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Sekolah yang tepat untuk buah hati anda!

February 17, 2010


Mencari sebuah sekolah yang cocok untuk anak anda bukanlah pekerjaan yang mudah di hari seperti ini. Semakin banyaknya pilihan ternyata justru malah membuat kepala anda semakin pusing dan bingung.

Saat ini sedang maraknya trend sekolah “national plus” di Jakarta. Para orang tua berlomba-lomba untuk memasukan anak mereka di sekolah disebut sekolah national plus tersebut.

Sekolah national plus memang menggiurkan, tapi ternyata tidak semua sekolah “national plus” benar-benar layak disebut national plus. Ada banyak sekolah yang ternyata menyebut diri mereka dengan predikat itu tanpa memiliki basis yang kuat. Bagi mereka yang penting pelajaran diberikan dalam bahasa Inggris, itu sudah lebih dari cukup.

Tuntutan jaman yang semakin meningkat membuat para orang tua khawatir dengan kualitas pendidikan anak mereka. Kebanyakan dari mereka ingin agar anak mereka lancar berbahasa Inggris dan jago komputer. Keadaan ini dimanfaatkan oleh banyak oknum yang kemudian menawarkan konsep pendidikan berbasis Inggris dan teknologi yang ternyata tidak sepenuhnya berkualitas.

Ada banyak tips yang bisa anda terapkan dalam mencari sebuah sekolah national plus yang benar-benar berkualitas.

Pertama, anda harus pelajari dengan mendalam setiap sekolah yang anda bidik. Jangan pernah memilih sebuah sekolah hanya karena teman anda menempatkan anaknya di sekolah tertentu. Hindari “katanya” dan anda harus mencari tahu sendiri kualitas sebuah sekolah. Jangan hanya lihat dari penampilan luarnya saja. Tidak selamanya sekolah bagus harus memiliki bangunan yang mewah dan fasilitas yang lengkap. Lihat juga kurikulum dan kualitas para pengajarnya.

Pastikan bahwa konsep pendidikan yang diusung oleh sekolah yang dipilih sesuai dengan kebutuhan anak anda dan keluarga anda. Setiap keluarga dan orang tua memiliki prinsip dan tujuan yang berbeda, pastikan sekolah yang anda pilih memiliki konsep yang sama dengan anda. Misal anda menginginkan anak anda menjadi seorang yang religius, maka anda harus memastikan apakah sekolah tersebut memiliki sistem pendidikan yang mampu menciptakan murid yang religius. Jangan pernah memaksakan.

Harga bukan segalanya. Banyak orang tua yang menganggap bahwa apabila suatu sekolah menerapkan uang pendidikan yang mahal maka otomatis sekolah itu adalah yang terbaik. Anda harus selalu ingat bahwa harga bukanlah segalanya. Pendidikan yang baik tidak selamanya harus mahal. Yang terpenting adalah memastikan bahwa harga yang anda bayar sesuai dengan apa yang anda harapkan, sehingga tidak ada salahnya apabila anda membayar mahal untuk pendidikan anak anda selama anda merasa hal tersebut layak.

Kemudian yang tidak kalah penting adalah melihat kurikulum pendidikannya. Tanyakan apakah sekolah tersebut memiliki akreditasi tertentu yang dikeluarkan oleh suatu badan pendidikan yang sah (baik dari dalam dan luar negeri). Hal ini penting karena dengan akreditasi tertentu tersebut anda bisa memastikan bahwa sekolah tujuan anda memiliki sistem kurikulum yang baik. Ada baiknya apabila anda mengecek bagaimana sistem penilaian yang diterapkan oleh sekolah pilihan anda. Saat ini, sudah banyak sekolah di Indonesia yang mampu menerapkan konsep penilain yang out of the box di mana mereka tidak lagi terpaku pada ujian dan ulangan semata. Sistem penilaian seperti itulah yang seharusnya anda cari, karena ingat setiap anak terlahir unik. Satu sistem penilaian saja tidaklah cukup. Di Sekolah Cikal, misalnya, kami melihat anak tidak hanya dari ulangan tertulis tapi juga kemampuan-kemampuan lainnya seperti presentasi dan aplikasi.

