Thursday, April 30, 2009

Magic Strokes 2009: April 27-30

The kids have gotten used to our strengthening exercise of weight bearing, forearm rotation and doing wall pushups. Now they automatically do these exercises once cued by the music.

This week’s fine motor activities are cutting shapes, cutting play dough using plastic knives and clay scissors, popping bubble film, making small balls out of crepe paper which we used to paste on the first letter of their names, picking up mongo seeds using fingers and tweezers, pouring water into small containers and transferring liquid using medicine droppers. Surely, these activities were helpful in developing further your child’s finger strength in order for them to have a good grip of the writing instrument and in manipulating it as well. Furthermore, it also keeps the children interested in what they’re doing and not see writing as a thing they are forced to do.

Ysabela can snip with scissors but needs help in holding the paper when cutting lines and shapes. She needs help in pouring liquid to a small container and transferring it using a dropper. Although she would still need help in doing her writing sheets, she would move her fingers when asked to do the strokes and at times she would try doing strokes on her own. Just the same with fine motor activities, she would need less help at times.

Reading Readiness: April 27 – 30, 2009

Dear Parents,

As we reach the half-way mark of the summer classes, we are pleased to say that the week that passed was a perfectly gratifying, tremendously cool and delightfully happy one. The children had fun reviewing previous consonants taken up by placing actual objects under their correct beginning letters. Aside from that, they also made pinwheels as a review of one of the letters taken up this week. Not only that, all of us helped each other along as the children strove to master the beginning consonant sounds Gg, Pp, Tt, Cc, Dd and Hh. It’s rather fast-paced but everyone is working hard to keep in step.


Half-way thru the summer program, we are happy to note that Ysabela has now adjusted to the routines in class. She participates more in discussions now and is always ready and eager to answer her worksheets when her turn comes. However, she still does need to be assisted when we do worksheets because she refuses to write or even trace anything if Teacher does not hold her hand.

One notable thing, too, is Ysabela’s seeming tendency to suddenly be scared of something that we are not sure what. This past week, as we were discussing the letters Gg and Pp, she once more all of a sudden suddenly shut her eyes tight, ran towards the bathroom where Yaya was and refused to sit on her chair or look at the board for quite some time. We would like to know if she does this as a game at home also because she is quite convincing in class when she does this.

Finally, we are also still at the stage of reminding Ysabela that we do things on our own inside the class especially as it pertains to packing away our stuff or throwing our food wrappers in the trash can and even saying please when we want something done for us rather than just saying, “Open this” or “throw this” as though we should be always at her beck and call.

Once again I am completely surprised with Teacher Abbie’s comment about Bela this week. I don’t know if I am over reacting again but I find the comments sarcastic like the part when she is saying that “Bela is quite convincing when she does this” or the part when she said that “as though we should be always at her beck and call.”

When Bela was still at TU, I never saw her or even heard any comments from her teacher about her being scared of something. All I know is that Bela always have a grand time at school. Second issue is about packing away and saying thank you and please. Bela started going to Gymboree when she was just six months old and that early, she already knows how to pack away her toys. I even read comments from Bela’s teacher before at TU that she is always the first one to pack away her toys when teacher asked them to so I know she is already used to that routine so I am quite surprise when I read from the comments that Bela does not know how to pack away her toys. We also reiterate to Bela the importance of saying please and thank you and Bela’s teachers from TU can attest to that because I read that too many times also from Bela’s weekly Anecdotal Report from TU. I don’t know now why Bela is reacting this way. Could it be that teachers from TU have nicer approach since they can very well influence Bela to have good manners? Could it be also that Bela is having a hard time adjusting since most of her classmates are former students of MSS? Could it be that she is not happy with MSS?

Honestly, I really don’t know the answer. I don’t know what is going on in class since we can’t see how the teachers are handling the students while the class is on going. Now I am having second thoughts about MSS. Am I being too overly protective again of Bela?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Magic Strokes 2009: April 20-24

Another week of writing has passed and the kids still remain to be very ready to do the next batch of writing skills.

This week, aside from the routine exercise of weight bearing, pushups and forearm rotation, we busied ourselves doing some fine motor activities. We finger painted a picture, put together and pulled apart interlocking blocks, made fringes on the edge of a hard paper, winded up a wind up toy, cut lines, sprayed water on plants and played with clay. The kids had so much fun as they didn’t know writing can be exciting when mixed in with play activities and art works.

