Fairies, balloons, buddies to quell P1 kids' first-day jitters

Fairies, balloons, buddies to quell P1 kids' first-day jitters
Dressed up as a fairy, Adeline Koh, 28, a music and math teacher, gives out pencils to the pioneer batch of students from West Spring Primary School

Pupils starting at West Spring Primary will be greeted by balloons and teachers dressed as fairies when it opens its doors for the first time this morning.

The Bukit Panjang school is one of three new primary schools welcoming their first batch of pupils today. The other two schools are Alexandra Primary in Bukit Merah and Northoaks Primary in Sembawang.

West Spring principal Jacinta Lim told The Straits Times she wanted to ease the anxiety of the 210 youngsters starting Primary 1.

"When the kids see the colourful balloons and fairies it distracts them from that anxious moment," she said. Such special first-day activities are a tradition she carried over to the new school from her former one, Yangzheng Primary.

"For the kids, transitioning to primary school can be overwhelming," she said. "The setting is very different, the school is bigger and they have to start buying their own food."

The school has also set up a partnership with nearby Zhenghua Secondary which will involve the older students acting as buddies to the younger ones. They will guide the West Spring pupils during recess time and teach them how to order and pay for food.

Northoaks Primary, meanwhile, will offer breakfast to pupils and parents to usher in the new school year today. Its principal, Ms Theresa Hong, said: "We just want to welcome them to a brand new school."

Parents will spend 45 minutes eating with their young ones before the first cohort of over 160 pupils is taken to the school hall for the flag-raising ceremony.

They are among 40,000 Primary 1 pupils beginning their formal education at 190 primary schools.

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