Tuesday, 31 July 2012

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Montessori Activity: Cutting Out Chinese Characters with Scissors



Age: 3 years old

Objectives:
1. To train the child's fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination
2. To teach Chinese characters in a fun way in the process of cutting

Activity Duration: 5 - 15 minutes

Materials:
1. 1 pair of kid's scissors
2. 1 print out with Chinese Characters
3. 1 containers to contain the cut-outs
4. 1 tray

Directions:
1. Demonstrate to your child how to cut along the lines.
2. Encourage your child to try.
3. When you find a right moment, read out loud the word that he cut out.

Video Demonstration:


Additional Information:
I was cutting out Chinese characters to make into a set of characters for matching game. I printed an extra set, so that Joshua could join in the cutting. Then I realised that hey, this activity is actually very good for teaching Chinese characters, besides practising his fine motor skills. As he worked to cut out the Chinese characters, I read out each of the characters that he cut out. Joshua (3Y4M26D) tried out this activity today.

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Heritage Education: Danish Flag Dannebrog for Colouring




Singapore's National Day is coming on the 9th of August and I have downloaded the Singapore flag for Joshua to do colouring. I have also downloaded the Danish flag, as part of Joshua's heritage education. So here it is:
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B8uGpq3ubWWCaVhvMm93bkhUU2s

The Danish flag is called Dannebrog. The white cross represents Christianity. According to wikipedia, following Denmark, the cross designed was adopted by the other Nordic countries; Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Åland Islands and the Faroe Islands, as well as the Scottish archipelagos of Shetland and Orkney. During the Danish-Norwegian personal union, Dannebrog ("Danish cloth") was also the flag of Norway and continued to be, with slight modifications, until Norway adopted its current flag in 1821.

According to legend, the Dannebrog fell down from the sky during the Battle of Lyndanisse (today Tallinn in Estonia), 15 June 1219, the day on which we now call Valdemar Day.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Denmark


Sunday, 29 July 2012

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Montessori Activity: Matching Chinese Characters



Age: From 3 years old

Objectives:
1. To teaching the concept of reading in a fun and concrete way

Materials:
1. 1 page of large-print advertisement from used magazine or book. (You can also use used printed powerpoint presentation).
2. 1 namecard with the Chinese character
3. 1 pencil
4. 1 tray

Directions:
1. Pick a Chinese word, for example '苹果' meaning apple in Chinese and show it to your child pronouncing its name and sound.

2. Encourage your child to look for the Chinese character on the page and circle them out if it is a magazine.

Tips:
1. Read out the word to your child, as he succeeded in finding and circling the  Chinese character.
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Montessori Activity: Matching Letters



Age: From 3 years old

Objectives:
1. To teaching the concept of reading in a fun and concrete way

Materials:
1. 1 page of large-print advertisement from used magazine or book. (You can also use used printed powerpoint presentation).
2. 1 letter magnet (in this example, it is the letter 'a')
3. 1 pencil
4. 1 tray

Directions:
1. Pick a letter, for example, the letter 'a' and show it to your child pronouncing its name and sound.

2. Encourage your child to try to look for all the letter 'a' on the page and circle them out if it is a magazine.

Tips:
1. Read out the word to your child, as he succeeded in finding and circling the letter.

Additional Information:
This activity is designed by Joshua himself. When I asked him to pick the letter a on a page, he went to pick the letter 'a' magnet and looked for the letter in the page. Joshua (3Y4M17D) tried this activity on 22.7.2012.
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Møns Klint - The Cliff of Møn



Today, we visited Møns Klint - the Cliff of Møn in English, one of the most spectacular places in Denmark. It is situated in the Vordingborg county, which is 137 km south of Copenhagen in the city of Borre and takes about 1 hour 45 mins by car (or slightly less than 2 hours from our place). https://maps.google.dk/maps?hl=da

The Cliff of Møn formed by white chalk created through lime shells from microscopic animals and plants being deposited on the bed of a tropical sea which covered most of Northern Europe 75 million years ago. The layers were lifted up slowly over the millions of years and when the gletchers of the iceage planed Møn they push the approximately 100 metres thick chalk flakes up from the underground.


It is worth to start by visiting the GeoCenter Møns Klint to learn about the chalk cliff and the story of the birth of Denmark. The exhibitions bring you a travel through time of 400 mill years ago, where high technological, the free interpretation of artists and rare fossils take you from the bottom of the ocean to the unique nature on top of the chalk cliffs Møns Klint.