Ysabela is yet to discover how to manipulate writing and coloring tools. She shows interest in doing arm strengthening activities and other fine motor activities. However, she would sometimes seek help when doing her tracing and writing task even with coloring. Often we encourage her to do her tasks alone and boost confidence as to let her be more independent. Although with writing drills on the board, she would be very willing and excited to do the task.


I really expect that Bela will really need assistance in writing since she never had that much training in writing when she was at Toddlers Unlimited. She just started to have training in writing when we enrolled her to the Galileo program last February where they do tracing activities but I noticed when we help her do her assignments that she is still not confident with her tracing and her writing skills that she will always ask us to help her. That is the reason why we enrolled her to the Magic Strokes Program of MSS to help her gain confidence with writing just like her other classmates who studied at MSS before and is already confident with their writing and tracing skills.

Reading Readiness: April 20 – 24, 2009

Reading Readiness: Sailing on in Week 2
April 20 – 24, 2009

Dear Parents,

One more week of the summer program is finished and we are pleased to inform you that the children have adjusted well now to our routines inside the classroom. Our week was kept busy by review drills on beginning vowel sounds as well as introduction of the beginning consonant sounds Ss, Mm, Rr, Ff, Bb and Nn. The children had a grand time doing our board drills and even seeing actual objects that begin with the letters we discuss each day. Moreover, they also enjoyed watching and helping Teacher make mango shake as part of our review of the letters Ss and Mm.


Ysabela has a winsome smile on her face whenever she comes to class but we have also seen that it does not take much to get her crying almost uncontrollably. Last week, during play time, she was looking for something but neither Teacher nor Yaya could understand what it was. We told her to wait till she got home but she was insisting on it and when she was told again to wait till she got home, she sprawled herself on the floor and began crying hard. She cried even harder when Teacher tried to talk to her and tell her that crying if she does not get her way is not good. She started crying for “Wow.” It took a while before she was pacified.

This week though, we are glad that Bela had been in a good mood and even took part in all our activities, even tasting her share of the mango shake.

Ysabela did well with our assessment of her familiarity with letters but Ysabela has yet to fully master the sounds. One more noticeable thing with Bela is that she is easily distracted. She can hardly wait for her turn to do worksheets but when her turn comes, she would start looking around at her classmates who are doing something else. She does good with worksheets though, even if it takes quite a while to make her finish because we have to make her re-focus time and time again.


I am kind of worried when I read Teacher’s Abbie note that Bela cried uncontrollably at class on her first week. I can’t remember the last time she did that when we are with her and I know she never reacted that way when she was at Toddlers Unlimited. I can’t help but compare MSS with TU all the time because I know how happy Bela is with TU and I am kind of worried that we are making a wrong decision in moving Bela to a new school. But I guess it is still to early to judge MSS since it is just Bela’s first week but we will see…..

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bela’s First Week at MSS

I was with Bela on her first day at Mind Specialist School for her summer class. We left around 7:30 AM and by 7:45, we are already at MSS. Her teachers are still not in when we arrived but I noticed that they are really organized since there are posters on the door with the class assigned for that room and the name of the students who will attend the class so we were able to find Bela’s room even if the teachers are not in yet.

Bela started to play right away with the toys that she found inside the room. The toys are not as nice and as many as the toys in Toddlers Unlimited but I guess for Bela’s age that is just okay since she has to learn to lessen her playtime at school so it will somehow prepare her for the big school classroom setup.

While she was playing, I told her that we will just go down and will wait for her there. And she replied:

Bela: “Ok mom.”
Me: “Have fun.”

And I just kiss her and she kissed me back.

Her first class was Reading Readiness and it is from 8:00 – 9:30 AM. When it was already 9:30 AM, most of Bela’s classmates went down already at the Romp Area and I noticed that Bela is not with them. So I asked Teacher Abbie and she said that they already brought Bela to the other room for her second class. I asked her if Bela cried (since the electricity went out so there was no light the entire time they are having class) but Teacher Abbie said that Bela did okay.

Her second class was Magic Strokes and it is from 10:00 – 11:30 AM. I was a little worried about Bela as I am thinking if she is doing okay since there is still no power and I know that she is scared of the dark. So I tried to checked her out around 11:00 AM. When I peeped into the room, I did not find her there so I thought that she might be with her teacher crying. But I was surprised when she went out of the restroom and she was accompanied by her teacher to get her lunch box in her cubby hole and I can see that she is already at home in her new school.

