Saturday, June 29, 2013

Digging Through A School's Lost and Found

I am in awe at how fast my eight-year old regularly manages to make some of his jackets and school stuff simply vanish.  It could be that newly-sharpened pencil, a baseball cap, that sock with the missing pair, or his favorite Spider Man jacket.
Of course, I should have put kids name labels on all his school stuff and clothes, and I do try, believe me.  It is just that some did escape my attention, including that favorite Spider Man jacket which he lost in school and is insisting that it is my fault because I forgot to put a name label on it.
I did try looking for that jacket in that room under the school stairs with boxes and boxes of “Lost and Found”.  It is mind blowing how much stuff are in the school’s “Lost and Found” that you can literally set up your own department store.  I dug through hundreds of jackets, pencils, toys, water bottles and yes, lunch boxes (with that green thing growing inside), and even back packs.  I guess a lot of parents have forgotten to put name labels or buy more personalized products that would make a student identify his own stuff.
Thankfully, after spending hours (more like minutes.  It just felt like hours inside that cramped “Lost and Found” room), I managed to find his favorite jacket in the last box (which seemed like the 100th box) I searched.
I guess it could be a lot worse.  He has not reached that stage where he will purposely forget where his books are.  He has not experienced searching for his eyeglasses only to find out it is high above his head.  He has not locked the car only to find out that his keys are inside the car he just locked.

But I did give him his little punishment.  I ordered him to organize his closet and label  every piece of clothing and school supplies with his name.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Something is Brewing

The aroma of fresh coffee makes me miss my Papa so bad. (Of course, I won't tell here - oops - that I was so embarrassed to ask the sales person if they still sell Jovan Musk for Men - Papa's choice of scent. I prefer the coffee scent.)

I miss waking up to the smell of his brewed coffee, his insistence that Paula stop playing her electric guitar full blast with that good fulltone ocd at guitar center. (He prefers playing the ordinary six string, singing old songs with his two younger brothers) I miss his beautiful voice singing Frank Sinatra's "My Way" and "Blue Spanish Eyes" by Engelbert Humperdinck.  I miss how he whistles and hums every time he is worried.  I miss his super delicious adobo. I miss the conversations we have in the afternoons where he reminisced about his childhood.  I miss it every time he morphs into a grumpy old man.  I miss his laughter as he watched Cartoon Network with Adrian.

I miss him period.

Stress-Related Weight Gain

Spending two weeks in the hospital might have caused me to gain weight.  I haven't been eating as much, but stress must be causing me to gain those unwanted pounds.  I cannot imagine how not eating can make you gain weight, but I have read somewhere that when your body experiences stress, the neuro-endocrine system, the network of glands that produce and secrete hormones into our blood stream, releases the hormone cortisol that increases our appetite and energy levels.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On Choosing the Right Baby Sitter

I must have gone through a thousand nannies/baby sitters when my kids were growing up.

Nope.  That is an exaggeration.

But it sure is tough choosing the right baby sitter nowadays.

Whether she is currently your cook, laundry woman, or general household helper, one thing is for sure.  If you want her to take over the role of a baby sitter, she must first want to be one to your kids.  Doing an easy back ground back ground check will point you to the right baby sitter.  She must have  tolerance since kids are kids.  They have tempers, they have wants, and there will come a point where kids will whine just to get what they want.  The baby sitter must know how to handle such situations.  There are no sure ways to finding the right baby sitter for your children but with you personally training her, you can be sure that your children will be taken care of in the manner that you approve of.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Of Faith and Life Pressures

Under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. Let it do its work so you become mature and complete, not lacking anything. {James 1:2-4}

Faith does have a way of testing me...On June 12, my father was brought to the Intensive Care Unit.  He suffered respiratory distress and had to be intubated.  He must have reached the emergency room in a really bad condition they had to let everyone except the medical personnel out of the room.

Through it all, I knew he was going to pull through.  He is one fighter, my dad is.  No one and nothing can bring him down.