The GeoCenter is fun for children. The summer season at runs from 30th June to 12th August, both days included. There are many fun activities which are included in the admission ticket. Thus, be sure to allocate sufficient time to explore in the center:

Daily activities:

10 AM to 3 PM: Treasure hunt in the exhibition
10 AM to 6 PM: Workshop - for the whole family
At 11 AM, 1 PM and 3 PM: Guided expedition to the fossil beach.
12 noon to 4 PM: Tree climbing and aerial runway -  feel the rush!
2 PM to 4 PM: Guided mountain bike ride on the Cliff of Møn

We watched a 3-D movie called Flying Monsters. David Attenborrough takes us 220 million years back in time, and Joshua enjoyed the flying dinosaurs in the movie. The movie touched on solving the mystery of why some reptiles started flying and entered the airspace back then. The story is more amazing than any fairy tale, and the flying reptiles get very close to you in 3D.


The best way to view the cliff is from the beach. The best way to get to the beach is from the GeoCenter Møns Klint, where you can walk down the long flight of steps down to the beach in approx. 15 - 20 minutes. The flight of stairs are located behind the playground of the center.





It is a long flight of stairs, but there are benches to rest along the way. So not to be afraid, if you are have children or older folks along on the trips.


We saw an interesting tree on the way down.


Joshua (3Y4M24D) walked down the flight of steps by himself and almost the full way on the return trip up the steps.

From the beach you may study the structure of the cliff. In the chalk beach, you will find flint stone in thin layers. They can be seen as dark lines and show how the ice has pressed and folded the layers of white chalk in many ways.



In the chalk beach, you may find fossilized shells from animals which lived in the chalk ocean such as cephalopods, sea urchins, and mussels. Joshua holding on to the fossils of a sea urchin in the picture below.



On the way back home, we passed by some private people selling freshly plucked strawberries, and bought some strawberries home. It was unmanned, you just have to pay by putting the money into the money box. Such trust would not have existed elsewhere, not in Singapore, but in the Danish countryside, you still get to experience it.


It is free to visit Møns Klint to see the cliff, however, below is the admission fee to the GeoCenter

Address

The geocenter is located at
Stengårdsvej 8, 4791 Borre
Tlf: 55 86 36 00
Email: geocenter@moensklint.dk

Admission Fee to GeoCenter:

Adult 115 DKK each
Child (3-11years) 75  DKK each
Adult group 10+ persons 100 DKK each
Children group 10+ persons 65 DKK each
School classes, per pupil (2 teachers free) 75 DKK each
Guide for one hour (please book in advance) 500 DKK

Opening Hours:
It is open every day - weekdays and weekends from 31 march-31 october.
Easter (holiday): 31. March - 9. April 10.00-17.00
10. April - 3. May 11.00-17.00
St. Bededag (holiday): 4. May - 6. May 10.00-17.00
7. May - 16. May 11.00-17.00
Kr. Himmelfart (holiday): 17. May - 20. May 10.00-17.00
21. May - 25. May 11.00-17.00
Pinse (holiday): 26. May - 28. May 10.00-17.00
29. May - 4. June 11.00-17.00
Grundlovsdag (holiday): 5. June 10.00-17.00
6. June - 29. June 11.00-17.00
Peak season: 30. June - 12. August 10.00-18.00
13. August - 12. October 11.00-17.00
School holiday: 13. October - 21. October 10.00-17.00
22. October - 31. October 11.00-17.00
31. October -22. March 2013 Closed

Parking:

If you are driving to the Møns Klint, you can park at the Geocenter. The parking fee is DKK 25 or 5 Euros. You can buy a parking coin at the GeoCentre's reception, when you buy the admission ticket which will facilitate swift and easy exit, however coins or credit card will be valid payment at the exit from the parking space.

Warning:

Be warned however that the Cliff of Møn is a "living" cliff as the shape is changing due to land slides. The last major one happened in 2007. Land slides are most common during winter and spring. The steps down to the beach, the walk along the cliffs, the walk down the beach are all to be done at your own risk. However, as landslides are most common during winter and spring, the risk is less during summer time. It is thus best to go during summer.

Food

On the way there, we stopped by the harbour at Klintholm Røgeri (approx. 5km from Møns Klint) for lunch, which serves traditional Danish lunch with all the fish dishes. It offers a lunch buffet from 12 - 3pm and cost 108 DKK per adult. Children under 12 cost 54 DKK. There is a dinner buffet from 6pm at 155 DKK per adult and 75 DKK for children under 12. You can visit their website www.xn--m-rgeri-gub.dk



Camping

We wanted initially to go there a day earlier from home and stay at the campsite, but we didn't manage to do so. Møn klint can easily be a day trip, however for those who wish to stay overnight to explore the nearby safari park, there is a camping site in vicinity.

