LikeSchool’s Family Blog - Preparing for Primary One

Syon, our cheeky little fella, had a blast growing up. He was happy watching television at home till 3 years old when the norm was to join a playgroup at 18 months. He was still monkeying around when his peers were already enrolled with enrichment classes, whether academic or otherwise. When it was time to choose a preschool, we did not pursue popular schools. Instead, we chose a newly setup preschool with access to free parking, Koufu food court and NTUC. 

Our P1 Preparation Experience

We were pretty chilled parents as far as Syon’s academic progression was concerned, likely because we were busy with our careers and were too tired to research on enrichment options to keep up with the Joneses.

Syon’s first enrichment class was in K2 as he could not yet read or write. Friends recommended respectable institutions and I jumped on the bandwagon blindly. Can’t go wrong when parents are clamoring for their children to be enrolled right? I went for it with much regret. I didn’t understand my child. I had no time. Syon hated his enrichment classes. He was crying his eyes out. The environment was not suitable for him. To cut the long story short, I pulled Syon out of the institution immediately.

Having heard what happened, my colleague introduced me to iCreative Learner Hub @ Ang Mo Kio. Skeptical this time around, we approached Teacher Elaine who then arranged to spend time alone with Syon. She warned us that it was not going to be easy and we had to be invested in this process with her, meaning spending time and guiding Syon at home as well.

We embarked on this journey with full trust in her and lo and behold, within 2 months, Syon was trudging on his own, reading Teacher Elaine’s story book for the week independently. I really don’t know how she managed to guide 10 students for 90 minutes weekly and yet have all of them read within such a short time. Yes, we did out part to help Syon at home, but really, kudos to Teacher Elaine and the iCreative curriculum! Needless to say, our daughter Mia also joined i-Creative when she turned 4 years old.

We enrolled Syon for Mandarin classes with Hua Language Centre @ Greenwich V at the tail end of his K2 learning journey. Hua has been around for 17 years and their students have excelled in their PSLE Chinese exams. What impressed me was not their achievements. It was the team who gave warm welcome to every student that stepped in, wishing and calling them by name. I was an instant fan when I shared that Syon could not yet speak Mandarin. Melissa's response was brilliant. She told me not to get stressed. He will catch up sooner or later. What’s important is that Syon progresses positively as it takes time to learn a language and he has 6 years to do that. I was instantly sold.

Syon is now still with Hua after 2 years. What’s comforting is that he is progressing positively. What I like about Hua is that they do not drive excellence with advanced curriculum, but by building the children's confidence and liking for Mandarin.
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What else for P1 Preparation?

Popular Bookshop became my favorite haunt. English was almost already taken care of by Teacher Elaine. This said, I scoured for assessment books relating to Comprehension.

I bought a couple of Han Yu Pin Yin assessment books to prep Syon for Mandarin. Word of advice, it’s probably wiser to buy only one assessment book at any point in time as the material may be similar and your child cannot progress much going through the same material using different books. What I should have done was to buy one book on Han Yu Pin Yin, and progress then on with word recognition.

My objective was very clear as far as Math was concerned. I wanted Syon to know how to add and subtract before he went to school and the simplest way was to just practice, practice and practice. I pulled out a huge white board that my parents had purchased when I was a student, cleaned it and started writing numbers for Syon to count with his fingers. His first Math assessment book was purchased only just before he entered in primary one as without knowing the basics, you can’t get very far with Math.

Present Day - 2017

Syon is in Primary 2 this year. He is doing well and most importantly, he’s happy in school. He has many years before PSLE. He’s still a cheeky monkey living his fantasy world of Marvel superheroes. He is a kid who needs to play and have fun. Studying for long hours is not for him. Instead, spurts of concentration are where we capitalize on.

I don’t know how other parents do it, but this is our way of bringing up Syon. We are parents who did not excel in school. We graduated and worked hard toward rewarding careers and survived well. What’s important to us is that Syon enjoys his childhood and can laugh and cry with a wide network of friends.

For us, success goes beyond excellent academic results. Yes, it may be a stepping stone in joining coveted employers, but how your child maneuvers through life thereafter has the most impact on his or her success.