Are you looking for fun and educational things for your kids to do outside of school? It could be dance, football, swimming, theatre, art or music. To help you choose, we asked some parents to let us know what their kids are enjoying right now.
Sandra and Peter Hopp, German; Bennett (10)
Bennett joined Borussia Academy Singapore in summer 2018, after they organised several camps at the German European School Singapore (GESS). Previously, Bennett had only played for the GESS school football team, but he was always keen to join a club. For him, it was the perfect match and timing as he also didn’t want to leave his schoolmates.
Bennett would like to play football every day, but his schedule allows him to play on Tuesday for his co-curricular activity, Thursday for his school team, Saturday for training and Sunday for UFL. Bennett likes the training sessions on Saturday, as they practice to play as a team rather than individually. They also practice how to score goals. Bennett enjoys being part of a fixed team with a more or less defined position. After every match, there’s a team meeting and a discussion with the coach and teammates about possible improvement. As a mother watching the matches, I can see improvement in their skills and teamwork. Also, winning competitive matches is very motivating for them.
We would certainly recommend Borussia Academy to anyone as the coaches are great and the team has a very good spirit with a good mix of different nationalities.
Tim and Conny Jones, English and German; Leonardo (11) and Lorenzo (8)
We joined the BFA team from the beginning. It’s amazing how quickly the club has flourished, while maintaining great quality of training and communication, which we really enjoy. Both our boys train there several times a week. They undergo normal training sessions plus extra fitness training with UFIT, plus local tournaments; and in March 2019 they took part in an international competition. There are also prize-giving ceremonies that get the boys excited!
We like the coaches’ passion and energy, and their focus not only on the children’s football but also on social skills and team bonding off the pitch. Different aspects of the game are in focus during the sessions – practising, perfecting, then applying what they learn. At all levels in the club, development and academy teams, I see the coaches’ dedication and commitment. We get professional coaching from footballers themselves, not just shouting on the touchline from a coach. These guys get involved, demonstrate and keep building skills week on week.
We recommend the academy because of their dedication. Their support on the pitch is just as great as it is off it!
About the academy
BFA offers sessions for children from two to 11 years of age. Coaches Andy Gillespie and Dave Phelps have years of experience in the football scene both locally and internationally, and there are over 200 children participating in sessions every week, whether as part of the academy programme or through Dulwich College (Singapore). The academy aims to provide a good balance between fun and discipline, offering a pressure-free environment for children to pick up the sport. Besides football skills, there’s also a huge emphasis on developing social skills and values such as hard work, responsibility, respect and leadership from a young age. BFA also has a Little Lions programme catering to children aged two to four. These special sessions focus on developing fundamental movement skills such as agility, balance and coordination, and they offer a fun basic introduction to the sport. Little ones can then proceed to join the BFA Academy programme at the age of five.
• Dulwich College (Singapore): 71 Bukit Batok West Avenue 8|
• The Rainforest Sports Hub: 2 Turf Club Road
• Premier Pitches : 200 Turf Club Road
Ally and Chris Lovejoy, British; Amy (16) and Max (13)
Centre Stage has two locations, one on the East Coast and one on Portsdown Road, opposite Tanglin Trust School. As this is where my children go to school, it was a natural choice for us to send them there when they expressed an interest in the arts.
Amy was 10 when she enrolled in Creative Drama, then as she got older she moved on to On Stage and Theatre Workshop. She performed in a Centre Stage Christmas Show when she was 12, which was a huge achievement for her! Max has been at Centre Stage for four years, starting with Creative Drama and progressing through to Next Stage.
Centre Stage is very professionally run but still manages to create a laid-back atmosphere. There are so many different classes to choose from: singing, drama, dance, musical theatre and more. It’s difficult to choose just one but you can try different classes until you find the one that’s right for you. Both Amy and Max have been in many shows, including the fabulous Christmas pantomime that Centre Stage performed at Marina Bay Sands. They had loads of fun in the auditions, rehearsals and, of course, the show itself!
