My disappointment at GUG

Hi, I would like to give my 2 cents worth of frustration. My Boy has been with GUG for 2 terms and I am struggling with the decision to change a pre-school for him. (Not goona mention about the high and mighty attitude the staffs have)

I feel that the teachers are not sincere in teaching. Teacher Earnie is sleepy and tired all the time. She has this *sian* attitude. Totally no enthusiam at all. Toddlers are dependent on teachers to motivate or capture their attention.

Also, although my boy is not super active, he is observant. When he sees a name tag drop from the board, he will get up and pick it up. But the teachers will insists he sits down. (I am afraid that he may grow up thinking its wrong to help pick up something that has dropped!) These teachers dun seem to think in the minds of the kids. They seem to take it as a chore having to make the kids sit still.

Honestly, my boy is not super active, but I also do not wish that he just sits still to watch and not participate or react at all!

I am very disappointed with the teachers there. As parents, we can do all we can to make them sit still, but they also have to play their part to guide the kids or to capture their attention.

So far, only 2 sincere and warm teacher at GUG - Yani and Devi. I can see that they teach with their hearts. For the rest, we are subjected to their mood swings and their preferences.

Oh yes... classrooms are full of distractions so not a good place if your kid is distracted easily. Toys are displayed openly during class.

Any mum has any comments about Julia Gabriels? I would like to collate some feedback on that. How about Actphabets? ANyone sent their kids there before?

My boy is also in GUG. Who is the other teacher in your boy's class? I have met Devi before but not Yani.

Heard that Actphabets is good, but they have ceased operation a few months ago.
which time slot are you at? I just signed up for a trial class.. not sure what to expect.

What does GUG stands for? Do let me know so that I can avoid it too.
I would also like to hear some feedback from mummies about Julia Gabriel too. Thanks!!!
My daughter attened GUG from the time she was 18 months for about a year.

I totally agree with co11ectionz about the attitude of the staff -- teachers and admin staff alike!

i took my duaghter out to put her in Julia Gabriel and i find the teachers there so much more sincere. the programme is better too, i feel!
She is now in Chiltern House and is doing fantastically!
thanks collectionz for this info. I am currently planning for enrichment for my son. Was contemplating GUG cos its cheap...Now at least I know...
GUG is cheap????

Wow, then u can afford to send your boy to most enrichment classes.

They're expensive and their service sucks. I didn't even read abt the attitudes of the staff there before i went. But when I was there for the trial, ai yoh, the admin staff's attitude is so bad. At first I wanted to sign my boy up, but with that bad experience, decided not to.
huh? its about $300 for 1 term right? and 1 term is about 2mths? THats the price quote i get. Unless i remembered wrongly??? cos i check out other enrichment and they are all more ex! like shichida is about 700+ for 1 term than need to add parent cost about 100+, than JG is about 700 for 1 term for 2days/week class, etonhouse is 3000K for a term!
I went for trial class for both my boy and girl before. $40 per class, that is certainly not cheap for me. Both my kids didn't like the class. So I didn't sign them up. I have the exact same observations as co11ectionz.

My girl went to the Little Gym for one whole year, I find the teachers so much better. Although she doesn't learn ABC there, I feel that it is very enriching for her.

Now both my kids go to PCF nursery/pre-nursery in Jurong West. I am very happy with the teacher and the syllabus. Why bother with GUG ?
think this GUG more of a hype ... think people mainly sign their kids there is bcos of the zoophonics they teach. but maybe unless u follow on to learn the blends properly, it's no use. my child has almost completely forgotten it, but she's doing fine in learning phonics the simple way now ...
My son was with GUG when he turned 13th mth. Stayed for 2 terms but got real boring with the same songs all over and over again. He used to be with Teacher Danissa and Evelyn. They are nice teachers. Teacher Ernie? If she is young chinese lady with long hair? If that is her, she used to be the music teacher and was quite ok. Maybe she herself got boring with all the repeated songs. Hahaha... During my son times, they do sing the clean up songs while tidying up the toys to storeroom leh. Maybe now slacken liao?