I asked her two teachers if Bela is okay on her first day and they both said that she is already comfortable in class. Part of the class schedule was a time for Individualized Instruction where the teachers will do the worksheets with each of their student. The two teachers said that Bela was able to finish her worksheets although she kept on saying that she can’t do it and she needs help. One of her teacher commented also that she is really active (her term was “makulit”) and she always roam around in the classroom when she is done with her worksheets. But that is just natural for Bela but I hope she will learn to sit down and listen to her teacher's lecture.

After class, I asked her if she loves her new school and if she had fun and she answered yes right away. Bela is already in her second week at MSS and looks like she is really having fun. We don’t have a hard time waking her up even if she has to wake up as early as 7:00 AM because she is so excited to go to school everyday.

I am glad that she is really having fun as MSS is really very convenient for Bela because it is just a 15 minutes drive from our house.

So far, we like their program and I am praying that we are really making the right choice for Bela. I guess we will see about that after her summer class. For the mean time, I have to do a research about.

So far, we like their program and I am praying that we are really making the right choice for Bela. I guess we will see about that after her summer class. I need to look for credit report services but my mind was so occupied with thinking about Bela’s new school and if we are really making the rigth decision in moving her to another school so I am not really being productive. Hopefully, we will be satisfied with MSS by the end of summer so I will really feel happy with our decision in moving her to a new school.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bela's Narrative Report

Toddler’s Unlimited
Narrative Report

Child’s Name: Ysabela Margrette Laguerta
Child’s Class: Jumping Joeys
Date of Birth: November 16, 2005
Date of Entry: June 2008

Bubbly, affectionate, enthusiastic – this is Bela in three words! This little girl is always full of energy and humor that definitely makes us proud of her. Her presence never fails to lighten everyone’s mood. Bela, being naturally adorable can brighten anyone’s day. With her expressive face, sweet smile and twinkling eyes, anyone in the Yellow Room can feel relaxed at first glance of this kid!

Being naturally playful, Bela enjoys Free Choice Time a lot. She maximizes this time by playing with her favorite toys with her favorite friends like Ellie, Patricia and Maxine. Upon her entrance in the Yellow Room, Bela would go directly to the basket filled with animals where she lines up all the animals and pretends they are marching in a parade. Sometimes she would build a zoo for her animals using the Duplo Blocks and the Magnetic Shapes. On some days, she would go to the aquarium to feed the pet fish and watch them with enthusiasm.

Apart from her love for animals, Bela also has an eye for puzzles. In the Manipulative Area, she would get a lot of puzzles. Her favorite are the animal and transportation ones. She brings it to the table where she would complete each board quietly and independently. She also takes pleasure in putting the giant pegs or stacking cups one by one or string beads using the wooden blocks.

“Pack away now, Pack away now…” as the teachers sing the song, the Jumping Joeys take the cue to pack away the toys. Helpful Bela springs up and help the teachers return the toys. After this, she hurriedly returns to the mat and finds a perfect spot to sit for Circle Time. As soon as everyone has settled, Bela eagerly waits for her teacher to sing her favorites song, some of which include Mr. Sun, Five Little Butterflies, Turtle Song, Glug Glug, Five Green and Speckled Frogs, Five Little Men, Hello, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Rainbow Song. Bela definitely knows all her classmates’ names. She yells out each of her friends when it is time for our “Who is in School Today?” activity. Moving on to our discussion, Bela actively participates in all activities and sometimes shares a thought or two about the lessons. Bela’s enthusiasm for learning and her passion for discovering new things are very difficult to ignore. She genuinely enjoyed every topic and theme we had discussed during the school year – especially about animals!

There was never a time that Bela hesitated to engage on a new activity. She loves to explore and learn new things. She does not hesitate to touch different textures or feel animals that we bring to school. Bela is really a girl who is up for something different!

Wrapping up Circle Time, children rush to the table and find their seats for Art Time. Bela patiently waits for the teacher to present the materials. Sometimes, she would even shout “Bela’s turn!” She is found of scribbling using chalk, crayons or markers, pasting different pictures, dot art, sand art, and painting using the easel or the different paint brushes.

Bela’s favorite time of the day is playing in the Romp Area! After Art Time, she would go outside without delay, and wait for her friends to line up with her. After which, she would march straight to the Romp Area to explore the toys inside. Some of the games that she loves to play are Hide-and-Seek, running around, Ring-Around-the-Rosie, and using the slide. This quick and hyper girl leaves her teachers breathless after running around and playing with the Jumping Joeys.