Both my children have had lots of fun at Centre Stage and have developed many useful skills. They’ve made friends with children of all ages, and from different schools and cultures. They can write their own scripts and perform in front of audiences. Centre Stage is a safe place where they can express themselves and be accepted for who they are.
• Portsdown Road: Block 15 Woking Road
• East: #01-32 Laguna Park, 5000G Marine Parade Road
Fernanda and Sebastian Maurer-Stroh, Brazilian and Austrian; Laura (12) and Anna (6)
We first heard about Tanglin Arts Studio (TAS) from a friend back in 2008, and we joined the You & Me class together with our friend and her child. Both girls attend TAS. Although we first joined 10 years ago, my older daughter stopped dancing after a few years to explore different activities, until she discovered she could sing. More recently, she decided to revisit dancing classes and has joined TAS again. The studio has given her the right platform to develop her confidence in dancing when facing big stages to sing. As for my younger one, she’s a true passionate dancer. If there’s one thing she doesn’t want to stop doing, it’s dancing! She dances all the time, at home, when walking, and she has danced at TAS since the You & Me class.
Laura is enrolled in Jazz Styles, and Anna is enrolled in Jazz/Ballet and Tap (Jades level). The younger one has done Test 1 for ATOD (ballet and tap) and recently joined the TAS mini and junior performance teams. My older one has already participated in professional productions and competitions, mostly as a singer.
As a parent, I enjoy seeing that my kids are always excited and looking forward to going to classes. Happy children, happy parents: this is rule number one! We’ve already been recommending TAS as the kids are happy there, and the location is convenient and great. Also, the studio finds a good balance between pushing the more serious kids to improve their dancing skills, while also providing a platform for older kids who are beginners with age-appropriate teaching, something surprisingly hard to find in Singapore.
Nancy and Hing, Malaysian and Singaporean; Zachary (15) and Megan (11)
When I was looking for a music school for my children, my goal was for them to enjoy learning music. I told Jeremiah, director of The Music Suite, that I was looking for teachers who would make my children fall in love with music, and he enthusiastically agreed with me. I knew then I had found the right music school.
Tingxi has been teaching Megan violin since she was five. She’s a patient and kind teacher who uses gentle words to motivate and encourage my daughter. Megan has blossomed and grown in confidence and is now an enthusiastic violinist. She looks forward to her lessons every week and especially enjoys the ensemble class where she plays violin with her friends.
Wei Yang was my son’s teacher for five years. Zachary has learning challenges, but he definitely has a gift, which Wei Yang immediately recognised during his first lesson. He is naturally musical and exuberant! Music makes him very happy and he has a great ear for it. He can pick up a tune without needing to read sheet music. Wei Yang was patient and understanding and always improvised to suit my son’s learning style. Zachary has completed his Grade 4 ABRSM exams.
My children both are in love with music and I attribute it to the teachers at The Music Suite. Under their guidance, my children now have a strong foundation for music. The same foundation has enabled them to explore other areas including singing, guitar and wind instruments. The teachers at The Music Suite will equip students not only with techniques, but a lifelong love for learning the music. And that, to me, is priceless!
Play & Music
Irwani Sukiman and Matthew Tan, Singaporean; Sophia (21 months)
We found out about Gymboree Play & Music Singapore by a recommendation from a colleague. We decided to send Sophia to Gymboree because of the environment, the play setup and the wide variety of equipment they use during their classes.
There are loads of opportunities for music and movement for the children and the chance for social interaction. Children learn to listen and respond to instructions, and their play activities are highly stimulating.
Sophia has been attending sessions at Gymboree since September 2017 when she was just a year old. We mainly take part in their play-based programme that incorporates different themes appropriate for her age-group. We also go for Free Play sessions regularly.
She is now able to remember the routines, songs and movements and can spontaneously repeat them at home. The activities are very engaging for her and we can tell that she enjoys herself whenever we’re at Gymboree.
We’d definitely recommend others to join, as the programme enables each child to be stimulated physically, emotionally and socially.
