible for raising the next generation of leaders for the new world, it’s vital that we prepare our children for a better future, and not our own world. 

Tackling these subjects would take a different approach with children of the appropriate age. As young children do not have the life experiences to relate with some of the more complex topics, it further becomes a barrier when explaining these topics. 

What can you do? 

  • Limit their media consumption. 

While the news can be very informative, it is targeted towards an audience that can readily digest information and not towards children who have yet to have a firm grasp of the world. 

  • Provide a safe space.

Reassure children that they are safe while speaking on the subject. If you are more open to having a conversation with your child with regard to these topics, first and foremost, ensure the child that they are safe and it’s always okay to speak with mom and dad (or a trusted family member) about troubling issues. While some children are more open to speak with their parents, some children are more quiet and tend to shy away from having a conversation. 

  • Acknowledge feelings and validate them.

You might think that a certain reaction is to be expected from a certain situation. Children, on the other hand, may think otherwise. A child’s social prowess is shaped by their environment. Guide your child to the appropriate reaction but allow them a safe space to feel what they may feel. 

  • Breakdown an issue into simpler terms 

The pandemic is a perfect example of breaking down an issue into simpler terms as the school, government and many public areas are educating children about the importance of hygiene and social distancing. Build the information up from the small foundation of knowledge they may have and perhaps, you can pique their interest in sciences and medicine. 

  • Reflect on yourself. 

Are you yourself using biased terms? When it comes to sensitive issues such as races, religion and the likes, it’s best to avoid describing a person’s ethnicity, sexual identity, weight, financial status, and so on unless it’s relevant to the issue. 

Talking about difficult topics is not a breezy task! But it’s our responsibility to be our children’s guide to the universe (or perhaps, just their universe). 

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Artificial Intelligence Apps, Tools, and Resources That I Would Use If I Were Still in the Classroom

Back in 2001, when I started as a teacher, the technology boom was in its nascent stage. I remember toting a large bag filled with papers home most nights and going to sleep drowning under a vast sea of student homework that needed grading. My classroom was even worse, cluttered with books, manipulatives, globes, maps, and learning stations that left little room for anything else. However, as I write this in 2018, things have changed dramatically. Today’s teachers have edtech in their corners.

Digital teaching and learning tools have streamlined education processes and provide learning experiences that stretch far beyond the materials that were available for me back in 2001. Back then, you needed to be in a wealthy district to have a teacher’s assistant. Nowadays, teachers can use artificial intelligence as an extra pair of hands and eyes.

AI can be used to grade student papers, teach students foundational skills, remediate struggling learners, prep students for exams, manage the classroom, keep the teacher organized and the list goes own. The fact that teachers can enjoy their very own teacher’s assistants is impressive to me. Back in 2001, I couldn’t even fathom that this would be a possibility less than two decades later. Back then, it was just science fiction. If I were still in the classroom today, I’d use these artificial intelligence apps, tools and resources:

JoeZoo– JoeZoo is a grading and feedback app that helps teachers to make their feedback and grading to be more effective and hassle-free. It also guides students in developing 21st-century skills in all assignment without any hassle. JoeZoo is an AI (Artificial Intelligence) powered assessment app that was nominated for the 2015 Digital Innovation in Learning award.

Cram101: Do you struggle to come up with simple study guides, quizzes, or flashcards for your students? Cram101 can help by dividing your textbook into smaller pieces of information that are easily studied. Using your general textbook, you can now benefit from chapter summaries and additional content that your students will love.

Zoomi Inc: Zoomi Inc is an artificial intelligence analytics company that provides individualized lessons in real-time using machine learning technology. Its AI technology evaluates employees and objectively assesses what they know and what they still need to learn. Zoomi Inc has over 250 proprietary algorithms that run simultaneously to provide a personal learning experience, predict learning outcomes, and best delivery methods. An automated process handles all lessons and evaluations.

M-Shule – Based in Nairobi, is an award-winning eLearning platform. It was the runner up at the 2017 Global Edtech Startup Awards in London. The M-Shule platform makes use of artificial intelligence and SMS to deliver personalized education to primary school students across Africa. M-Shule also works without an internet connection, an outstanding plus point for an Edtech startup in Africa where only 10% of schools have internet access.

PLAiTO – This platform makes use of artificial intelligence to improve the learning process. PLAiTO creates a unique learning path for each learner based on the strengths, weaknesses, and characteristics of that learner. It can be used to create quality content.

Freckle Education: Students that used to hate school might suddenly find it enjoyable again with Freckle Education. They can work at their level for math, ELA, social studies, and science while teachers can quickly see insights into their progress.

Mika: Mika is a great option for higher education students who need more assistance in their math courses. Carnegie Learning offers a one-on-one virtual tutoring experience using the best that artificial intelligence has to offer. Students receive a personalized path and real-time information on how they’re doing.

Did we miss any?