Blog

Resources and guides to protect your child during COVID-19

The virus, COVID-19, has changed daily life in many ways for many people. Yet child development has not paused, and supporting children, families, and care providers of all kinds is as important as ever.

In this post, we gathered a number of resources and recommendations to help you through this challenging time. This guide pulls together information easy-to-share resources that can help parents and caregivers, as well as child care providers, pediatricians, and others who work with families.

Resources and Guides:

Research on resilience shows that protective factors can buffer children from harm and increase the chances they adapt positively to adversities such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Families and communities can work together to promote these protective factors.

There are plenty of ways to encourage your child’s growth during the pandemic. In fact, the unprecedented amount of family time can be an opportunity.

Robert Jenkins, UNICEF’s Global Chief of Education, offers five tips to help keep children’s education on track while they’re staying home.

The ongoing stress, fear, grief, and uncertainty created by COVID-19 pandemic has weighed heavily on children and teens. Many are having a tough time coping emotionally. Here are some tips for you and your child.

Developing your child’s fine motor skills

Every baby has an innate curiosity to explore the physical limits of their body when they’re born. Generally, they are able to roll over by the age of four months and hold items by eight months. During these early stages of their life, your child develops motor skills.

What are motor skills? Motor skills are movements and actions of the bone structures. There are generally two groups of motor skills — gross motor skills and fine motor skills. As your child learns to walk, run, jump and play ball games, they’re developing gross motor skills, which engage the large muscles in their arms and legs, as well as improve the coordination of their entire body. On the other hand, when your child writes or zips clothes, they’re developing fine motor skills which make use of the small muscles in their fingers and toes.

Importance of fine motor skills

When your child is able to coordinate their fingers and toes, they are able to complete simple everyday tasks on their own as well as use tools like scissors and pencils. Furthermore, your child’s handwriting and cognitive learning abilities will improve.

Developing fine motor skills

As your child starts to develop fine motor skills, they need your unending support and patience in guiding them along the way. Here are some possible activities you can do with your child:

Quick and easy tools found at most homes: Tweezers, clothes pins or chopsticks. Use tweezers, clothes pins or chopsticks to pick up and sort objects like beads, cereal, cotton balls, pompoms or other small objects (watch closely for choking hazards).
Provide them with a variety of art supplies like chalks, crayons and finger paints when they are drawing and unleashing their creativity.
Encourage them to use utensils when eating. It is normal for children to mess up when they are initially learning about using utensils, so do be patient towards them.
Let them play with small objects like beads, marbles and Lego pieces. Since Lego pieces come in all forms and proportions, attaching Lego pieces together require fine control of the strength of the smaller muscles. Hence, playing with Lego pieces will improve your child’s dexterity.

The more your child practices using their smaller muscles, the better their dexterity and strength. Hence, introducing some fun activities and games involving the use of small items will go a long way in building their fine motor skills.

So, why don’t we start ‘training’ our fingers with our children, starting from today?

In The Lab, students age 5-9 years old learn coding with the use of Lego robotics. Connecting the bricks with precision and detail strengthens fine motor skills and improves hand-eye coordination. Picking up LEGO pieces with their fingers builds muscles and skill your child may need when holding and controlling a pencil to write or draw. Curious to understand or learn more about our programs?

Sign up for a complimentary trial class now!

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

What skills does my kid develop from learning Coding?

5 main skills which are HIGHLY transferable:

(1) Logical and Analytical Thinking

Logic is a skill students have to practice while coding. Through dissecting existing programs to understand the process and flow to achieve the solution through written code, students become increasingly analytical. Whether they are building or debugging, they are exercising their logic faculties on a regular basis. Understanding machine operations, conditionals, and progression in coding projects strengthens logic. Being able to break down issues into small, separate parts and figure out how each is affecting the other will help students think in a systematic and objective way, rather than relying on solving problems emotionally.

(2) Problem-solving

Computers require specific instructions for it to work effectively. As such, students need to break down the problem and give direct and specific instructions for their program to work. Students have to be aware of and apply appropriate coding skills for different requirements or scenarios. Students that practice this will improve their ability, having broken down a problem that may seem complex or abstract, to recognise the optimal way that its solution can be articulated.

(3) Abstract thinking

Abstract thinking is the ability to think about objects, principles, and ideas that are not physically present, for example the use of analogies. Once students begin to learn languages like JavaScript or Python that are not immediately visualized, students will need to practice speculating and predicting results in how the interrelationships of the code happen as a whole.

(4) Project planning

Project is something that The Lab students does on a regular basis. It is proven that Coding is best learned through project-based learning. Students practice and learn planning by thinking through the steps necessary to achieve their end goal. In order to meet the deadline, set by the teacher, students learn how to assess their resources and knowledge to get the project done on time.

