Schools help P1 kids shed first-day jitters

Primary schools here - including three new ones in Punggol which received their first batch of pupils yesterday - have taken steps to help Primary 1 pupils and their parents to ease their transition from pre-school.

Schools, such as Ahmad Ibrahim Primary School in Yishun, set aside some time on the first day of school yesterday to get the pupils and their parents to take part in activities listed in a new parent-child activity book.

It contains tips and activities to familiarise the pupils with school routines, such as buying canteen food and identifying items to pack in the schoolbag.

All parents of Primary 1 pupils entering the 190 primary schools this year received a copy of the book, produced by the Ministry of Education (MOE), before the term started. MOE could not give a consolidated figure on the size of this year's Primary 1 cohort as of press time but this was 40,927 in 2014, according to the latest MOE statistics.

Housewife Kalsom Khamis, 31, whose seven-year-old daughter startedat Ahmad Ibrahim Primary School, noted that the activities helped her child to adjust to school life.

"My daughter was more prepared for school and she even packed her own schoolbag," she said.

Some schools have also adjusted timetables to help the pupils ease into primary school.

For instance, Oasis Primary School in Punggol, which took its first batch of 206 pupils, will not have formal lessons in the first weekto allow pupils time to get used to the new environment.

There will be physical education, art and music classes, which are platforms for the pupils to make friends and get to know their teachers, said principal Ong-Chew Lu See.

During the first three days of school, parents will be allowed into the school premises, where they can also attend workshops and talks on topics such as eating right.

Mrs Ong said: "We hope to ease their anxiety and also get them more involved in their children's education."

Instead of senior pupils, the new Oasis pupils had about 30 National University of Singapore student volunteers to guide them during recess and help them settle in.

Physiotherapist Balaji Prithvi, 34, whose son attends the school, said: "The kids do not have any seniors to be compared with and there won't be expectations to meet. They are free to set the standard for their juniors."

Oasis is one of three new primary schools which opened in Punggol this year to help meet the growing demand in the area. The other two schools are Punggol Cove and Waterway primary schools.

Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng, who visited Ahmad Ibrahim Primary School yesterday, urged parents to be more involved in their children's education and encouraged pupils to enjoy their school years.

In his address, he said: "It will be a good time for you to make friends... and learn to be independent."

This article was first published on Jan 5, 2016.
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