A few days later, he had to go undergo dialysis. His creatinine doubled within 24 hours.  Apparently, he had an untreated urinary tract infection that spread to his blood, and his heart, lungs and kidney reacted to the infection.  All the time, the cough and fever that he was self-medicating (my dad is an ornery old man and when I ask him to have his check-up, he will find witty ways to oppose me! Think of the movie "Grumpy Old Men" and he can be one of them-in a cool way of course, because he is one fun, ornery old man.  He has a caustic sense of humor,) was actually his body's response to the spreading infection.

On Sunday, the tube was removed and I was relieved he was recovering fast. Through all these, by the way, my 14-year old daughter Nicole has been nursing high fever with flu-like symptoms since Friday and my 7-year old son likewise was having high fever since Saturday.

(I soo wanted to make a Father's Day post for him-my hero...but I can't bring myself to...seeing him frail and pale with tubes in his nose and mouth, arms swollen from three different IVs...)

Nicole's nose bled on Monday and hubby had to bring him to the ER.  They were home after an hour and her blood test came out normal although she was asked to go back the next day for another blood count.  I brought Adrian to the pediatrician that same day.  The pedia told me there is an increase in dengue and typhoid cases and since she can't find any reason why Adrian is having a high fever (upper respiratory seems clear and there are no other complaints), she recommended a dengue and UTI test for Adrian and a dengue,UTI and typhoid test for Nicole.

The whole time I was having a talk with the pediatrician, the ICU personnel has been calling me informing me that my dad had to be intubated again! I didn't know which to do first.  (For the parents out there, this is one of the best reasons to justify having many children.  I have an only brother.  Dalawa lang kami and my bro is staying in Manila.  He had to go back to Manila on Sunday. )

I ran to the ICU to see how he was after bringing my two kids for the blood tests. I was shocked at how pale he was.  I had to ask the nurse if conscious ba siya or he was just sleeping.  The nurses told me he responds when they talk to him, but he sure is not responding to me!

I had to go back to get the blood tests.  OK naman ang first two page for Nicole. I saw the word negative, but when I read the third, the dengue test, it read "Positive."  And when I saw Adrian's with the Dengue test "Positive", too, my world sank. How could that be??? 

Their blood count was still normal, so I consulted with the pediatrician.  I told her earlier my dad is in the ICU so it would be more convenient for me if the kids get confined so that they can be watched closely and I won't have to run home to check on them and then go to the hospital to check on my dad.

Monday was the pits talaga.  I was numb.  How could everything happen in a day??? And to top it off pa, the medical personnel called me informing me that they have to use the defibrillator on him because his heart was beating abnormally fast.  I had to watch them use the paddles and make kuryente my dad (Note: mas exagg sa movies than in real life, I think).  Five times yata.  I had to watch and make sure his heart returns to normal beating.  So in between taking care of two patients alternately vomiting and wanting to pee, I was practically going through the motions, I was one emotional wreck.

The kids pulled through. I checked them out yesterday afternoon (Friday), but my dad is still there.  He is gradually getting better.  I really hope he will get really really better so he can go home na.  

And oh, by the way, I was sooo glad I cried when I saw comments from the BC Bloggers community.  I wasn't able to finish the round last week because of what happened, but I was soo happy when I read my blogger friends' words of encouragement and prayers.  Sobrang saya ko talaga because we (BC Bloggers) might not know each other personally, but we are family.  

Relatives, friends (Ben,Carthel,Malou,Sir Mike Del Rosario and a lot more), office mates, strangers I met at the ICU watcher's room offered prayers, words of comfort and even food.  Truly, love in this world is truly boundless.

Please continue to pray for my family.  And through all that happened to me last week, not once did my faith waver.  In fact, it became stronger.  Totoo nga, if life gives you a major storm (parang tsunami nga hehe), all you have to do is turn to HIM.

Here is an inspiring song "Ambon" by True Faith...

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I Trust In You

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A note for the future: Wyeth Nutrition commits to support Philippine education of underprivileged youth

MANILA, Philippines; 6 June 2013 It was Pablo Picasso who said – “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” He may have said this decades ago, but these words still ring true until now. After all, how many children – all brimming with promise and creativity – just fade away when they grow up?

Today, Wyeth Nutrtion and Synergeia Foundation are working hand-in-hand to do their part by nurturing future generations through education. And they’re doing it through a simple but ingenious way – by giving notebooks to thousands of underprivileged schoolchildren all over the country.