http://www.campingmoensklint.dk/

The campsite is in 2012 open from April 1st to October 31st
Numbers of spaces: 400
From the 1st of April to the 26th of June and from 26th of August to the 31st of October.
Adult: 85,- dkk./day,
Children to the age of 12: 60,- dkk./day
Electricity: 40,- dkk./dag
Environmental fee: 20 dkk. pr. unit/day

From the 26th of June to the 26th of August
Adult: 85,- dkk./day,
Children to the age of 12: 60,- dkk./day
Electricity: 40,- dkr./dag
Environmental fee: 20 dkk. pr. unit/day
Caravan: 45,-dkk./day
Tent: 25,- dkk./day

References:
http://www.visitvordingborg.dk/international/en-gb/menu/turist/inspiration/moensklint/moensklint.htm
http://www.moensklint.dk/geocentermoensklintuk/general-info/opening-hours-and-prices-2012.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%B8ns_Klint
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School Time/Skoletid/上课时间


Duration: 8.15 - 9.30pm (1 hour 15 mins)

Montessori Time:

Since we had already been out the whole day today to Møn Klint, we did not do any Montessori activity. Joshua got to experience and touch fossils for the first time. He called them stones.





29.7.2012 - This is fossil of sea urchins, we were told... not just a stone
We saw a 3-D movie on flying dinosaurs at the Geo Center in Møn. We saw an exhibition of mosasaurs and its fossils.

Blanket Time:

We got home and Joshua was still very intrigued by the dinosaurs. Joshua said that Daddy should do the blanket time with him and Joshua picked the Danish encyclopedia book on dinosaurs, and requested Daddy to read to him.
 


Desk Time:

In continuation with the dinosaur theme, we pasted stickers of dinosaurs today in his dinosaur sticker book.



We also worked on another activity book on Dinosaurs where Joshua traced the dinosaurs with pencil and colour it with oil pastels. He chose black and said that dinosaurs can be black too!




We learned the names of dinosaurs from A - Z, starting with A. I suggested him to trace the letter 'A', but he was very eager to write it himself instead. His 'A' looked like 'H' and his 'B' looked like '8' instead, and he got frustrated with himself. I told him that it was alright, and that he was practising hard writing and that one day, it would all come together, as long as he doesn't give up, but keep practising.




Quiet Time:

Joshua was at this point very tired, but still insisted on reading one last book with Bible story. He tried hard to listen attentively, but obviously could not keep his eyes open! We closed the book and it was really time for bed.


Bedtime:

We said our night prayer in Mandarin today. Joshua asked about dinosaurs - if they were so huge, how could it be that they could fit inside the stones (fossils/化石). I explained that these have immortalized in stones, especially the harder body parts such as bone. It was hard to explain to Joshua. Joshua then wanted to see the real dinosaurs and wanted them to come out of the stones. It was hard to explain to him and interesting listening to his questions and literal understanding. I explained to him that dinosaurs are pre-historic animals and that they no longer live. We have present day animals such as lizards and crocodiles that somewhat looked like dinosaurs of the past, which he had seen at the zoo. We ended with the Good Night song. At this age, Joshua would not understand the complex process of life, death, extinction and a series of events that leads to fossil formation, but it has aroused his interest for Science at least.

References:
http://www.fossils-facts-and-finds.com/how_are_fossils_formed.html

http://www.fossils-facts-and-finds.com/fossil_formation.html

Saturday, 28 July 2012

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Montessori Activity: Home-Made Trilingual Cards with Real Objects



Age: From 3 years old

Duration: 5 - 15 minutes

Objectives:
1. To provide a concrete way to teach language

Materials:
1. Wheat
2. 3 pieces of unwanted name cards.
3. 1 marker pen
4. 1 tray

Directions:
1. Write the name of the object, e.g. wheat in each language (for us, it is English, Chinese and Danish)

2. Put the object (wheat) on top, and the name cards below the object.

3. Teach using the Montessori 3 Period Lesson method:
  • Step 1: Point to the wheat and the English word and read it to your child. For example, say "This is wheat."

  • Step 2: Say the English word, "wheat" and ask your child to point it out. Example, "Show me wheat."

  • Step 3: Point to the English word and ask him what it is. For example, ask "What is this?" Your child should say 'wheat'.
3. Repeat the step 1 - 3 with the other two languages.

Tips:

Take a picture of your presentation. Print it and collate your own sets of trilingual cards for future use in games such as matching. Here is a trilingual card we have made from this lesson. You can also print this card for your use (if you don't mind having the Danish word for wheat in it):


Additional Information:
A child learns best by seeing, touching and manupulating an object. Match words with experience and experience with words. Yesterday we passed by a wheat field and gathered a couple of wheat stalks. I am using wheat to illustrate the 3-period lesson on language. This is an attempt to let Joshua get to know wheat personally, by touching and exploring it by for example, removing the corn, turn it into flour by grinding it in a blender, and then make into bread, etc.