Alvin Tan and Lim Ai Wah, Singaporean; Amelia (11)
We were looking to enrol our daughter in a martial arts school for her to pick up a sport that encourages discipline, particularly one incorporating self-defence skills. We found JH Kim Taekwondo Institute, which was the closest school to where we stay. We started Amelia with a trial session. The staff and coaches were professional, approachable and patient in engaging us, and we were impressed with how they make learning fun for children. The school met our goals, both in the teaching style and the logistic of the classes, so we started Amelia there when she was five; she’s been with the school ever since.
She was fortunate to be invited to join the JH Jim competition and demonstration team where she has the opportunity to take part in local and overseas competitions and school-organised events such as demonstrations, workshops and coaching by a Grand Master. One of her proudest moments was when she won the national interschool Poomsae competition! While we like to celebrate success, we feel that the greatest learning experience for Amelia was her first overseas competition when she didn’t win the medal she hoped for. She learnt to deal with disappointment and realised that she needed to stay disciplined, focused and dedicated to accomplish her goal. The encouragement, motivation and support from her teammates and coaches was a heart-warming sight.
We’ve formed close relationships with other children, parents and coaches at JH Kim. We cheer each other on and support one another. As parents, we are enjoying a great partnership with the dedicated and passionate coaches, who are bringing out the best in our child.
Jonathon and Robyn Llewellyn, Australian; Jasper (10), Matilda (7) and Amelie (1)
We are long-term expats in Singapore, and when our first son started swimming 10 years ago, there was only ever one place that friends recommended: Marsden Swim School. So, we started him there and have been happy ever since! Now all three of our children have been with Marsden since they were six months old. They are now confident swimmers who love the water. The older two are doing stroke development and the baby is going to learn-to-swim classes with me (Robyn) in the water. She’ll be able to have lessons with just the instructor before she turns two.
We love the coaching and ethos at Marsden. Coaches know how to encourage and build rapport with the kids, pushing them to achieve their best, while making it fun. Lessons are innovative and always different, keeping little ones engaged. Our baby gets so excited when I tell her we are off to swimming lessons. Sam, the owner of Marsden, is also in the pool teaching kids every day. It’s great to see that people who own the business are very much involved in its running. We also like that Marsden has many locations that are convenient to get to. The school is well run, the coaches are professional and, most importantly, the kids are safe and having fun.
Coding and tech
Christine and Johnny Ong, Malaysian; Maximus (19), Elysia (17) and Erica (14)
We heard about SG Code Campus from a friend and decided to enrol our children there to prepare them with useful coding skills for the future. Max was there from 2016 and graduated from the course in mid 2018, Elysia has been there for a few months (IB standard level Computer Science tuition), and Erica (pictured on the left) has been attending for more than two years (Principles of Code and Principle Level X Algorithm). Erica has participated in the CXA CodeExtremeApps Hackathon twice, in 2017 and 2018. In the 2018 Hackathon, her team won third place in the schools category. She found this to be an extremely helpful and useful experience.
The instructors are excellent at teaching the students. They make learning fun and easy so that students can enjoy the classes while understanding the concepts. We like it as it’s an interactive learning experience. What particularly stands out the most at SG Code Campus is not just the learning and coding but also the friendships developed during classes. Regardless of the different backgrounds of each individual (including the teachers), there is enthusiasm, a lively environment and good preparation for competitions.
I would definitely recommend others to sign up. The teachers are very passionate and dedicated. They observe the progress of each student to determine their level, strengths and weaknesses. It’s evident that they try their best to encourage and motivate their students to be the best coders they can be.
An academy for all learners
The team at Lindamood-Bell Academy believes that all individuals can be taught to read and comprehend to their potential. The accredited K-12 private school offers tuition at their various international Learning Centres, including in Singapore, or online. At the academy, Lindamood-Bell research-validated instruction is paired with a full curriculum to develop the imagery language foundation that underlies the school’s learning, literacy and success.
The academy offers one-to-one and small group instruction that differs according to each individual’s learning profile. The interactive and balanced approach accommodates different types of students, including accelerated learners, students who require more flexibility, those who benefit from a non-traditional school setting and those with learning needs such as dyslexia and autism.
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