The holistic approach to raising children

Pushpa Venkatraman accompanies Professor Lam (NTU) and her 3 year old son on a hiking trip to Sikkim … and reflects on the opportunities Singapore offers, which makes it possible for a 3 year old to enjoy hikes in different countries.

I was at Bukit Timah Hill today when I exited using a different path, all thanks to my conversation with Professor Lam. I went by the Dairy Farm loop. A lot more challenging for me, but it was well worth it.

I had the privilege of traveling with her and her family to Sikkim recently. This is our second trip together and I was fascinated by the way her 3 year old son handled the trekking, the meals and the journey. I also observed how patiently she and her husband interacted with him, encouraging him during treks by engaging in conversations about things he saw, heard, or felt and giving him things to look forward to.

When asked what the magic formula was, she said they do a lot of local treks in Singapore – Bukit Timah Hill, Dairy Farm, Venus Drive – to get him used to hiking. They also visit Botanical Gardens a lot where he uses the bicycle. When she was relating this, he immediately showed the action of a fast bike ride with his hands, something he clearly enjoys doing. They have been trekking since he was an infant. He’s been to Croatia, Australia, US, Taiwan, Japan, England, Sri Lanka and now India.

He did extremely well during this trip, hiking long distances both up hill and down hill.  He experienced the Sikkim hospitality and saw animals in their natural habitats such as cows, goats, chickens and ducks. He saw fruit trees and vegetables being grown in farms as well as the wild ones that the Sikkimese use in their meals.

He had opportunities to interact with the Sikkimese children. The guide, who works with children, was amazed by his curiosity and adaptability to different environments and experiences!  Something which Prof Lam values as she feels these types of exposures will help his holistic approach to development.


Thanks to access to our very own nature parks for training, such adventure trips are possible for our Singaporean families!


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