Jangan lupa untuk bertanya kepada anak anda apakah ia mau bersekolah di sekolah pilihan anda. Hal seringkali dilupakan karena orang tua terlalu sombong dengan menganggap mereka tahu segala hal tentang anak mereka. Ada baiknya apabila anak anda, terutama apabila usia sudah cukup, diajak berkomunikasi layaknya orang dewasa. Tanyakan apa yang mereka rasakan dan apa yang mereka inginkan. Jalin sebuah sistem pendidikan dua arah, sehingga anak anda merasa dihargai pendapatnya. Dengan melakukan ini, anda tidak perlu harus mengikuti kemauan anak anda, tapi berilah pengertian yang dapat diterima apabila ia menolak usulan anda.

Terakhir, anda perlu memperhatikan bagaimana fasilitas sekolah memenuhi semua kebutuhan anak anda. Tanya kepada para guru apakah sekolah mereka memberikan ruang gerak yang cukup bagi para murid untuk bermain dan belajar. Akan sangat baik apabila sekolah pilihan anda memiliki taman bermain dengan tema-tema yang berbeda, sehingga minat dan bakat anak anda benar-benar tersalurkan secara optimal.

Jadi tunggu apalagi? Segera cari sekolah yang baik untuk anak anda!

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Cikal Fairground

February 3, 2010

This Saturday we are organizing Cikal Fairground. The school will be open for public so everyone can play and learn at Cikal. Parents can participate in free parenting workshop and family games. The games include beads & buttons, tie knotting, cooking, photo counter, and field stations. Besides those we have  bazaar of unique products, food and beverages. Your family and children can enjoy our new playground. Cikal Playground is open for public. The event will be open from 8.00 AM – 2.00 PM. Effective Parenting Workshop by Najelaa Shihab 1. Math and its Application 2. Playful Parenting Bring your family and friends this Saturday and enjoy the fairground.

Let’s swim!

January 29, 2010

Some kids just hate being in the outdoor and just move their bodies. Some just like to stay hours in front of the TV or play playstation.

But each parent has to know that it’s very important to make their kids physically active. You need to make them move regularly, at least 30 minutes a day. At least a 3-time-a-week schedule would do just fine.

Some kids may hate to play badminton and some may love it. Some may hate soccer and just choose to sit on the bench. But try to ask if your kids love to splash the water. The chances are they’ll be screaming and say, “Yes!”

Students at Sekolah Cikal are very lucky that they can swim and play with the water as much as they want. They can also join our swim club if they want to do the swimming more seriously.

Our swim club is conducted by Jakarta Quatics, a professional swim club that was established by several national swim atheletes. By joining the club, students can learn all the proper techniques of swimming.

We all know how hot the weather in Jakarta can be. Imagine if you could let your children just dive in the cold water and work out their muscels. Wouldn’t it be great?

Children’s anti-corruption curriculum

January 13, 2010

Corruption has been a very popular topic in Indonesia for these last ten years. Since the political reform in 1998, people have been actively campaigning the importance of eliminating corruption in Indonesia.

If corruption is now a trendy topic among the adults, the concept of “corruption” and the efforts of fighting “corruption” are not well introduced to children.

Most parents think that the topic is too heavy for kids. But really?

We talked to Najelaa Shihab, Director of Sekolah Cikal, and asked her how important an anti corruption curriculum for kids.

She said that an “anti corruption” curriculum is very important for children because it shapes a positive attitude.

At Sekolah Cikal, this new kind of curriculum is implemented which emphasizes two main elements: integrity and accountability.