After GUG, I enrolled my son to Julia Gabriel. Tell you a heaven and hell... ahem not hell earth lah. I enrolled him to the Evans outlet and tell you, I love the spacious classroom, playground and the teachers there are very very expressive. He loves the drama part. He is still in the PlayClub(Mandarin), though it is like $300 more x than GUG, think worth it.

My son still rmbs some of the zoophonics especially the Alligator, Jellyfish, Lizzy lizard... Must have patient and teach them once a while. But it is true that I do not like the attitude of the front desk ladies.

Just enrolled my son for Nursery 1 at the Chiltern House. I believe them due to the experiences at JG playclub.
Can't really compare prices by term, coz some are 10wk term and GUG is 8wk term. At GUG ~$300/term is for once a week.
My boy has been in GUG for 3 terms, and my overall impression of GUG is also in some ways similar to what other mummies mentioned here: front desk ladies are not friendly or helpful, but on a fair note, the school is not that bad.

Teacher Earnie does look listless at times, but she is just not the dramatic type. But I have seen alert and dramatic teachers who are really terrible at teaching - think I could do a better job than those. One of the strengths of Earnie is that she could remember the special details of all the kids - like who is afraid of lights-off, which kid doesn't like to do certain things etc. If she didn't put in her heart, she won't have been able to remember these.

As for Zoophonics, it takes consistent repetition to help the kids remember. My boy could grasp A-Z by the end of 2nd term. Important of all is that he remembers the phonics which would help him to read words.

I'm not from GUG or anything, but thought I would share some of my opinions. Afterall, my boy has mastered Zoophonics from GUG and loves the song session at the end of the class.
I share the same sentiments as MumJune =)

My son was there for 4 terms and we did enjoy the classes with Teacher Zee. When I move him up to the toddler class, I had Teacher Earnie and Teacher VJ. Teacher Earnie is the stricter of the 2 teachers but I must say that she is not too bad lar

We stopped GUG cos my son or rather I was getting bored so we switched him to another school. However, he did learn all the zoophonics action by the end of 2nd term. Now he knows A-z and even remember some of the alphabet by the phonics.

I think that the teachers are q drained out by the end of the day cos they have so many classes to teach and I dun really blame them lar

However, in addition to the credits that I give to the teachers .. the admin v stuck up and their attitude v yucky lar - always give that high and mighty feeling like that

My experience with JG admin is oso not that fantastic either so I guess the branded schools are the same kind lor heehee

Now my son is at Kid's Loft with Lavina and he loves the music lesson as he can play with alot of instructments, run and dance with the huge space =)
Signed my daughter up for JG coz heard that the GUG staff were stuck up plus waiting lists super long.

Her first term was at Evan's road (Bilingual playclub). While I liked the location and large play area, the classroom itself isn't that big. Also didn't have a very good experience with one of the Chinese teachers, who repeatedly chided me for not consistently speaking to my daughter in Mandarin. While I understand the need for full parental involvement, my Mandarin sad to say isn't fantastic and had to pepper the conversation with some English. Didn't appreciate being told off (more than once) in front of the class for failing to call my daughter by her Chinese name.

After that, decided to switch to the Forum branch and oh what a difference it has been! Her Chinese teacher is very gentle and understanding. Also didn't always insist that the kids sit on the blue mat which I think is ridiculous to ask of a 2 yr old. No complaints so far at the forum branch. We look forward to it every week.

One difference though is that the Evan's branch has an outdoor play session. Each week is different, i.e. sand play, water play etc, in addition to the indoor play time.

Word of advice to anyone who is thinking of signing up. If your child cries and doesn't seem to be enjoying themselves, PERSEVERE (and ask for a switch in group if you think it may have something to do with the teacher). It is well worth it in the end
My oh my... you should complain about that Chinese teacher. So far, I have good experience with Teacher Zhang(now in forum), Teacher Yuan Yuan and Teacher Jiang. The most friendly one is Teacher Yuan Yuan. My 3 terms with JG, teachers don't insist toddlers to sit on that blue mat leh. Not once!
megansmum - thanks for the pointers. wanna send my son there soon too. I was contemplating between evans road and forum as I hear good comments on evans road branch.
Funny story. When they asked me why I wanted to change classes, I cited my reasons so they asked me which teacher? I said, Zhang lao-shi and they told me there were 4!. Went round the classrooms looking for the correct one but I didn't have to open my mouth. My daughter literally cried at the sight of her. Enough said.

