Self-Directed Learning at Eye Level Learning Centre

Friday, 23 February 2018

Education nowadays is very different from my time. Teachers are expected to teach less but students are expected to learn more. More often than not, students are expected to experience and learn by themselves. In fact, becoming a self-directed learner is one of the outcomes of the 12 competencies of education as stipulated by MOE. It says: "A self-directed learner who questions, reflects, perseveres and takes responsibility for his own learning."


At Eye Level, they pride themselves on providing an Individualised Programme and a Self-Directed Learning Environment for students of different learning abilities. They also nurture students to become Problem Solvers, Critical Thinkers and Lifelong Learners, which are important values in the global environment.

I have already shared about Eye Level's Individualised Programme in my previous posts. Today, I'm going to share a little more about how Self-Directed Learning looks like at Eye Level.

Right Starting Point

In learning, I believe in guiding the child at his learning level. If we are giving the child something that is too difficult, he will lose interest and motivation very quickly.

Every student that comes to Eye Level is required to go through a Diagnostic Test. This test helps to identify the right level that the student should start at. Usually, this is a level that is not too difficult nor too easy. Since the starting point is at the student's learning level, it provides confidence and helps to motivate the student to learn more. From this point onward, learning progress is based on the individual learning pace and motivation.

Seating Arrangement 

Each student is seated at his/her own Self-Directed Learning Desk. This seating arrangement is specially arranged to reduce distractions, improve concentration and develop self-directed learning habits. The teacher is seated at a designated coaching space that is separated from the students’ learning space. This arrangement allows 1:1 Individualised Coaching and Self-Directed Learning to take place at the same time.

1:1 Individualised Coaching

As each student is learning at their own individual level, it is not possible for the teacher to teach everyone at the same time, like in traditional classrooms.

At Eye Level, the separation of the students' learning space and teacher's coaching space is optimal for a 1:1 Individualised Coaching. A student will receive 1:1 coaching at the teacher’s table, while the rest are doing individual learning at the student's desks. When this student is done with the teacher, he will return to his desk to practice what he have just learnt. When a student has a problem, he will have to take the initiative to approach the teacher at the teacher’s table. This 1:1 approach allows each student to learn at his own pace. It also decreases distractions to other students who are still doing their work.

In traditional classrooms, some students might be shy to voice out their questions in front of a whole class. He will be losing the opportunity to clarify any doubts and be left out by the teacher. Eye Level’s unique 1:1 coaching approach encourages students to ask questions if they have a problem and hence the teacher is better able to monitor the progress of the student.

Optimised Learning Environment

You may question, "I can also teach my child at home and get him/her to practice on the assessment books." I have been doing home-learning with the boys and I must say it is not easy. Sometimes, we might be busy with other stuffs to answer the child’s questions, sometimes we might be lazy, or sometimes we might not know how to teach a certain concept. It is quite different when they are in the learning center. The environment is conducive for learning, teachers are readily available to ask for help and peer model from other students will give the student the confidence and motivation to learn.

Remember, self-directed learning is not:
Giving a piece of work (which might not be the child's learning level),
letting the student to work on it alone (with no help readily available)
while some other students are talking or siblings are playing in the background (an environment with distractions).

If you would like to find out more about the programmes available at Eye Level Learning Centre, do check out their website. You may also read my other posts to get more information about Eye Level: 

Eye Level Math - Update #2
Eye Level Math - Update #3
Self-Directed Learning at Eye Level Learning Centre

Eye Level has 20 learning centres in Singapore. Find a centre near your home here.
Web  |  Facebook 

Eye Level @ Jurong West

Address: Blk 960 Jurong West St 92 #01-182 (Upper Level) Singapore 640960
Contact No: 6686 2328

Disclaimer: We were sponsored complimentary lessons with Eye Level Singapore to try out its Math programme for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was involved. All opinions, texts and photos are mine, unless otherwise stated.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please feel free to share it with your friends. I would be glad if you could follow me on Facebook or Instagram

First Week of School 2018

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

So, the first week of school just whizzed by! It wasn't too long ago that I was still so excited about the boys going to their new school. Most excitedly, Big J is starting on his Primary 1 journey! 

Getting the stuffs ready the night before the first day of school

Talking about Big J's bag, when we brought him to get a new bag for Primary 1, he chose this very plain one. We thought he would chose those with cute, adorable prints, but he said, "I'm Primary 1 already, I don't like cartoons anymore, I want something that is plain." We were shocked! But, he is still watching his cartoons and asking us to buy toys. Duh!