“A notebook may not seem anything special to some, especially for kids who have had the benefit of growing up with cellphones, tablets and gaming consoles; but for a same-aged child, who’s not as fortunate, a simple notebook can represent his canvas for the future,” says Richard Arboleda, Associate Director for Communications, Wyeth Philippines.  

Arboleda shares that what makes the notebooks extra special are their designs, which were specially made by three gifted artists who are schoolchildren themselves.  The child artists are Allie Arroyo who began painting at 5 and is now improving her craft under noted artists Bambi Manosa and Elaine Herbosa; Antonio Tordesillas, who has already had a solo exhibit at the age of 14; and Marco Flores who hails from the art capital of the Philippines, Angono, Rizal.

“Our aim is to promote literacy and to encourage children to be creative and value education; we are able to achieve that through the gift of these three children. Access to notebooks leads to more writing and reading, which then fosters an increase in proficiency,” says Arboleda. 

From June 15 to August 15, Wyeth Nutrition and Synergeia Foundation will be launching the Nurture.Inspire.Give. campaign. Here, any purchase of Aqiva (900g), Progress Pre-school Gold (900g and 1.6kg), Promil Pre-school (900g and 1.6kg), Bonakid Choco Boost (800g), Bonakid Pre-school (900g, 1.2kg and 1.6kg), Enercal Plus (900g), or ProMama (900g) comes with a free limited edition notebook and a scratch card. The scratch card has a promo code, which one can use to register through SMS to be eligible for the raffle promo and to enable a child to receive his/her own notebook.
Wyeth Nutrition will give away P20,000 worth of gift certificates for school supplies and an educational gift pack worth P5,000 to 50 raffle winners on July 17 and another 50 winners on August 16.

Wyeth Nutrition and Synergeia Foundation pledge to give away notebooks equal to the total number of registrants. 10,000 registrants would mean 10,000 notebooks to be given away to less fortunate schoolchildren in the Philippines.

 “No one understands children better than children themselves; and it is because of this that we chose to have Marco, Allie and Antonio design the notebooks,” notes Arboleda. “Looking at their designs, it’s no exaggeration to say that we may be very well looking at the future of Philippine art.”

Arboleda is also proud of Wyeth Nutrition’s partnership with Synergeia Foundation, which implements programs to improve basic education to nearly 1.5 million schoolchildren in 250 municipalities in the Philippines. Since 2011, the organizations have collaborated to implement feeding programs and inspire employee volunteerism.  “What they do is travel to the remotest barangays in the country to work with communities in order to upgrade basic education – and that’s why we’re sure that help really reaches those who really need it.

“It’s our hope that this initiative will serve to inspire and somehow influence the future of children. This is, after all, what Wyeth Nutrition is all about – nurturing generation after generation of Filipinos.”

Yesterday’s Dream. During Wyeth Nutrition’s launch of “Nurture. Inspire. Give.” through the Synergeia Foundation, students from BagongTanyag Elementary School performed, “Yesterday’s Dream,” as a way to say thank you to Wyeth Nutrition and artists, Marco Flores and Antonio Tordesillas, for presenting them with the limited edition notebooks designed by the young artists. 

GIVE. From one student to another. Young artist, Marco Flores, presented notebooks with his design to pupils from BagongTanyag Elementary School.

Nurture. Inspire. Give. (L-R, back row) Wyeth Nutrition’s Associate Director for Communications, Richard Arboleda, talented young artists, Marco Flores and Antonio Tordesillas and Dr. Milwida Guevara, Chief Executive Officer of Synergeia Foundation with the pupils from BagongTanyag Elementary School during the launch of “Nurture. Inspire. Give.”

A note for the future. The little girl from the left shows off her new notebook to her classmates. The covers of the notebooks given away by Wyeth Nutrition bear artworks of other young students as part of “Nurture. Inspire. Give.”

