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THE STAR Tuesday 7 April 2015

StarSpecial

A digital
generation

Education in the 21st century > 2

School nurtures students talents > 8

2 BRIGHT KIDS StarSpecial, Tuesday 7 April 2015

DYSSEY, The Global


Preschool at Setia Eco Park,
recognises that each child is
different and seeks to nurture this
as an educational advantage.
A curriculum approach that
revolves around experimentation,
exploration and experiential
learning enhances the preschool
experience to fulfil the schools
philosophy of Competent Child,
Competent Teacher, Competent
Parent.
This philosophy respects the
uniqueness of individuals and uses
it as a foundation to educate and
engage young curious minds.
The children at Odyssey are
nurtured to be innovative and
responsible risk-takers who are
able to communicate and explore.
The hands-on approach espoused
is visible in many aspects of the
classroom, including the use of
learning corners.
One of the learning corners, the
Ray of Light, encourages children
to experiment with concepts
through the application of light
using overhead projectors and
light tables.
For example, children place
objects on the overhead projector
and explore their opaque,
transparent or translucent
properties.
In the Odyssey campus in
Penang, Odyssey Macalister, there
is a whole room dedicated to
learning through the use of light.
Children often learn much
more than we expect them
to, says Patrick Terence Lim,
programme specialist at Odyssey.
Having initiated the Ray of Light
corner years ago, Lim believes in
the efficacy of learning corners.
Odyssey advocates responsible

Education in the 21st century

Odyssey, The Global Preschool, aims to instil the joy of learning in young children
during their preschool years.
technology use for children of all
ages.
Petulia Lun, centre director of
Odyssey Setia Eco Park, believes
it is essential that students are
exposed to various technological
devices at a young age to teach
them the appropriate ways of
utilising technology.
We cant use a 20th century
mindset to teach children growing
up in the 21st century, she says,
adding that it is important for
parents to serve as an example in
the responsible use of technology
and not allow smartphones or
tablets to babysit their children.
Currently in the second term

of the Setia Eco Park campus


first year, Lun says the teachers
are beginning to see the fruits of
their labour. Inculcating trust and
respect through interactions with
the children has taught them to
enjoy learning and being around
their peers.
Some parents even said their
children wanted to come back
to school during the first term
break, says Lun.
At Odyssey, parental
involvement is highly encouraged
and valued. Students carry out
term projects such as the recent
Little Chef Day, where parents
were invited to purchase and

sample food items made by their


children.
The children were given a sense
of accomplishment as parents
witnessed them prepare, serve
and sell the food they had helped
to cook.
There are five levels across
six years of preschool education,
which are Toddlers (18 months to
two and a half years old), Nursery
1 (two and a half to three years
old), Nursery 2 (three and a half
to four years old), Kindy 1 (five to
six years old) and Kindy 2 (six to
seven years old).
Small teacher-to-student ratios
in these classes allow teachers to
make provision for differentiated
learning, which caters to the
childrens varying pace of learning.
It also facilitates small-group
learning, which provides greater
flexibility and openness.
Students have access to various
materials and learning corners at
all times, allowing them to learn
and explore through their own
initiative as opposed to simply
taking instructions from an adult.
Health and safety are
prioritised at the school, which
has built-in safety measures to
create a safe environment where
children can learn, play and grow.
This includes the centre-wide
CCTV that is monitored from
the centres directors office and
security surveillance.
Teachers check the childrens
temperature every morning and

every person who walks through


the doors must sanitise their
hands.
Odyssey seeks to inculcate the
joy of learning in children within
the six years of their preschool
education so that they carry this
attitude with them throughout
their lives.
Providing the right foundation
is the first step towards creating
smart, caring and responsible
citizens of the world.
n For more information, call
03-2092 3733 (Kuala Lumpur)
or 04-226 9090 (Penang) or visit
www.theodyssey.my

Learning corners such as the Ray of


Light allow children to experiment with
concepts through the application of
light.

StarSpecial, Tuesday 7 April 2015

BRIGHT KIDS 3

To help children achieve their full potential, more focus needs to be placed on supporting them in their
learning.