First day of school! Look at how excited they were.

For Big J, the first day was spent getting to know about the school, teachers and friends and also getting used to the routine in school. A pity that parents don't get to observe how the kids are getting on in their class. Parents need to stay on in the hall for a briefing while the kids go back to their class. Then, it's recess time, the most exciting time for parents cos we get to see our kids again!

Parents stood at the perimeter of the canteen to look at their children. It was quite a messy scene as parents were eagerly looking for their precious little ones. Big J bought some sushi and that became his favourite for the next couple of days.

As for Small J, although he is attending a new kindergarten this year, he is already all familiar with the school as it was KorKor's kindergarten for the past two years. He spent the day getting to know his teachers and friends. They played some games and did some crafts. The years before primary school are always so fun! How I wish that primary school life can be more play-based too.

The biggest change we have to get used to is waking up early in the morning. Though the boys are early risers on weekends, they can't seem to turn on this power on weekdays.

Small J asked, "Why we need to wake up in the middle of the night?"

I usually get them to bed by 8.30 or 9pm the night before, but they still have trouble waking up early in the morning. Poor Small J has to wake up early too even though his school starts at 8am, cos we have to leave the house together for Big J's school.

While Small J is happily enjoying and playing in school, Big J just received his spelling list for both English and Chinese subjects. So stressful isn't it? 

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New Year's Activities for Kids

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

2017 is coming to an end soon. Big J will be embarking on a new journey as he enters Primary 1 next year. Small J will be attending a new kindergarten in 2018. With so many changes to come for the new year, we hardly have time to do much learning activities. I remembered we had a blast in 2016 to welcome in the new year. So, here are some activities that we did in 2016 to welcome the new year.  I hope these will be inspiring to you to do some New Year's activities with your kiddos.

A Year in Review

The first activity we did was to review the events that had happened over the past year. I printed the photos of some of the significant events that took place during the year and wrote the date and event on the back of the photos.

Then, I hid the cards around the house and the boys set out to find the cards.

After they found the cards, they sat down and looked at the pictures. We had lots of fun recollecting our memories.

I have them picked out a photo which they really like and record it down in their journal.

Fireworks Art

How is it a New Year party if there is no fireworks? I cut up some toilet paper rolls and flatten it so that it looks like fireworks. The boys used it to print the fireworks on the a big piece of paper.

New Year's Countdown Party

And here comes the best activity, a New Year's Countdown Party! In preparation for the party, we made our party hats and party pops. I drew out the party hat on a drawing paper and the boys were free to decorate it.

We also made party pops using a plastic cup and a balloon. They cut out the confetti from colourful tissue paper. They filled their cups with the confetti, countdown from 10 to 1 and pull the balloon. Happy New Year!! 

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Eye Level Math - Update #3

Friday, 15 December 2017

It has been about 6 months since my last update about Big J's progress with Eye Level Learning Centre. He has now progressed to Level 5 of the Eye Level Math programme. 

For the past few months, he had lots of practice on addition, subtraction and number bonds. The Systematic and Progressive Approach ensures that he has a solid foundation in numbers before he moves on to addition. 

With ample practice in addition, he moves on to subtraction.

And when his addition and subtraction concepts are well-understood, number bonds are introduced. I like how they introduce this concept in a visual and fun way, before it goes on to the normal number bond presentation.

As for the Critical Thinking Math (CTM) portion, he is still enjoying it very much. He continues to learn more about patterns, shapes, geometry and comparisons. These critical thinking skills helps to build up logical thinking which will be very helpful when he proceeds on to primary school, especially in heuristic math.

During this period, he also completed his first sticker board and was so excited to exchange it for his first reward! In fact, he also completed his second sticker board and decided to accumulate more sticker boards to exchange for a higher tier prize.

Here's a photo of him doing his work independently while the teacher is guiding another student.

If you would like to find out more about the programmes available at Eye Level Learning Centre, do check out their website. You may also read my other posts to get more information about Eye Level: 

Eye Level Math - Update #2
Eye Level Math - Update #3
Self-Directed Learning at Eye Level Learning Centre

Eye Level @ Jurong West

Address: Blk 960 Jurong West St 92 #01-182 (Upper Level) Singapore 640960
Contact No: 6686 2328

Eye Level has 20 learning centres in Singapore. Find a centre near your home here.
Web  |  Facebook 

Disclaimer: We were sponsored complimentary lessons with Eye Level Singapore to try out its Math programme for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was involved. All opinions, texts and photos are mine, unless otherwise stated.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please feel free to share it with your friends. I would be glad if you could follow me on Facebook or Instagram

My Little Climbing Room

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Last weekend, we were invited to a media preview of My Little Climbing Room. As the name suggests, it is an indoor playground where little ones can do lots of climbing.