Najelaa explained that they don’t have a special class for anti-corruption. Instead, “This idea is attached to subjects in classes and outside-the-class activities.”

For example, she said, pre-kindy students playing in the field learn that someone has to put the needs of the whole class first. Or that when students of 2nd grade studying to creat advertisement posters are encouraged to make posters with a theme of helping others or honesty. All these are done through the instructions from teachers.

“Anti-corruption is implemented slowly for a long-term goal,” Najelaa said. She said the the younger kids learn about this the better for his or her development in the future.

Najelaa  said that Sekolah Cikal is trying to defeat the public opinion that thinks the issue of corruption is too heavy for children.

“Whether or not the subject is too heavy, it all depends on how we deliver it.”

Najelaa said that as long as the subject is delivered by relating it to the daily activities, children will be motivated to understand and implement.

She reminded that teachers have to encourage students to ask as many questions as possible.
To build the children’s enthusiasm, the concept of anti corruption is taught through many ways such as drama, case discussion, media investigation, and others.

“This way, our students don’t get bored.”

Parents’ involvement is crucial. Najelaa said that parents have to keep reminding their kids the importance of honesty since the early age.

“A parent doesn’t have to be angry or mad when he or she finds out that their kid is lying.” Instead, what a parent should do is tell his or her child that they respect someone telling the truth, whatever that is.

Najelaa said that as the child is getting older, he or she needs more challenges. Ask questions like, “Is cheating on exam a fine thing to do?” or “Can you bribe others to get what you want?”

Giving the children a responsibility is important too, such as giving them a pet to take care of.
Najelaa also pointed out that sometimes parents have to make them heroes to their own children. “They can tell their kids their struggle to fight the corruption,” She said.

At Sekolah Cikal, all students have an opportunity to be a leader in various activities. They can be a sports captain or a class coordinator. This way, students are used to understanding responsibility and all its consequences.

Sex education, important?

December 8, 2009

Sex is always a sensitive issue, especially in Indonesia. In the Eastern culture “sex” is always considered as a taboo. Thus, most children in this country grow up and learn about “sex” with their own ways depending on their experiences. And that can be dangerous.

Mita Abidin, Pre School Principal at Sekolah Cikal, explained what sex education is and why it’s important.

“Sex education is an education about knowing ourself, sexual identity, relationship and intimacy, and also understanding the attitudes and values towards sex itself.”

Mita said that within the sex education, children are taught how to take care of their bodies including their genitals and develop respect to themselves and others.

“Sex education should actually be called sexuality and relationship education,” Mita said.

Mita understood that sex is a very sensitive topic within the Indonesian culture, but she said that sex education is more than just explaining a sexual activity between a man and a woman to children.

At Sekolah Cikal students are given the subject with different methods. From level junior to Year 6, Sekolah Cikal students are divided into groups where boys and girls are separated.

“During that session, students will discuss about various things which are related to sexuality education.”

For students from Reception Junior to Year 3, the curriculum includes the understanding of body parts, tips to clean their bodies, and introduction to reproduction organs in simple ways.

“We teach them, for example, the process of a baby before the baby is born.” Mita teaches her students with the help of books and pictures.

And for students from Year 4 to Year 6, the curriculum covers the understanding of puberty and physical and emotional changes that each student will have.

To prepare the parents, Mita said that the school creates a special session. “We teach the parents before giving the class to their children.”

So far, the school hasn’t received any objections from the parents. The school is actively helpful to any demands from any parents who have difficulties answering questions about sex to his or her child.

Mita said that sometimes parents don’t realize that they have actually given their children sex education at home through casual discussions.

“The most important thing that each parent should do is to be open to any questions.”

A mother, Mita gave an example, can teach her child about sex education when they spot a pregnant woman by saying, “Look, that tante is having a baby inside her womb.”

“The mother can explain more by saying that it’s only girls or women who can be pregnant,” Mita said.

She said that even the sex education can’t guarantee that children won’t have a “pergaulan bebas” lifestyle in the future.