Aiming for
greater heights
A

GOOD education can bring out the


best in children. In 1881, to open a
school sports event, a Dominican
priest and educator by the name of Henri
Didon said the words citius, altius, fortius,
which mean faster, higher, stronger.
The words resonated with students and
guests alike, so much so that it was adopted
by the Olympic Games as their official
motto.
These words do not just begin and end
in the sports arena. In essence, the words
capture moral, spiritual and educational
elements too.
Notice that winning is not mentioned.
This is because the most important thing
is to do your best, improve and constantly
strive for excellence.
This is what every school at its core
should be striving to do. These days, too
often are educators reluctant to push
students, with pressures from government
bodies, parents and the media in
influencing education.
The world is a diverse place in which
boundaries are being eroded into what can
be described as a global village.
Workforces are highly mobile and people
are hungry for success. Therefore, there is a
risk of creating a generation of marginalised
young people who are unable to secure jobs
if children at school are not pushed to be
their best.
It is important to note that in the
country, one quite often finds that success is
perceived to be found in a book, computer
or classroom. This is a one-dimensional
approach that can limit a variety of options.
Given the wealth of jobs available,
success can be found outside the classroom
as much as within.
A passion for sports and outdoor
activities has seen the rise of many
great athletes, environmentalists,
event organisers, photojournalists,
physiotherapists and even teachers.
Many of these examples do lead back to
the classroom and require many years of
formal education but it can be argued that
it is activities outside the classroom that
motivate and keep students focused.
Therefore, a healthy combination
of activities inside and outside of the
classroom increases chances of success.
As a result, many universities and
colleges now look at non-academic

activities when picking the best candidates


for entry into their programmes.
Hard work is undeniably required. In
Michael Phelps biography titled No Limits,
The Will to Succeed, he says There will be
obstacles. There will be doubters. There
will be mistakes. But with hard work, with
belief, with confidence and trust in yourself
and those around you, there are no limits.
Educators may understand that students
make mistakes, but over time, the media,
government bodies and parents have
become less forgiving.
The important thing is to learn from
mistakes and focus less on apportioning
blame as it is a deconstructive pursuit.
Instead, there should be more focus on
building and supporting children in their
pursuit of education.
This is not to say that there should
not be accountability and people to take
responsibility for mistakes, but the focus
on that has to shift.
To truly embody citius, altius, fortius,
students, educators, parents, government
bodies and the media need to work together
in a positive way to make hard work pay off
as there are no short cuts. - By Rajan Kaloo
Rajan Kaloo is the director of services at
elc International School.
n For more information, visit
www.elc.edu.my

Activities outside the classroom can keep students


focused and motivated at school.

4 BRIGHT KIDS StarSpecial, Tuesday 7 March 2015

ALF a century ago, one


fathers love for his son
gave birth to the Kumon
Method. The late chairman, Toru
Kumon, developed the prototype
of the Kumon Method in 1954
while he was a secondary school
mathematics teacher.
As a result of his teaching
experience, Toru Kumon
believed that all children possess
undiscovered potential and
abilities that surpass even the
expectation of adults.
He considered it to be the
responsibility of educators to
uncover that hidden potential and
felt that maximising childrens
independence was of the highest
importance in teaching methods.
Kumon believes that each child
is unique, differing in terms of
their achievements, abilities and
learning skills.
It aims to discover the potential
of each child and develop their
abilities.

Seeing improvements
Set Jing Ying, a 16-year-old

Enjoyable educational journey


Set Jing Ying (left), seen here with her brother, found Kumon learning materials
helped her improve in mathematics and English.
Kumon student, shares how
she overcomes problems when
faced with new materials in her
mathematics worksheet.
Sometimes, I forget the
formula and it becomes quite
difficult for me to answer the
questions. I then study the

examples to better understand the


subject, says Set.
Set is also enrolled in the
Kumon English Programme.
I like Kumons English
programme because every
worksheet has its own story.
Besides serving as interesting

reading material, it helps broaden


my vocabulary and improve my
general knowledge. Nowadays, I am
able to answer the questions that my
teacher asks me in school because
I have learnt them at Kumon, she
says.
Kumon upholds the belief that
each child can shine brightly and
become capable of studying with
minimum guidance.
To nurture this learning
behaviour, Kumon worksheets are
designed in small incremental steps
with examples for students to look
through, understand and learn from.
During the learning process,
Kumon instructors continue to
observe students study process and
provide the appropriate advice and
guidance when they have difficulty
understanding the material.
This drives students to continue
learning and experience enjoyment

along the way.

