Welcome to Playeum’s Children’s Centre for Creativity at Block 47, Malan Road, Gillman Barracks. Co-founders Sumitra Pasupathy and Jennifer Loh are excited that they have finally found a home for their organisation, which has been promoting children’s play and creativity for the past six years and has reached out to 60,000 children of which 20% were from less-privileged backgrounds. Their wish is that the new premises would be an excellent illustration of how a space that allows children free rein to play and explore would look like.
Together with Executive Director Anna Salaman and Creative Director Isabelle Desjeux, they will present the Centre’s first exhibit “The Art of Speed”, which will run from 19 Sept 2015 – 3 Apr 2016. The Centre is carved up into four main areas to cater to the different moods and energies of the participants aged one to 12, namely, The Main Space, The Play Maker Space, The Dark Space, and The Workshop. Each Space seeks to encourage the player to interact with the exhibits and create his or her own play. As Isabelle puts it, playing is all about experimenting. Parents with tiny tots under one can also get to experience The Art of Speed in The Toddler Space.
The whole set-up is a provocative one, awaiting little creative hands to add their magical touch. You might see frowns and some staring into space; you could hear a soft mutter of “Yes” and perhaps squeals of “Awesome!”. In this place you will find open-ended materials and structures provided solely for children to experiment and discover – for them to be free to simply play creatively.
Play Maker Space: An excited girl showing Isabelle the works she has created using the range of mediums available. (Photo credits: Preschoolmarket.com)
In line with its belief of equal opportunities for all children to express and indulge their imagination, the centre has a special donation programme, Play-It-Forward, to help fund children from less-privileged backgrounds to visit the centre. Your child can have a birthday party with a difference at the centre with a 30mins workshop included and instead of bringing presents, you can inform your guests to donate to the centre. As a registered non-profit organisation, all donations made to Playeum will be matched by the National Arts Council.
Here are some thoughts by the parents:
The Centre will change its exhibits three times a year so there is always something new for visitors/participants to look forward to. School groups and groups of above 20 pay a special rate for entry to the exhibition area as well as workshop participation.
The Centre is open every day of the year except Mondays and Christmas Day. Its convenient location at Gillman Barracks means just a five-minute walk from the Circle Line’s Labrador MRT Station. Tickets are bought at the door. So hurry, plan your visit now!
For more details and information, please visit www.playeum.com
On 5 September, AECES and Preschool Market organised a Teacher’s Day celebration for its members and other early childhood educators. Activities galore filled the afternoon event held at Ramakrishna Sarada Mission Kindergarten, but the most memorable was the launch of the project, A Garden For Every Preschool, which saw all participants potting their own plants to bring home.
Various other nature-inspired activities were also explored. Participants engaged in unstructured play through working with loose parts and cloud dough (check out this link for the recipe).
They were also given opportunities to express their creativity by designing their own recycled pots and using recycled materials to make windmills.
One highlight of the celebration was when Teacher Michelle took out the photo frame she brought and got everyone hyped up about taking the perfect shot. Indeed, the teachers could instantly print out their photos and even vied for prizes in a Facebook contest.
As the afternoon came to a close, everyone agreed that it had been an enjoyable and meaningful way to celebrate the good work the teachers have done.
As Mrs Lily Foo of Queenstown Lutheran Church Kindergarten put it, the preschool is like a garden and the children, the seeds planted. Teachers are gardeners nurturing the seeds and watching them grow strong and bear fruit.
Seema Dalani-Ramchand and Harsha Dadlani-Dhalani, two ordinary sisters, as you are wont to think, until you discover a common passion quietly blazing in their hearts. Together, Seema the civil servant and Harsha the banker wrote not one but a series of six children’s books, all set in the local context. We were delighted to have the opportunity to speak with Seema recently.
1. What inspired both of you to write a book series for young children?
Well, the journey actually started just less than a year ago when, over coffee one day, we talked about what else we aspired to do in our lives. We spoke about how nice it would be if we were able to write fun and easy-to-read books for children to help them understand the local scene better.
So we started to explore Singaporean themes which children could relate closely to and terms they are familiar with. We have been reading a lot to our own kids and would sometimes pen stories for them about incidents/experiences they are familiar with. We noticed that they always found it a lot of fun listening to these stories, so we thought it would be interesting to do it on a wider scale.
By chance, we learned about the SG50 Celebration Fund and saw it as an opportunity not to be missed. Thankfully our application was supported. Time just whizzed by after that and before we knew it, we were launching the Jayden and Janelle series!
As new writers, without any experience in the book industry, our objective was to contribute something memorable and meaningful for Singapore’s 50th birthday celebrations.
2. Tell us two things that are unique about your books.
The stories are targetted mainly at preschoolers, aged between three and five, and each storyline is simple and conveys a certain theme and value which can be easily understood.
·Each book comes with a specific value proposition that we hope to see in children
Singapore sights and sounds
All the stories weave in local sights and cuisine, transport and infrastructure system and, to a certain extent, colloquial terms such as uncle and aunty. Each scene was thoughtfully crafted to include very specific details, for example, Jayden and Janelle’s mummy tapping her EZ-Link card when boarding the bus, Singapore flags displayed at the windows of HDB blocks during National Day and neighbourhood playgrounds.
3. Is there anything else you would like to highlight about the books?
It’s a very vibrant series that accentuates the Singaporean way of life in a light-hearted way. Speech bubbles are used a lot and they are fun to read aloud to children in a creative way. We also enjoyed reading the stories at various storytelling sessions. Our recent session at Popular bookstore at Bras Basah Complex was fun and interactive – the children role-played Jayden and Janelle, and also enthusiastically sang songs which were embedded in the stories.
4. Would you add more books to the series?
We have received very encouraging and positive feedback on the Jayden and Janelle series. Parents have dropped us personal notes, sharing that their children really enjoyed the books. Yes, we would definitely explore writing more books in the future; perhaps more localised themes and experiences that can be incorporated into future Jayden and Janelle stories.
For more details and to find out how you can get the series, visit www.jaydenandjanelle.sg and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jaydenandjanelle.
Team @ Preschool Market
We are just very passionate for the Early Childhood sector!