An Inspiring Partnership. Wyeth Nutrition’s Associate Director for Communications, Richard Arboleda andDr. Milwida Guevara, Chief Executive Officer of Synergeia Foundation during the launch of Wyeth Nutrition’s corporate promo “Nurture. Inspire. Give”. Wyeth Nutrition and Synergeia Foundation are working hand-in-hand with this promo – nurturing future generations through education. Behind them are the artworks of the three young artists, Antonio Tordesillas, Marco Flores and Allegria Arroyo which will be the covers of the notebooks that will be given to underprivileged schoolchildren.

For more information, visit Per DOH-FDA Permit No. 0801 Series of 2013.

About Wyeth Nutrition
Wyeth Nutrition, formerly Pfizer Nutrition, is part of NestlĂ© S.A.  Wyeth Nutrition develops premium-quality nutritional products scientifically-designed to meet the needs of infants and young children, pregnant and lactating mothers, and adults. As pioneers in infant nutritional science, our mission is to provide the best nutritional support for future healthy outcomes. For nearly a century, Wyeth Nutrition has leveraged scientific research, world class manufacturing and product safety standards to drive scientifically-sound solutions that offer parents confidence, help nourish children and support their healthy futures. It employs the same level of excellence in delivering nutrient-rich products to adults.

About Synergeia Foundation
Synergeia started as a coalition of individuals, institutions, and organizations working together to improve the quality of basic education.  Led by former Undersecretary of Finance, Dr. Milwida M. Guevara, Synergeia implements programs that affects nearly 1.5 million schoolchildren in 267 local government units all over the country including ARMM. It mobilizes members of a community and builds their capabilities to design and implement programs that will help their children complete basic quality education. Its flagship activity is “Reinventing Local School Boards” which promotes community engagement in improving education. Through a vibrant school board, Synergeia engages in local governments, the Department of Education, socio-civic groups, schools, teachers, parents and students to implement systemic programs that will improve the processes, systems and structures of learning and teaching.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

BIR responds to complaints on new Official Receipts Regulations

Update as of August 13, 2013: BIR issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 52-2013 extending the use use of unused/unissued principal and supplementary invoices printed prior to January 18, 2013 is extended to October 31, 2013, subject to following conditions which you can read here.

Update: BIR issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 44-2013 extending the validity of all unused/unissued principal and supplementary receipts/invoices printed prior to January 18, 2013, the effectivity date of RR 18-2012, from June 30, 2013 to August 30, 2013.  

However the deadline for filing an application for the printing of new receipts to replace all unused/unissued principal supplementary receipts/invoices printed prior to Jan 18, 2013 shall be maintained as of April 30, 2013, and therefore all applications received after said date shall be considered late application and the penalties for late filing shall be imposed.

After August 30, 2013, all principal and supplementary receipts and invoices printed before January 18, 2013 shall no longer be valid.  Issuance of these receipts shall be deemed to be an issuance of an invalid receipt or deemed as if no receipts were issued, and a violation of Section 264 of the National Internal Revenue Code.

Business Owners, be aware.  The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) will push through with the implementation of the new official receipts/ invoices on July 1, 2013.  

Here are samples of how the new official receipt/invoice will look like:

Annex C RMO 12-2013

The full implementation of Revenue Regulations No. 18-2012 requiring the issuance and use of new sets of receipts on July 1, 2013 shall proceed as scheduled. Commissioner of Internal Revenue Kim S. Jacinto-Henares said, “The complaints against the new regulations are without any basis since the tax agency had issued Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 18-2012 last year and published the same in the January 3, 2013 issue of the Manila Bulletin informing everyone that existing receipts will expire on June 30, 2013. We believe that six months is enough preparation for everyone to comply with such requirement.”
RR No. 18-2012, published on January 3, 2013, provides among others that taxpayers must apply for the printing of their new receipts at least sixty (60) days (or April 30) before the expiry of their old receipts on June 30, 2013 and start issuing the same on July 1, 2013.
Commissioner Henares added that “the BIR issued Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) No. 12-2013 on May 2, 2013 to provide for penalties since very few taxpayers were complying with the said regulations.”
The BIR said that taxpayers who apply for authority to print receipts beyond April 30, 2013 shall pay a penalty of P1,000.00. However, those who apply for said authority beyond June 30, 2013 and/or on or before June 30, 2013 but failed to use the new sets of receipts starting July 1, 2013 shall pay the maximum penalty (of P50,000.00) as provided for in Section 264 of the Tax Code.
The tax agency gave the following rationale for the issuance of the regulations:
1) The BIR’s discovery of businesses registered with the tax agency that are not really engaged in any business except to sell invoices thereby defrauding the government of billions in tax revenues. These businesses sell their invoices to entities who are either engaged in smuggling and/or purchasing of goods without receipts. When BIR looked for these companies, mostly Small and Medium Enterprises, they cannot be found;
2) The BIR’s finding that a lot of invoices that were printed in the ‘70s are still being used and the need to clean these up by providing an expiry period; and

