Friday, 28 November 2008

Waldorf Steiner Play

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Shean Wenn with a paintbrush!

Little Miss Picasso

I love bringing Shean Wenn to the Steiner playgroup based inside the kindergarten near our place. The class is cozy, clean, structured but yet allows the child to play using his/her imagination in a safe environment thereby making it a meaningful context of play. All the toys and furniture in a Steiner school is organic - made out of wood, aluminium, and all things natural. Every week, we (the group) will make handicrafts from scratch (combing the wool, putting a few felt pieces together, sew it and stuff it with wool to make a ball?) and I even learnt how to make bread once!

"The integrated development of the physical, psychological and spiritual qualities of each child is fundamental to this educational approach. The central task of Steiner Education is to nurture this development, ultimately allowing each individual to realise his or her full potential." *

The Steiner education believes that during Early Education (0-7 years old) learning is "caught" rather than taught - ie through implicit (vs explicit) teaching methods. So far, Shean Wenn really benefits from the class because she can play indepently without crying out for me, and she also imitates a few times, things she has seen done in the class (putting things away when told).

* Source : The Greenwich Steiner School.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Hotel Review in Orlando, Florida (Disneyland)

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They don't call it "The Magical Kingdom" for no reason. From the moment our car (driven by Vincent) drove into the Walt Disney World Resort (WDWR) compound (there were a few themed parks in the whole WDWR), my heart started to beat very fast - I was getting excited. This is VERY UNUSUAL for me because I remember since young, I did not have any desire or inclination towards visiting themed parks - I find theme parks boring, plus... I am not one who likes watching cartoons. I guess this only means that this place REALLY IS magical!

More on The Magical Kingdom later. First, about our family vacation to Orlando (where our main reason was to visit Disneyland). Our host, Angel & her husband accomodated us in their lovely apartment in Miami, which is a 3.5 hours drive away from Orlando. We planned to stay for two nights in Orlando while we checked out Disneyland and Orlando city. Angel suggested we look at this International Plaza Resort & Spa which is about 15mins drive from Disneyland. I took a quick look and we both agreed it looks fab on their website! After surfing around, we decided we would book through because they have a special rate of USD59/night (exc. tax) for us!

When we checked in, we were pleasantly surprised at the room - it is BIG, looks grand, very comfy & it smells nice too! Only down side is that the bathroom is a tad small. We also checked out their facilities around the hotel - they have a few pools and the whole resort is very well-maintained. We really loved our choice! Angel commented that they stayed in Hilton Disneyland the last time they came and it was so much more expensive and probably not as nice. Definitely worth our money!

(In the grounds of the Resort & Spa)

We were so excited, we neglected to take a photo of the room. :)

I've been told Comfort Inn® (With their wide range of hotels worldwide like Quality, Clarion, Cambria Suites, etc) offers some pretty decent rates too with easy online reservations available.

DISNEYLAND - The fun begins!

As soon as we reached the main "Magical Kingdom" by the skytrain (kinda like the M'sian LRT or the UK DLR), we were greeted by the sight of the Cinderella Castle. And believe you me, it really grabs you like how it did on the telly/papers. I was quite awestruck by the sight! (Breathes)

Photos :

1. Visiting Minnie Mouse's house

ALL PINK! With heart-shapes everywhere.....

Shean Wenn getting cosy in Minnie Mouse's house - sitting on her sofa, arm chair and trying to get a sip off her tea!

2. The queues to the rides in the Magical Kingdom is quite long (Depending on which ride). But we only queued for 15mins to get onto a boat ride on this "It's a Small World" trip... and SW was the happiest here - She stood up and danced and stomped her feet to the music the entire 15-20minutes ride!
(The music "It's a Small World" kept playing on and on and on.... so much so that even after you got off the ride, the song keeps playing in your head!) *shakes it off*

3. Shean Wenn meeting her favourite Disney character - Pooh Bear! These photographs with Tigger & Pooh Bear are taken off the Disney website. You get a "Photo Pass" from the official Disney photographer and he/she will take the photos and scan the photopass which you keep with the ID number. When you get online, you just type in the ID number and register to view the photos and memories you took in "THE MAGICAL KINGDOM"! Walt Disney is awesome. Such marketing genius in every corner.

There are also alot of playgrounds for kids to vent their energy, each one is themed to the characters/movies of Disney's. They usually have a water fountain area for them to "cool down". Here is a video of SW trying to touch the water. She looks hesitant doing it because at first I told her "Don't go near the water!" (I was abit cautious because I didn't bring her swimsuit along and didn't want her 2 get drenched and change her. Looking back, I thought I should just chill and let her play. Ahh, lesson learnt.)

4. There was a major parade, called THE PARADE OF DREAMS at 3.30pm. By 2.45pm, there were people already reserving their places behind the ribbon lines where they cordone off to make way for the parade. We found a nice spot at about 3pm and I had my lunch standing there! It was a very long parade, which lasted for a good 20mins? It could've been 10minutes but it felt long. It was very vibrant and people were so enthusiastic watching it.

I must say the USD70+ we paid for the tickets each was well worth it - the experience of spending one day there is so magical & surreal. Everything was so well organised, with ample parking spaces for your strollers, they cater for all age groups of the child and all the people-greeters (Disney personnel) were so enthusiastic and friendly, they will also help entertain your kid. You will often see a people-greeter coming up to say hi to your child, or even ask a child if he'd like a sticker!

We headed off at around 630pm, making way to the skytrain which will transport us back to reality the picking up area. When we turned around to have a last glimpse of the Cinderella's Castle, they were lighting it up! I can hear people gasping in awe at the view. Just magnificent!


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