Her teacher at Forum ironically is also called Zhang lao shi but definitely 180 degree difference. Maybe it is the same as your teacher missylan.

Clarissa, I think that most of the other teachers at either branch are pretty good. This one just rubbed me the wrong way. Do put your son on the waiting lists as it can take abt 3 mths for them to offer a place to you. Are you also thinking of the bilingual playclub?

my son's previous maindarin main teacher in his billingual playclub is also Zhang lao-shi. Long hair... I like her... she does remind parents to speak maindarin to the kids but at least does not chide the parents as and when.... mostly as a reminder before the class or after the class as a general announcement kind. I like her. Maybe same teacher as yours and missylan. But she had went off to teach edu drama. My boy's class also have a zhang-lao-shi as the assistant teacher now but I dun really like her.... she always like to forcefully hug my boy and push his head against her etc and dunno whisper what to him.... My boy dun like it.


have your son started at CH? I also enrolled my boy at CH N1. I hope its good...
My Zhang lao shi is a long hair, fine, skinny lady with several moles on her face. You can see her inside JG website.

Nope, starting year 2008, nursery one at Halifax. The one which is nearer to me, Big Splash is full for both morning and afternoon session. By the way, the school fee for CH is 8 weeks or 10 weeks huh?

i thought the school fee for CH is by month? At Turf club branch, its $840 per month. Only JG pays by term of 10 week.
I forgot about CH school fee liao. I know I enrolled the afternoon session, think close to $800. Is it per month or same like JG PlayClub by 10 weeks? Forgetful me!
My girl attend GUG for 3 terms now. She started at the age of 20mths and she knows all the phonetic sound of each alphabet. She could also recognise all the alphabets if I ask her to pick up for me. I am very happy of the result.

So far I have no complaint about the school nor the teachers. For the receptionist attitude I don't care much. Most important is the class syllabus and the teachers.

There is a reason why they want the kids to sit down during lessons. If you allow them to roam around they will forever be walking around in class. My daughter did the same thing when she first started. But I have to catch her back each time. And after a while she learn. Also you will realise if there is a kid who stand up, walk away and do other things the rest will be distracted.
Hi Hi,

I started JG this term only & son been loving it. Am in 2 a week for english & 1 billigual.

went for GUG trial & didnt like it at all, son couldnt even last an hr in e classroom. but when we went for e JG trial, he could be in e classroom for 1hr 45 min.. and could see he enjoyed it so much, hence i signed him up for JG for this term.....

can see that e teachers & admin pple there very nice... esp e teachers, they will reflect to me his progess (be it a positive or negative one) when i pick him up on certain days. & advise me what i should do @ home to help him overcome his negative points (i.e. cannot sit still during storytime - but now, after so many weeks, improve liaoz.. ). but they dun scold him in class or anything (unlike GUG which happen to me in e trail class)... and when my boy cry, i tend to bring him out of e class... (so wont distract other tots mar)... they will actually come out to help coax e boy back to class (happen twice already)... all in all, very very happy with e progess my boy is making in JG...

as for CH, i feel like putting him in there for N1.
which branch is better? any comments??? and whats e school time & fees like??
and after putting ur kid to CH, any1 joining JG back?? is JG & CH e same.... boy is nov05 baby...
Hi all,

Thanks for sharing! I am comforted to know that I am not the only one feeling this.

I do agree that JG has a better environment with warmer teachers. (Though not all teachers in GUG are cold)

My boi is able to recognise the alphabets as well. Personally, class syllabus is one thing, but I feel teachers have a strong part to play. As a pre-school teacher, they should have the patience or the ability to understand a toddler. This is where my disappointment is from.

Do we conclude a child is obedient just because he/she sits still throughout the class? I have seen some of the toddlers, sitting still throughout the class, but that is because they are totally not interested in participating.

As a teacher, they should encourage equal participation, especially so for toddlers.

There is a difference between toddlers wandering and toddlers standing up to participate.Toddlers standing up are toddlers who are interested in the class activities, feeling excited and eager to participate and express their thoughts.
Toddlers who wander are those that require discipline.