Programmes offered
Kumon offers both
mathematics and English
programmes. The mathematics
programme is focused on
the development of strong
calculation skills while the
English programme is designed
to develop a strong interest in
reading and cultivates advanced
reading comprehension ability.
Being widely available in
more than 48 countries and
regions around the world,
Kumon currently has more than
four million students registered.
n For more information,
call 1800 881 010 or e-mail
franchise_opportunity@kumon.
com.my

Independent learning
ACCORDING to American adult
educator Malcolm Knowles,
self-directed learning is a
process by which individuals
take the initiative, with or
without the assistance of others,
in diagnosing their learning
needs, formulating learning
goals, identifying human and
material resources for learning,
choosing and implementing
appropriate learning strategies,
and evaluating learning
outcomes.
Eye Level aims to nurture
each of its students to become
problem solvers, critical
thinkers and lifelong learners.
To achieve this, it is important
to develop self-directed
learning (SDL) ability in them.
Through SDL, students
become more self-motivated
and willing to take the initiative
to achieve their study goals at
both Eye Level and school.
First, a goal needs to be set
for each student. The goal can
be short, medium or long term.
For example, the instructor
can set the completion of a
certain level in a year or aim
for students to study equations
before going to secondary
school.
This helps students to set a
clear goal and strive to achieve
it.
After careful observation of
students from enrolment and
during study sessions at the
centre, the instructor forms the
right study plan for the student.
Continuous parental feedback
is crucial in ensuring the study

plan goes smoothly.


In the third step, the
instructor determines the
right amount of study and the
necessary coaching needed by
students in their study period.
If students experience
difficulty in attempting a
question in the booklet, the
instructor guides them by
using the example provided in
the booklet to allow a better
understanding of how the topic
relates to the question.
To help students develop
their SDL ability, the instructor
needs to make children think
and not simply give them the
answers.
Finally, the whole process
is reviewed and students
performances are analysed.
The instructor will go through
the completed booklets and
carefully analyse the results
recorded in the progress
booklets.
If certain adjustments are
needed, the instructor will
adjust the students study plan
accordingly to ensure effective
learning.
Students who are instilled
with the SDL ability become
proactive learners, which is an
important trait in successful
learning.
Parents also need to play
their role at home. With SDL
ability, each student can achieve
greater heights in life.
n For more information, call
1300 880 909 or visit
www.myeyelevel.com

1. Set a goal

4. Review
performance

Process

3. Academic
coaching and
SDL

2. Planning

Diagram of the
process of selfdirected learning.

StarSpecial, Tuesday 7 April 2015

BRIGHT KIDS 5

Growth through
competition
L

EARNING with peers can


greatly benefit students in
many ways. Not only is it
healthy for children to grow and
play with children of their age, it
also provides a safe space to share,
learn and improve alongside one
another.
At Epsom College in Malaysia
(ECiM), students are encouraged
to strive for the best to reach their
full potential.
Healthy competition plays an
important role in driving this,
both inside and outside of the
classroom.
Activities with a competitive
aspect push students to explore
their own capabilities, interests

Martin George, headmaster of ECiM.

and strengths while teaching


them to stay civil, respectful and
honest in their interactions with
those around them.
Competition can be motivating
for students. Children are natural
risk-takers to some extent and
providing the right opportunities
to test themselves against their
peers can lead to well-embedded
learning, says Martin George,
headmaster of ECiM.
George says that children will
learn to take note of the things
that lead to success and take
action on things that lead to
failure. Both victory and failure
have the potential to teach
children important things about
achievement.
Through exposure to
competition, they will learn
how to attain their personal and
academic goals.
Teachers at ECiM encourage
healthy competition by including
quizzes or tests that are both
individual- and team-based in
lessons.
Students are taught to improve
themselves through competitive
situations where they learn to
push boundaries and put their
abilities to the test.
For example, when a student
is instructed to work against the

