Here is a day-by-day summary and photos!

June 9: Baking I, with Ms. Selina Tan

Ms. Selina, mother of Kenny (one of our participants), led the baking class in her wonderful home. It turned out to be the perfect sanctuary, as AMW participants endeavoured to adapt to unfamiliar companions, procedures, and setting. Releasing their anxiety in a cacophony of sounds and frenetic activity, the participants finally settled down to begin their baking activity.

Under Ms. Selina's warm and fun guidance, all the participants learnt to pour, mix, and spoon cupcake mixtures into the cups, at their cooking stations in the neatly-organised patio. The participants completed two batches of blueberry and cranberry cupcakes: there were enough for everyone to take home! While waiting for the cupcakes to be ready, the kids completed review worksheets that recounted the steps for making cupcakes: they wrote out responses, while cutting and gluing out accompanying images.

June 10: Art, with Mr. Moh and Ms. Mas
of “The Special People” (9369-9354)

At the Little Garden School House, Mr. Moh and Ms. Mas, experienced educators of students with autism, immersed everyone in the multisensory world of spices. Participants got to smell and touch four spices — cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and star anise, as they learnt about their diverse uses.

Next, they were guided in the creation of a spice card featuring the four spices, followed by the decoration of clothes pegs that were embellished with the spices. As a nice finishing touch, Mr. Moh and Ms. Mas provided the participants with packaging materials for them to pack their artistic creations in a “professional” fashion. Then it was time for the participants to complete their review worksheets for the day. Finally, Mr. Moh and Ms. Mas treated everyone to refreshments that celebrated the end of our session at this heartwarming and cosy school house. 

June 11: Fitness, with Coach Sandy Snakenberg
of Aspiring Goals Gym (9061-8118)

The day would turn out to be the toughest one for the first week: half of the participants were joining the programme for the first or only time; furthermore, there was a new group of volunteers. One of our younger participants could not cope with the underground MRT experience due to aural sensitivities and threw a huge tantrum in the train. He had to exit the train earlier, escorted by his parent and volunteer. Unfortunately, the experience of being in a unfamiliar gym also proved to be overwhelming for him. Although they were unable to complete the day, it was nonetheless commendable of his mum to expose and challenge her child to this experience, despite his difficulties.  

As for the rest of the participants, Coach Sandy put them through the paces, as he introduced them to a variety of movements that tested their coordination and strength. Participants scuttled across the floor on their hands and feet, as they did the crab crawl and elephant walk. They lifted 5-kg medicine balls and weights with a rope pull. While the majority of the participants lugged an 8-kg kettle bell across 60 m, two were able to carry a 12-kg kettle bell across the same distance. Finally, they also took on the “battle rope” exercise that had them activity flapping heavy and sturdy ropes up and down in the air. Doris, mum of Elijah (one of our participants), brought cookies and other food for everyone, which they enjoyed while completing their review sheets. 

June 16: Baking II, with Kelvin Soh
of Dong Po Colonial Cafe

We returned to Ms. Selina's lovely home and patio set-up to learn how to make brownies with Mr. Kelvin, owner of Dong Po Cafe in Bugis. Unlike the first visit, the participants settled down quickly: all it took was just one session for the participants to feel sufficiently familiar with one another and the setting!

Under Mr. Kelvin's patient guidance, along with the assistance of his friend, Ms. Priscilla, volunteers, and helpers, participants took turns weighing ingredients, pouring them into containers, mixing them vigorously, and spreading the batter in the pan. By unanimous consent, all the participants decided that they did not want walnuts in their brownies — oh well!

While they waited for their brownies to be baked, the participants were treated to a meal of pasta prepared by Ms Selina, before they completed the review worksheets reviewing the brownie preparation process. Not only did the participants get to sample their brownies, there were enough left over for everyone to take home!

June 19: Music, with Sonny Wee of Tribal Arts and
Germaine Yong, Music Therapist

The music activity took place at Sonny Wee's Tribal Arts, right in the heart of the charming touristy neighbourhood of Bugis. It was a fairly challenging experience, as we led about three of the participants, volunteers, and helpers/caregivers through warrens of fabric shops, kopitiams, charming stores, and close encounters with passers-by.

Upon arrival, we congregated into a drumming circle, with each participant assigned to a beautifully sculpted African drum. Under the guidance of Ms. Germaine, who was volunteering her time, and Mr. Sonny, an experienced drummer, our participants were taught to perform simple drumming patterns, with some of us counting loudly to keep them on track. The drumming, the counting, and our accompanying gesturing, made for a fun and animating experience! For our “fine performance”, Sonny gave each of the participants an African drum keyring. Then Germaine led the participants in a lovely handbell song, with the participants playing their handbells on cue and coordinating in pairs.

After a hot day of playing music in the funky patio area, we treated everyone to drinks and delectable cakes from Kelvin’s Dong Po Colonial Café. Purely by coincidence, the café of Mr. Kelvin, our teacher for Baking II, was just a patch of grass away from our music venue. 

June 20: Drama, with Michael Cheng,
Applied Drama Practitioner & Facilitator (9380-3041)

Meeting up with most of the participants at the popular Orchard MRT station, we mingled with the crowds along our route that took us up escalators through the lobby of Marriott Hotel and the car park elevators towards the home of Jerome, my boyfriend. Not only did he let us use his home for the drama activity, he helped to move the furniture the night before in order to create our “performance space”. It was nicely flanked by the couches that constituted the seating areas and “backstage”.

Alas, there was more “drama” than we had bargained for! Sebastien, my son, was immensely unhappy about the invasion of people into what he considered to be his private territory. With no space to vent his frustration (as the furniture had been moved into his room), Sebastien screamed and jumped in front of everyone. However, thanks to the able assistance of Nicole, a volunteer and a special needs teacher, he managed to work through his unhappiness, while participating in the activities.