We’ve been to Blue House Atelier at UE Square quite a number of times now. The Atelier offers Playgroup, weekly classes and drop-in sessions. Lessons ($40) are an hour each with a theme. Each child is introduced and an instructor will sing a few songs before introducing the theme of the day. As they focus on the Reggio Emilia approach of learning, the children get to be in control of how they want to play, how long they want to play and whether they want to play at all!
For one lesson, they brought out raw oatmeal and pasta for the children to mess with. Sensory play is essential for babies and toddlers to develop cognitive, linguistic, social and emotional skills. Elise started off by swiping around the box…
…then she decided to climb inside the box! The instructors encourage parents to let children be during the session – they are allowed to smell the oatmeal, throw it, fling it, put it in their hair, put it in their friend’s hair etc. It’s all about messy play. Mess =/= stress when you’re not the one having to clean up!
In other lessons, there’s messier play where the babies can be in their diapers for easier cleanup. Once, the babies played with tubs of cold yoghurt on bubble wrap, smearing it on their faces and round tummies. On another occasion, they fiddled with tubs of water beads along with ladles, pots and pans to build their gross motor skills.
They had a contraption where they let children blow streamers up in the air to intrigue their curiosity. Every lesson is slightly different depending on the theme. Kids who choose to stay at the first activity can continue doing so until the end of the lesson. It’s an entire hour where kids get to have their way without being nagged at. FREEDOM!
They also provide drop-in sessions for unsupervised free play ($25). The environment is spacious with a high ceiling and glass walls allowing natural light to shine through. There’s a diaper changing area as well. It used to stock wet wipes and tissue but the most recent time I was there at noon, the bin was full and there were no wet wipes to be seen.
They shift their furniture every now and then.
It’s a chance for you to plonk your kid there to explore while you sit and watch them do their thing. The place is child friendly and they’re not likely to get hurt even if they trip and fall. You’ll still have to break up fights if needed though at this age, most kids indulge in parallel play (playing alongside each other, taking interest in what the other kid is doing but not influencing it) instead of interactive play. Interactive play begins at a later age.
Over at the dark corner, there’s a light box with sensory bottles. Sensory bottles are plastic bottles which are filled with water, gel, oil and trinkets such as buttons, pasta, water beads. These bottles cost next to nothing to make but they trigger children to question why some objects move slower in oil as compared to water, why some bottles are quiet but others are noisy, why the contents in certain bottles can’t move (one was filled with agar).
A wall-mounted light box for kids to insert coloured plastic rods into to create their own design.
They are open on weekends at UE Square so even working parents can bring their kids over for a sensory experience. I prefer this approach of teaching because it allows children to learn through play without placing stress on them while stimulating their senses and invoking their curiosity. They can’t express themselves yet, but their little minds will be questioning.
Blue House Atelier
83 Clemenceau Avenue
#-01-35/36 UE Square, Office Tower
Telephone: +65 6235 2126
Check the timetable for drop-in sessions. Remember to bring socks for both adult and child.
2 Turf Club Road #02 – 05 to 08
Nearer MRT : Sixth Avenue – 10 minute walk
Telephone: +65 6462 6547
** Not a paid review. I paid for the lessons and drop-in sessions.