(5) Attention to detail

Coding is great practice for attention to detail. Not only from the perspective of the accuracy of the code itself, but also accounting for users’ needs; for example ensuring a well-designed user interface and experience. A savvy coder may develop a system to avoid repeated mistakes. Where errors are present, they will examine their work systematically. Experienced software developers often try to “break” programs to identify problems and areas of improvement before launching a product to the market. This iterative and creative process can be applied in your classroom as well. Get students to demo and test each other’s creations and see what they pick up on.

For more details on The Lab program, visit our website at: https://www.thelab.sg/programs/python-program/

Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Difference between physical and online classes – What is your choice?

Before the pandemic, online classes for kids were almost unheard of or not a popular choice to parents. It was the ugly duckling of higher education, being less prestigious method than classroom-based courses. Nowadays, online classes seem to be the way to go. Given that we have been almost 2 years into the pandemic, our young learners and parents have adopted and embraced online as a new way of learning.

Online and classroom-based education are two different types of learning. Although both offer high-quality learning, each has its own teaching method and establishes its own channels and guidelines for learning.

Online education uses the Internet and information and communications technology to provide students with tools like chats, blogs, video conferences and shared documents, making courses dynamic, intuitive and easy to follow. This asynchronous system enables students to attend classes, work, communicate, take exams and access content wherever they may be.

Another aspect of remote learning is that it stimulates students’ independence and curiosity, collaborative work, critical thinking and self-directed learning. This system also diversifies sources of knowledge. With classroom-based learning, students go to a physical classroom where the teaching and much of the learning takes place. With this method, the students take a more passive role and adapt to the teacher’s rhythm and teaching method. The teacher is the primary source of information.

However, the above advantage of online learning assumes that the student is proficient with the use of technology and possesses a reasonable level of maturity. This comes with age and does not work well for young students ages below 7. Young kids are visual and social creatures. Most don’t have the finger dexterity to proficiently use a keyboard or even have the maturity level to explore and be independent.

To sum up, a choice between physical and online learning depends greatly on the age of the learner.

In The Lab, we offer online classes for students ages 7 and above, but strictly only physical classes for our The Lab Kinder Program for ages 5-6 years old. For more details on our programs, do visit our website at https://www.thelab.sg/programs/

Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Why are Parents sending kids to Coding schools?

Coding has gone a long way.

Years ago, learning Coding is unheard-of for kids. Now, kids as young as 3 years old are learning it. The level of interests of parents sending kids to Coding schools is picking up speed.

Why is this so?

More children are being sent for computational thinking and coding lessons as parents increasingly see the value in starting them early in a manpower-hungry industry.

Children are now exposed to technology as soon as they are born, but it is better if my child engages with technology with a critical understanding rather than becoming a passive user.

 

In today’s digital age, most children learn to swipe and click before they can speak coherently or walk. Smartphones and tablets are their digital pacifiers, companions and entertainers. It is but natural, that many parents want their children to learn how to create the very technologies that they are dependent on.

 

They could be an artist, a doctor, a painter or a teacher. But what we do believe is that the coding and computational thinking will help them in excelling at anything they do in a digitally connected world.

 

Building games and apps are not the only reason children are being nudged into computer programming. There is a growing need for digital literacy, and children with easy access to technology will be at an advantage. Coding offers a chance to improve cognitive skills and develop computational thinking.

 

Interested to find out more? Visit The Lab Programs @ www.thelab.sg.

Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Five reasons why coding is important for young kids

 

Here are five reasons why coding is important for young kids:

– Coding is another language.  

Coding teaches kids the basic principles of languages and functions. It teaches kids how they can be combined to create meaning from seemingly unrelated elements, and how different shapes represent concepts like variables or data types. It’s a way that kids learn by doing as opposed to being told what to do. 

– Coding fosters creativity. 

Coding requires kids to builds on their imaginative capacities. It requires them to think about new ways of solving problems with limited resources in order to produce something (a program) out of nothing but imagination alone.  

– Coding helps kids with math skills. 

Coding requires kids to think about quantities and measurements in a way that verbal descriptions don’t. This is something that’s difficult for many young people, which is why it becomes easy for them to confuse words like “more” or “less.” 

– Coding improves writing academic performance. 

Kids who learn how to code do better than their peers when they write essays. This is because the process of coding has taught them how to organize and break down information into chunks based on logical patterns so as not to be overwhelmed by any task at hand.  

– Coding helps kids become confident problem solvers.

Learning coding requires kids to solve problems all the time. The more experience they gain, the better problem solvers they become.

To find out more, join us for a free trial class for a fun-filled experience!

Tagged with: , , , ,

The Importance of Technology… and Coding

 

COVID-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point—and transformed business forever. Digital adoption has taken a quantum leap at both the organizational and industry levels. More so than ever, the understanding of technology is paramount even to a lay man on the street.

As such, kids should learn coding, not just to aspire to be a programmer, but to have a better understanding of the technologies around them. The skills acquired through learning coding goes a long way as well.

