Since Hercules’ had his trial classes at The Curious Academy, I’ve been trying to find ways to increase his physical engagement. I used to take him to various parks in the morning but (call me paranoid) after hearing all those kidnapping and snatch cases, I haven’t really been game to do it alone. I’ve been asking around for interesting jungle gyms but no one has come back with anything promising, yet.
As chance would have it, I was at Publika Shopping Mall to claim a free trial class at Gymboree when I discovered what a lovely little gem this mall is for parents with young children. I confess that I’ve never really liked Publika – perhaps because it was largely still a work in progress when I first visited it – so I have never bothered to explore the place. Well, I kinda hate the car park as well because it’s confusing and it looks so dreary. I digress… I decided to take a walk to see what there was because Hercules fell asleep while I was shopping for groceries at BIG (Ben’s Independent Grocer). Here’s what I noticed, in no particular order…
Publika – the Nice Bits for Parents…
After shopping at BIG, one of their service staff came running after me to help me with my shopping. I don’t know what the pre-requisite is for getting this service but I had Hercules in the carrier and was pushing a trolley. It wasn’t particularly packed with stuff either. I thought that was pretty helpful.
There were two kid-friendly eateries that I noticed. There is Marmalade (which I think a number of mothers will be familiar with since they have a branch in Bangsar Village 2) which has a little play area inside the cafe and a small play house outside for families eating alfresco.
It fronts the Publika “park” that contains a water feature, and small playground with a slide, two swings, see-saws and monkey bars.
The playground fronts Namoo Bistro on the Park which is a Korean dessert cafe. It isn’t enclosed so you still need to watch the kids if they are playing while you eat. The park is bordered on one side by one of the internal Publika roads where cars drive by. The playground looks pretty cool and funky but someone left their brain behind when they planned the materials. The slide is metal and way too hot to sit on when it’s been under the sun for a bit. I had to scream at Hercules to stop when he went charging for the slide.
The Interesting Bits for Kids…
There is also a kids zone on the same level containing a number of establishments for children, like:
Brainy Tree – which is a center offering two enrichment programs following the philosophies:
- Jean Piaget – Theory of Cognitive Development
- Howard Gardner – Multiple Intelligences
- Maria Montessori – Montessori Method
I didn’t get time to go in and check out the programs they offer in detail but here’s what I found from their website: they offer two enrichment programs –
“This international enrichment programme serves to assist children from ages two and above in discovering their multiple intelligences. The human brain works best when both the right and the left hemispheres are well developed. The left brain is generally more emphasized than the right brain, and to remedy this imbalance, Brainy Puzzle is developed.
Brainy Puzzle is a complete curriculum based solely on HANDS-ON experience incorporating different kind of manipulation and stimulation. These experiences help to enhance a child’s capabilities for both procedural and creative thinking, whereby it balances the development of both side of the brain for young kids.
Brainy Puzzle is NOT about imparting more KNOWLEDGE to a child via books or worksheets. It is about developing MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES and therefore empowering your child in problem solving.”
“If you are looking for a fun and captivating way to encourage your child to learn Mandarin, our very own Brainy Wonderland is the place to be in. Children have an amazing aptitude for learning a second language at a young age, and this becomes even easier when they are having fun. The programme enables children (and parents) to learn Mandarin and the Chinese culture in an interactive and engaging setting.
Brainy Wonderland develops cognitive, gross and fine motor skills whilst being immersed in the Mandarin language. It’s language learning with a difference and designed for families of all nationalities. We capture the attention, interest and enthusiasm of your child while laying the foundations for fluency in Mandarin as they grow and develop.”
I think it’s obvious what they offer. Currently, there does not appear to be a local website established yet but the original K’s Island Golf Academy originated in Japan. Don’t know much else about their programs so you might want to walk in to see what they offer for kids…
Yu Kids Island
This is an art school offering the following workshops for kids (teenagers included):
- Art – they cover 5 core learning concepts (creative imagination, colouring, drawing, sketching and paper craft). They have workshops for kids age 4 and above. They also offer fine art workshops.
- Re-art – creating art from recycled stuff (up-cycling a craft).
- Eat Craft – this is basically a cooking class.
- Clay – pottery class.
- Toddler – art for kids 4 years and below. It combines art with games and freedom of exploration.
- Party – just like it says, you can throw your child’s birthday party here.
The programs run for 1.5 hours to 2 hours depending on which workshop you choose. They offer a “drop and shop” system so parents are not required to be present – good way to get your groceries done without the kids in tow. The studio looks pretty cool – check out the pictures here at Prayers, Hugs & Diapers.
While we’re on the topic of art workshops, there is also another art studio at Publika called The Studio@KL which we wrote about previously. Aristotle attended a few classes there and came home with a few lovely pieces for the house. Although it didn’t seem like it at the time, it turned out that he actually did pick up a thing or two about painting techniques because I saw the application of those techniques in some of his subsequent art work from school. That’s the irony of children – they never seem like they’re learning anything but they do.
Contrary to what it sounds like, Baby Jumper Gym is actually a preschool plus enrichment classes. I thought at first that they were something like Fly Kidz so I went to check out their programs for Hercules.
Their curriculum incorporates:
- Language and literacy – English, Mandarin and Bahasa (phonics, pre writing and writing skills, and early grammar)
- Numeracy/Mathematics (counting, numbering, measurement, ordering, patterning)
- Encyclopedic Knowledge
- Photographic Memory/Linking Memory
- Sensorial and Fine Motor Skills
- Physical Intelligence
- Science and Environmental Awareness
- Practical Life
- Aesthetic and Creative Art & Craft, Music and Movement
- Chracter Building and Social Awareness
It sounds like a combination of Glenn Doman, Shichida, and Montessori. They also encourage healthy eating by providing the children wholesome, partially organic snacks and meals. They offer half-day (8:30am-12:30pm), flexi half-day (3 days a week), and full day programs (8:30am-6pm).
Their enrichment classes are held only on weekends and run from 1 hour to 1.5 hours (depending on the age of your child).
Gymboree Play and Music Classes
I think most mothers are familiar with Gymboree since they’ve been around for quite a while. If you’ve never been and would like to try them out, they offer free trial class.
Publika Security Features
With all the recent reports on kidnappings and other unpleasant happenings in shopping malls, security has become a hot topic. Publika’s design is a nightmare for security – lonely car parks, dark corridors (especially where the toilets are located on the lower ground level), and dim lighting for the lower levels. On the flip side, they do offer security escorts to your car and the building is patrolled by security guards to compensate.
Since the boys are out of this stage, I confess I have not checked out the baby room (according to their website they have 3) to see whether it is of an acceptable standard. Anyone checked this?
If you could design the perfect mall for a family, what features would you insist upon?