I have survived 3 terms of P1 and I am proud to declare that my daughter has adjusted well to primary school life. How did we do it?
Choosing the right preschool
Yes, this means that your preparation for P1 begins at your child’s birth. Kiasu you may say, but I call it long term strategic planning. Academically, the right preschool should help your child master basic reading, spelling and writing skills. All you need to do at home is to reinforce that learning. For instance, in pre-school, a simple spelling list would be given on a weekly basis. Use that to set up a routine for learning spelling. In time to come, it would be easier to set a routine for revision for tests. The preschool would also organize a primary school trip for the K2 kids to take a tour of a typical primary school and allow them to experience buying from a school canteen or bookshop.
Read Read Read
Reading is the most important skill by the time your child heads to P1. Read to your child every day. I started reading to my child when she was in the womb. (I did mention that I like long term planning.) Your child should be able to read and follow instructions independently by the time he/she is in primary 1.
Allow your child to complete a couple of pages of work on his/her own. Try not to sit next to your child while he/she is doing the work assigned. Once it’s completed, take a quick glance to ensure that it’s done properly. Praise your child for being able to do the work on his/her own.
There was one book that I found highly useful and used at home on a weekly basis when she was in K1 – High Frequency Words by Christabel Hong. This is available in Popular. This book helped her reading and writing skills.
Talk to your child about what primary school will be like. Do not instill any fear when talking to your child. Make it sound fun and exciting. For example, he/she would have new friends, a nice classroom, etc. Do not miss the school’s orientation programme. That’s when your child would get to see the school for the first time and it would allay some anxieties on the first day of school. Buy the school bag and stationery together. Provide plenty of encouragement and emotional support for your child.
Start setting routines for work and play. Teach your child to check the timetable and to pack the school bag accordingly.
Show your child where to jot down the ad hoc things needed for school or homework given. One of the compulsory items to buy from the booklist is the school diary. Show that to your child and give him/her a bookmark for the diary.
Label their belongings and teach them to take care of their own belongings and keep their pocket money securely. Give them opportunities to buy their own food or drinks when outside. I would get my daughter to buy herself a bottle of mineral water from a coffeeshop or food court while we are dining out so that she would learn to tell the person what she wants, handle money and count the change.
Give them a file or folder and inform them that they should put any form of communication from school or teachers into the file or folder provided. Remember to check this file on a daily basis.
When your child enters P1, he/she should be able to:
– read an age-appropriate text independently
– listen or read and follow instructions.
– write his/her name and other short and simple sentences.
– use the toilet independently.
During orientation and on the first few days of school, the students will be shown the various rooms in the school. After that, the students would be able to navigate themselves around the school on their own or with their buddies. A complete set of stationery is also essential. Do check that he /she has about 3 sharpened pencils, an eraser, a ruler and a sharpener. A small set of colour pencils would also be required.
P1 here we come
With that, you’re all set for P1. Continue to keep learning consistent and read widely. Stick to routines as much as possible. Reassure your child that he/she would enjoy primary school as much as they have enjoyed kindergarten.
Note from Mummies’ Voices:
Pamela was a former Level Head in MOE schools. She has a Masters in Education from NIE NTU, Singapore.