Quizzes and tests are included in lessons at Epsom College in Malaysia to encourage healthy competition and allow students to
explore their own capabilities.
clock, he will eventually learn how
to complete the task in the fastest
and most efficient way.
However, teachers are careful
to ensure that the competition
remains healthy and productive.
When competition becomes
personal or aggressive, it detracts
from the focus of the lesson.
Victory is not necessarily the
ultimate goal multi-layered
activities such as sports, music,
drama, art or inter-house
competitions can be as much
about the enjoyment and
camaraderie of competing as the
pleasure of winning.
Students are encouraged
to appreciate their journey in
a competition as much as the
outcome. At ECiM, educators

ensure that all students have the


opportunity to participate and
contribute to success, whether in
representing their house, class or
college.
We celebrate successes
equally regardless of discipline or
achievement, says George.
It is important to recognise the
variety of skills and achievements
to foster students positivity
in competitions. Teamwork,
attention to detail, concentration,
self-evaluation and ambition are
some of the good characteristics
that children can gain through
competing.
Healthy competition can
generate interest and ownership
as well as tap into a variety of
skills for each student to identify

their strengths and contribute to


the team.
ECiM holds various
competitions for individuals and
teams that allow students to be
involved in sports, drama, music
and general knowledge.
Through these team events,
we can celebrate the successes and
talents of individuals as well. We
look for examples of our students
success achieved outside school
that we can share and celebrate
here, George says.
These competitions generate
kinship and loyalty among the
student body, which George is
proud to see in ECiM students.
n For more information, visit
www.epsomcollege.edu.my/

6 BRIGHT KIDS StarSpecial, Tuesday 7 March 2015

Treating
constipation
P

ARENTS know their childs bowel


habits best as they vary from child to
child. Babies may empty their bowels
daily or several times a day, depending
on their diet and the type of milk they
consume.
For example, breast milk is easier to
digest than formula milk, so babies who
drink breast milk tend to pass runnier,
lighter-coloured stools more frequently.
Bowel habits change with the childs
diet, especially as they grow older and
are introduced to solid foods. However, a
change in the normal bowel routine of your
child may indicate a problem.
Constipation in children is a common
issue and is characterised by infrequent
bowel movements with hard, dry stools.
If your child is old enough, he or she will
likely complain about trouble in the toilet,
which will serve as a primary indicator.
Abdominal pain, stomach aches and nausea
are also symptoms of constipation.
You may be able to detect behaviourial
changes in your child he or she may
become irritable and restless, signalling that
he or she needs to go to the toilet but
is unable to.
Children may try to avoid going to the
toilet if their bowel movements hurt, and
you can tell by their behaviour during the
time such as crossing legs or clenching
buttocks. If a child has to try so hard that
he turns red attempting to pass stool, he
or she might have constipation and require
some help.

A change
to your
childs normal
bowel routine
may indicate a
problem.
The condition is not typically serious but
is a cause for concern, so parents should
know about it and how to avoid it.
The most common type is idiopathic
constipation, which means its cause is
unknown. This condition usually presents
itself in short spells of two to three days,
but some children may suffer from a more
persistent and lengthy bout known as
chronic idiopathic constipation.
A few things could cause constipation
in children, including forcing early toilet
training.
Children who are not ready for the toilet
may hold in stool, which starts out as a
rebellious choice but ends up as
an involuntary habit.
Changes in your childs diet or routine
may also affect his bowel movements. It is
common for children to face constipation
when there is insufficient fibre in their diet,
which is mainly obtained from fruits and
vegetables. A balanced diet is the first step
towards healthy bowel movement.
Check out the second part of this
article in next months issue to learn about
treatment and severe constipation.

StarSpecial, Tuesday 7 April 2015

ROM a babys birth, parents


want to play with them and
babies learn to respond by
smiling, laughing and stretching
their arms and legs.
As they grow, they learn other
things through play. Since children
learn naturally this way, play is
a fundamental aspect of a childs
growth and development.