“But at least students can be aware of their bodies and they know the consequences of their actions.”

“Sex education only is not enough,” Mita said.

Teaching children with religious and family values is a must, Mita said.

Introducing drama to Indonesian kids

December 6, 2009

Published by the Jakarta Globe on Friday, Dec 4, 2009

Malik, look what you’ve done to us!” Jasmine cried out. Malik looked guilty — he knew he’d done something terrible. He tried to speak but his mouth wouldn’t form a single word.

Malik had accidentally pushed a button on the Professor’s teleportation machine. Now the group didn’t know where they were, and the Professor’s face turned pale as he realized the machine was broken. They wouldn’t be able to go back if he couldn’t fix it.

“Where are we?” Nana asked, looking very afraid.

“I think we’re in the jungle,” Ega said, glancing around cautiously. He was amazed by the thickness of the jungle. He saw big trees and weird animals that he’d never seen before.

While the Professor tried to fix his broken teleporter, the children decided to explore the jungle to see if they could find someone who could tell them where they were. While they were struggling through the bushes and dodging jungle insects, they heard a melodic sound in the distance.

“Wait, do you guys hear that?” Nana asked excitedly. They all began running, wanting to find out where the sound was coming from.

They finally came upon a group of beautiful young women in traditional Indonesian clothes. Not only were these women chanting, they were also dancing.

“Oh, I now what that is,” Jasmine yelled to her friends. “It’s an Acehnese dance called saman.”

“That means we’re in Aceh. We’re in Sumatra, guys,” Nana shouted.

In mid-November, Sekolah Cikal, a national plus school, held three days of activities at the Salihara arts complex in South Jakarta. The event was titled “Playground of Andalas” (Andalas is another name for Sumatra).

Besides displaying artworks inspired by the nature and culture of Sumatra, members of the school’s drama club performed a musical of the same name. The characters in the play had the same names as the children who played them.

The cast spent three weeks rehearsing to develop the show, which told the story of a group of children who ended up on the island of Sumatra after they accidentally pushed the wrong button on a teleportation machine invented by their friend, a genius professor.

By the end of the story, which was written by their teacher, the children had shown their audience how beautiful Sumatra is, through song and dance.

Though subjects such as art, drama and music should be part of mainstream education, they are often seen as non-academic and left off the curriculum.

Syanda Kunto, Sekolah Cikal’s project and development manager, said it was unfortunate that theater was not a more popular activity in Indonesian schools.

“Most parents don’t see the connection between studying theater and a child’s future success,” Syanda said.

“Many people are scared to speak in front of others — which is related to their confidence — despite the fact that it’s a very important skill in the work field. Through learning theater, kids can practice that skill in a fun environment.”

Theater is also a way for children to explore ideas and emotions in a safe environment.

“Through theater, kids have an opportunity to act out different roles. They can be a father, a mother, a happy person, a mad person or anything else. By doing that they can express their emotions and also develop sensitivity,” Syanda said.

Rizki Pradana has been involved in the theater club at the State University of Jakarta for nine years. He also teaches drama at several schools across the capital. He said that over the years young people had started showing more interest in such extracurricular activities, and more and more schools and universities in Jakarta now had theater clubs.

Dwi Cahyadi, a playwright from Teater Canvas (Theater Canvas), agreed that many schools in Jakarta had added theater as an after-hour activity.

But both Rizki and Dwi said that, in general, theater was still often seen as only for children who were artistically gifted.

“Most people in Indonesia still see theater as an exclusive world that can only be enjoyed by [an elite few],” Rizki said.

He said that was a misleading perception and in many other countries people embraced the theater as entertainment everyone could enjoy.

To counter the attitude here, Dwi said it was important for schools to introduce drama and theater as soon as possible to their students.