Bela is always one of the first to go back to the Yellow Room for Snack Time. She waits patiently to have her turn to wash hands. She rarely needs help even with the soap dispenser, which used to be quite difficult for her to push. She sits on her chair and takes a bite or two of her cookies. Bela being playful would once in a while leave her chair to explore the toys but as soon as she hears her teacher prompt her to go back, she would listen and continue with her food.

It is time for a story now! Bela sits still through the whole narrative. She quietly and attentively listens to the words and looks at the pictures. Most of the books that she likes are about animals such ash Animal Boogie, Walking Through the Jungle, Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?, Little White Duck, Baby Beluga and One Day in the Jungle.

It was an adventure seeing and growing with Bela over the school year! She has become independent and capable of doing things in her own. Thank you Bela for spending the school year with us! We are looking forward to see more of Bela in the next years!

Written by: Maria Michaela G. Roces
Date: March 2008

Noted by: Gabriel Roa – Limjoco
Center Director

Bela's New Books from Scholastic / Grolier

Bela’s new set of books was delivered to our house last Wednesday. I went to SM San Lazaro last Tuesday to buy a gift for the party that we will be attending the next day. When I entered the mall, I saw the booth of Scholastic / Grolier books and I was approached by one of the sales agent. She showed me their products – Logico Primo and the 24 volumes of I Wonder Why series books.

I have seen these books when they had a booth at SM San Lazaro a year ago but I did not order one for Bela because I know that we don’t have a budget that time for this. But Bela is really into books. She has the complete set of “A Child First Library of Learning” which is a hand me down from my cousin. Every night she will ask us to read to her all the books in the entire volume and we are amazed at how well she can grasp the contents of the books even though it is for kids that are much older than her. Like she already knows the concept of planets (she knows which is the red planet, or the biggest planet or the farthest planet) and galaxies, she is familiar with the life cycle of a frog, she can explain why fish needs to be in the water to breathe and a lot of other science concepts that Howell and I did not even know of before we read the book.

But her books are so worn out already since it is a hand me down so I already planned on looking for a supplier of Scholastic books. So when I saw their booth at SM San Lazaro, I did not think twice and I immediately ordered one set for Bela.

The package includes the Logico Primo set (it includes the activity board plus 10 books which contains 16 activity sheets per book. So that is a total of 160 activity sheets already), 24 volumes of the “I wonder why” series, 2 volumes of Grolier Children’s Dictionary, 100 Amazing Puzzle and the Flip Chart Quiz. I particularly love the Logico Primo since it is really an effective tool to teach Bela the concepts of recognition, counting, comparing, perception, orientation and it even introduces a logical approach to learning in a very fun way.

Every day, Bela would love to play with her Logico Primo board and we can finish 5-10 activity sheets per day. And when she is tired of playing with her Logico Primo, she will get a book from her library and will ask us to read it to her before she sleeps.
So instead of buying a Sony Vaio for me, I prioritize this one first. The set is really not cheap compared to the other books that we bought for Bela but they have different installment plans that you can choose from. You can choose to pay for it in 3, 6 and 12 monthly installments or you can get 10% discount for cash purchases.

I can tell you, it has only been days since we got Bela’s new Scholastic books but I can already say that it is really a good investment and it is all worth it.

Marc's 3rd Birthday

We attended another birthday party last Wednesday at Jollibee in Dapitan. It is Marc’s 3rd birthday party. Marc is the son of our good friend Mheng and Krystel and is the god son of Howell. Howell was also the official photographer for this event.

Since we were not dismissed early last Wednesday, Howell, Bela and yaya have to go to the party venue ahead of me and I just followed them there. On my way to Jollibee, I received a call from Howell asking me where I was since Bela won’t let go of him and she doesn’t want to go inside the party venue. I already expected this since for the last three parties that we attended, she always just wants to stay outside and won’t even go inside the party venue from start of the party until it ends. (I don’t know how and when she got this fear. I don’t know either if she is scared of crowded places or enclosed space with loud speakers.) So I was really in a hurry to reach the party venue.

But to my surprise, Bela and Yaya are already inside the venue when I arrived and Bela was even mingling with the other kids. She even joined some of the games and she was very eager when she saw Jollibee. She even played with Jollibee and had her picture taken with him. She even had a couple of bites of spaghetti and chicken.

