Category Archives: KIDS

Less Instructions = More Creativity

After 2 weeks attending playschool, today my son Bintang made a scene. This isn’t the first time he did something weird  because couple of days ago, when the teacher told everyone in the classroom to sing “Bintang Kecil” my son refused and yelled “No! let’s sing Gundul-Gundul Pacul instead!” .. which made the whole class sing Gundul-Gundul Pacul first… and then Bintang Kecil.

Today, the whole class played outside the classroom and took a trip inside Carrefour for “practical life” lesson about grocery shopping, healthy food vs junk food, and payment issues. After the trip, all kids took part on “Doughnut Contest” where the fastest kid who can eat a doughnut, wins. Bintang, who already ate breakfast with a glass of milk, did nothing but stare at the doughnut. He was focused on something else instead. The “kereta kelinci” (small train) in front of Carrefour which is ready to take everyone for a ride around their playschool.

Up to the train ride, Bintang was “okay” as in enjoying the whole outdoor activities, although he refused to join his friends and teachers standing in front of the train for a photograph, and asked to take their pictures instead.

During all those activities, Bintang was excited and his nanny was there with him all the time. I wasn’t there until the train ride has finished.

And then.. the next schedule was one of the big moment: performing “Cublak-Cublak Suweng” dance, in Carrefour’s stage, in front of a bunch of people, where everybody paid their attention to the s-t-a-g-e.

Bintang totally refused to perform. And I got upset. So both mommy and son were emotionally exhausted, right in front of the school teachers, and other mommies as well. What an embarrassing scene it was!

😀

According to the teacher, there were three reasons:

1) Because I was there, he choose to spend time with me, instead with his friends and teachers.

2) Because he got scared with the idea of “performing in front of a crowd

3) He never enjoyed following other people’s instructions.

For reason number 1 and 2, okay I will accept my son the way he is, and try to be more patience.

But for reason number 3, I got confused.

One of the great things about children is how much creativity they have. And we, as parents, were sometimes got blown away by the funny things they said, or by the unexplainable (but cute) things they did. And one reason behind all this amazing development is due to their free will. Their initiatives. Their imaginations run very wild because they are free to think about anything, and this is very important in any kids’ healthy development.

Now let’s talk about instructions. Structure. Obligations.

I don’t mean to refuse the idea of giving instructions to a 3 year old like Bintang, but I also couldn’t understand the point of it. I want my son to have the courage to walk towards the stage by himself, I really do, and I must work on this matter. But to have him dance in accordance to the teachers? It’s okay if he want to, or if he can imitate the moves of his friends or teachers, but I wouldn’t blame him if he choose to perform his own movements. I will be proud of him, a lot!

I know it will be awful to look at, a bunch of kids, dancing around with different moves one from another, but come on people, they’re only 3-4 years old! We should be focusing on their courage to perform in public, and enjoy their creative moves, instead of being frustrated by the fact that they don’t follow their teachers’ moves/instructions.

And that was the thing I realized after having my own emotional meltdown today. I simplify my duty to support Bintang to have more courage in public, to have fun on stage with friends.

I will give less instructions, and allowing him for more initiatives.

After all, that is the root of their self esteem and creativity.

🙂

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Tentang Sanggar Kreativitas Bona

Menjadi orang tua jaman sekarang memang beda dengan jaman dulu, termasuk juga dalam hal memilih sekolah. Saya sendiri sempat kebingungan karena bertemu dengan banyak sekali pertanyaan seputar masalah sekolah untuk Bintang, yang bulan Mei 2012 nanti genap berusia 3 tahun. Mulai dari jenis sekolah seperti apa yang baik (play-based, montessori, sekolah alam, kurikulum, bahasa pengantar Indonesia/Inggris/Mandarin), sampai kepada masalah jarak, jam berapa kelas dimulai, berapa biaya uang pangkal dan SPP bulanan, kondisi sekolah dan calon teman-teman sekelas.

…. cukup memusingkan, ternyata.

