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My Parenting Journey – Shirleen Tan

Name of respondentShirleen Tan
BioA mother of two energetic boys and one more boy in the pipeline (due in November), Shirleen is thankful for her mother-in-law’s help so she can continue her passion to teach and sow seeds in her students’ lives. You can find out more about her work at

What influences your parenting style?
Parenting is a life-long learning and every child is special and unique. As my husband and I walk through parenting for our boys, it is indeed not easy. We have to navigate suitable ways that work for our children, and not what that worked for me or my husband before. However, traditional methods like “spare the rod and spoil the child” is still effective for us to mete out discipline when we need to. I read a lot of parenting books, especially on raising boys and these give me insights on how to manage an all-boys culture. We embrace both traditional and western parenting styles, and we learn by “trial and error”. One thing that we are strongly against is to show any form of bias among our boys, which was largely reflected throughout my growing up years.

How do you develop close relationships with your children?
With discussion and support from my husband, I quit full-time teaching and turned to private tutoring for the flexibility when my husband needs to work late. This is to ensure one parent is with the boys to tuck them to bed every night. I make it a point to ask them about their day in school, to show them I care. This is tough, especially on some days I just need to hit the sack but they still insist on sharing their stories! But I enjoy these moments as that is how much time they will be young. I free my weekends lessons currently to walk my talk too. It is my desire to witness every growing phase of their lives while I can.

What is the best piece of parenting advice or guidance you have ever received?
No one child is the same, learn to live the “let go” life. I liken it to flying a kite. When I control the kite (child) too much, the string (communication) breaks and I lose hold (trust) of the kite (child). Learn to rein in and release the strings of the kite at the right place, at the right time, and the kite will soar high and confidently. That opened up my parenting perspective to a new level.

When I control the kite (child) too much, the string (communication) breaks and I lose hold (trust) of the kite (child). Learn to rein in and release the strings of the kite at the right place, at the right time, and the kite will soar high and confidently.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in parenting? How do you deal with them?
One of my biggest challenges is teaching my own children. I confess I need a lot of sharpening in this area. I used to think being a teacher has its advantage, i.e. no need to spend on extra lessons! Yay, right? Nay! The hard truth hit me in my face when my then four-year-old eldest boy told my mother-in-law he did not want to come home. I am not a tiger mom (yet, I hope) – I merely insisted that he writes his name and simple letters correctly and properly. He could not differentiate between my role as a teacher and a mother. He was confused and he did not like it when I slipped into the teacher role. That made me reflect and in the end, I left the teaching to his kindergarten and focused on being a mother to support him in his learning. As and when he needs me to teach him to read or count, I will gladly do so, but at his pace and time. This is like the Kite Theory I shared above. It works!

As a parent, what is the one thing that you want to do better or be better at?
As a parent, I do have my blind spots, and my children can be my best teachers to help me reflect and re-align my parenting style.

What advice do you have for parents who have kids of the same age?
Listen to them. Kids of this generation are more vocal in their own rights, and they do deserve our time and attention. However, do draw a line between disciplining and listening. They are also smart to know whose heads they can climb over. My husband and I make it clear to our boys that while we listen to what they want, we make the final decision within reasonable boundaries. Set rules and stick to them. If the rules are not working, reflect and amend. Start over again till what works. For older kids, give them a chance to set rules so they have an ownership and will tend to abide.



Full Story:

English Fun

P4 English / 24 Sept 2018 Monday / SA2 Exam Skills & Drills

We managed to capture some shots of our SA2 Exam skills and drills preparation. This is different from our regular classes. We run an intensive session of exam techniques one month before the exam, to prepare our students adequately. We find this more effective than dispensing practice after practice over the months, as our students find it dreadful to undergo such mundane routine. So do us, thus, our delivery of lessons are different and unique.

Usually, many students are weaker in Comprehension Open-ended. We are thankful to be in a position to guide our students to tackle the toughest part of the other components. We did a detailed lesson on how to maximize their marks and avoid careless mistakes when attempting the section.

To be honest, this takes some time to get results. Students on one hand, need to be disciplined to read through the passage, decipher the questions asked, and expertly answer the questions. At P4, this is a right time to help them master the art of answering comprehension questions gradually till when they hit P6.