The room isn't really that big but there are enough activities to keep the kids occupied for the whole session of 90 minutes. And there are activities to keep both the older and younger kids busy! 

Before You Start

Upon arrival, parents and children will be given a tag and be shown a safety video. Kids will be given a set of challenge card, and upon completion, they can exchange it for a small gift.

There is a shelf where you can leave your bags. Beside it, is a small bench for anyone to take a rest.

There are also instructors around to guide and help. Here, Big J is putting on his harness with the help from the instructor. For safety, every child must wear grip socks and it is recommended to wear long pants. Parents must also accompany and supervise their child while they are climbing.

After getting ready, it is time to explore the place! Each session last 90 minutes, with 30 minutes of free-play, 30 minutes of group games and followed by another 30 minutes of free play. On weekdays when it is unlimited play, group games will be conducted every 2 hours.

AR Wall

This is the favourite wall for Big J. He will need to climb up the wall to tap the white dots. There is a timer to record the time taken to tap all the dots. He keeps going back to this wall, because it is interactive and he has to do it as fast as he can. I think it will be more fun if the position of the dots can change after each round.

Obstacle Wall

At this wall, the child will have to climb their way through the obstacles of hula hoops and poles.

Number Wall

This is another interactive wall. The child will spin a number and climb up the wall to touch the corresponding number.

The above three walls, AR wall, Obstacle wall and the Number wall, are catered towards the younger children, who might be afraid to climb or scare of heights. These walls are shorter and the holds are closer together to suit the children's smaller built. They are also highly interactive to motivate them to give it a try. As they become better at it, it helps to build up their confidence to try out the higher walls.

There is no need for the child to use a belay for these walls and there are safety mats below to cushion the child. Parents are encouraged to hold on to the child for safety purposes, especially if the child is still not familiar with climbing. Big J likes jumping down instead of climbing down, and I don't have to worry much because the safety pads here are quite thick. Though I still nag at him for jumping.

High Wall

I especially love the vibrant colours of these wall. There are four 4-meters high wall that challenge the more daring kids. Remember the challenge cards that I mentioned earlier? These are the walls that the child will need to conquer to complete the challenges.

At the side of each wall, there is a challenge card which suggests different ways of play and difficulty levels.

Among the four walls, the red wall is the easiest. Even Small J, who is 4 years old, can climb all the way to the top, of course, with daddy holding on to the rope at the bottom. Initially, I was wondering why is it not the instructors holding the rope. Then they say, this is actually for the parents and child to bond. Instead of sitting at one corner, looking down on the phone, parents are encouraged to play together. If you need help, the instructors will be most happy to help.

Big J has no problems with all the walls. I didn't know he likes rock climbing until we visited this place. He thoroughly enjoyed the whole session!

Because, you have been seeing too much of the back view of the kids, here is one with the front view. This is a great spot for photo-taking!

Hangout Zone

If your child is tired from all the climbing, they can hang out at the monkey bar or do some swinging on the wreaking ball.

Or if they are not interested in doing any climbing, they might want to try some of these wheelies or try balancing.

For younger siblings, they have some simple toys, such as cars and a play kitchen, to keep them occupy while their older siblings climb,

Group Game

The session also includes Group Game which involves all the children. After the first 30 minutes of free-play, the climbing walls are closed and children will join in the group game. We played a game of Shark Attack!

When the lights in the room is blue, the children will pretend that they are fishes swimming in the ocean. They will be free to run about.

And when the lights turn red, the shark will come out and the fishes (children) will need to quickly climb up the wall to escape from the shark. The children were so excited that the room was filled with their laughter and screams.

After 30 minutes of group game, the children are go back to their climbing activities for another 30 minutes before the session ends. On weekdays, when it is unlimited play, group game will run every 2 hours.

Before leaving the place, don't forget to check out the photo wall to redeem your free photo printout!


My Little Climbing Room provides a safe and comfortable environment for children to do rock climbing. Each session has a max capacity of 15 kids so that there is no overcrowding. Each child must also be accompanied by an adult.

