Blog

Climbing Mount Sibayak, an active volcano in Sumatra

20171226_070857

Mount Sibayak is an active volcano in northern Sumatra, Indonesia in the town of Berastagi that erupted more than 100 years ago. It is 2 212m high, and is relatively easy to climb.

20171226_072508

We began our expedition at 4:30am and reached the peak of the volcano after a hour.

20171226_070801

On the mountain, there was a strong smell  of sulfur emitted by the steam vents.

IMG_20171229_105325_421

From the mountain top, we also got a bird’s eye view of the whole town of Berastagi.

20171226_071119

Mount Sinabung, a superactive volcano, can also be seen from the top of Mount Sibayak.

20171226_070911

And of course, climbing a volcano is incomplete without seeing its crater. Its crater has a small lake with acidic discoloration due to the seepage of sulfurous gases.

20171226_072332

After trekking, it was good to relax dipping ourself in a hot bath from the hot spring.

20171226_093405

Overall, it was an unforgettable experience to hike to the top of a volcano and see its crater, sulfur mine and indulge in a healing bath thereafter.

20171226_073208

Watch video here.

Advertisements

Setting up your classroom for the new school year

Teachers are not only teachers. They are interior designers, too. They plan and organize how their classroom would look like before welcoming a new batch of children. You might ask “How do teachers set up their classroom?”

Well, teachers setup their classroom based on what the school asked, what is appropriate to children, and of course, done according to the teacher’s personality.

As for me, I like a classroom that evokes positivity. So, I would put positive quotes around my classroom.

Take a look at the pictures below of how I designed my classroom in 2012, my first year in Singapore:

20120102_081939
The section I handled from 2012 to 2015… 🙂
20120102_081921
A positive note to welcome my children and parents
20120102_082204
Our Meeting Area…
20120102_082450
Library Centre
20120102_082320
Discovery Centre
20120102_082230
Construction Centre
20120102_082252
Table Toys Centre
20120102_082352
Computer Area
20120102_082406
Music Centre
20120102_082425
Art and Craft Centre
20120102_082608
Dramatic Play Centre
20120102_082520
Our door…
20120102_082530
A closer look on what was written on the door…

Children, parents and teachers who enter my classroom are greeted with positive notes, and they also leave with positive thoughts in mind, because I, myself, is full of optimism in life!

Have fun designing your classroom!

muscle-inc-protein

Active Health Fund Run 2017: A culminating activity of K1 Class at Learning Vision NCS

To mark the end of the term on the topic “Be healthy, exercise daily”, the K1 Class of Learning Vision NCS planned a Fund Run activity in collaboration with the Yio Chu Kang ActiveSG. The said activity was held last August 25 at the Yio Chu Kang Stadium. It was co-organized by YCK ActiveSG led by Parry Low and Stuart Low and by the K1 teachers of LV NCS – Teacher Sherilyn, Teacher Lin and Xia Laoshi with the support of the Centre Principal, Teacher Anisah.

Active Health is an initiative launched by the Sports Singapore with an aim to use sport to live a better and healthier life. This will form the basis of all future plans and programmes of the nation to achieve the objective of Vision2030 – a healthier population.

The K1 parents registered for this Active Health Fund Run, and the proceeds from this event went to our beneficiary, which is the Singapore Disability Sports Council. SDSC is an organization that provides sports training and development programmes for persons with disability. They are fielding the biggest away contingent of over 90 athletes to the ASEAN Para Games 2017 this September.

On this day, amidst the scorching heat of the sun, parents and children still had a great day as they were able to spend time with each other by doing various forms of exercises. The children ran 100m while the parents ran 800m. After the run, parents and children enjoyed playing active games like Bear Crawl, Tug of War, Maria Went to Town and Three-Legged Race.

Truly indeed that “it takes a village to raise a child”! The school, home and community have come together for this activity to support children’s development. We thank our K1 parents for participating in this event. We also thank the organizations we work with, the Yio Chu Kang ActiveSG and Singapore Sports Disability Council. Without you, this  event will not be a success! Our sincere gratitude to all of you!

 

Jurong Frog Farm

IMG_20170721_211732_983

Our school visited Jurong Frog Farm to know more information about frogs in real life context. Activities conducted by the staff of Jurong Frog Farm were age-appropriate.

The first activity was introducing the American Bullfrog to the children. The kids were able to touch and feel the frog.

Screenshot_20170723-192322

At the next station, the kids were given the opportunity to feed an army of frogs.

