Went for a Bibinogs trial. It was not too bad. The english portion was run by an indian lady and a malay lady, both of whom speak good english and were very animated. Like playnest, it started with playing of toys, then a song and dance session which was quite lively. The teachers then read a book. It was a normal sized board book unlike those extra large books meant for teaching at JG but its probably fine since there are so few children (just 4). The storytelling was very animated. After the story was the art session. The teacher produced a carrot cutout and actually pretended to be upset that the carrot was white, the other teacher comforted her and they started talking about painting it, then was dismayed there was no orange paint but no worries, there was red (squirted some on carrot) and yellow (squirt) and they started mixing it up with their fingers singing “when you mix red and yellow you get orange” to the tune of “If You’re Happy”. Children then wore aprons provided by the school and mixed the paint on their individual carrots. At the end of it there was a pretty decent piece of work, unlike the popcorn on the letter p from Playdays which never came together for any of the children or even the teacher. The carrot was then dried on a rack and would be returned next week as I saw the teachers giving out last week’s artwork – some butterfly with swirls of paint. Sophia got hers back in a plastic bag since she was there for a trial.
After art was snack time. The puffs given out look like gerber star shaped puff and had a banana flavour. The brochure said snack time was “organic” so I assume it wasn’t really gerber because I don’t feed my girl those rubbish. But I suppose a treat once in a while is ok. She ate it all up when she sometimes even reject things like waffles which I think is delicious.
Thereafter there was a numbers and phonics session where they went through a to z chanting calsie camel c c c etc, the teacher pulled out cup, cat, camel from a clown’s bag and quite a bit of other fun but educational stuff. How much the children absorbed is another matter. After this they counted to 10 and called for laoshi. 2 PRC chinese teachers came in. More sing and dance, this time in mandarin. They also read a chinese story and this time I did have an issue with the size of the book / words – too small!
The session ended there. All in all pretty good. All teachers were animated and seemed to genuinely like children.
The other parents there were generous and friendly though, surprisingly given the location, very local. Parents at JG seem more sophisticated but somewhat less friendly. Bibinogs allow both parents to be in the class while JG was quite strict about allowing only 1 parent, though they did make an exception for Kenny during the trial. I guess there are plusses and minuses of both.
The student to teacher ratio is much better at Bibinogs (at any time 2 teacher to 4 students for this particular class while JG was 2 teachers to about 10 students) and its billingual. Bibinogs’ art also seems more thoughtful in that they provide apron and at the end of the day the art work is something presentable. JG’s advantage stems from it being twice a week which works out well for Sophia, nicely breaks up her week into alternate days of activity (tues and thurs school, weekends daddy and mummy bring her out). Also there is priority entry into Chiltern House which is another consideration.
One last trial at GUG before finally settling on one of the 3 – Bibinogs, JG or GUG.