Some of the safety precautions they took includes adding a slow release pulley at the top of the wall so the descend is more controlled and requires less effort to hold. There are also safety mats in place to cushion your child. I can say these mats are quite thick and my active boys have no problem falling onto the mats. Their instructors are also present to supervise the activities at all times and to render any help.

The climbing walls are built by Climb Asia, the top wall builder in Singapore and parent company of Climb Central. And it is also built to the same safety standards as regular climbing walls for adults.

It is recommended to dress your child in long pants and comfortable clothing without any hard or sharp objects on them. All climbers are also required to wear Grip Socks. For hygiene purposes, everyone else are required to wear socks. There are socks for sales at the counter if you forget to bring one.

One of my biggest concern doing rock climbing is safety, so I am glad that My Little Climbing Room put in their best effort to ensure that our children can play in a safe environment.

Admission Fees

Each session has a capacity limit of 15 children. So be sure to make your booking online before visiting the place.

Grand Opening

My Little Climbing Room is having their grand opening is this coming weekend, 30 Sep & 1 Oct 2017! For that, they are having a special promotion. As they have a max capacity of 15 kids per session, do book early to avoid disappointment!


Thanks to My Little Climbing Room, we have 2 pairs of entry passes to give away to 2 lucky readers! (Each winner will get 2 entry passes)

Simply follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below to win! Giveaway ends Sunday, 8 October 2017, 11:59pm. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:
1. Giveaway ends on Sunday, 8 October 2017, 2359 hours (Singapore time).
2. The 2 passes are to be used on the same time slot.
3. Validity of the passes will be till 31st December 2017.
4. Open to Singapore residents only.
5. All entries have to be completed. Incomplete or invalid entries will be disqualified without notice.
6. Limited to one winner per household.
7. Giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Instagram.
8. We reserve the right to amend the terms and conditions without prior notice.

My Little Climbing Room

Opening hours:
Thursday & Friday: 2pm - 8pm
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday: 10am - 8pm

Promenade @ Pelikat
183 Jalan Pelikat, #B1-101 Singapore (537643)
For more information on getting there, please check here.

Contact No: 9726 3650

Web  |  Facebook  |  Instagram

Disclaimer: We were invited for a media preview of My Little Climbing Room for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was involved. All opinions, texts and photos are mine, unless otherwise stated.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please feel free to share it with your friends. I would be glad if you could follow me on Facebook or Instagram

POSB Smart Buddy Programme

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Did you read about the news that primary school students can now use a smart watch to pay for their purchases in school? When I first read the news, I was quite skeptical of the idea. Firstly, I am not a techie person. Secondly, I believe that young children learn better with hands-on experience using real cash. Lastly, what happens when the child lost or misplaced the watch? As a first-time parent of a child starting primary school next year, I already have a lot of worries, now I still have to teach him how to use the watch responsibly?

When I received an invitation to learn more about the POSB Smart Buddy Programme, I wasn't sure if I wanted to attend, because it is like contradicting to what I had previously thought of the programme. Anyway, the primary school that Big J is attending next year is one of the pilot school on the programme. During the school open house, we had already seen the students using the watch to buy their things. Big J was saying that he wants to have the same watch so it is easier and faster for him to buy his food during recess. So I thought it's better for me to find out more about the Smart Buddy Programme. I'm really glad that I went with an open heart and some of the concerns that I had are actually not that serious.

What is the Smart Buddy?

The Smart Buddy is the world’s first in-school savings and payments wearable on your child’s wrist. It is not only a watch, it also allows your child to tap to pay in school and at selected merchants, check on balances, and track fitness levels. The watch is link to the Smart Buddy App, where parents can mange the daily allowance, monitor the transactions the child has made and more.

Source: POSB

How it Works

Since this programme is targeted at primary school students, the watch is made to be very simple and easy to use. Students just need to check the amount is correct before tapping to pay. They can also check how much they have left at the balance checking kiosk in school.

For the parents, they will be notified of the transactions their child has made via the Smart Buddy App, real-time!

Source: POSB

I recently let Big J tried out his Smart Buddy at Popular Bookstore and everything is so simple!
1) Pass your items to the sales assistant
2) Check that the amount shown is correct
3) Tap and you are done!