Dan seperti kebanyakan orang tua baru lainnya, kesalahan saya berawal dari hal yang sepele, yaitu lupa melihat karakter anak. Tahap awal yang harus diperhatikan, terutama jika menyangkut soal pendidikan usia dini adalah memahami karakter anak, dan mencari institusi yang sesuai agar nantinya anak bisa memaksimalkan potensinya. Contoh kesalahan saya adalah memasukan syarat “punya ruang bermain outdoor” kedalam checklist, padahal Bintang bukan tipe anak yang suka bermain diluar. Terlanjur pusing, padahal itu tidak penting!

Saya juga sempat menemukan sekolah yang belum apa-apa sudah bertanya, “Apa Bintang sudah pernah sekolah sebelumnya? Karena disini target kami cukup tinggi, jadi kami khawatir jika nanti Bintang tertinggal dan tidak bisa mengikuti pelajaran.” Saya dan suami cuman bisa geleng-geleng kepala, dan berkata dalam hati, “Ini kita yang katrok atau mereka yang sinting ya?”

Walaupun termasuk anak yang ekstra talkative alias cerewet, Bintang tetap butuh waktu untuk beradaptasi di lingkungan yang asing. Slow to warm, istilahnya. Jadi saya harus benar-benar memastikan dia enjoy dengan suasana sekolahnya, dan mau berinteraksi dengan guru atau teman sekelas.

Tentang Sanggar Kreativitas Bona

Tanpa ada maksud untuk promosi, saya coba datang atas undangan free trial dari Sanggar Kreativitas Bona (SKB), yang merupakan anak perusahaan Kompas-Gramedia, khusus menangani bidang pendidikan anak usia dini. Kelompok bermain yang relatif “baru” untuk wilayah Surabaya, dengan konsep play-based dan tidak ada target ataupun pressure bagi anak usia 2 hingga 5 tahun. Fokus dari SKB bukan tertuju pada kemampuan akademik anak (baca-tulis-hitung, angka/huruf), tetapi pada kemandirian dan kreativitas anak, walaupun ada sedikit (dan memang benar-benar sedikit) sekali pengenalan terhadap angka.

Dalam setiap pertemuan (seminggu 3x, masing-masing selama 2 jam), pembiasaan kemandirian sudah dimulai sejak anak berada didepan sekolah, karena anak diharuskan membawa tas sekolahnya sendiri, melepas sepatu sendiri sebelum masuk kelas, meletakan tas di tempat khusus, lalu duduk di bangkunya masing-masing. Lalu dilanjutkan ke aktivitas yang melatih motorik kasar anak (olahraga ringan), story telling untuk melatih kemampuan listening comprehension anak, lalu art & craft untuk melatih motorik halus, seperti menggunting, menempel, atau prakarya.

Setelah motorik halus, anak kembali dibiasakan untuk mandiri, yaitu dengan mencuci tangan sendiri, lalu mengambilsnack didalam tas masing-masing dan makan bersama. Setelah makan, anak juga harus mencuci tangan, dan mulai melakukan kegiatan kesenian seperti mewarnai, menggambar, bernyanyi, atau berlatih alat musik. Sekitar 30 menit sebelum pulang, anak diberikan waktu bebas untuk bermain apapun sendirian, atau bersama temannya, sambil guru menulis di buku penghubung murid. Kelas diakhiri dengan guru “menggambar” sebuah angka di papan tulis, dan menjelaskan angka berapa yang di gambar tersebut. Setelah itu, anak bergiliran memakai kaus kaki dan sepatunya sendiri, mengambil tas, dan keluar dari kelas.

Khusus di hari Jumat, kelas PG-A digabung dengan PG-B, dan tidak ada kegiatan terstruktur seperti hari Senin atau Rabu. Di hari Jumat, kelas dimulai dengan menari bersama, lalu anak-anak bebas bermain didalam kelas. Setelah itu, satu per satu murid bergiliran maju untuk menyanyi lagu apapun yang mereka pilih. Hal ini bertujuan melatih keberanian anak untuk tampil didepan umum, mengafal lagu yang mereka sukai, dan menghargai penampilan teman sekelasnya.