Honestly, I Would worry if my child sits continuosly on my lap without moving. If so, what is the difference in sending my child to playgroup? Might as well just play a DVD for him to watch.
my boy also attended GUG class.. personally i find that those parents should pull their child back when they walk around in class.. for my class there are a few children who parent simply dun care and let them walk around.. to be i fell that it is very disturbing
JG do have such a practise. Teachers usually will not ask the parents to chase after their kids and pull them back to attend the class EXCEPT story telling and 1 more dunno during what session. Cos the teachers think that while running about, children are still listening, holding some active children back might encourages them to cry or scream.

At GUG, my child used to be distracted by running children but maybe gets older he didn't bother about them liao. My child used to walk in front of the phonics but not disturbing the class.
just wondering, will walking in front of the teachers when the teacher had specifically instructed the parents/children to be seated be an act of inconsideration? I just thought standing will most likely block those who are sitting as instructed.... its like being penalised for listening to instructions.... how would u walk and stand in front during story telling without disrupting others eg. blocking etc... Will it set a concept that its ok that your classmates are blocked as long as u r happy... etc Or that all should just stand up and dun listen to the teacher else wont get to see anything...

This is different from walking around the class.... that's another matter

The reason why I asked is becos... my boy is one of those who normally will guai guai sit down when instructed to the story telling time. But some parents actually encouraged their tods to even walk in front and end up my boy always kenna bend here and there to see what's happening in front. Its like being penalised for listening to instruction leh.

I mean I understand kids do get excited at times and start standing up... like my boy do at times ... and I will quickly tell him to sit down so as not to block his classmates. I felt its not really about obedience but more learning to be considerate. Kids at this age normally are not so mindful of how their action affects others around them, but if we as parent being in the same class as them were to keep reminding them, slowly they will learn abt the cause and effect of it too. I am just more irritated by those parents who not just do not try to get their kids to sit down but even go to the extent of encouraging to go infront... *faint.

There is a time for everything... not saying the kids must remained seated throughout... like during magic box time, when the teacher encouraged kids to go infront to knock the box, then they can go in front etc...

Its just like during snack time, when the teacher come around pouring the juice for the tods, we as parents will normally encourage them to say thank you. I mean if you leave it to their natural "instinct", they wont know they need to say thank you as a form of politeness and appreciation....

hope I din offend anyone but I do get irritated at times that there are very inconsiderate parents around.
Hi, I understand what you mean. This is why I feel that there are a lot of inconsistency and practices.

In my boy's class, half the class will sit in front of the teacher while the other half will sit behind with their care giver. Hence, If 1 kid stands up, those behind will get blocked.

I agree that we should teach our kid to be considerate. I do ensure that my boy does not block anyone if he stands up. I do experience times when inconsiderate care givers simply bo-chup and let their child jump around or hop around. In such cases, it is definitely the care giver's responsibility to execute discipline.

However, my initial point is... when a child stands up, is it fair for the teacher to immediately say "Sit down"?
I feel that we need to understand the child. He may be standing up for a good cause... eg. to go and pick up a name tag that has dropped off the board.
Hi all,

I am not saying that GUG is not good in anyway. My boy has benefitted from the program and learnt his alphabets there as well.

My disappointment is in the teachers. As pre-school teachers, I expect them to be more understanding towards children. I just feel that the students are subjected to their moods and preferences.

After some discussions and reading your postings here, maybe all schools are just the same. Nonetheless, I have stopped my boy's classes at GUG and switched over to JG. I feel that the environment in JG is warmer and friendlier.
I truly do not want my boy to grow up thinking that this is a cold world.

My son was also in GUG for 5 terms and we have decided to pull him out. He is very bored with the same routine. Every term, there are bound to be new classmates which some are very inattentive which made the class very interruptive!

Just wondering ex-parents from GUG whether you received the deposit back by cheque thru mail or we need to self-collect?


u r rite. JG also can be inconsistent in their execution of this particular matter to do with sitting down. My son had been in JG for 3 terms. His prev maindarin teacher is stricter in enforcing sit down policy especially during maindarin story telling time. When there is a child who stand up or wander, they will quickly carry the child in a playful manner back to their caregivers. When they english teachers enforces sit down, they will say "xxx, can you please sit down?".. or try to coax the child. In your particular example that a child standing up to pick something, that is definitely not a discipline problem. I feel its ok to stand up for that short period to pass the object back to the teacher.

