Dumpling has been asking for ice skating lessons for some time because of a homeschool topic on Winter Olympics (thank goodness she did not ask for skiing!) She was enthralled with the whole idea of being able to skate so gracefully on ice and that it was cool (she does not like the heat) and that we have a rink in Singapore.
After a few calls and some emails, I finally locked in the class dates with The Rink over at Jcube (level 3).
Truthfully I did not expect myself to freak out while at the rink. It only occurred to me at the moment that she will have to go in on her own and (gasp) I am entrusting my kid to the instructors there who looked like they are younger than me by more than a decade (yes, I know, they probably ARE). But because she has been so looking forward to it, I had to bite my tongue from being too paranoid and put up a brave and encouraging front. In the event if you are keen, here's sharing some information.
:: Some basic info
At The Rink, the Learn to Skate Programme is split into 4 levels - Core 1 to 4. Unless you have prior skating experience (not just balancing but able to glide, stop, etc.) most would need to start from Core 1.
:: Fees and what it covers
The fees is $171.50 for 5 lessons of each level where it includes group lesson time of 30 mins plus 2 hour open practice time. The fees also include boots rental. You will need to fill up a form and pay / register prior to the class. (Preferably not the morning of the lesson 'cos that was what I did which was really not the best morning to do so with the long queues and hordes of people registering)
:: What you will need to bring & wear
- Long socks (this is because the skates cover past the angle and hence you will need socks to go past that) *see the photo below*
- $1 Coins (this is for the locker which is at $2 per usage - non refundable, though there is coin changing machine at the rink)
- Long pants / thick leggings Cardigan / jacket to layer over - though technically exercising does warm the body up a bit, when you are moving a tad faster, the cold air does get chilly)
- Gloves (not compulsory but I prefer them on because the fingers do get pretty cold)
- And because we are both food machines, we brought along small snacks / buns. After her lesson time, there is a break as the Zamboni will be out to smoothen the surface. So we usually make use of this time to have a morning snack with Dumpling and HAVE A CUP OF HOT MILO TOO! This is Dumpling's highlight of the morning as the hot drink does warm us up a bit
Now, regarding the service experience, it's a mix bag of nuts for me.
The good thing is that GM of the rink is a very hands-on person and is pretty good with the kids. About a week prior to the lesson, yours truly, lost my footing on a step and I basically injure my left foot and bruised my knee. When Richard saw me struggling with trying to kneel and put on the skates for the kiddo, he came over and offered his help (above pic). After putting the skates on for the kiddo, he even offered to lead her to the gate.
And well, Dumpling was all too ready to let go of my hand and though apprehensive about her first lesson, she was really excited and raring to start!
I was informed by Richard that the students are segregated according to their age groups - each group then goes through a different gate.
As this is a beginner's class, some of the things the children were exposed to were more of getting them to have a feel for the ice floor, to get a sense of balance, to know now to fall and get up safely, basic 'footsteps', etc.
Now the minus point for me is that I do not really agree to the student : teacher ratio. When the class first started (and there about about 9 - 10 students), there was only one instructor (as seen below - there are more students on the left side). I felt that ratio was way too high for 2 reasons - (1) the tender age of this group and (2) because they are all beginners where many, if not all, would have very little experience on ice. If one student were to fall and coming from my EC experience (seeing and interacting with preschoolers at the centres daily) I am not sure how the instructor is able to manage the class.
Having said that, I think Richard saw the class dynamics and about 10 mins into the class, I saw 2 other coaches being assigned to the group. I am not sure if this is a once-off arrangement (at the time of writing, we have only attended one lesson so far) so let's see what the arrangement is for the next lesson.
How did the rest of the lesson go? Here's some of the things the kids did at the first lesson.
Dumpling learning to move correctly while holding onto a "wall" - they need to be comfortable in lifting up their legs as that will help them to glide for future lessons as opposed to shuffling.
The kids learning how to fall and get up safely
The kids venturing out and 'gliding' over a small area
I was pleasantly surprised to see that at the end of the 30 mins session, she emerged more confident and was able to shuffle along (for a start) and made it out to the ice on her own (above pic). :)
In fact, the skating class looked so much fun that yours truly also signed up for the course. LOL. Let's see if that I can get some photos taken of me so that I can share more on our course by then :)
Level 3, JCube
Level 3, JCube
2 Jurong East Central 1
Tel: +65 6684 2374/5 (hotline) or 6684 2379
Monday: 10.00 am - 9.30 pm (until the first week of Aug 2013)
Tuesday to Thursday & Sunday: 10.00 am - 9.30 pm
Friday & Saturday, eve of PH & PH: 10.00 am - 11.45 pm
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