Understanding machine operations, conditionals, and progression in coding projects strengthens logic. Being able to break down issues into small, separate parts and figure out how each is affecting the other will help kids think in a systematic and objective way, rather than relying on solving problems emotionally.

In The Lab Singapore, we teach kids coding but focus strongly on learning through play to make it fun and enjoyable for them. Play is far more powerful for children, than many parents realize. It is the key to learning. Researchers and educators across the world have found that play can help enrich learning and develop key skills such as inquiry, expression, experimentation, and teamwork.

Our goal at The Lab is to help students learn to ask questions, express themselves, collaborate with others, and take creative risks. We also want them to retain their natural curiosity and to never lose the excitement of learning something new. All those things are achieved by making learning fun for children.

To find out more about us and the team, visit our website at www.thelab.sg!

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: , , , , ,

How can The Lab Singapore help in my child’s DSA application?

 

Meet Jay!

He used coding as one of his talent areas for his DSA application into SST (School of Science and Technology). Jay started coding at a very young age and is one of the pioneer students of The Lab Singapore.

Throughout his journey with us, Jay has collected several achievements which serves well for his DSA portfolio.

Here are some of the activities that we provide to create a comprehensive portfolio for your child:

Project-based curriculum for all students

One of the key focuses of the curriculum is the ability of students to apply and abstract programming concepts that they have learnt. This is done through the completion of a project or projects before graduating from a The Lab program.

Project based learning encourages students to develop a balanced, diverse approach to solving real-world problems. Studies have shown that project-based learning is linked to significant improvements in student test scores, attendance, and classroom engagement.

Monthly awards for students 10-16 years old

The Lab Singapore has several internal awards for a student to be placed on the leaderboard. We conduct monthly coding competitions and several merit awards such as The Fastest Coder, The Best Project and The Best Code awards for your child to collect while having fun coding with us!

Annual The Lab Hackathon for students 10-16 years old

The Lab Singapore has more than 500 students. Because we are that big, our internal competitions are highly prestigious. We organized an internal hackathon for students in The Lab 10-16 years old program in June so that students can display their coding prowess and exhibit enhance teamwork and collaborative skills amongst members.

Annual International/National Competitions for students 7 years old and above

For students who are below 12 years old:

For students who have completed The Lab 10-16 years old Advanced program: The Lab Singapore introduced a Competitive Programming Course for students who are serious in uplifting their coding skills. The course is focused on participation in international competitions. The preparation work is highly intensive, and students are required to commit between 6 – 9 months.

Letter of Recommendation

The Lab Singapore provides a letter of recommendation and consolidates the list of achievements done by your child throughout his/her coding journey with us.

Join us for a free trial class now.

Register @ www.thelab.sg!

 

Tagged with: , , , ,

Understanding your child’s random episodes and tantrums

Ever felt helpless when your child cries uncontrollably and without any apparent reason?

Oh my god, why is this happening again?

I bet this runs through your mind when your child throws one of his crazy episodes. Before we touch on the topic of understanding children’s tantrums, we would need to explain a little about the anatomy of our brain.

The Downstairs Brain

Most of us have only heard of the left and right brain. Did you know that there is also something called the upstairs and downstairs brain?

Imagine that your brain is like a house, with both a downstairs and an upstairs. The downstairs brain includes the brain stem and the limbic region, which are located in the lower parts of the brain, from the top of your neck to the bridge of your nose. These lower parts of your brain are responsible for basic functions, for innate reactions and impulses for strong emotions. They relate to feelings like fear, flight, anger, fight. In essence, your downstairs brain takes care of your basic needs.

The Upstairs Brain

Your upstairs brain is completely different. It’s made up of the cerebral cortex. Unlike your more basic downstairs brain, the upstairs brain is more evolved and can give you a fuller perspective of your world. This is where more intricate mental processes take place, like thinking, imagining and planning. Whereas the downstairs brain is primitive, the upstairs brain is highly sophisticated, controlling some of your most important higher-order and analytical thinking.

Now that you understand parts of a brain, let’s touch on the topic of why does my child cries uncontrollably?

As much as we want our kids to grow up and mature, there are two important reasons why maintaining a certain amount of expectation is required.

  1. While the downstairs brain is well developed even at birth, the upstairs brain isn’t fully mature until a person reaches his mid-twenties. In fact, it’s one of the last parts of the brain to develop. The upstairs brain remains under massive construction for the first few years of life, then during the teen years undergoes an extensive remodel that lasts into adulthood.
  2. The blocker – the amygdala. The amygdala is about the size of an almond, residing in the downstairs brain. Its job is to process something quickly especially anger and fear. In most situations, our daily actions call for our brain to think before acting. There are very few occasions whereby we are in danger and hence it calls for quick thinking. The problem with children especially is that the amygdala frequently fires up and blocks the stairway connecting the upstairs and downstairs brain.

In our next few posts, we will be sharing with you the type of tantrums and the strategies to tackle episodes and tantrums. Stay tune!

 

Tagged with: , ,