Today Got Class – Platform for Child Enrichment Classes

Now that Elise is no longer a tiny baby but an active and curious toddler, sending her to classes seems like a way for her to expend her energy in a safe environment whilst developing her interests. So far, we’ve observed that she enjoys kicking balls around, likes bobbing to music and scribbling on her doodle board. She joined a term at MyGym before she learnt how to walk which she liked. Since then, she hasn’t been attending any classes. I’m not too keen on Shichida/Heguru type classes as of yet – I do know I intend to enrol her for kiddy martial arts in future so she can kick butt defend herself against bullies. The problem is that there are just too many enrichment centres and classes to choose from and we have to call the centre directly to enquire about trial classes.

This is where Today Got Class comes in. Started by local mothers Jaclyn and Lydia, the free-to-use platform allows parents to search for classes based on their child(ren)’s interest, age group and location. I’ve met up with Jaclyn who left her full time job in order to start this and can tell that she has put in a lot of effort into ensuring that they only work with centres that they are willing to send their own children to. Yes, they have rejected a number of centres who gave off the wrong vibe (e.g. purely in it for the money, lousy curriculum, dirty premises etc). Their hard work paid off when they won an award from Young Parents. They currently feature over 1,000 classes from more than 200 centres.

1. Add a Child & choose interests

The website has a clean and easy-to-use interface with large fonts for people with bad eyesight like me.

2. Classes are displayed according to selected interests

The list of classes that was generated based on Elise’s interests.

3. Click for overview of class & Book Now 

 

Once you’ve selected your desired class, just Book Now, add to cart and make payment. It’s similar to online shopping but for enrichment classes. They work with centres for deals to offer parents like this one – 4 trial lessons @ Kindermusik for $24! You can let your children attend a few of such trial classes before deciding whether to commit for a term.

With Jaclyn’s help, Elise will be attending a term of Kindermusik lessons from early April. I’ve heard good things about Kindermusik from my friends. Apparently the teacher plays a big part in leading the class. Let’s see how it goes. After this, I’ll look for more activity-based classes for her. There’s also a list of reviews on their blog from parents and kids who have attended the classes!

Rasa Sayang: Sing and Record Fun Book by Baba baa

What could possibly be in this box? A lamb can’t fit in it. 

Pizza?!

 

Better than pizza

Delicately packaged in blue crepe paper was a sound book. I have many sound books for Elise which my dad uses to read stories to her but there’s something special about this particular book. 

The Rasa Sayang: Sing and Record Fun Book is a fun collection of seven Malay folksongs including very familiar tunes like Chan Mali Chan (hey hey!), Rasa Sayang and Bengawan Solo. These familiar folk songs have been sung many times, but I have no idea what the songs mean and I can only sing the chorus and hum the rest of the tune. I also have to admit that I haven’t heard the other songs before I received this book. Elise won’t be the only one learning from this book for sure.  


7 push buttons with icons that correspond to the folk songs. The construction of the book is solid and it also includes an interesting feature – 

 

a record and playback function! If your little ones are old enough to sing, this feature allows their voices to be recorded in the book. If they aren’t, you can show off your singing skills by recording your voice while singing. 
Control panel with 3 modes – music, record and playback. There are also volume control buttons and an inbuilt microphone.


Elise can’t yet fully enjoy the features of this book but as she is Singaporean, I feel that it is necessary for her to learn about the many cultures that make up our country and that of our neighbouring countries, Malaysia and Indonesia. 
 
What I like about the book is that it is very well constructed and it is one-of-a-kind. It is the first book of its kind for children to be produced in the region and the songs are a unifying factor for all 3 countries. As such, the production of the book also involved talents from these 3 countries. Lee Jiun is Malaysian, the production company is from Singapore and the voice behind the songs belongs to an Indonesian lady. 

About the Rasa Sayang: Sing and Record Fun Book
Produced by Peyron Singapore | Translated by Lok Lee Jiun & Serene Ding | Illustrations by Aditya Pratama | Songs performed by Kezia Evana Jaya

It all started when Ms. Lok Lee Jiun, a lawyer and a mom to a little boy named Hugo, realised that while there was plenty of songbooks in English, Japanese and Chinese, there was a lack of material in Bahasa. Instead of letting it slide, she set off creating her own book. 

Plenty of hard work went into the making of this book, from start to end. She translated the songs into English which is useful for non-Malays to gain a deeper understanding behind these popular folk songs and sing the English version. 

She engaged illustrator Aditya Pratama to add his vivid artwork to attract the young readers. Kezia’s voice brings the songs to life and makes the whole book a pleasant multi-sensory experience.

The baba baa mascot looks like a monster but is actually a baby goat called “baba”, designed by Italian designer Tobias Bernard. It is mischievous, curious, smart and funny. As a treat, baba is hidden in every page of the book for observant young ones to spot, much like how our PETS coursebook used to have cute characters hiding everywhere. 