So I was really happy because this is a big change for her. Hopefully she really has overcome her fear of “I don’t know what.” I even asked her if she wanted to have a Jollibee party for her 4th birthday and she immediately said Yes. Hubby was suggesting that I just look for San Diego California hotel so we can just have an out of the country vacation for Bela’s 4th birthday but I find it too expensive. A Jollibee party would be something that Bela will really enjoy and it will definitely not hurt our pocket. We will see. I still have a couple of months to decide. LOL.

Here are some pictures from the party.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Easter Zoorific at Crowne Plaza Galleria

It is an Easter Zoorific at Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila. The event will be held on Easter Sunday, April 12, from 1 PM to 5 PM. Activities line up for those joining the party are:

* Viewing, petting and feeding live animals
* Kiddie Rides
* EGGsotic Hunt
* Face painting, glitter tattoo and balloon twisting
* Buffet snacks

The kids can bring their pet to win exciting prices. They can even wear their best animal costume to get a chance to win an overnight accommodation at the Crowne Plaza.

Tickets are available for only P500 net inclusive of buffet snacks and special giveaways. You can also choose to dine in at 7 Corners, Xin Tian Di or Fab on Easter Sunday to avail of free tickets to the Easter Zoorific Adventure.
I already told Howell about it and he already said Yes. Bela also has an animal costume (her lion costume made by Mrs. Prim) which she used when they had a program at school so she can attend the party in costume also.

Hopefully we will not be lazy to go out on Sunday to attend the party. Since Bela love animals, I am sure she will really have fun. I am just worried though since she always gets scared of loud sounds during parties, she might feel scared again and we might end up not going inside the ballroom for the party. Let’s see…

For her 4th

We attended the 3rd birthday party of Howell’s god child, Marc, today at Jollibee in Dapitan. Since I was only able to get off from work at 5:00 PM, Howell and Bela went ahead of me and I just followed them there from work.

Howell gave me a call while I was on my way there. Howell was the official photographer but he can’t take pictures because Bela doesn’t want to go inside the party venue again (just like with the other parties that we attended before). But when I reached Jollibee, I was surprised to see Bela inside the venue and she is already partying with the kids. Howell was able to convince her to go inside because he saw the Jollibee toys that they are giving the kids. And she even got more excited even if she is already sleepy when Jollibee had his appearance.

Now I know if ever we decide to throw a party for her fourth birthday, it will definitely be a Jollibee party if we want Bela to stay inside the party venue during the entire duration of the party.

We still have no definite plans yet for her fourth birthday. Although hubby is firm that we will just have a Family Vacation to celebrate her birthday. Since Bela loves the beach, Howell wants to have another beach escapade. A nice vacation in the white sand beaches of the Riviera Maya where we will truly be pampered while we enjoy our suites that is overlooking the ocean would be one perfect vacation. But I am not sure if we can truly afford a vacation something like that.

Oh well, Bela’s birthday is still a few months away so we still have time to decided and think about it.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Animal Mechanicals

For three days now, we always hear Bela talking and crying in her sleep. During the first night, we woke up when we heard Bela cry and so we thought that she is awake. But then, Howell and I got surprised when we learn that Bela is still sleeping and she is crying over her purple balloon. She kept on saying “My Purple balloon. It popped. It is now broken. I cannot fix it. Fix it, Fix it dad.” And she is really crying because she has tears while sleeping. The next day, we woke up again in the middle of the night and she is crying again while sleeping over her purple balloon.

Last night, she was crying again but not because of her purple balloon but because of her nail polish that her Lola applied on her nails. We went to Ace Water Spa last Sunday and she took a shower with her Tita Veejay and her nail polish got erased after staying in the pool for more than two hours. So during her sleep, she is now saying: “My red nail polish. Tita Veejay washed it. It is now gone.”

This afternoon, Howell and Bela were watching the new TV Series in Playhouse Disney entitle Animal Mechanicals. You know how crazy Bela is for animals and even though she has only seen the series once, she already know all the names of the characters in the TV series. She wanted to watch it again and again but since it is just a series on Playhouse Disney, we have no choice but to wait for its next screening schedule.

So when I arrived home, Howell immediately asked me to look for a DVD of the Animal Mechanicals online so Bela has something to watch. Howell even reminded me of Bela’s crying spells and Howell is afraid that she might wake up again crying and looking for the Animal Mechanicals show this time (Oh well, the spoiler dad). So instead of looking for my diet pill online, I will check out the net first for Animal Mechanicals merchandise for Bela. Any leads?