Commentary: What a school principal wants parents to know about the leap from preschool to P1

3 weeks ago 58

SINGAPORE: When my son started his primary school journey as a Primary 1 (P1) student years ago, he could not read and write as well as his classmates.

In the first semester, when he did not know how to complete his schoolwork, he stuffed his worksheets under his table in class. One day, he told me, “Mummy, I think I’m dumb.”

The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced on Thursday (May 16) that the Primary 1 registration exercise for admission to schools in 2025 will start on Jul 2.

The transition to primary school often stirs anxieties. Will my child be able to make friends? Will they know how to buy food from the canteen? How will they cope with the P1 curriculum?

As a mother and primary school principal, here's my perspective on easing this transition for our youngsters.

THERE’S NO NEED TO CRAM FOR P1

The transition from kindergarten to primary school can be very daunting for children. There is so much to get used to - waking up earlier, new classmates, more teachers and a much bigger school. Even the toilet is much further away.

It is natural for parents to want to ensure their children are well-prepared for the transition to P1. We have seen parents enrol their children in enrichment classes, in the hopes that it will boost their children’s readiness for school. However, this can backfire if not approached thoughtfully.

Young children can pick up our expectations and emotional cues. If we are anxious, they will feel anxious too. They can sense our high expectations and will feel bad about themselves if they struggle to meet them. 

Over-preparing a child academically can also be counter-productive. If a child comes to school having already learnt the material to be covered in the classroom, they may become bored in class and lose interest in learning.

For example, one of our students had completed assessment books well ahead of what teachers were teaching, leaving little time for play at home. Consequently, during lessons, he would walk around the classroom, looking for...

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