Screenshot_20170723-192411

Then, the children were able to see the life cycle of a frog in real life.

At the fourth station, the children had the chance to catch tadpoles.

Screenshot_20170723-192605

Finally, the children eagerly listened to the story “The Frog Prince”.

20170721_102430

Overall, the trip was informative, and at the same time, fun and engaging for the children! The programme offered was carefully and meaningfully designed for children. It’s definitely worth a visit!

 

What Hari Raya really means to the Muslim Community

Screenshot_20170716-203500

Ramadan is a fasting month, and Hari Raya Aidilfitri signals the end of Ramadan. Hari Raya is not only a festive occasion for Muslim to be happy about because of delectable food, but there is a more important reason than that! Hari Raya is a time to ask for forgiveness, reconcile and renew relationship with others and strengthen their bonds amongst relatives and friends.

20170716_161035

“Day of Celebration” is the literal meaning of “Hari Raya”. “Selamat Hari Raya”, which means “Happy Eid”, is the main greeting used in Malaysia and Singapore. “Maaf zahir dan batin” which means “I seek forgiveness (from you) physically and spiritually” is another greeting that we also hear during this festive season.

Today, we were invited by our colleague, Teacher Ariffah, in their house. Malay has one month of fasting, and one month of celebration to end Ramadan. On the first and second week of Hari Raya, they open their house to their family and relatives while on the third and fourth week of Hari Raya, they invite their friends in their house to have a sumptuous meal together.

It was a nice gathering today with Teacher Ariffah as our gracious host! Thank you, Teacher Ariffah and husband, for inviting us and opening your beautiful home to us!

It is always great to learn other’s culture. Learning about other’s culture is an amazing and priceless experience as you get to have a deeper understanding of how other people live.

No matter what our race or nationality is, we are all the same… We are all human! It does not matter whether you are Malay, Chinese, Indian or whatever your nationality is… we are all human beings… We are one! We all must live in peace and harmony!

Screenshot_20170716-160944

Selamat Hari Raya! Maaf zahir dan batin!

 

Reference:

http://www.themalaysiantimes.com.my/hari-raya-aidilfitri-%E2%80%93-seek-forgiveness/

 

An inspiring interview with a teacher traveller

cherryblossom

Teacher Sherilyn is proud to present to you our blog guest on the theme “Teacher on Holiday”. Our visitant is none other than Marga Placido!

Teacher Marga, as what her students and colleagues would call her, is famous for taking annual leave at work to travel. When she files for leave, her colleagues automatically ask her which country she will go.

Her recent trip, she was able to visit Vietnam, Thailand and Hongkong in a span of ten days. Let’s find out what motivates her to travel! Here is our interview with Teacher Marga:

Which places have you been to?

Philippines (Boracay, Bohol, Cebu, Davao, Benguet/Sagada), Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia (Bali), Hongkong, Macau, Thailand (Bangkok, Krabi and Phuket), Qatar, Georgia (Tbilisi), Vietnam (HCM)

bali

Among the countries you have visited, which one do you like best?

Of all the countries that I’ve been to… I can’t say that I have favorite, because I believe that each country has different to offer like the food, cultures/beliefs, breathtaking views and people. I also think that it is not really about the place, it’s the people who you’re with and the experience that you’ll gain in that particular place… It creates memories for a lifetime and that makes your travel more unforgettable.

Marga and Mau

Why do you like to travel?

I like to travel simply because it teaches me how to be happy and I think that’s one of the most important things in life, “happiness”. It also makes a person a better person. You’ll become more confident with yourself, more adventurous, it helps you not to get scared to try new things… In short, it pushes your boundaries.

parasailing

One of the reasons also why I love to travel is learning to appreciate simple things like having a nice buffet breakfast every morning! =)) 

jb

What effects has travelling done to you as a preschool teacher?

I always believe in the saying, “Experience is a good teacher” but now I do believe also that “Travel is the best teacher”. We have the whole world to learn about. In every place I discover and every person I meet, it helps me to see the real world… It also helps me broaden my mind and vision in life.

castle

Whenever I travel, I always share my experience with my students. They maybe are still young and can’t really understand the real world but as teachers, we can share to them our travel photos and stories that can awaken them to what the world has to offer… It surprises me sometimes that some of them can relate to my stories.

sagada

Do you think teachers should travel during one of their breaks? Why?