P6 English / 21 Sept 2018 Friday / PSLE Prep

With the PSLE English starting first, we can feel our students’ anxiety. “We are very stressed!” our students confided. Stressed from self performance, parents’ expectations and peer pressure. It is indeed not easy for a 12 year old to undergo such an amount of stress and pressure. We try our best to help them manage their emotions and expectations.

For the last few lessons, we adapt our teaching delivery. We listen to what they suggest, if that helps in their learning. The boys suggested to discuss and do questions at the same time, which helps them to learn from each other. That sounded reasonable, and of course we agreed.

Happy learners, happy learning!



Science Topics - Interactions

P3-P4 Science / 13 Sept 2018 Thursday / Magnets

This is a short video resource on DICES – Interactions (Magnets). Enjoy!



Science Topics - Interactions

P3-P4 Science / 13 Sept 2018 Thursday / Magnets

We recapped our last topic on Magnets, before we headed for our SA2 Exam skills and drills revision. We did recapping and adding more notes to their Scrapbook. We believe their own note taking will help them further in their revision.

The highlight will of course be the hands on activities. They were excited to see the array of mixed magnets and grabbed what they liked to play with first. As usual, we sneak in questions along the way:

  1. Whether a bigger magnet has stronger magnetism
  2. Why 2 magnets repel or attract when brought together
  3. Which magnetic materials can be attracted to magnets, and the list goes on.

Getting them to tinker with the real McCoy helps our students LINK & THINK concepts with actual scenarios better.

We covered quite a number of areas and our students had fun with them! Lesson overran and we had to make way for the next class.




December Open House Symposium


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Dear parents, we are very excited that our December Open House Symposium details are finally out! It is a challenge for us when the holiday season comes a-knocking. It is tough for us to find a matching time for our different students in different levels, taking different subjects. Thus, we come up with a symposium of sorts, meaning, we open up our time slots to cater to the various groups to the best we can. Below is a more detailed description:

Class 1: English & Math
Levels: K2, P1, P2 (2019)
* Learn how to CRAFT simple composition writing
- through hands on learning (bake, craft)
- incorporating Math & English 
Class 2: English
Levels: P3, P4, P5, P6 (2019)
* Master how to CRAFT better story plots through 
- games
- graphic organizers
- hands on manipulatives
Class 3: Science
Levels: P3, P4, P5, P6 (2019)
* Master how  to THINK & LINK tough Science concepts through 
- games 
- experiments
- process skills application

Let us run through some Q & A queries:

Q1: WHY this grouping? Is this effective?

A1: Yes, as we have tried it over our September Special Programme, as part of our soft launch among our P3, P4 and P5 students. (Click to watch the video below)

Grouping the age groups occasionally help students of different levels to adapt to the different age groups, display empathy, and work together to foster better working relationships. 

Q2: How does the programme run? With different age groups, how can it benefit my child?

A2: All our lessons (Classes 1,2,3) are largely packed with hands on activities at the beginning of the lessons. For the last part of each lesson, we will hand out writing materials catered to their levels, so be assured your child will learn according to his/her subject level.

Q3: How do I choose and book my slots?

A3:  From the December Calendar 2018, refer to the indicated slots. There are 5 slots per day, running from 9am to 630pm, with 30min break in between. These slots are effectively from 3 Dec to 7 Dec, 10 Dec to 14 Dec. You may choose either 4 slots to enjoy the bundle rate (refer to Q4). Two examples are already provided in the poster. 