3) The issuances are aimed at reforming the process of accrediting printers to address complaints against some BIR personnel engaged in the printing business who make it difficult for taxpayers to register and/or secure authority to print unless they get to print the receipts of said taxpayers. The regulations disqualify printers with relatives working in the BIR. 

Sunday, June 09, 2013

On Choosing a Day Care Center

A mom in the workplace makes sacrifices like you can’t imagine.

Like juggling her family, especially the care of her little children, and her career.

She wants to be there to watch her children grow, but she also wants to grow, build a career and provide for the children as well.

To have the best of both worlds, she will try to find the best daycare for her children.  She will search for a place where her children can learn and be taken care of in her absence.  She will want to put her children in the care of somebody where her children will never have the feeling that they are missing out on the attention and affection she should be giving.

Choosing the perfect day care center like Thornton CO day care for your child is one of the toughest decisions a parent often make.  She has to be assured that the center is providing her child the highest standards of care and understanding of child development.  The reason is that the early years are very crucial in a child’s brain development.  Deciding on high-quality day care would help and nurture your child in developing his social and learning skills as he begins to learn and be aware of the world around him.

An excellent way to start looking for a good day care is by asking recommendations from family members and friends.  Try to gather as many information about a center as much as possible.  Assess the programs they offer.  Make sure that you know the center’s values and curriculum.  The day care center should have a learning place that has a wide variety of toys and learning materials appropriate for the child.  He should be given plenty of chance and opportunity to discover his world and environment as he develops his self-confidence, independence, socials skills, coordination and creativity and grows in his faith.

You would want to choose a day care center where you can have a partnership relation with.  You should be able to give your ideas since communication between you and the center is very important.  You should be able to drop by and check on your child any time and parent-teacher conferences should often be held so that the parent can have a glimpse of the child’s developmental progress and likewise, the goals they are trying to have the child achieve.

You would want a day care center where a caregiver / teacher can constantly supervise the child at all times, even while taking their daytime nap.  The caregiver/teacher should also have the appropriate and continuous education and training.  

Plus, of course, your child is enjoying day care, too!  If he shows enthusiasm and looks forward to going to day care every single day, you have chosen the right one.

Blessed Sunday!

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Nurturing Creativity and Self-Expression Through Theatre Class

When my two girls were little, they loved the world of make-believe.

Paula was Ariel in "Little Mermaid" with her legs inside a pillow so they would look like a tail. She would perform “Reflection” from "Mulan" to relatives and friends exactly the way Mulan sang in the movie.

Nicole would ask her grandmother to put Adrian, who was then barely one year old, in a small box and pretend that Adrian was the Baby Moses (scene copied from “The Prince of Egypt”) while singing “When You Believe” and if I scold her for putting Adrian in a small box, she would say, “He is my baby.  So sweet and small…”

Their strong imagination amazed me.  Indeed, practically all preschoolers love to play make-believe.  Sometimes, fantasy for them is reality as they insist that fairies, dwarves, mermaids, goblins, vampires and monsters are real.  This stage is the perfect time to introduce the theater.

Sweetest Pictures Ever

I remember bringing the girls to stage plays like “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, “Romeo and Juliet”, and a Filipino version of “The Ant and the Cricket.” Oh, how they loved the songs and the dances and the costumes.  They even attended a theater class one summer from a local company similar to Walnut Creek children’s theatre where they were taught to sing and act. And boy, did they have fun! Whenever I asked them what they want to become, they both would say they would love to act.

Every day after theatre class, they would put on a show. They would sometimes grab their grandpa and grandma and sometimes, me, to play different roles, like the fairy godmother (grandma), the King (grandpa), Prince Charming (the dad) and me (the witch!).

