Kids are many things—sometimes cute, sometimes bratty, but always expensive. At least in Singapore, where keeping any human being alive, whether yourself or a little version of yourself, costs a pretty penny, especially when you have to enrol them in enrichment classes.
As a parent, you want to do more than keep your kid alive. You want to give him a decent shot at life and success, whatever the latter means for you. Which is why many Singaporean parents are now shelling out big bucks on kids’ enrichment classes in hopes that their offspring will become jiu jitsu champions and programming whizzes in addition to President’s Scholars.
If you’re going to send your kid for enrichment classes but want to first be sure they are a good investment, here are 5 types of extracurricular classes that could end up saving you or your kid money down the road.
1. Kids’ music lessons
Okay, not all of your kids are going to turn into the next Lang Lang. But there are some very good reasons to let them take music lessons when they are young and able to absorb things fast.
Becoming proficient in an instrument can give your child an enviable source of side income when he is older. Singaporeans have been known to pay big money to put their kids through piano and violin exams, and there is no shortage of students both kiddy and grown up who want to become the next guitar-wielding rock star.
What’s more, if your child studies a classical instrument and becomes reasonably proficient by the time he takes the PSLE, he can apply for the Music Elective Programme. This programme will not only enable him to take music as an O level subject, it will also give you, his doting parent, a subsidy on his school fees.
Private music enrichment classes are the fastest and most effective way to help your child learn as much as possible. But in the early days when your kid is still a toddler, group classes can be rewarding. A 3-month term at Yamaha costs $401.25 for weekday classes.
- Yamaha has multiple branches and conducts keyboard group classes for toddlers. Parents are expected to sit in with their kids, most of whom will later move on to private piano lessons.
- If your kid is more Metallica than Mozart, enrol him at the Academy of Rock.
2. Coding workshops
Kiasu parents are rushing to sign their kids up for coding classes. And well, we have to admit that if this is the key that sparks your kid’s interest in tinkering around on the computer, it could serve him well in future.
That’s because coding is not only the perfect gateway to a high earning freelance job, it can also, if your child develops a genuine interest and decides to build his skills on his own, be the key to further studies in computing or software engineering, and the beginning of a lucrative career.
It’s not cheap however. A enrichment workshop by Saturday Kids held over the March Holidays (18 to 22 March 2019) starts from $530. Children will learn about visual programming and sequencing through the software Scratch Jr.
- Coding Lab teaches kids as young as four how to code simple applications.
- Saturday Kids organises weekend workshops teaching kids block-based programming and game creation.
- First Code Academy has several courses matched to kids’ age which aim to introduce coding to them at an appropriate level of complexity.
3. Phonics classes
Despite the fact that many Singaporeans speak an eclectic mix of languages also known as Singlish, learning to read and pronounce English well is the first step to having a good education in Singapore.
As such, phonics enrichment classes may be a good investment. Reading is important not only for acing the English subject, but also for understanding Mathematics, Science, and in the secondary school years, History and Literature. Also, enabling your child to read helps them to cultivates a love of learning through reading.
- Jan & Elly music school teaches phonics classes designed for preschool students from 4 to 6 years old.
- Learning Journey organises a class called Super Readers, where children between the ages of 4 and 7 will be coached on reading through hands-on art sessions.
4. Financial literacy workshops
Knowing to count is not the same as knowing how to manage money. While our children may be adept at Mathematics, this doesn’t mean that they know how to budget, save, and spend wisely.
Going for a one-off workshop on financial literacy where the children can learn through play may be a worthy investment for you. Perhaps, your child will stop asking you for more pocket money when it’s not even Thursday and become more independent with their finances.
- Star Horizon teaches concepts such as budgeting, savings and deposits through hands-on activities and storytelling.
- Civil Service Club also has a course named Money Management for Kids for children aged 7 to 12 that costs $40 for non-members.
5. A third language
Your kid is already obliged to study the dreaded “Mother Tongue” subject at school. But whether he is at the top of his mother tongue class or failing miserably, there is a good reason to have him study a third language at an early age.
If your child masters a language like French or German, he will be able to take advantage of very low or free university courses in Europe in future. Most European universities are very cheap by Singaporean standards EXCEPT for those in English-speaking countries like the UK and Ireland.
And considering local uni fees are not cheap these days, and private uni fees are even heftier, getting a degree overseas can end up costing the same amount or being even cheaper than studying locally, even taking into account living expenses.
One more thing—just because your kid is flunking Chinese, Tamil or Malay doesn’t mean he has no aptitude for the language. It takes about four times as much time for an English-speaking person to master Mandarin than French because the latter is much closer in terms of vocabulary and grammar to English.
- Goethe Institut conducts German classes for kids in a group setting.
- The Alliance Française conducts French group classes for toddlers, kids and teens.
- Las Lilas School is a Spanish school that conducts lessons for kids and teens.
What enrichment classes is your kid enrolled in? Tell us in the comments!