That said, my boy's current maindarin teacher do not enforce sit down policy though. though she said its encouraged but you can always see the tods walking around in front.... I think they should remind the parents privately after classes that they need to help remind the tods to sit down. That's a better way then directly asking the child to "sit down"....
Overall, I just feel that some of the teachers are not sincere in teaching. Pre-school teachers should be patient and understanding, not impatient and getting irritated/frustrated with todds. Anyway, no more GUG for us! hee hee...

I'd rather pay $ for my boy to enjoy himself than to be subjected to the teacher's moods.
A-Zs can be learnt everywhere but sincerity and character moulding is equally important and I want my boy to grow up well in this area as well.

even JG can have such insincere teachers that you mentioned. Sincerity is not just measured by whether the teacher mete out discipline or not. Depending on how the discipline are enforced, it does not necessarily means the teacher is not sincere.

Favouritism is also another thing that is practised even in JG at least from what I observed for 3 terms.

How do u feel if your boy go and hug his teacher goodbye and his teacher just give him a patronising hug and his eyes and face looking somewhere talking to someone else? This happened many times to my boy right in JG and it is just one of the many incident I observe in 3 terms there. U think this reflects sincerity? Till now, I cant be sure.

My point is black sheeps are everywhere
gotta agree with u that the JG teachers do have favouritism. but i tink its not that obvious in the way that it affects e kids.. cos i personally feel if u dun go notice it, it is not that obvious.
BTW, which mandrain class is ur kid in?? i wanna switch from billigual to a mandarin class. but not too sure which teacher is nice.. my billigual mandarin teacher (dun really like her).. heez =)

about the sitting down thing during story time. my son had the problem. during his first few lessons, ( i tink e first week), he always wanted to run up to e book.. and when i pulled him back he WAILED & CRIED damn loudly.... (sighz), so had to bring him out of e class. my maid took him e second week & she did not pull him back & let him be.. and i scolded her for it (i was watching from outside e class)... cos i personally feel that it is too irresponsible & would be distracting other kids.. and given that if i am in e other parent's shoe, would be mad too!! so she also started to pull him back. but things did not improve.
meanwhile, this period of time. the teachers never once asked my kid to "sit down" or whatsoever (perhaps they saw me trying to make my son sit down also lar).. but when i went out of e class to coax my son one of em actually came out to coax him too.... and in private, they actually told me not to "exercise" e sitting down rule too much, as firstly he was NEW to these kind of classes hence i cant expect him to behave like e rest of e kids. secondly, it may make him not interested in classes anymore - rejection process. so we (e teachers & my maid) will take e situation as how it goes...

and we realise that, during e third week, we manage to refrain him from going up to e book. (too much participation -haha) .. but we allowed him to stand up to look (as e teachers could see that him standing up - never distract any1 else in e class - hence allow it to happen) and he was at e side, so not blocking anyone....

now, being in his dunno how many week... he can sit, but only 15mins.. and he will start to stand up... (his teachers comments... he is already improving in this suitation, as they dun want him to feel that it is wrong to participate, so they encourage us not to "exercise" e sitting down rule so long as he is not blocking / distracting any1 else....) he stands up in front of my maid... and my maid will say "see, everyone sit down, so u also sit down ok".. and he will sit!!.. haaa...

overall, am happy with his progress @ JG.. =)
hi all, have been reading this thread. wanted to send my son to JG too. he is currently 6months 1 week old. what will be a good age to send him to playnest? Evans road JG is good?

Pls advise. Many thanks!
Hi Clarissa,

Forum is more accessible to transportation. For drivers, some prefer Evans cause parking in Forum is expensive. But some mummies like Forum cause can go shopping after class.