The summer theatre camp FAQ encouraged them to see what happens backstage.  The class took them to several plays and they were given backstage theater tours as well.  They were shown different costumes, theater make up that transforms a queen to a witch, cables that control the curtains and the scenery, and lights.  

They also got over their shyness and were able to banish their stage fright.  Enrolling in theater class helped them develop their theater skills and get out of their shells.

You should really consider enrolling your child in a theater class if he has a love for the performing arts. The class would definitely build the child’s confidence, creativity and self-expression.  He would be a witness to the “magic” of creating theater and be exposed to teamwork and camaraderie as well.

Younger brother Adrian is busy with his life of XBox 360 games and Aikido and wouldn't want to attend or have anything to do with a summer theatre class, but he did love performing in his school's  version of "The Emperor's New Clothes."

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Philippine Bank Fees on Withdrawal and Balance Inquiry

A photo by Naypong via

I am a creature of comfort.

I have been shopping online since five years ago.  I get good deals and of course, I don’t need to go to the mall just to find out the dress I so want to have and am saving for a month is gone.

I check my cash-in-bank balance online.  I buy and sell stocks online. 

I go to the nearest ATM to withdraw money.

Everything seems to be convenient.

But being a creature of comfort does come with a price.

Because my bank is charging me with fees whenever I use another bank’s Automatic Teller Machine to get MY OWN, HARD-EARNED money.

It is true that ATMs are conveniently located everywhere, which makes banking so easy and a lot of times, a fee of up to P15.00 per transaction is a small fee we are willing to pay for that convenience. 

But the fees do add up.  Just think.  Making a balance inquiry could cost you P1.00 to P2.00.  Some ATMS have withdrawal limits of P10,000.00,so if you will attempt to withdraw P50,000.00, you will be charged from P50.00 to P75.00!

Depositors of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), BPI Family Savings Bank and BDO Smart Money Card charge you P15.00 per withdrawal in another bank’s ATM.

A withdrawal fee of P12.00 per transaction, meanwhile is slapped on you by Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), Union Bank of the Philippines, Malayan Bank and Chinatrust whenever you choose to withdraw using another bank’s ATM.

Eleven pesos will be deducted from your account as a withdrawal fee if you use another bank’s ATM if you are a client of BDO Unibank Debit Card, BDO Unibank Cash Card, Metropolitan Banking Corp., Philippine National Bank, United Coconut Planters Bank, Asia United Bank, Bank of Commerce, Maybank Philippines and Robinsons Bank.

The cheapest withdrawal transaction fee at P10.00 is imposed on ATM cardholders of Allied Banking Corporation, Land Bank of the Philippines, Standard Chartered Bank, Philippine Bank of Communications and Philippine Veterans Bank.

Citibank does not impose charges. 

Compare ATM Charges for Withdrawal and Balance Inquiry here.

And oh, don’t even get me started over Globe’s paper fee of around P20.00 plus VAT which is an extra charge if you opt for the paper bill. (I think Globe is trying to earn by pretending to love the environment by advocating a paperless society.)

I am a creature of comfort, I know, but being one sure comes with a hefty price in the long run...

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Of Bucket Lists and Conquering Mountains

Light After Dark
Light After Dark (Mt. Pulag) by Bong Bajo

Another friend would soon tick off an item in her bucket list as she aspires to conquer Mount Pulag.  I am with her in her journey by err,  not going with her (sure, Mt. Pulag is also in my bucket list.  It is the third highest peak in the Philippines and conquering it would absolutely give me years of bragging about how a wimpy person like me could climb a mountain like that), but by helping her shop for stuff she will need like a warm fleece jacket like those found over at since the temperature over there can go down to as low as 2 degrees Celsius.

I would love to climb the mountain soon, too, and have photos of myself above the clouds.  Of course, people who know me will scoff and give wisecracks about me wearing wedges and using an umbrella while hiking or something (you know, imagined epic fails which I am so known for). But hey, I long to get out of my comfort zone, too, and I believe that I can do anything as long as I put my heart into it.  Besides, I do need to check it off my bucket list.    I really do.

