Dot is on a mission. She is at Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden… In search of something that is very precious to her. This comic strip is dedicated to daddy for his love for mommy and Dot!
Dot, my little scientist, is curious about everything that captures her attention. Her inquisitive eyes sweep across quickly and spot things that we do not see – so sharp is her sight. She lays her hands to touch and feel things that stir her curiosity. She hits something with another object to hear what sound it produces. She smells some of the leaves like mint, pandan leaves and basil.
Dot is out and about every weekday morning. We travel by bus to my parents’ place. Then we walk about 15 to 30 minutes to her place – this is the time where my little keen scientist is at work.
When she is on her feet, she runs off to examine anything that captures her interest. She is allowed to roam freely within certain range with minimum intervention, unless safety is compromised.
Along the way, she will pick up some berries, flowers, dried leaves and branches that fall by the wayside. With the berries in her hands, she will say, “Feed the birds” and she will go lookout for the birds. Sometimes she will pick the branches and hit the metal structure to produce sound and happily says, “Drum.”
Children see the world on a different level from us. Get down to your children’s level and take a look at what they see. A fresh and different perspective.
She loves to share her exciting discovery with me and I will take the opportunity to share with her more about what she has discovered. I will also point out familiar and unfamiliar things around. “Look at the tree, flowers, leaves!”, “Dot, can you see the cocoons?” or “Wow! Look at what we find here. A beetle.”
Recently we spotted a few insects along the way. These were our unexpected finds. (see images on the right)
As I learn to slow down my pace to adjust to Dot’s, I rediscover the sense of wonder through her eyes. Here I am, learning to learn again.
Dot’s aunt gave her a little fish tank with five little fishes in late September 2011. J and I were a bit hesitant then as we did not know whether Dot would be able to handle them with ‘care’. Seeing her excitement when she saw the little fishes, we relented and she had her little fishes brought home safety.
We teach Dot to feed the little fishes twice a day and she has been happily doing it so far. Caring for little aquatic pets teaches Dot responsibility.
Once, she dipped her little dolphin, a plush toy, into the water, probably thinking that it could swim!
Some of the fishes we had did not survive and J decided not to buy anymore fish. Instead he decided to catch some little fish from the canal near his parents’ place. We went and caught a bag of little fish and some snails to fill our almost empty fish tank.
All of us are so happy to see our little aquarium brimming with life again!
I am very fascinated by the little snails. Once I spotted one of the snails literally diving to the bottom of the tank. I have never seen a snail dived! So amusing!
Today I see jelly-like things on the aquatic plant and realize that they are clusters of eggs, most likely laid by the snail.
I am eagerly waiting for the arrival of the little ones but what are we going to do if our little tank is full of baby snails?
It’s a kite.
Recently, we went for kite-flying with J, my brother and Dot. It has been so long since we last flew a kite. Anyway, I didn’t fly the kite that day.
I was watching and observing Dot at play on the field. A child learns to know the world through the senses. She ran around the field, knelt down to see the grasses on the field, touched the grasses and stones, took a rock and hit a short rod that was stuck to the ground. She had so much fun exploring the field while J and my brother were trying to get the hand-made kite to fly.
I observe that simple things like little stones and grasses intrigue and excites her senses. They hold her attention longer than the sophisticated toys she has at home.
“I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw.” – Proverbs 24:32
Recently I’m reminded that I need to learn to observe and reflect more. It’s like seeing the world with a pair of new lens – to gain new insight from a new perspective. Observe. Learn. Apply.
“Within the child lies the fate of the future. Whoever wishes to confer some benefit on society must preserve him from deviations and observe his natural ways of acting. A child is mysterious and powerful and contains within himself the secret of human nature.” – Maria Montessori
Seeing things from a child’s perspective and understanding a child’s motivation for learning need keen observation from the adults, especially parents, in order to provide a stimulating child-oriented environment to cultivate a love for learning.
I’m still learning to observe and observing to learn.
We went trekking at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve recently and spent about 3 hours in this tropical rainforest which is home to many beautiful plants, animals and insects.
When we were on the trail up to the summit, we saw a haversack and a man kneeling down by the side and thought what had happened to him. Later then we realized that he was actually taking pictures of the fungi from some odd position.
We saw a huge army of ant-look-alike insects moving from one side of the trail to the opposite side. What a sight to behold!
On our way back to the visitor centre, this man was still there at the same spot checking out the images he had taken. We decided to join in the fun to get up-close and personal with the fungi. Seemingly insignificant and obscure in this vast rainforest, the fungi was then in the limelight.
We saw a look-like komodo dragon at Hindhede nature park and tried to get a photo shoot but we were too slow. When this lizard saw us, it quickly moved among the trees.
Each trip is a new experience!
Want to try new routes next time we go there.
[Click on the images to view]
We collected some dried leaves at the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden a few weeks back and made leaves sketches. It was meant to be an activity that I would like to show Dot but instead I was amazed at how beautifully these simple leaves are made.
As I sketched on the paper with the leaves beneath, I noticed the intricate veins of the leaves on the paper. The veins that support the leaf and are filled with vessels that transport food, water, and minerals to the plant are such great design biologically and aesthetically.
It suddenly dawned upon me how beautifully and wonderfully they are made.
J and I love outdoor activities. To us, it is more fruitful to spend time in the great outdoors than go shopping or dining. Nature has so much to teach us but we are just too busy with life to take notice.
J is a more observant person and though his eye sight is not as good as mine but they are very sharp to notice tiny little creatures like insects on the leaves, birds on the trees and so on. I’ve learnt from him to slow down to enjoy God’s beautiful creation. Indeed, creation cannot happen by accident – they are definitely created by a loving and powerful Designer!
We start to bring Dot out to parks and beaches when she is able to walk steadily. We teach her by naming the things she sees around her daily. She is allowed to touch and feel leaves, sands, flowers and other safe things. Gradually, we start to share with her about God and that He created the plants, animals, lands, seas from her toddler bible. Exploring her world through her senses outdoor gives her a great learning experience!
** Bukit Timah Hill **
We woke up at 5.45am to prepare for our trip to Bukit Timah Hill. Dot, then was about 15 month old, was still sleeping when we were in the car. When she woke up, she was surprised by her new surrounding. It was cool and refreshing to trek in the morning despite the early wake. Dot had her first taste of trekking and she loved it! 🙂
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** Changi Beach **
I love the space and peace at Changi. A mini-getaway from crowded malls and restaurants.
** Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden ** ( More info )
Dot’s first trip to Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden and she loves it! When we went there, we didn’t know that there is a water play area. If not, we would bring her swimwear and a towel. Despite of that, we still let Dot played with the water.
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For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. – Romans 1 :20