Please buckle them inApril 22, 2018
Travelling with ToddlersMay 7, 2018
Looking for a fun learning environment for your little one? One of the to-go places for young toddlers in Brunei would be ISB Playgroup. The playgroup is held every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon for two hours at the school’s Pre-Kindy area. They cater to children 0-3 years of age, who must be accompanied by caretakers. Currently, it takes place twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursday, from 2pm to 4pm (parents can choose to enroll for playgroup twice a week or choose one a week, either on Tuesday or Thursday). There are several trainee teachers around to supervise and interact with your little ones and they often prepare some arts & crafts activity. Chloe enjoyed experimenting with Oobleck, where it alternates between solid and liquid form depending on the pressure exerted on it. It turns solid when you grasp it with pressure using your hands and, when you release the pressure, it instantly oozes and drips from your fingers. What a fun way to learn the scientific concept of matter! Aside from Oobleck, Chloe got to foster her creative side with colorful finger printing, painting, sticking & pasting, and she also had the opportunity to handmake a themed hat for National Day earlier this year. What’s more, I don’t have to clean as much of the mess compared to if it was done at home!
To keep the little ones busy (and to burn off their excess energy), there is a large outdoor play area offering a variety of fun activities including water tables, a large sand pit, climbing structures and a mini tricycle track. I really like this area because it allows Chloe, who is a strong willed child, to have more space and independence to explore at a larger scale without me having to interfere so much as a “police guard”. The area is childproof, with soft padded flooring and grass for some nature exploration. There are a few large canvas rooftops to provide some shade without limiting the natural light. Children are advised to wear a hat and sunscreen to protect from sun exposure and to keep hydrated with frequent sips of water.
There’s also a mini obstacle course set up with balancing beams, steps made of small buckets, a crawl through tunnel, slides and tires to jump through. Kids can just improvise as they play along the course, as Chloe did when she stacked the buckets on top one another or pulled the tyres apart instead. The sand and water play area provides endless sensorial opportunities and allows the child to practice scooping, pouring, digging, transferring and most importantly sharing with others. One of the factors that brought us to ISB playgroup was to get Chloe to practice socializing in a safe setting with children of a similar age group. Inevitably, the outdoor play area helps with developing their gross motor skills, which is linked with improved fine motor skills.
There is also an option to stay indoors if you would like to take a break from the heat. There’s plenty to offer for the child in the cool air-conditioned room, ranging from pre-arranged arts & crafts activities, play dough, role playing and imaginative play with kitchenware toys, puzzles and dolls. There’s also an outdoor lounge area where kids can choose to play with more toys or have their snacks, under a rooftop. Around the corner from this space, you can find a mini library with piles of books accessible for the kids to grab and lay on the colorful beanbags for some leisure reading with their caretakers.
During the last fifteen minutes of the playgroup, all the kids will come together as a group to do some dancing and singing facilitated by the teachers. Props such as shakers and poms poms are given to aid the interest of the children to play along with the music. Once you enter or leave the play area, you are required to wash your hands with soap for hygiene purposes. And with just $5 per session (you are required to pay upfront for the whole term), you get to use their facility for a few hours and refreshments are provided which is inclusive of the fee.
So if you are looking for an affordable, unstructured free play session for two hours in the afternoon, I would recommend ISB Playgroup. Priority would be given to kids who will join ISB’s Pre-Kindy (equivalent to Kindergarten 1) level, to familiarize them with the environment and teachers before they actually start the term. This would help especially if you would like to reduce the separation anxiety and tears commonly found during the start of the school year.
For more information, please contact Rashidah Abdullah, Community Department at 8853296
Or Mrs Chloe Metcalf, Head of Early Years
ISB Address: Jalan Utama Salambigar, Kg Sungai Hanching, Berakas ‘B’ BC2115, Brunei Darussalam
ISB Telephone:+673 2457452
ISB Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 7.30am- 4pm