Overall, dengan harga yang relatif ekonomis, SKB berhasil menarik perhatian saya. Dan jumlah murid yang masih belum terlalu banyak (sekitar 8 anak termasuk Bintang), memungkinkan adanya interaksi yang baik antara Bintang dengan guru. Begitu pula antara saya dan gurunya. Kurikulum yang menekankan pada pembentukan kemandirian anak dan kreativitas, sepertinya cocok dengan selera pribadi saya dan (mudah-mudahan) bisa membantu Bintang untuk perkembangan sosial dan kognitifnya.

Disamping itu, SKB juga punya agenda rutin tahunan untuk menampilkan kreativitas anak di acara yang digelar oleh Gramedia Group, seperti kids expo (pertengahan tahun 2012), ataupun acara lainnya seperti SBO-TV baby star (tanggal 12 Mei 2012), dan kids fair di Grand City (13 Mei 2012). Walaupun belum ada indikasi sebagai seorang performer saya harap kesempatan tersebut bisa pelan-pelan membantu Bintang untuk mengatasi kekhawatirannya di tempat asing.

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Kids & TV: You Name It, He Watched It!

I’m a TV addict. And I let my 2 year-old son “Bintang” to watch TV for almost 12 hours a day. From Barney & Friends, to Thomas The Tank Engine, Pingu, Ava-Riko-Teo, Mr. Maker, Boogie Beebies, Teletubbies, In The Night Garden, and everything else, you name it, he watched it. Since he was born, we live in a small house and put the TV in our bedroom. We were pretty much attached to it, so badly, that we -almost- always fell asleep every night with the TV still on.

..and the TV watches us sleeping..

But last January, my husband and I were finally able to buy our own house, and while moving in, we have made a tough decision to no longer put the television in our bedroom, and moved it to the living room instead. We made a deal that, if, we can’t survive with this condition, we will move the TV back to our bedroom. To make the transition even harder, we also began sleeping separately from Bintang, whose bedroom is right next to ours, with a connecting door, in case he needs to sneak-out at night.

It wasn’t a major change but I was terrified and thought, “this is not going to be easy..

It wasn’t easy indeed.

For me.

As for Bintang, he instantly fell in love with something else:

Books.

The first night I took Bintang to sleep on his own room, I was confused as hell. How the hell am I going to make him feel sleepy, since there is no TV around?

I guess, there’s always the first time for everything. Suddenly I find myself trying to imitate what other parents (and what all the articles about bedtime story say I must) do: read him a book.

And there he was.. Loving each and every moment of it. A lot!He laughed every time I imitate funny voices from the book’s character. He pointed his fingers to every interesting pictures available on the book, asking me what it was and why do the characters show certain facial expression. Is he sad? Is he mad? Why are they laughing, why is he crying?

I read to him, a story about how a little boy bravely go to the dentist. About a worm who just moved into a new neighborhood. About a tiger who doesn’t want to go to sleep and got lost in the woods.

I admit, I used to have second thoughts about TV and books. That watching too many TV is not harmful as long as I am there with him, and after all we are watching children-dedicated cartoons, but I never realize how powerful a regular “Bedtime Story” is, until I took him to playschool trial class last week. My son, who (I thought) is withdrawn and shy, was considered “highly communicative” by the school tutors.

He also mastered extensive amount of vocabularies which makes his language ability higher than other kids at the same age.

I guess all the funny voices and the so called “grown-up-alike” conversations I have with him prove to have some results.

😀

But this doesn’t mean that we hate our TV now, on the contrary, we love it even more (especially The Big Bang Theory, my personal favorite, among others), -although- we do try to limit the time we’re being attached to it. And replace it with doing something else instead. Reading books, playing bicycle outside, making a mess in the living room with play-dough and crayons, water-color, and scissor practices, are just some cheap (and yet so much fun) alternatives that we enjoy so far!

After two weeks of sneaking out to our bedroom in the middle of the night, my 2.8 year old Bintang is now finally sleeping on his own bedroom until morning! But hey, he also decides that he will not go to sleep until I tell him stories from -at least- 3 or 4 books.

So I read to him. In between yawning, and my funny voices..

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Picture credits : Digital Journey

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