Learning through play

Quality programme
At Taylors International School,
children start school as early as
four years old at Early Years level.
The Early Years curriculum
is a thematic curriculum that
encourages creativity with a clear
process of learning and specific
goals to develop international
mindedness.
In this curriculum, childrens
personal, social and emotional
development is fundamental. The
schools environment also helps
children develop their personal
needs in a happy and engaging
setting.
Children are encouraged to gain
independence by learning routines

Play activities in classrooms such as circle time encourages children to talk in an


engaging environment.
with a helping hand.
Malaysia possesses a uniquely
diverse culture and Taylors
celebrates this diversity.

Hope in treatment
AS a preschooler, Lisas son Jack
(not their real names) would
tear through the house like
a tornado, shouting, roughhousing and climbing onto the
furniture.
Nothing held his interest for
more than a few minutes and
he often darted off without
warning, seemingly unaware of
the dangers of a busy street or a
crowded mall.
Although it was exhausting
for her, Lisa was initially not too
concerned as she figured that
boys would be boys. But at eight
years old, Jack was no easier to
handle. It was a struggle to get
him to settle down long enough
to complete even the simplest
of tasks.
Comments from teachers
about Jacks disruptive
behaviour in class became
too frequent to ignore, but
giving the stimulant Ritalin
for his condition only made
Jack more irritable than before.
His violence and aggression in
school caused other parents to
lodge complaints to expel Jack.
Lisa was referred to the
International Psychology Centre
by her general practitioner and
she decided to give ChildPsych,
the centres child psychology
division, a try in her bid to
help Jack. An assessment by
ChildPsych revealed that Jack
suffered from the behavioural
disorder Attention-Deficit/
Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
According to the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5),
a classification and diagnostic
tool for psychological disorders,
ADHD affects the ability to
concentrate and might also
have a negative impact on the
patients academic and social
life.
ChildPsychs attending child
psychologist implemented
a behavioural therapy
programme tailored to Jacks
needs. It was designed to
change negative behavioural
patterns by reorganising Jacks
home and school environment,
giving clear directions and
setting up a system of consistent
rewards for appropriate

BRIGHT KIDS 7

behaviours and negative


consequences for inappropriate
ones.
Lisa learnt and observed
the skills that were taught to
her son to ensure that he could
practise those skills at home
and in school.
A neurotransmitter test was
also conducted, which showed
that Jacks low dopamine level
affected his brains reward
and pleasure centres and was
the underlying cause of his
inattention and impulsive
behaviours.
To help achieve a
biochemical balance in Jack,
psycho-nutritional therapy was
implemented, in which a series
of supplements manufactured
from natural herbs were given
to him. For instance, theanine,
found in the extract of green
tea, was able to boost Jacks
dopamine level back to its
optimal functioning level.
After undergoing the
programme that consisted of
12 sessions, Jack is now better
able to follow instructions
and his school teachers
have complimented his
improvement.
His attention span has
improved from five minutes
to approximately half an hour,
which means Jack is able to
focus during an entire class
period without being disruptive
to others.
The problem of ADHD is not
plainly about disobeying rules,
but the overwhelming flow of
information that constantly
runs through the childs mind.
Providing treatment is like
giving him a pair of glasses
that enables him to see clearly
again, says Dr Edward Chan,
principal consultant child
psychologist of ChildPsych.
n For more information,
call 03-2727 7437 or e-mail
childpsych@psychology.com.my
or visit www.psychology.com.my

Teachers create a child-friendly


play environment in classrooms
that encourages social interaction.
Through play, teachers guide

students to embrace one anothers


differences and to respect
everyone as individuals.
Respecting each other is one
of the schools core values and is
strongly emphasised especially
since its students come from
different countries and are of
different ethnicities.
Students learn through handson experiences as they discover
and explore on their own.
They are encouraged to
explore through themes that are
engaging and fun. The physical
aspect of learning through play
is also important in a childs
development.
Taylors encourages healthy
habits and physical exercise.
Fun activities are conducted to
strengthen and refine the small
and large motor skills that enable
coordination.

