Has the kampong spirit of old disappeared from our Singapore landscape?
Or has it truly evolved?
And more importantly, does this have an impact for our children growing up in this modern "digital" world?
The topic of Singapore losing her kampong spirit isn't a new topic. In fact, in 2016, Channel News Asia had covered an article highlighting the new age kampong spirit, largely due to the presence of social media. And while it is interesting to read a different spin to this modern development of an age-old local tradition, as a child care centre, we're worried about the repercussions it has on our children.
Made even worse, given the fact that more and more younger couples are opting to stay in high-end condominiums today.
The Dying Kampong Spirit
In the old days, everyone within a kampong knows everyone. It is a small community that lives together and to a certain extend, play together. As Singapore developed, this spirit quietened down with the introduction of HDB flats and apartments.
Suddenly, instead of a community, we have walls. Instead of open doors, we have locked gates. And instead of communal dinners, we now only have that "acknowledgement nod" when we see each other in the lift.
The one single "binding" factor still keeping our community together is the local playground where parents bring their children to run and play at.
And the good thing about playgrounds of these nature is, it allows a child to grow and develop through sensory play.
How Sensory Play Develops A Child
As a child is growing up, they first uncover new things in the world through their senses. Not just touch, but also through their sight, smell, hearing, and tasting.
It is one of the reason why toddlers are constantly putting things from the floor into their mouth. They're trying to discover new meaning to everything they taste.
And by interacting with other children in a safe confined area (i.e. a playground) it allows their brains to refine each new experience, and enhance their threshold for every new sensory information they pick up.
This is an experience no child can ever develop by staying confined in a house 24 hours 7 days a week. Neither is it a lesson they can learn by watching videos or playing games through an ipad.
Instead, by playing with other children, they are given the freedom to allow their young minds to:
- Develop their motor skills
- Strengthen their language abilities
- Enhance their problem solving mindset
Unfortunately, many younger families are taking this critical part of a child's younger years out of their lives. Relying instead on books (and tuition later on) to provide their child with the education they need.
And this problem is made worse, when parents choose to live in a luxury condo.
Does A Higher End Condo = More Love Shown?
Don't get us wrong... we're not saying staying in a condo is bad, but without the right facilities, it can limit a child's natural development process.
From our experience, many young families believe that living in luxury condo is the physical way to express their love for their children. There's nothing wrong with this beautiful gesture of giving the best we have for our children.
However, at a young tender age, the most important thing to a child is the interaction and connection they have with their parents. Not so much the material items they possess.
And unfortunately, some of Singapore's premium condominiums aren't designed with children in mind.
Take the example of this prestigious condo in district 2, right next to Tanjong Pagar MRT station, Wallich Residence. It is perhaps one of the most expensive condominiums in Singapore, and for very good reasons too.
It is in the heart of Singapore's Central Business District (CBD), it is a mixed development with a MRT station at its basement, and it even has its own mall integrated into it.
Yet, despite all its prestigious facilities, it doesn't have an environment suitable for a child to grow up in. There are no playgrounds or children facility on any of its 64 storeys. (And this is currently the tallest building in Singapore)
The neighbourhood is also void of any play area for children. There are only pubs and bars around the corner, followed by commercial buildings one after the after.
I think you'll agree with us, this just isn't the place to raise a child.
Can Parents Still Show Their Love While Providing The Best For Their Children?
Thankfully, the case of Wallich Residence is not a common occurrence for condos in other parts of Singapore.
Perhaps the first tell-tale sign of a condo suitable for young families is the floor plan and unit mix distribution of the property.
Forget about the penthouse units, but when a property developer has 3-bedroom and 4-bedroom units forming the bulk of their unit distribution, you know the entire estate is catered for families.
The next important thing to look out for is their inclusion of children-friendly facilities.
These usually come in the form of one or two children pools, a common playground, and in the case of The Tapestry, a new condo in Tampines, there's even an entire Kids Explorer zone.
Some new condos take the sensory play experience a step further. For instance, The Line @ Tanjong Rhu, is a condominium that focuses heavily on the garden and pool concept, being located near East Coast Park. This provides children with many more opportunities to explore their pavilion areas, the meadow walk, and even the many water features around the estate.
What About Situations Where There's No Readily Available Information
We understand there are cases when a new launch condo is just released and you can't find out if the condo is actually children-friendly. Such is the situation with the upcoming condo at River Valley Road, RV Millenia. Not only is there no information about the project or the site plan, the logo isn't even finalised yet.
Does this mean holding off expressing your interest in such condos?
We understand in such cases, real estate agents tend to offer great incentives and even developer discounts for registering your interest early. And passing off on such an opportunity doesn't seem financial wise either.
In this type of scenarios, we do encourage parents to try to dedicate at least a room in the condo for their child to have opportunities for sensory play.
And with online Singapore interior design portals easily available, your "play room" doesn't have to look simple or "childish". In fact, there are numerous ways to make a modern looking child-friendly room. One that is chic and beautiful yet full of useful and functional to help your kid develop useful skills.
This way, you can still stay in a prestigious condominium and provide your child with the learning environment to not just help, but boost their learning abilities. And that is how to truly show your child your love and care...
Providing them with an ongoing platform for long term growth - starting from home.