I am going to start a series of Primary 1 (P1) preparation posts. It is a tad early for those due for P1 next year, but I better jot it down now especially when my memory is still fresh! So, if your kid is going to P1 next year, remember to bookmark this page!
My first of the 3 post would be on Preparing for P1 Orientation. What? We need to prepare for orientation? Well, yes and no. It is of the mindset and some strategies is needed. I'll tell you more.
Before I go on, please be aware that different schools have differing programmes. I am sharing based on my own experience. However, I know the orientation programs are generally the same across the schools.
So here goes:
1) Be prepared to let go.
Again, other schools may have different practice. In our school, parents and their kids were immediately separated the moment we stepped into the assembly area. I'll be honest and say it made me panic alittle. I wasn't prepared to let him go out of my sight especially in a new environment. I was worried that Sonshine may get lost in the big school, or that he may wander off etc. It is no longer like it was in kindergarten where the kids are nicely secure within the school premise. In primary school, there are a thousand and one ways the kid can run off and get lost or even out of the school. However, I plucked up enough courage to settle him in his class group and forced myself to walk away while a few parents were still hovering around their kids.
When it was due for me to pick him up. I was horrified. I walked into the hall and was greeted by a sea of 6 year olds running amok. For a while, I couldn't locate Sonshine as he seemed to have disappeared into the crowd & suddenly all the kids looked the same! It was quite scary. Imagine my relief when I spotted him!
It was there and then, I told myself that it was time that I learn to let him go & not to depend the teachers to hover around him 24/7 but groom him to be independent & trust him to take care of himself.
I said all that to share that you may be separated from your kids. Some may be alright with this but it may be quite challenging for others. If you are the latter, make sure you give specific instructions to your child to follow the teachers' instructions, not wander off and wait for you.
2) Arm yourself with pen and proper documentations
This seems like redundant to say but yours truly forgot her bank details neither could her husband remember their account number. You can imagine the hassle thereafter. You need your bank account number if you are planning to pay the school fees via GIRO.
Also, be prepared that there will be a number of forms to fill in. I say 'a number' but I really mean 'a lot'. I was overwhelmed by the forms to be filled in (to be submitted on the very same day) and I seem to be writing the same details again and again and again on each form. It doesn't help that I can't recall Sonshine's identity number and *cough* even my own house number. So filling the form wasn't a breeze for me. I was scolding myself for not sending the husband to do this since he is much faster and better at this than me. Take it from me, get all your details ready and send the better parent to do this task!
Besides the orientation, you likely need to buy textbooks, uniforms and book school bus on the same day. Be mindful that you are not the only parent there, hence the queue for each station will be massive. I talked to some parents and was surprise by how some came prepared with strategies!
a) While one parent sit in for the orientation talk, the other parent scoots off to do the purchasing! This is the time when the queues are non-existent or very short. How clever!
b) After the orientation, one parent queue at one station at the same time, killing two birds with one stone.
Poor me, my husband left the school with a tired babydoll and I was left to settle all of it myself! It was overwhelming. So make sure, you get your other half to come down with you (leave the younger ones at home). If not, make sure you have your mother, father or helper come with you! Obviously, they need to know what to buy.
You may be wondering why would one bother to queue to buy textbooks in the school when we can get them at Popular bookshops. Ah, you see, you still need to join in the queue because it is the only place where you can get the schools' exercise books and what nots. I bought some textbooks from Popular but I still end up joining the queue for books. :( I notice some parents lug along a luggage bag or a trolley bag. At first sight, they look ridiculous but on second thought they came well prepared. The textbooks are not light (especially if you are buying everything on the list on that day). The trolley bags will help you lighten your load particularly if you are taking public transportation.
So there, I hope these will help someone out there.
For me, I wasn't prepared (physically & mentally) at all. I had thought it was merely to attend a talk, fill in some forms and the purchasing would be a breeze. It might have been if I didn't bring along doll and that the talk & filling up form didn't zap up my energy. Even if you didn't do any preparation- no fear. You will still get by. Above all, both parent and child enjoy the process!!