Through these activities,


children build stamina and
strength, which help to improve
concentration and enjoyment in
learning.
These developments are
essential during their growing
stage.
Learning through play at
Taylors International School
encourages different aspects
of development. Students
develop communication skills,
independence, a mind to explore
and healthy living, making them
well-rounded individuals who can
achieve their potential.
n For more information, call the
Kuala Lumpur campus at 03-9200
9898 or e-mail admissions@
kl.tis.edu.my or call the Puchong
campus at 03-5879 5000 or e-mail
admissions@pc.tis.edu.my

8 BRIGHT KIDS StarSpecial, Tuesday 7 April 2015

School nurtures students talents


S

TUDENTS life at school is


most rewarding when they
find a balance between
work and play as well as have
the opportunities to pursue their
interests and talents while taking
charge of their academic progress.
Schools should offer a support
system that is adaptable to
students needs and provide a
positive environment for talents to
develop.
At Sunway International School
(SIS), teachers, the community and
management body come together
in support of recognising and
nurturing students talents.
Under the stewardship of
the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation,
SIS rewards students academic
accomplishments and
extracurricular excellence via
its sports, music and academic
scholarships.
The scholarships are offered
as an incentive to encourage SIS
students to continue pursuing
their passions, be it in sports, the
arts or their academic studies.
The scholarship offers a 25%
waiver off the tuition fee and is
offered every year to new and
existing students.
Since its inception in January
2012, the scholarship has been
awarded to 20 students.

Staying focused
For students pursuing their
passion outside of their academic

Soon Wern-Shynn is a 2012 music scholar and member of the


Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra who found support
from her teachers in her music pursuits and school work.
studies, it can be challenging to
achieve their peak form while
fulfilling their responsibilities as
a student.
One such student is Sean Goh,
eighth grader and 2014 sport
scholar. The 14-year-old has
swimming practice six times a
week for an average of two hours
each session.
Despite his vigorous training,
he still finds the time to complete
his coursework.
Although Goh has to miss
classes during competition
seasons, his teachers remain
understanding of the demands
of his training and clearly
communicate their expectations
for his coursework.

Despite his busy swimming practice schedule, Sean Goh


performed well in his studies thanks to the help of his
teachers and their positive attitude.

Goh completes his coursework


through the schools online course
management software.
The support from the school
has allowed him to focus on
swimming without having to
forsake his education.
As such, he recently won
three gold medals and a bronze
medal in various categories at the
Malaysia School Sports Council
2015 competition.
I am thankful for my teachers
at SIS who understood my needs
and made necessary adjustments
to my coursework deadlines.
They taught me how to balance
my swimming activities and
schoolwork, making it possible to
excel at both.

Making sound decisions


A 2012 music scholar and
member of the Malaysian
Philharmonic Youth Orchestra,
Soon Wern-Shynn echoes Gohs
sentiments.
When I was away from school
for performances or music camps,
my teachers would help me catch
up with the lessons I missed upon
returning to school.
Some of my teachers and even
the principal have attended some
of the concerts I have performed
in and this truly encouraged me.
Soon also thrives in her
academics, having twice been
in the schools honour roll and
selected to be a peer tutor in

mathematics for middle school


students for the last two years.
Soon has also been involved in
other school clubs and societies
such as the Model United Nations,
Book Club, Chess Club and Hula
Hoop Club.
She is also currently a member
of the SIS Debate Team, SIS Swim
Team, and the Track and Field
Club.
Through my involvement and
participation in Model of United
Nations conferences, I have honed
my speaking skills to become a
more confident public speaker,
she says.

Nurturing strengths
Students at SIS are taught that
each individual possesses unique
strengths and talents, and that
recognising and developing these
talents can be a rewarding and
enjoyable journey.
SIS is committed to providing
aspiring students with the
opportunities to grow their skills
and enjoy their lives as students
at school, knowing that they are
receiving full support from their
educators.
SIS is hosting its Open Day on
April 25, where visitors can come
enjoy a day of fun and learning
with SIS students and teachers.
n For more information,
call 03-7491 8070 or visit
www.sis.sunway.edu.my