“We need to familiarize our children with theater as early as possible,” Dwi said. “By letting the kids learn about theater as early as possible, they can see that drama is another exciting activity, like sports and music. Who knows, some of them may grow up to become Indonesia’s next generation of famous playwrights, actors or actresses.”

He added that participation in theater programs could improve children’s intelligence and teach them to be more creative by letting them play different kinds of characters.

Syanda said that theater also helped children develop other talents and skills. “Through drama, children can improve their confidence by practicing talking and acting in front of many people,” Syanda said.

Jasmine, 10, is in the 5th grade at Sekolah Cikal. She has been in the drama club for more than three years and acted in “Playground of Andalas.” She said she joined the club because she wanted to build her confidence, and that she enjoyed participating in theater because it allowed her to explore many different characters.

Jasmine said the things she found the most challenging were trying to portray emotions through facial expression in her acting and memorizing dialogue.

Rengga Radwifa Pradityo, 10, another drama club member, said he used to be very shy, but through his involvement in theater he had gained the courage to speak in front of people. He said his confidence has increased and he now participates more actively in classes at his school.

Besides directly learning things such as public speaking skills, Rizki said that theater could be used as a bridge for students to learn other things, such as language skills.

“Some of my plays are in English, so by practicing drama my students also learn how to speak English with confidence,” Rizki said.

Arswendy Nasution, the head of theater at the Jakarta Arts Committee, said that it was important for the government to support the theater so that more young people could participate.

Previously, he said, Ali Sadikin, Jakarta’s governor from 1966 to 1977, supported the development of theater by building art and cultural centers in Jakarta.

But that was back during the glory days of Indonesian theater, when such well-known playwrights as WS Rendra, Teguh Karya, Arifin C Noer and Putu Wijaya provided a significant portion of the nation’s entertainment.

It was also before TVs were available in almost every household and soap operas, variety shows and infotainment had taken over families’ evening leisure hours.

“Today, our government doesn’t give enough support to the theater world. Artists always find it hard to get a venue,” Arswendy said. He argued that this lack of funding and lack of visibility for the arts made young Indonesians reluctant to join theater groups.

Arswendy said the government needed to use more than just simple economic facts in making spending decisions.

“Culture is not considered important in this country. And that’s so wrong because culture is actually a very critical investment in every country,” he said.

Math that’s fun, possible?

December 1, 2009

You as parents know exactly how math can sometimes be so boring or irrelevant. For students who don’t like math, this subject can even be more frustrating because our teachers always lecture math in old fashioned ways.

I’m sure you all still remember how scary those formulas were. The worst part was that teachers always wanted you to memorize all of them.

I’ve seen how many children are so reluctant to study math. It’s just so hard to make them like the subject, and I believe that’s not their fault. Not all children were born with good math skills. But, skills are trainable.

In Sekolah Cikal, things can be so much fun when it comes to studying math. Just come to our backyard and ask some of the students here. Ask them if they like our math, the chances are you’ll get answers like: “Math is so much fun!”

I talked to Indriyati Herutami, Sekolah Cikal’s math coordinator, and asked her what she got to say about math at Sekolah Cikal.

Indriyati said that students of Sekolah Cikal are taught with math concepts rather than symbols and formulas.

In doing so, she said, teachers always use real and concrete objects to explain a specific subject.

“It’s the concept understanding that we value the most,” Indriyati said.

“Students aren’t encouraged to memorize theories. We let students understand the concept first,” She said.

She then explained how it works. “If students are having a lesson on triangle, the old fashioned way will give them formulas and expect them to find the answers.”

What we do is different, Indriyati said.

“Our students are told to find the formulas by themselves after we give them the concept of triangle itself.”

Indriyati explained that through this method students are always encouraged to find a pattern in every problem or case.

“This is very critical because students can use this method in any other problem, not just math.”

And during each class, teachers always create a fun environment so that students don’t get bored.

“I guarantee that studying math can be so much fun at Sekolah Cikal, some students even get addicted to it. So, watch out!”