With 2019 swinging by, V has progressed to Kindergarten 2 and will be in Primary One next year. How time flies!
In Singapore, most children who turn seven years old would start formal and compulsory education at a primary school. The institution is where they will spend six years at, take their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) and graduate thereafter.
For families who homeschool their children, they get to skip the Primary One school registration.
So, some time in July or August this year, we would have to enroll her into a school of our choice! GOSH! The days are long, but the years are short, indeed :(
These days, when friends or family learn that V will be entering Primary One very soon, our topic of discussion takes new heights and swerves towards school choices and primary school life concerns. HA! It’s a conversation starter, for sure! :P
Somehow, choosing a primary school these days seems more nerve-racking than deciding whom to marry! LOL.
This feels like a big decision to make about their education; I’m hopeful that it would be an easy, stress-free way to this.
Truth be told, it’s not just about her next six years of education, but also about setting the right foundation and offering exposure to nurture, as well as the practical part of things such as logistics. #adulting
So now, the mind-boggling question is: how should parents go about choosing the right primary school for their children in Singapore?
How do parents choose the right primary school?
Common factors in deciding on which primary school to sign up for include: distance from home, whether it’s an alma mater of either parent, how “good” the school is perceived to be, past PSLE records, affiliation to a secondary school… to name a few.
My alma mater is an all-girls school where I spent a good 10 years. I’d love to see my daughter experience the IJ culture too, which is something I hold close to my heart and am proud of. Except that would mean L would not be able to be in the same primary school as his sister.
If you’ve 2 kids of different genders (like us), you’ll also be thinking about the
sure-win chance for your second born fun of having siblings share stories about friends and school activities.
Plus, if we pick a co-ed school that’s nearby, we would only have to do a single school drop-off instead of heading in two opposite directions.
It’s a practical option and saves on another round of uncertainty with balloting for the second kid, right? @.@ #practicalparenting
With that dilemma, I look at other families, like Michelle (who has six children!), and understand why they made the decision to put all her kids in the same school.
Proximity is critical and if our kids could sleep in a little longer, and take a shorter time to get home after their Co-curriculum Activities (CCAs), that would be nice.
Take Susan for instance, who was an ex-convent girl too, but decided to put her daughter at a school near home instead.
Considering that school bus fees and how the bus operators are facing issues with logistics (oh, the irony) too, these are also additional expenses and time we would have to consider too.
Assessing our kids and our parenting styles
I’ve also spoken to a mum who deliberately put her son and daughter in different schools because she wanted to focus on matching her children’s learning behaviour and ability with that of the school. Despite the fact that her daughter’s primary school was in town and they lived in the East – the culture of the school and secondary school affiliation outweighed the logistics concerns.
But I’m not quite sure how to really assess my six-year-old and three-year-old. After all, they’re still developing cognitively and in other areas. Some people are also “late bloomers”, so how does that work? Hmm…
Some Singaporean mums, like June, place emphasis on enrolling into a school that shares the same values as the family.
Having spoken to friends with kids who are in primary school, and parents with children who are much older, everyone has different advice.
Finding out about the shortlisted primary schools
I’ve also learned that while the Ministry of Education (MOE) has done away with tests and exams for Primary One and Two, schools are still going with quizzes. That’s understandable because there have to be some ways to know if children have met learning goals, just like how there are milestone charts for babies.
Still, some “better” schools are handing out homework, project work, graded spelling and even Continual Assessments (CAs) to the lower primary students. The pressure on their parents is real -_-
So I guess another thing to ask ourselves is: how do we feel about the chosen school’s take on their teaching approach?
A father of three with two kids at a popular elite school in the East (his alma mater) said to me: it’s the parents as they are the ones who push their kids.
On the other hand, I’ve also heard that their teachers call up parents if their kids are scoring 70-80 marks, or even suggest that their kids switch schools as they are not “performing well”. I’m baffled =x
There’s only so much working parents can do after returning home from work. If weekly spelling for 2 languages is a regular sight, adding on graded & non-graded assignments, and possibly quizzes along the way – it does seem quite a load for both child and parents, or does it?
This spins another article on preparing our kids for primary school – will link it here when it’s ready! :)
Discuss, decide and look forward to primary school life
Things are getting more serious these days, and I can’t quite tell if it’s the paranoia or the collective pent-up fear of our kids’ failure. Or simply parents’ innate nature to want our children to succeed and be the best one can be.
I’ve to say, this witty piece which outlines the thoughts of a worried mum in Singapore made me nod and laugh at the same time :P
Deciding on a primary school for our kids needs some dose of light-heartedness – it really isn’t a matter of life and death, and perhaps we are giving ourselves too much pressure.
As parents, we are there to support our child’s education and learning journey. By making informed decisions that work for the family, that would really help ease the daily flow of things, keep sanity in check and pockets less holey! HA!
At the end of the day, we only wish for our children to have an enjoyable schooling experience with wonderful friends, to be able to work alongside educators who believe in them and are supportive in nurturing their growth and abilities, have sufficient sleep and play, and have happy primary school memories to look back on.
Oops. Did I just wish for too much? >.<
Parents in primary schoolers, how did you decide on the primary schools for your children? Do share some enlightening insights below! :)