As for teachers, as Poohy mentioned, they are the same everywhere. Hope this helps!

only know e difference is that JG evans rd got "water play" & "swimming" but forum no "swimming" not too sure if forum side got "water play" and "sand play" not..

and some parents dun like forum cos the playground is also air-con. but some parents like that e fact playground also indoor air-con.

so its really up to individual. but i tink e youngest is 10mths. not too sure about this u might wanna just give em a call. =)
hi collectionz & Sarahbb - thanks for the advise. JG says youngest can send is 6mths but i tot 6mths is a wee bit too young cos my son can crawl, cant walk now. Only can sit by himself. But than again, on weekends, i dun even know where to bring my son to. shopping is boring, places of interest i think he's too young to appreciate so i tot wanna send him to some classes, than comes the worry that too young means low immunity and mixing around with too many children higher chances of getting illnesses...

guess i will send to evans road since theres sand aand water play. swimming? meaning theres a pool? sand play have got sand flies not?
My girl is attending the JG Bilingual Play. I'm pretty happy with JG in general. The thing that irks me is that most parents have no sense of punctuality. Since the start of the term till now, my gal's class has never started on time. Usually, it starts about 20mins later cos most of the kids are late. And b'cos of this, the program itself has been shortened to less than 2 hours. That goes for my son who's attending the JG Edudrama too. The teacher wouldn't start the program until majority of the kids are present. So, in a way, I feel shortchanged.

As for sitting down, both the English and Chinese teachers will remind parents to "fasten the kid's seat belt" and not let them roam about during storytelling. I think it makes sense cos that's part of learning too, i.e to be able to sit down and listen. We have a kid who tends to cry or roam around in class. The Chinese teacher will tell him in a playful manner that he should sit down or not cry by including him in her story. Sometimes, when he goes to the back of the classroom, she will "catch" him back and remind the parent to fasten his seat belt again. Personally, I think she handles such incidents with great tact.
Hi Serenade,

I tot the 1st 20 mins is children's play time? That is why they dun start on time. Some parents feel that play time is not so important, so they dun come on time for the play time interaction.
Hi Clarrisa,
The "swimming" is actually a fairly large wading pool (like the plastic kind you can buy from Toys R Us) so the kids can sit in it and splash around. Swim gear required. Waterplay is where they bring out small tubs of water with some water toys. No need to change into swim gear but can get pretty wet.

The term my daughter was at Evans, they temporarily stopped the water activities as there had been an outbreak of HFMD.

The good thing is that the teachers at JG are very vigilant about checking for it. They also have a strict policy about not attending class if either you or your child is ill. Some parents can be quite inconsiderate and still send their kid to class even though they clearly have green snort oozing from their nostrils.

co11ectionz is right. The first 20 min is play time. For my boy's billingual playclub on weekend, it always start on time. And the playtime will end on time also. It can be quite a rush for us at times plus not easy to find parking lot in forums but we always make sure we arrived in time for the end of play time to keep the toys.

btw, read somewhere that your boy is attending CH too rite? just wanna find out from u why u think its still necessary to attend the edu drama? I am also trying to decide...
hi mummies,

my boy attendted JG playclub for 3 terms last year and i must say he and I enjoy it verymuch. i like yuan yuan and tu lao shi....i think the chinese session is more interesting than the english one....

actually, now i m contemplating to let my 3YO son to learn phonics and was decding between GUG or zoophonic. JG edudrama class wont teach phonics rite? can anybody tell me whether ZP is good? also, is the bukit timah branch better than the jurong west?
Hi, I dunno about the ZP Jurong west branch but I compared Thomson and Bukit timah. Bukit Timah is better than Thomson. When I visited the Thomson branch, I find the place rowdy and noisy. There was even 1 mummy sitting outside the classroom floor painting her nails! (In the air con you know!) and the school did not even stop her.
Hi co11ectionz, poohy,

Thanks for the clarification. Didn't know the first 20 minutes is free play. But since most parents don't find it useful (i.e they arrive just in time to keep the toys), why doesn't JG just scrap it or shorten the play time? Not sure if you experience this, I always feel the teachers are running short of time. For instance, if the Chinese session starts first, the activities will be covered in details. But if it starts later (i.e after the English session), I realise certain activities are excluded. Even the story might be modified to a shorter version. And it's the same for the English session too. Wondering if this is the norm too.

Hi poohy,
Welcome to CH's family. I was told if the kid is attending CH, then there's no need to enrol him/her for any JG programmes. CH would have covered all aspects of JG programmes. For my case, I had already enrolled my son for JG Edudrama before we got him a seat in CH.