Mrs Jenny Yeo recently retired from her role as Principal of South View Primary School. (Photo Credit: Mrs Jenny Yeo)
How do we prepare our children for Primary One? Mrs Jenny Yeo, retired Principal of South View Primary School, shares a few tips on how parents can help to ease the transition.
Like some of you, my precious granddaughter is entering Primary One next year! She seems to be excited, as well as a little anxious, about attending such a huge school for the first time.
As an ex-principal of a primary school, I thought it would be helpful to share a few tips on how to prepare your child for the first day and week of primary school.
Preparing Your Child Beforehand
Before the first day of school, as parents, you can start preparing your child by sharing with them what school is about, and what they can expect. Getting them happy and excited about school is half the battle won!
- Go to the school website and talk to your child about the school
- Describe a school day (For example, singing of national anthem in the morning, recess time and dismissal time)
- Discuss the school rules and regulations (For example, eating in class is not allowed and students should listen when the teacher is teaching)
- Help your child understand that formal education begins and he or she is expected to learn English and Mother Tongue Spelling every week
Supporting Your Child on the First Day of School
Most parents take leave on the first day of school to settle their children in the new environment. It would be good if you could do so, even if your child is usually very independent. There is a possibility that your child may be emotionally affected when he or she sees other parents or guardians around on the first day, while he or she does not have anyone. If you are really unable to be there, I would encourage you to explain the reason to your child.
If you will be there on the first day, it is important to give clear instructions to your child as to where you will be at recess to watch him or her from afar, and when you will be fetching your child home.
Help start your child on a happy primary school experience!
Stand at a distance and watch your child being guided by buddies in school to buy food during recess. Trust the school to manage this well, as it is best for your child to learn from his or her schoolmates.
During dismissal, it would be good to co-operate with the school by following the instructions on how classes are being sent out. If you are driving to pick up your child, ensure that you are there on time, to build your child's confidence in this daily routine. For those taking the school bus, the school would have a system to ensure that pupils are guided to board the right bus. When the school bus arrives to drop off your child, be at the agreed pick up point, and welcome them home with a bright smile!
If your child's school organises any talks or workshops on the first few days of school, do attend them as they would help you to understand how you can support your child's learning.
To your child, moving from kindergarten to Primary One is a big adjustment, so do spend time talking to him or her about the first few weeks of school. Some children would be more anxious than others.
I hope these few tips would help you to prepare your child for Primary One. May I wish you and your child many happy and memorable days in school!
Article contributed by Mrs Jenny Yeo, who is now part of the Strategic Communications and Engagement Division at the Ministry of Education.