To further explain how our symposium works, below is a few case studies:

Case Study Parent 1: 
- My child, ZK, is in K2 or P1 or P2 (2019).
- He falls under Class 1.
- I choose the bundle rate (min 4 lessons) to enjoy more savings.
- I can choose any 4 Class 1 dates (3,4,5,6,7,10,11,12,13,14 Dec),9-1030am.
- I understand that any classes need minimum 5 to start.
- I am prepared to shift the date(s) if possible.
Case Study Parent 2:
- My child, YS, is in P3, P4, P5, P6 (2019).
- He falls under Class 2 (English) and Class 3 (Science).
- I choose the bundle rate (min 4 lessons) to enjoy more savings.
- I can choose any 2 Class 2 and 3 dates(3,4,5,6,7,10,11,12,13,14 Dec).
- My choice is Group A (11am-230pm) 
- I understand that any classes need minimum 5 to start.
- I am prepared to shift the date(s) if possible.
Case Study Parent 3:
- My child, XR, is in P3, P4, P5, P6 (2019).
- He falls under Class 2 (English) and Class 3 (Science).
- I choose the bundle rate (min 4 lessons) to enjoy more savings.
- I can choose any 2 Class 2 and 3 dates(3,4,5,6,7,10,11,12,13,14 Dec).
- My choice is Group B (3pm-630pm) 
- I understand that any classes need minimum 5 to start.
- I am prepared to shift the date(s) if possible.

Q4: What is the bundle rate for?

A4: This bundle rate of 4 lessons is our commitment to replace the 4 weeks of lessons in December. This is also to encourage our students to attend for the lessons to keep themselves updated for the coming 2019 academic year.

Q5: If I like to extend beyond 4 lessons, will the lessons be repeated?

A5: No, they will not. Each lesson is different and at any slots that your child is in, they will take home different learning materials.

Q6: My family is overseas for the first 2 weeks and we are keen to enroll. How is it possible?

A6: If you are keen to enroll for our December Open House Symposium, do drop us a message to indicate. We will consider opening up on the 3rd week, most likely on Monday or Tuesday, if we are able to hit a minimum.

Q7: My child is new and after the programme, how do we sign up for regular classes?

A7: We will announce our 2019 regular classes as soon as we can, as we are gathering interest from parents currently.

Do visit us @ 


for current updates


1.  Our December Open House Symposium is meant for students (current or new) who are keen to learn more over the holidays.

2. Fees paid are STRICTLY NON-REFUNDABLE (unless workshop is cancelled). Please check to confirm your child/ren’s availability before signing up for any of the workshops.

3. If any of the workshops is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, or if the minimum quantity is not reached, we will inform parents 3 working days beforehand. Full refund of fees will then be made.

4. Refer your friends to enjoy more benefits.

Science Fun Science Topics - Systems

P5 Science / 12 Sept 2018 Wednesday / Electricity

Our P5 girls contributed to the filming of their hands on experiment by taking turns to film, check and edit. And at the same time, they tinkered with the different circuit set up.



K2 English / 12 September 2018 Wednesday / Fan Craft Writing

We did the same craft for our K2s, but different approach. We still touch on the Mid-Autumn Festival, but we deviate to another level of lesson delivery. We did not touch on the history as yet, as that may be a little abstract for them to understand. Instead, we showed sights and sounds of how the festival is celebrated, for them to connect the dots. And connect they did, for they were able to relate to us the types of mooncakes eaten, and the colourful lanterns they had. We did procedural writing as our foundation again, before moving on to drawing and colouring.

We believe in exposing our younger students in engaging their 5 senses, to help them make connections when writing. This is the basic foundation we firmly stand strong in, thus our approach to Craft Writing Style for them.

We love to snap shot their interpretations of their work, as a testament that they do indeed enjoy their work.

Happy faces, happy learning! Happy Mid-Autumn!



P1-P2 English / 11 September 2018 Tuesday / Fan Craft Writing

It is all about eating mooncakes in the month of September! We love festivals, don’t we? Excuses to eat, bond with families and have fun! For this special activity, we did a fan craft around the Mid-Autumn Festival theme, instead of the over use of DIY lanterns. It is flat and does not take up space, and can be used to get some respite from the heat.

We did the usual procedural writing, and the class could not wait to get started – again. Before that, we did a tuning in activity of watching snippets on the history of the festival, giving them some prior knowledge on what the festival is about.

After marking and checking their work, the class proceeded to draw out their interpretations of the festival and their art pieces were amazing!


The splashes of colours indeed add to the mood of the festival. Given more time, we were sure their art work would be better, but due to time constraint, we had to time them. But even then, we dare say their work deserved a shout out and are fit to be displayed publicly. Don’t we agree?


We are very proud of their work, so do they themselves!