A post shared by Jolin (@thejsarena) on

Features of the Smart Buddy

Easy Setup of Allowance

Parents can easily set up how much allowance they want to give the child. They can choose to give more on certain days when there are extra activities in school. Parents are also able to change the allowance limit instantly if the child needs any emergency money. This means parents won't have to worry about forgetting to give allowance or having to rush down to the school if the child needs extra money to buy something urgently.

Tracking of Expenses

Parents are able to track and monitor how the child is spending his allowance. Children will not be able to say that they have eaten their food when in fact the money is spent in the bookshop. At the end of the day, parents can also use this to discuss with the child if they had spent their money wisely. I feel that this will place some sort of responsibility upon the child as he/she have to be accountable for where the money was spent. If there is not such record, the child will most likely to say that he has forgotten where the money went.

Source: POSB

Auto Savings

The allowance left over after each day will be the savings. At the end of each month, these savings can be automatically transferred to the child's ePOSBkids Account, if the child has one. For children who do not have the ePOSBkids Account, parents can also deposit the amount of savings shown in the app into the child's account via ibanking. This means that parents do not need to lug a big bag of coins to be deposited into the child's bank account.

Source: POSB

If you are familiar with with National School Savings Campaign, the Smart Buddy also offers digital tracking of the POSB Smiley Stamps. Students can purchase the digital stamps from their bookshop using the Smart Buddy and upon completion of the stamp card, the stamp savings will be automatically deposited into the child's ePOSBkids account. No more worrying that the card will go missing again!


Remember I mentioned earlier about my worries of the watch getting lost? Parents can immediately disable the watch through the app in case of theft/loss of the watch. And if the watch is subsequently found, the watch can be enabled again.

Source: POSB

Health Tracker

Other than being a watch and payment option, the Smart Buddy also works as a steps counter to track calories burnt and distance covered. Big J has been wearing his Smart Buddy because he wants to record how many steps he took.

(Upcoming) Location Tracker

They are already testing the possibility of including an in-school location tracker and a bus tracker. This allows parents to track the child's location when they are in school and also when their child boards or alights the school bus.

Source: POSB

How to Get It

Smart Buddy is only available for primary school students whose school is on the programme and it is FREE! Currently there are 19 schools on board the programme. You may check the list of participating schools here. The school will be sending you details of how to register for the programme. For parents, you will need to have a new/existing POSB Savings or DBS Savings/Current Account, which will be tagged to your child’s watch. You're also encouraged to register your child's ePOSBkids account for the auto-transfer of monthly savings.


So have my questions been addressed? I would say yes and it has opened up new perspective with regards to learning about using money.

Firstly, the Smart Buddy is an alternative payment option available to the students. This is not a compulsory programme and parents can decide if they want to let their child use the Smart Buddy or the real physical money. Parents can also choose to let the child use the Smart Buddy on certain days or when the child is older, like from P3 onwards. This means the child can still learn how to count physical money and be exposed to the fact that Singapore is moving towards a cashless society as part of the Smart Nation vision.

As for learning about the value of money and saving, it doesn't have to be done by only using physical money. The tracking of expenses and savings function of the Smart Buddy serves as accountability of the child's spending. He will have to be responsible for how he spends his allowance because everything is tracked and he can't lie about it. As parents, we also need to spend more effort to teach him about the value of money, how much he can spend and why it is important to save.

The Smart Buddy is very easy to use. There is no need for the child to fumble for coins and figuring out the change to get back. I'm sure many children face the problem of forgetting to get back the change. This means that Big J can buy his food faster and has more time to eat. This is one of my worries that he will not have enough time to finish his food during recess time. Because everything is so easy, spending money is easy too. Thankfully, I can set a limit to the amount of pocket money he gets on the Smart Buddy App, so he won't overspend. And during times of emergency, I can also easily give him extra allowance via the app.

I also do not need to worry too much if the Smart Buddy is lost because I can easily disable the watch via the app. At the most, I will only lost the amount of allowance for that day.

Lastly, as with all new initiatives, there are bound to be people who accept it and people who reject it. As part of Singapore's Smart Nation vision, it is inevitable to avoid technology completely and children actually catch on technology faster than we adults do. What we can do is to embrace it and guide our child along and learn together.

POSB Smart Buddy


Download the Smart Buddy App at:
App Store | Google Play

Disclaimer: We were invited for a media preview of the Smart Buddy Programme for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was involved. All opinions, texts and photos are mine, unless otherwise stated.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please feel free to share it with your friends. I would be glad if you could follow me on Facebook or Instagram

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