Not too bad at all. At the door Sophia’s temperature was checked and she was given some hand sanitizer. One small thing there though was that the lady was also supposed to check her mouth for ulcers but when Sophia didn’t open her mouth when asked the lady didn’t persist. I would have thought she should have tried harder and if it was really impossible at least checked Sophia’s hands and feet. But maybe I’m asking too much. After all Julia Gabriel only check hands and feet and didn’t check temperature.
The class started with free play, just like most other classes. There were only toy keys, not all that much to play with but babies don’t need much to entertain themselves. Somehow the 3 babies don’t seem very interested in the toys or each other. Sophia moved around the most but that was only because I moved around to attract her to crawl towards me.
During free play I decided to show off a little and gathered 1 each of all the various colored keys – red, blue, green, yellow and orange and asked Sophia to pick out the green key, which she did at which point the teacher’s jaw just dropped. But shhhh… I’ll let you in on a secret. I cheated a little. I knew green was one of her favorite colors. When I lay out her color flashcards, about 50% of the time she would pick green if it was one of the options. I am not too sure whether she knows her colors. She gets it right enough times for me to doubt its luck but yet she does get it wrong quite often too so I’m confused. Or she knows but is just irritated by my constant questioning so deliberately picks the wrong answer. Or she knows some colors but not others. I’m not sure.
After free play was science experiment time, which I thought was a bit bizarre as babies that age are still in the information gathering stage and they wouldn’t appreciate that the science experiment being conducted is quite amazing. I’m perhaps being a bit vague here so I’ll elaborate. The experiment involves inflating a balloon over a glass of water such that part of the balloon is stuck in the opening of the cup and as pressure builds up there will be enough friction to lift the cup. Babies wouldn’t have basic knowledge such as how heavy the cup is and how balls normally don’t “stick” to the cup like the balloon did so I’m not quite sure what was the point of showing them that experiment. Older kids would appreciate this of course, but not babies.
After the experiment was a hello song which the teacher sang to a CD. Teacher’s singing wasn’t as loud and strong as the JG teachers but I’ll cut her some slack. She’s a one woman show while JG has 3 backing each other up. Since we’re on the topic of teachers, the leap teacher is pretty good. Her pronunciation is quite accurate. I found the exaggerated kiddy tone a bit irritating but I suppose children shows also adopt that tone and kids love it. The only part I cringed was when she showed the cover of the book she was going to read and said “How many people are there? One, two, three… three people!” It should have been “persons” not “people”.
Anyway, after the hello song there was another action song involving jumping (i.e. mummies carrying babies) then it was gym time. Since Sophia was already standing up from the jumping session I just held her hand and walked into the gym. I think that was another jaw dropping feat to the teacher and other parents because the daddy of a boy who was a few days older referred to Sophia as his boy’s “jie jie” (big sister) even though his boy was bigger in size. i.e. he just assumed she was older.
The children were allowed free play at the gym which Sophia enjoyed. If this is the same place Samuel plays in, I’m not quite sure how playing here gives him the ability to commando crawl down normal playground slides (as Samuel’s mummy alleges) though, the slopes here are so gentle, which is good for babies. Its def not the training here, its samuel’s adventurous genes! I’m mildly disappointed since I was hoping leap will be good training ground for Sophia after seeing Samuel’s performance at the playground.
After free gym time it was routine gym time. Unfortunately for some reason they started with the lease mobile baby and ended with Sophia, the most mobile baby, so baby number 2 had to keep waiting for baby no 1 and I had to keep telling Sophia to wait for gor gor (big brother) in front of her. At this point the last baby who was trapped in the rain earlier arrived. Just in time for returning to the classroom. Sophia walked back again.
First thing the teacher did was blow lots of bubbles, which the babies enjoyed playing.
Then it was story time. The book looked self made by the school, which was impressive. The storyline was simple. It was a bunch of kids sitting at a table saying “we see xxx”. And with each item that the book mentioned, the teacher took the same item out of a sack. Sophia seemed again to be the only baby who knew how to return the items to the sack when I tell her to. Again JG cleaning up training.
After story time was craft time and craft was the same item that the kids in the book made – a monster. The monster was basically already made, the babies just had to stick a couple of boxes together and the teacher went around to stick the feelers and mouth on with scotch tape and asked the kids to tap them tight. I can’t decide whether this is good because the craft is clearly not really made by the babies. Yet they contribute in tangible ways like tearing off the double sided tape which trains fine motor skills and at the end of the day there is a very nice craft product. Which does seem like a good thing. My dad will also like the fact that its not at all messy.
After craft time the teacher produced a container full of green things and handed them out to the children one by one such that each child had 2. She then went to them one by one and showed them the 2 items, saying out the names loudly. She then asked them to pick one of the items. Sophia picked correctly as I knew she would. The 2 babies younger than Sophia, 1 by a few days and another by 3 months couldn’t. That is the reason why I am not a fan of this testing babies method. I could just feel the tension in the air as the teacher asks the question. I’m sure the babies feel the stress too and they really don’t need the stress at a few months old. After this was flashcards and it was a bit odd cos babies were supposed to pick monster out of pictures of box and monster. According to Glenn Domann’s ideas flashcards should be unambiguous and indisputable. i.e. if the flashcard teachers guitar, it should be a clear picture of a guitar against a white background with nothing else on it and it should be a real guitar, not a toy or a drawing so that the child knows exactly what a guitar is. But monster is not indisputable, it can take many form and is not even real. So I’m not convinced its something that can and/or should be taught via a flashcard.
All in all, although I’m not completely convinced about everything they do, its not too bad a class. The one last thing I would say is it seems a bit clinical, not quite lively. But I appreciate the well thought out class with books that link to craft etc.