If you live in Singapore and does not have wheat field, you can still use real objects to teach word and vocabulary, instead of simply showing picture. You can teach the word rice by letting your child (who are no longer mouthing) to play with rice, pouring rice, etc.

Keep things simple and economical. It doesn't matter if you don't have unwanted namecards, just write the word on a piece of paper and show it to your child together with the real object.

Happy playing and learning languages!


References:
http://www.montessorimom.com/three-period-lesson/

Friday, 27 July 2012

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J Summary (3Y4M23D) - Missing School Time



A friend of mine cautioned me that I may be too demanding on J with doing School Time, and that he should play and have other fun in his life. Young children should play and not do school. Honestly, J does play a lot. He plays the whole day in the Danish kindergarten (Danish kindergarten does not have any academic curriculum at all, unlike Singapore.) He plays the whole time on weekend apart from 1.5 hour of School Time with Mommy. But nevertheless, I was filled with a little self-doubt and reflected over it whether I am imposing onto him my wishes. These two days, we have not done School Time, as we have been out enjoying the sun, swimming in the Furesø lake. Last night, we reached home very late and J only went to bed at 10pm.

Tonight after we came home from swimming and playing at the lake, J was hungry. He had a cup of milk and a banana. After that, he asked to go upstairs for School Time. I said, no, that it was way too late after bedtime. While putting him to bed, he asked again for School Time and asked to read one book. I said no, as we came home late. We chose to use the time to go to the lake, and thus we were not going to have School Time today.

J said that it was me who chose to come home late, and he said that we should have come home earlier so that we could do School Time. He was clearly having fun when we were there, but he told me that he would have been happy to finish swimming earlier and come home. He said that since it was me who came home late, it was not his fault, and he was thus entitled to School Time. I relented and we read one book, before he went to bed. I am amazed that it was him, the child who was telling mommy that mommy hadn't been discipline enough and over-shot time playing!!!

I no longer feel that I am the one who is imposing on J or directing him towards School Time. I didn't put any pressure on him at all, but he really wanted it himself. Next time, when someone tells me that I am putting pressure on a young child, I can look that person in the eyes and say, it is really J who desires School Time, I haven't force it on him. I have tested it by taking School Time away, and J asked for it back.

Am I raising a nerd? So be it. J is J, and what's wrong with liking School Time? At three years old, he is asking for School Time on his own initiative. I don't have to nag at him to do homework.I wonder whether this will last, and that he will still be self-motivated with doing School and homework, when he becomes a child between 7 - 12 years old? Time will tell. He is very sensible at three years old. Will he still be as sensible when he is becomes a child and even a teenager? I can only do my best as a mom and continue to pray hard. Regardless, I cherish today's memory close to my heart.

I have to make more effort to incorporate School Time into our routine. But ok, given the amount of time in a day, we sometimes cannot do everything. But it is really ok to miss School Time on some days.

Here is a toast to continue our School Time!



Thursday, 26 July 2012

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Frederiksdal Fribad by Furesøen


The cozy sandy beach at Frederiksdal Fribad is child friendly, has low water, lifeguard, blue flag and a jetty to the deep water. In addition, there are plenty of room for picnics, play and relaxation.

Frederiksdal lies northwest of Copenhagen and is part of the Mølleå system. With its 941 hectares, it is the largest lake in the area and with a depth of 38 meters is the deepest lake in the country. Mølleå stream has its source in Bastrup Lake and flows approximately 40 km. through Farum Lake, Furesø and Lyngby lake before it flows into the Sound at Strandmøllen.  From the hilltop one can catch a glimpse of the 1744 century Frederiksdal Castle.  Only 10 minutes walk from Frederiksdal Fribad lies Frederiksdal old water mill, where the water level in Furesøen regulated by sluice. Here you will also find Frederiksdal canoe and boat rental, where you can rent canoes and rowboats for a whole day on the lakes. This is also the starting point for Boat tour arriving in Farum, Holte, Bagsvaerd, and Lyngby. From Frederiksdal is approx. 1 km to Sophienholm at Bagsvaerd lake, which has changing art exhibitions.



Address:
Virum Vandvej 7,
2800 Kongens Lyngby


Directions:
Bus 191 kører from Lyngby station. Alight at Frederiksdal
Bus 170 from Lyngby station. Alight at Furesø Parken. Approx. 15 minutes journey exlcuding walking time.

Parking:
Virum Vandvej eller på Frederiksdalsvej

Restaurant:
http://fribad.dk

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