Rasa Sayang translates to Feel the love in English. Indeed, a lot of love and effort has been put into the creation of this unique book. The website itself is entertaining and there are free colouring & drawing activity sheets which you can print out for your young ones. 

The Rasa Sayang: Sing and Record Fun Book is available for sale at S$27 while the gift set with a plush toy retails for S$33 (+S$10 shipping fee for those living in Singapore and Hong Kong).
 
GIVEAWAY:The baba baa team is giving away a brand new Rasa Sayang: Sing and Record Fun Book to 1 lucky reader!
This giveaway is open until 11:59pm, 13 November 2016 and is only open to readers residing in Singapore, Malaysia & Hong Kong. 
 
 
 
To join the giveaway, here’s what you have to do:
1. Like baba baa on Facebook
2. Like Bibimbubs on Facebook
3. Share the post on your wall (set to public) and tag at least 3 friends. While sharing the post, state a song you like from the book and why you would like to win it.

** I received a book for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was received. 

Interview: Keepsake with Ryo

As newborns grow up so quickly, it is natural to want a souvenir to preserve a memory of our baby’s infancy. There are quite a number of items in the market targeted at new parents for this purpose such as umbilical cord stamps (eew…), calligraphy brushes made with hair, 3D hand and feet casts or laser plaques. 
I’m not enthralled by the idea of having a 3D cast of Elise’s hands and feet or a calligraphy brush made with hair from her first haircut as they take up space and will pretty much sit in a box away from daylight, unless I suddenly happen to develop an interest in Chinese Calligraphy. 
These jewellery, on the other hand, capture a memory and can be worn daily. I really like practical and simple items. More importantly, it’ll serve as a precious memento of my breastfeeding journey with Elise.

Even before Elise was born, I was convinced of the benefits of breastfeeding and aimed for her to be exclusively breastfed for at least six months. Now that she’s here, I’m proud to say that she hasn’t yet had a bottle of infant formula. I certainly do not think formula is poison, but breastfed babies have higher levels of immunity, which she will need when she attends infant care. Also because infant formula is expensive and mommy is a cheapo. Besides, it’s better quality of milk for zero cost!
I especially love night feeds (12mn, 3+am) where I feed her in a side-lying position. Though it disrupts my sleep, I love it when she suckles and falls into a milk coma. Not so much when she spits up milk on the bed. Occasionally, she flashes a huge, satisfied smile. 

Which is why I would actually like having a pendant or bead made up of breast milk to wear. I prefer minimalist designs, so when I discovered Ryo’s page – Keepsake with Ryo, I knew I wanted her to create my jewellery.

Her jewellery is definitely something I’d wear. I came across other breast milk jewellery makers, but some of their designs were too garish for my liking. After chatting with her, I found out that she is so talented, she even made the news. 

Interview: Ryo of Keepsake with Ryo

1) Hi! Please tell us more about yourself. 
Hello, my name is Ryo and creating has always been a big part of my life. 
In my childhood, my dolls only wore clothes I made, I only used pencil cases I had sewn myself and my friends only received handmade gifts. I then figured out how to sew my own cheongsams, made prom dresses for all my best friends, got featured in a special segment of The Straits Times, and won the Best Float Design as Creative Director in NUS. I always believe in action more than words, and now that I have a baby boy, I hope to be able to impart the same values of perseverance, curiosity and respect that I uphold.


2) What inspired you to create Keepsake by Ryo?

I initially wanted to have a keepsake made by someone else, but after scouring the net, I couldn’t find anyone making something that I liked. So there and then, I strapped my baby to my chest and made a trip down to the craft store. After one hour, I more or less figured the stuff I need to make my own breast milk jewellery. I then offered to make jewellery for free for some mummy friends, since I was still in the experimenting stage, and the response was so phenomenal I decided to make it a business!


3) What is the most challenging part of creating keepsake jewelry?
Nothing is too difficult. I pursued Art as a subject in my JC days, so I have a rather good idea of what works and what doesn’t. I just design a collection in my head and get my hands dirty immediately. If it works, it goes up on the web. If it doesn’t, at least I learnt something!
Oh for number 1 I forgot to mention that I actually teach JC Economics as my full time job hahaha.

4) Any advice for aspiring moms who intend to start a small business?
My mantra is “Start small and start now”. Did you feel ready to be a mum when you had your first child? Starting your own business is like raising a child. Just do it! We spend too much time waiting to be ready, thinking about what we should do with our time and our lives. 
If you really think about it, starting a business today is easy. WordPress is free, and all of us have a bank account. That’s all you need. If your product and/or service is good, you don’t have to worry. Over time, your products and your customers will do the job and your business will grow. Most importantly, do what you love – you don’t want to suffer everyday doing something you don’t like!

Each piece of breast milk jewellery takes between 1 to 3 weeks to process and requires about 20ml of breast milk which can be sent to her via courier service.