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Sunday, 10 September 2017

Fitness Mom: 6 Ways To Stay On Track

Photo by Linawa Photography

As we enter the 2nd half of the year, we have a perfect time to reflect. I am sure at the beginning of this year, many peeps included "Get Fitter and Healthier for 2017" as one of their resolutions. In case you haven't quite met that goal yet, it's never too late to jump back on the wagon.

Here are 6 tips to make your journey so much easier and more meaningful.

It's just an added convenience having a gym bag ready to go in the car. Especially if you already have a busy schedule, making another pit stop at home before heading to the gym will make you lose precious time. Plus, you have one less excuse to not exercise if you are ever ready all the time.

Especially for newbie, getting into the gym for the first time can be very intimidating. But here is the thing, you are in there with a goal and one goal only, to be a better you. Surrounding yourself with people who are better than you won't make you lose anything, but instead give you a chance to learn from them.

Learn what works and what doesn't. People who are better than you usually have already had a taste of what work and what doesn't for them. Be selective when choosing what works for you and adapt it to your style making sure that you are still very responsible for your safety. In short, push ego aside, move out of your comfort zone and learn from the best.

Changes don't happen overnight, visible results might not even be obvious in a month, but every little bit of progress counts and can be used to cheer you on. You have to be YOUR BIGGEST fan. Set out mini goals. They could seem like extremely "mini" small goals, but remember this, it's YOUR GOAL.

For example, starting out a week 1 with BIG ZERO pull ups and by the end of week 4, you get to do 2 pull ups, that's great progress! Journaling up your journey. That way when you look back on Day 1, when you are now on Day 90, I can assure you that you will have No Regrets and be amazed by your own achievements.

There could be many reasons why you started, be it due to health reason or simple to look fitter and stronger. Have a clear goal and focus on that goal. Tell yourself this, is it worthwhile to start all over again just because you couldn't be bothered to take charge?

Be proud of how you look before you started your fitness journey and be prouder of how far you have come. Avoid that midnight junk snack by sticking those 'before and after' pictures on the fridge door! You could also stick a Motivational Poster to push you away from reaching your kid's leftover pizza from the night before.

Most of the time people will not understand your goal. They don't have to. It's your journey not theirs. So, if you are at a party or a gathering, it's OK to say NO to a glass of wine or a slice of pizza and it's OK to pack or request food that suits your meal type. All you have to do is 'ASK' whenever you can. You will be surprise on how accommodating some people or even restaurants can be. And if it's still hard, read No.2 and No.4 again.

So, DON'T WAIT, START NOW. TAKE CHARGE. You are your body. Any movement at all is so much more better than sitting on a couch! Don't think only lifting weights would change you.

By Nirwana Williams

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Meet Fiona Hobritus, Founder of Sabah's First Online Grocery Shopping

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

What does “Learning Through Play” REALLY MEAN?

Written by Mrs Nicky Russell, Head of Primary, Kinabalu International School

As parents we all want to do our best for our children. We want our children to have access to opportunities that will help them to grow, learn and develop, preparing them for adulthood. Knowing our children will be entering an increasingly competitive workplace, parents are now scheduling many planned activities for them each week. As a result, there is often little opportunity for children to benefit from time to play.

Play engages children’s bodies, minds and emotions and is recognised as so important to a child’s well-being and development that the Right to Play is set down in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). At Kinabalu International School (KIS) we follow the United Kingdom’s Early Years Foundation Stage Framework; play is a fundamental component of our curriculum for 3 to 5 year olds.

An increasing amount of academic research confirms that play is an essential part of education. Young children are not passive learners; they learn through hands-on activities. We know that children are highly motivated to learn when they are able to actively drive their own learning and development.

This is demonstrated in the choices they make, the interests they develop, what questions they ask and what knowledge they seek. Even from a very young age, children’s choices and interests are the catalyst for building their knowledge, skills and understanding.

What Do Children Learn When Playing?
• Language skills
• How to think about and solve problems
• Confidence
• Emotional development
• Creativity and imagination
• Social skills
• Intellectual skills

In the last issue of Parents Avenue our Principal wrote about the top skills employers will be looking for in the future. The top three skills listed were Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking and Creativity. Through providing structured play activities in an  educational environment, we are supporting the development of these crucial skills from the very beginning.

How Does Playing Help Learning?

In the Early Years Foundation Stage at KIS we teach our youngest students through a mix of planned and purposeful play activities and adult-led lessons.

In our purpose-built outdoor learning area and our well resourced classrooms, children explore and discover the world around them. They are encouraged to practice new skills, interact with others, use their imagination and consolidate knowledge and understanding.

The progress and development children make when learning through play is greatly enhanced when combined with interaction in particular ways by skilled adults. At KIS our highly qualified and experienced teaching teams support and extend the play activities to meet the crucial developmental needs of individual children. Through their observations, assessment and professional judgement they gain vital information on how each child learns best. Activities and lessons are then carefully planned based on knowledge of each child’s stage of development at a given time and progress is measured and reported.

Parents are able to monitor their child’s progress and development in their Learning Journey Portfolio via the Tapestry Online Portal. Teachers and parents access this and upload evidence of significant moments or achievements, samples of work or supporting photographs.

Balancing Play and Instruction

In reality, while we want our children to be creative and good problem solvers, we also want them to be knowledgeable about facts and details. This requires a balance between play and instruction. While children need to know that 2 + 2 = 4, they also need to be able to understand why that is the case and apply that knowledge across a range of situations. At KIS we combine play and direct instruction in our teaching methods. As children grow older, and their development allows, children enjoy more teacher-led sessions, to help them prepare for more formal learning in Year 1.

The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework provides balance, quality and consistency in academic development, pastoral care and creativity for children aged 3 to 5.

The areas of learning that are developed are:
• Communication and language
• Physical development
• Personal, social and emotional development
• Literacy
• Mathematics
• Understanding the World
• Expressive Arts and Design

Regardless of whether a child is receiving direct instruction or engaging in structured play, a fun and enjoyable activity is the best context for learning. Dull, repetitive activities are not effective in developing a love of learning in children. Students at KIS come into the school each day keen to learn, they look forward to the varied activities that have been planned for them and see school as an enjoyable and fun place to be.

These positive experiences engender success and resilience and lead to a willingness to learn. These are crucial elements if the student is to become a life-long learner. If you would like to find out more please contact our Admissions Officer, Tina Koroh at:, to arrange a tour of the school and to explore the opportunities available for your child. You can also contact me, Nicky Russell, Head of Primary, at


Mrs Russell joined KIS from the UK in August 2006. A mother with two sons, one in the Primary school and the elder in the Secondary school, she is passionate about providing children with a wholistic education that is fun and inspires them to develop a life-long love of learning.