Is Your Child Ready For School ?

I first enrolled my daughter in pre-school when she was just three and a half years old.  I was so excited! And she was, too!  She always did things early.  She started walking when she was ten months old.  She had an extensive vocabulary and was talking really well before she turned two.  She warms up to other children easily...

I bought her new black school shoes, a new bag, her first-ever school uniform.  She breezed through school happily, too.

I had a friend who had a son my daughter's age.  The same scene.  The mom (my friend) was so excited, she bought new stuff.  But instead of hopping happily into the classroom like my daughter, her little boy clung to her leg and screamed until she finally brought her little boy home. He just wasn't ready for school yet.

My friend was crushed and wondered why Paula, my daughter, loved school and her son hated it.  She finally realized though that she has been quite insensitive.  That was her word.  She was insensitive.  She told me she should have spent less time reading school curricula and more time figuring out if her son was prepared for the big leap.  

Is Your Child Ready For School?

Learning through the Dalcroze method 

Experts agree that there are no absolute ways of determining if a child is ready for school. Standardized tests are usually unreliable, since toddlers often develop at their own pace and can be simultaneously "ahead" or "behind"of their peers in different areas.

Instead, ask yourself if your child has the social skills and the emotional maturity to handle the demands of being among strangers in a structured setting.  After all, play schools isn't just about painting and playgrounds.  She will have to get used to following a schedule, obeying instructions, relating to others.  While these are all great learning opportunities, she needs to master basic skills before she can successfully hurdle these challenges.

The Heart Start Report from The Emotional Foundations of School Readiness names these crucial social and emotional skills:

Confidence.  Children must learn to feel good about themselves and believe they can succeed.  Confident children are more willing to attempt new tasks and try them again if they don't succeed the first time.
Independence.  Children need to learn to do things for themselves.
Motivation.  Children must want to learn.
Curiosity.  Children are naturally curious and must remain so in order to get most out of learning opportunities.
Persistence.  Children must learn to finish what they start.
Cooperation.  Children must be able to get along with others and learn to share and take turns.
Self control.  Children must understand that some behaviors, such as hitting and biting, are inappropriate.  They need to learn that there are good and bad ways to express anger.
Empathy.  Children must learn to have an interest in others and understand how they feel.

Making The Leap

We are actually our children's first and most important teachers in developing and nurturing these skills.  Doing the following are ways where we can help our child acquire these positive qualities: 

  1. Children must believe and be re-assured that someone is always there to look out, care and watch over them.  They thrive on love, your attention, loving hugs and encouragement.  Children who feel and are loved are more loving, confident children.
  2. Lead and your child will follow.  Children are great imitators and would mirror practically everything you say or do.  If you treat people graciously and respect them, your child probably will, too.  If you share things, your child will love sharing, too.  If you always scream, curse and do offensive things, your child probably would imitate you, too.
  3. We have grown up practically hating school.  Seriously.  But parents, don't lead on that you do (shh, it is our secret).  Children love to learn, discover things, go around and explore.  Encourage this.  Allow them to crawl in the mud, write on walls.  Don't restrict them for fear that they will hurt themselves or catch germs or something.  Praise them! Talk about school and how fun it will be.  Describe how school is and how much he will learn new things and meet new people. 
  4. Practice makes perfect.  We have been learning ever since we were born through practice.  Before we walked, we practiced by crawling.  Everything was learned through practice and repetition.  Encouraging a child to try and try and practice will build his confidence and he will always thirst to do something new.
  5. Set limits.  Children need firm but loving discipline. 
  6. Prepare your children's activities.  Be sure they are enjoying them, though.  Do not try to make too many restrictions or dominate them.  
  7. Don't vent your anger on your child.  
  8. Give reasons on why you are angry to your child.  My boy used to say "Mama, you don't love me?" whenever I scold him for a misbehavior.  My answer is "I love you. So much.  But it is not okay for you to exceed the time I gave you to play on your XBox."
  9. Let your children work out problems for themselves.  Let them choose, instead of making decisions for them.
  10. Let your child be independent and develop their self-confidence by allowing them to do things like dressing themselves (even if their clothes' colors would clash) children try tasks by themselves.