Preparing for Primary One – Choosing the Right School

In less than a month, it will be our turn to make that all important decision on the primary school for Sophie. It’s going to be another major milestone for her, a place where she will receive her first formal education to start her on a lifelong journey of learning. By now, parents who need to enroll their kids who are born in 2009, would already have some school pr schools in mind as the registration opens in less than a month away in July 2015. More details on MOE website here.

But how does one decide on the RIGHT school for your kids when we have over 180 primary schools to choose from?

2015-p1-registration

Choosing the Right School

Alma Mater

As a ex-convent girl, I considered sending Sophie to my alma mater as I had many fond memories of my school days being in an all-girls school. The school I came from provided a good foundation both in terms of academics and gave me opportunities to peruse my interests from drama, to arts and netball. And of course, it also groomed girls to become young ladies, something that you don’t get out from a co-ed school. But hubby felt that the school was too far away especially when we have ,options much closer to our home.

Distance

After speaking to friends with primary school going kids, we concluded that distance to school and time taken to travel will be one of our top priorities when choosing a primary school for Sophie. After all, the shorter the distance to school from home means that a shorter travelling time and more time to sleep and rest.

When I was doing Parent Volunteer in the school that we decided, I observed that the school bus would arrive at 6:45am. I can’t even imagine how early these kids have to be up to catch their school bus in the mornings, 5 days a week for almost 40 weeks in a year.

I used to live just across my primary school and I remembered how convenient it was to simply walk to school or even just head home for a nice warm lunch prepared by mum before ECA started in the afternoons.

So while I still bore hopes of sending Sophie to my old school, I agreed that one closest to uswould be more ideal since it was also a reputable school in our neighbourhood. And that’s how we ended up applying to be parent volunteers in the primary school.

School’s Values and Vision

For us, we believe that the primary school going-years are not only the important years for Sophie to gain knowledge, but also one to develop her character to be an all-rounder. And while it may be tough to suss out if the schools really live by the values and vision that they have on their website, it would be useful to speak to parents whose children attend the school. You can do so by visiting forums such as Kiasu Parents, where parents are eager to share information about the school.

But be warned, as you may get overwhelmed by the overloading of information and start hyperventilating because the parents who are active on the forum truly live up to be kiasu parents in every way possible.

As we volunteered in the school that we chose, we had a glimpse of how the principal and teachers interacted with the students during various events like sports day, volunteer trips, festive celebrations and we did get a good sense that they do instill good values like being respectful, honesty, diligence, resilience, just to name a few.

I remembered during sports day when I was present as a parent volunteer, the principal addressed the students and reminded them to display sportsmanship. To cheer loudly for their own home and win with dignity and unity. But if they lose, to lose with grace and be happy for those who win. And he ended by reminding everyone to give high fives to their neighbour and wish each other good luck.

CCAs

CCAs will be an integral part of your child’s primary school. And it’s important that kids get the opportunity to develop their interest, allowing them to play to their strengths besides excelling academically.

From their CCAs, kids can also pick up important life skills, such as building their confidence, tenacity and perseverance, that will help them to be adaptable and maybe even pick up new skills.

Parent Volunteer

When I shared that I applied to be a parent volunteer in the school that we’re planning to enroll Sophie, a common question I get from friends is, so does doing PV gives us a guaranteed place in the school. Unfortunately, the answer is no. But I would like to think that it gives us better chance since we do live within 1km, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed and praying hard it doesn’t come to naught.

Of course, there are other considerations like affiliations by religious groups, churches, clans as well as serving as in grass roots that would put you in Phase 2B as well. To learn more about each phase, you can read up on this link from MOE.

 

So what are some factors you consider when deciding on the school to enroll our child in? Wishing you all the best for the primary one registration!

 

Other mums share their experience here

 

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