Definitely yes! We all have our stress in our lives and sometimes our work can be too demanding but whether you’re a teacher or not you should at least travel once in a while. You must explore new places and break out of your daily lifestyles. For me, travelling is a good stress remover that has a lot more to give than most people are willing to accept.

skiing

Do you have any last message to our readers?

Enjoy life…Travel while you’re young and able to! =))

hk

What can we take-away from Teacher Marga’s interview?

Take-away 1: As what Teacher Marga said, we need to travel once in a while to break away from our mundane, day-to-day activities. Travelling will make us come back to our work with fresh mind to start anew.

Take-away 2: Looking for the best teacher? Then, travel! For Teacher Marga, “Travel is the best teacher”… There is so much thing to learn about the world..  This helps her to see the real world, broaden her mind and awareness. Indeed! Travelling widens our sphere. Do not be confined staying in one place. Go around, connect the dots and see the bigger picture! Make the world your vast classroom, a venue where you can learn anything you want to learn… a place where you take charge of your own learning!

Take-away 3: Teacher Marga gave an advice to “travel while still young and able to”. This is actually true! Travel while still young because this is the stage in your life where you should keep learning to discover not only the world but more on uncovering yourself. This will equip your life with necessary skills needed as you grow older and as life’s demands become more stringent. So, again, travel the world while you’re young and able to!

P.S. For more travel updates from Teacher Marga, you may follow her on Instagram. Her account is traveltoremember.

What to do in Yangon

I was in Yangon, Myanmar for three days. One main thing to see in Myanmar is its pagoda. Myanmar has a lot of pagodas; it just varies in sizes.

The biggest of all is the Shwedagon Pagoda. It is also the most sacred pagoda as it houses strands of Buddha’s hair and other holy relics.

SONY DSC

Another pagoda you may visit is the Sule Pagoda. To me, Sule Pagoda is similar to Shwedagon. It is only their size differs.

SONY DSC

I also visited Kandawgyi Lake. This lake is the second lake in Yangon. However, its water is artificial. Its water is channeled from Inle Lake through a series of pipes.

SONY DSC

There is one more nice place to see in Myanmar, and that is Bagan. I haven’t been there. I hope to visit it next time!

The Amazon River of Southeast Asia

Screenshot_20170617-110532

Visiting the Ulu Temburong Park was the highlight of my Brunei trip. I was glad that I had the chance to see this best attraction in Brunei. Ulu Temburong Park is the first national park in Brunei. It is protected and preserved for scientific research and low-impact visitors.

Screenshot_20170617-110814

To reach the park, we had to take a speedboat from Bandar Seri Begawan and travel along the Brunei Bay area. We stopped at Bangar Temburong Town and took a road trip to Batang Duri. We then rode a long tail boat that traversed Temburong River. Traveling across the Temburong River felt like having the Amazon River experience. The long tail boat brought us to the entrance of the national park.

Screenshot_20170617-110635

From the entrance, we trekked into the pristine rainforest and reached the canopy base. We took the stairs and managed to reach the canopy walkways. On top, you would have a better opportunity to observe the perfect view of the forest.

Screenshot_20170617-111316

Overall, I never regret my travel to Brunei. It was a wondrous experience to join the day adventure to Ulu Temburong Park. I met great people during my trip. Aside from that, I had undergone an extraordinary escapade that was worth remembering!

Screenshot_20170617-111048

Globe-trotting: The story of a solo traveler preschool teacher who has visited all ASEAN countries

20161102_101920

What inspires me to see the world is brought by my travel and childhood memories. When I was a child, we lived in Lucena City for a short period of time. During summer breaks, we either spend our family holidays in Manila, Laguna or Quezon visiting our relatives. If not in those places, we are visiting beaches in our town in Masbate or staying in our grandparents’ farm.

I usually traveled with my family, not until I entered elementary and high school where I had to compete with other students in our province or region. There are times my mother would accompany me because I had motion sickness. Sometimes she could not be there; I had to travel with my fellow participants and trainers.

When I entered university, my family traveled to Quezon City to make sure everything was okay before leaving me. After that, I had to travel from Quezon City to Masbate all by myself. But, that’s not where my solo traveling started!

