8 Types of Enrichment Classes Kiasu Singaporean Parents of Babies Can Spend Money On
Kiasu Singaporean parents are notorious for overtaxing their kids with all manner of enrichment classes. Some even send kids as young as 3 for tuition! Clearly, it’s never too early to get a head start, whether you’re grooming your 18-month-old for that PSC scholarship or training him to become the next world famous concert pianist / Olympic swimmer / rocket scientist.
Here are eight types of classes designed for babies under the age of two.
The provocatively-named Baby Genius classes by iGenius are sure to capture the attention of kiasu parents, because who doesn’t want a kid who scores ten A1s at the O levels, right? The Baby Genius programme caters to kids between 6 and 36 months old and aims to give them a head start in language and speech development, understanding numbers, recognising colours and shapes and development of rhythm and sensory awareness. Now, all these sound suspiciously like skills that quality time with parents and playing outdoors would boost, but then what do I know?
If you’ve ever seen these babies floating around in inflatable pools with a float around their heads, you might have witnessed a baby swimming class. As babies aren’t actually physically or mentally ready to learn swim strokes yet, these classes are more like water play sessions to get them used to the sensation of being in the water. At Aqua Bambinos, infants can start these classes from the age of 6 months.
No, you’re not about to see babies doing deadlifts and squats just yet. Baby gyms are more like big foam-padded play areas designed to get kids moving, playing and, hopefully, developing their psychomotor skills. My Little Gym is one example—kids can start from the age of 4 months and when they are older can move on to actual gymnastics.
Singaporean parents are well known for forcing piano lessons on their kids, so it’s no surprise that music courses for babies like Kindermusik have proven popular. These programmes are open to kids as young as, uh, freshly out of the womb and are designed to let kids explore music, the voice, instruments and playing with sound.
Bilingual education is a big deal in Singapore, and due to the rising number of English-speaking households, parents are getting scared that their kids will fall behind in the Mother Tongue subject when they’re of school-going age. There are also many expat and non-Chinese local parents who want their kids to become fluent in Mandarin, since China is the language of the future blah blah. That’s probably why there are so many Chinese enrichment classes for babies and toddlers these days. These schools try to give kids the necessary exposure to Chinese at a young age—Little Mandarins conducts classes for kids aged 18 months and onwards. Interestingly enough, they have two tracks, International and MOE. We’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.
6. Kung fu
Remember that actor Robin Leong? He now co-owns Ch’i Life Studio, where kung fu, aikido and other sports are taught. And they offer Kung Fu Baby classes. Yes, you heard that right. While this could mean your two year old will soon be beating you up, it might be worth it to put him in the class just to see him in a Bruce Lee costume.
Gone are the days when it was enough to dump a stack of blank paper and a box of coloured pencils in front of a kid. It seems that’s not sophisticated enough for the parents of kids these days. Why not let your special snowflake go for pottery classes instead? Instead of producing useless drawings that you’ll be forced to pin up on your fridge, your kid can start learning about clay and pottery from the age of 18 months at classes conducted by Da Vinci Group. They’re supposed to also pick up other skills along the way, such as general knowledge, creative thinking and psychomotor development.
If you thought only adults craved inner peace, apparently you’re wrong. More and more yoga-inspired classes are targeted at tots. Yes, Baby Yoga is an actual thing. At YogaBugs, kids can start learning movements and exercises inspired by yoga the moment they’re old enough to walk.
This article was first published over at MoneySmart blog on 24 May 2016. It is reproduced with permission.
About The Author (Joanne Poh)
In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.
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