My solo traveling started before my university graduation. I was twenty years old back then. I traveled to Baguio City from Manila with my backpack. My friend brought me to the bus terminal, and at 12 midnight, the bus departed. I reached Baguio City at 6am. When I alighted, I realized that it was Friday the 13th. I started to think “Should I continue exploring Baguio? Or should I take the bus again back to Manila?” I felt apprehensive because it was Friday the 13th, and also, I was a graduating student. There was this superstitious belief that if you are a graduating student, you are prone to danger. To make that thinking go away, I went out of the bus, walked a little further and bought “taho”. Then, walked a bit further again until I felt the cool atmosphere, witnessed the sun rose and saw a person doing his morning jog. These sights made me at ease. Fear started to dissipate. I decided to stay in Baguio. I stayed in UP Baguio dormitory for two nights, where I had discount as a UP student.

My next solo traveling was in Myanmar in 2014, Brunei, Hanoi (Vietnam) and Luang Prabang (Laos) in 2016. I will tell you more stories about my Laos travel because it was the boldest travel I had ever done in my life!

What would you feel if you were new in a country where you could not understand their language at all? What would you feel if all people you see were strangers to you? What would you feel if you traveled for 1.5 hours from your hotel with a driver you did not know and you were to pass by secluded areas? Actually, I did not care about the first question. I could always use “sign” language. I also did not care if all people were strangers to me. I went there to explore places and learn their culture and history. What caused me fear was traveling for more than 1 hour (with a person I did not even know) in a place where I could only see soil and grasses with no houses, no people and even no cars or other kind of transport passing by! That frightened me! What if I will be kidnapped? What  if I will be harmed? To make those unwanted thoughts vanished, I initiated conversation with the driver. I talked to him and get to know him until I felt at ease. He was Manny Pacquiao’s fan by the way!

My fear totally disappeared when we reached our destination. Sigh! Finally, we reached the destination. I could now see some people. Sigh again! “Thanks, God, I was safe!”. Sigh again. Sigh again. “Thank you, Lord!” 🙂

I paid for the entrance fee and took the boat to cross the Mekong River/Nam Ou River and reached Pak Ou Cave. The nature, its beautiful scenery calmed me. When we reached Pak Ou Cave, I saw a variety of Buddha statues in the lower cave.

Screenshot_20170610-104557

The driver served as my tour guide. He told me that many local people would visit the cave during Lao New Year.

We then went to the upper cave. He said that the upper cave served as the house of their King when America was bombing Laos.

Screenshot_20170610-104824

After visiting Pak Ou Cave, we took a boat again and rode the van. I was already feeling relaxed. We headed to my next destination, which was the majestic Kuang Si Waterfall.

20161102_124841

After feeling the cool splash of water from the waterfall, I came back to the van where the driver was waiting for me. I had not eaten my lunch yet. I still had few kips left in my wallet. I asked him to buy food for us. He said, he had already eaten. I told him he could eat it for dinner. He bought food. He drove me back to the hotel. Then, we parted ways.

Do you have plans of traveling solo yet fear has been stopping you? I also felt that! But… “Don’t let your fear of what COULD happen make NOTHING happen”! It will make you a better person than you are right now. After my Laos trip, I could say that I am dauntless!

20161103_063721

For more of my travel stories, read Holiday Mode: Teacher is On Leave category.

Three things to do when you feel suffocated at work

No matter how driven you are and committed to the world you have chosen, there will come to a point wherein you will be overwhelmed by the heap of work you have to accomplish, and that makes you reach the highest peak of exhaustion. Worst comes to worst, it leads to unhapiness when you realize that you are no longer meeting the standards or producing the best results you are aiming for. You are feeling not happy, too, because you neglect to complete the tasks you have set for yourself.

What should be done in case you are suffering from exhaustion at work? Remember, G…O…D… GOD which stands for…

G – Give yourself a time to be alone. Drop all the things you need to do. Being alone will provide you tranquility. Introspect. Is it still the life you want to live? Are you still walking towards the achievement of your goals? If yes, then, go and breathe! Have a break. Your work will never leave you. It will always be there waiting for you until you are energized and ready to get back and sit and finish them all.

O – Out to a new place. Seeing a new environment which you have not been to gives a relaxing feeling. Sometimes, you are tired or even unhappy because of your routinary activities. Try something new! See something new! Being in a place entirely different from what you always see makes you recharged. This will make you gain back the strength and energy to do the things you need to accomplish in your work.

D – Date your friends. Nothing can beat it to be out with good friends. It drops down the stress level when you are with them laughing together and doing the things which all of you enjoy.

We are like computers. When a computer has too many tasks, it hangs. What do we do with it? We shut it down, and restart again. Just like us, when we have a lot of things to get done, we need to suspend our work for a while, gain the strength that we need, and restart again.